केवलं शास्त्रमाश्रित्य न कर्तव्यो विनिर्णयः |

युक्तिहीने विचारे तु धर्महानिः प्रजायते ||

A decision (विनिर्णयः) should not be taken (न कर्तव्यो) by considering only the rules/words of any discipline (or science) (केवलं शास्त्रमाश्रित्य).

Any consideration (thought) ( विचार) without reasoning (युक्तिहीने) will only result in damage or destruction of Dharma  (धर्महानिः प्रजायते).

This Subhaashit brings to mind a story from the Panchatantra about Four foolish scholars. They had completed their education and were returning home. Coming to a fork in the road, they wondered which path they should take. One scholar reminded the others that they had learned-

“महाजनो येन गतः स पन्थाः”

In reality this means that the path taken by a great man (महाजनः) is the true path.

The scholars, apparently had gained bookish knowledge, but not much wisdom. They took this advice to suggest that they should take the path trodden by a crowd (महाजनः).

As it happened, there was a crowd going along one of these paths carrying a dead body to be cremated. The scholars decided to follow the crowd.

And it led the four to the cremation grounds.

There they saw a donkey standing near the cremation pier. One of the scholars remembered one of their lessons-

 उत्सवे व्यसने प्राप्ते दुर्भिक्षे शत्रुसंकटे |

राजद्वारे श्मशाने च यस्तिष्टति स बान्धवः ||

The meaning of this verse is that someone who extends support in any situation is a relative. But the learned but unwise scholars took this to mean that since the donkey was standing here at the cremation ground (श्मशाने), it was their relative. So they embraced it if it were a brother.

After a few more such wrong decisions based on misinterpretations of what they had learned, the four finally returned home, tired but not much wiser!




  1. Coming here after so many days of your posting! But a great decision, since it gave me enough time to read and assimilate the wisdom in the post. Now if only I can apply it to my future decisions! For I am afraid that like the four scholars, I have been guilty of applying my half baked knowledge to so many decisions in life 😦 Loving this series. I am yet to read your post on Contentment.


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