śatakatrayam 1.8: a fool’s realization

by Jahnabi Barooah

यदा किंचिच्ज्ञोऽहं गज इव मदान्ध: समभवं
तदा सर्वज्ञोऽस्मीत्यभवदवलिप्तं मम मन: ।
यदा किंचित्किंचिद्बुधजनसकाशादवगतं
तदा मूर्खोऽस्मीति ज्वर इव मदो मे व्यपगत: ।।८।।

when i barely knew anything,
i was sure i knew everything;
like an elephant in musth,
i was blinded by my pride.
when i actually learned something
from the company of wise men,
i realized what a fool i was,
and my pride left me like a fever. ||8||

This is a well-known verse which I encountered and memorized, in a slightly modified version, over two years ago at the AIIS intensive Sanskrit language program in Pune, India. I didn’t know then that it was attributed to Bhartṛhari. It was fun to find it in the Nītiśataka.