[Advaita-l] A subhAshitam

S.N. Sastri sn.sastri at gmail.com
Wed Mar 5 23:09:00 CST 2008

A subhAshitam is a sentence or verse which conveys some salutary advice. The
following verse is one:

guNadoshhau budho gRihNan indukshvelAviveshvaraH |
shirasA shlAghate pUrvam param kaNThe niyacchati ||
budhaH- a wise man, guNadoshhau- the good and bad qualities  (of other
persons), gRihNan- having come to know, pUrvam- the first (good qualities),
shirasA shlAghate- extols with his head,
param- the other (bad qualities), kaNThe- in his throat, niyacchati- keeps,
IshvaraH iva- as Lord Shiva (did), indukshvelau- with the moon and poison.

When the Milk Ocean was churned by the gods for nectar, the virulent poison,
hAlAhala, came up. Shiva took it and put it in His mouth to save all living
beings from its effect. But He refrained from swallowing it in order to save
the living beings inside His body from the poison. He thus kept it in his
throat. Then, when the churning was continued, the moon came up from the
ocean. Lord Shiva extolled it by placing it on His head. This verse says
that, in the same way, a wise man extols the good qualities of others, but
keeps their bad qualities in his throat, i.e., he does not speak about them
to others. This is a very sound advice for all sAdhakas.

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