Good People and Bad People

There is just one difference between people who are good and those who are not.  The thoughts, words and deeds of the bad do not match one another.  The thoughts, words and deeds of the good people are all identical.

[manasyEkam vachasyEkam karmaNyEkam dhurAthmanAm /  manasyEkam vachasyEkam karmaNyEkam mahAthmanAm //

मनस्येकं वचस्येकं कर्मण्येकं दुरात्मनाम् / मनस्येकं वचस्येकं कर्मण्येकं महात्मनाम् //]


17 thoughts on “Good People and Bad People

  1. is there a mistake in the words or in my reading of them? i cannot find any difference between the two lines:

    [manasyEkam vachasyEkam karmaNyEkam dhurAthmanAm / manasyEkam vachasyEkam karmaNyEkam mahAthmanAm //

    • Dear Rohini, I would request you to see the last word in each of the two lines. While the first line says ‘dhurAthmanAm’, the second line says ‘mahAthmanAm.’ As the meaning of the given verse clearly says, there is just one difference between the dhurAthma and the mahAthma. The meaning is intuited. I hope your doubt is now cleared.

  2. Yes, it is subtle, especially to a beginner! I did see ‘durAtmanAM’ and ‘mahAtmanAM’ but the lines made no sense to me until I tried to translate thus: In the matter of thought, speech, and action, the bad people are one. In the area of thought, speech, and action, the good are one. In other words, in these areas, these two types of people are different from each other.

    Thanks for the tip!

    Can you help me with the sandhis?

    manasyEkaM = manasi (7th) + ekaM. (What is ‘E’? Is it ‘ai’? But should it not be ‘e’? What is ‘…kam’? Should it not be ‘…kaM’?) I do not know what ‘vachasyEkam’ is. And karmaNyEkaM = karmaNi (7th) + ekaM.


  3. Dear Rohini,
    Thanks for your interest. Regarding your doubts, we hope the following will help: It is manasi(in the mind)+ Ekam = manasyEkam. Here, the ‘svara’ or ‘vowel’, ‘i’, is replaced by the ‘vyanjana’ or ‘consonant’, ‘y’. (yaN sandhi). Its the same with the other two – vachasi + Ekam and karmaNi + Ekam. Vachasi is ‘in speech’. So, the thought, speech and action of a good person are in congruence.

    If the transliteration is what is confusing you, please note that we are following our own norms and not Baraha’s.

  4. Yes, the transliteration was definitely confusing me! Thanks for clarifying. And yes, I understood yaN sandhi for manasi and karmaNi. But what is ‘vachasi’? Is not ‘vAchi’ the 7th case singular of vAk? In which case it should be ‘vAchyekaM’. Thanks for your patience.

  5. It is really nice to see your interest in Sanskrit grammar. vAchi is the seventh case in the vAch shabda, but vachasi is the seventh case in the vachas shabda. Though vAch and vachas mean the same, they are two different nouns, grammatically speaking.

  6. It is actually-
    Manasyekam vachasyekam karmanyekam mahatmanam
    Manasyanyath vachasyanyath karmanyanyath duratmanam

    pls correct.

    • Thank you for your interest and for bringing this version of the slokam to our notice. While your version of the slokam makes more intuitive sense when considering the meaning, it could also be a patantaram – a different wording of the same slokam. The same meaning will hold for both versions of the slokam. Thank you once again.

  7. this is the pun with Samskrutam. Both sentences seem to be same. But has a lot of difference. first line says: manasyEkam vachasyEkam karmaNyEkam dhurAthmanAm meaning.. For a Evil person, though is one, word is one and action is one… means each one is different from each other. There is no congruence of the three..
    Second sentence says: manasyEkam vachasyEkam karmaNyEkam mahAthmanAm meaning.. as you said.. all the three are one and the same and so is the congruence of thought, word and action. They do what they say and mean it. Hope this makes it clearer.

    • We are most grateful to you, Sir, for your scholarly input. The beauty of Samskrutam requires such inputs for us to appreciate its beauty in full measure. Thank you once again.

  8. There is a mistake and I believe you would like to rectify it. Since it is a very famous verse, it would be inappropriate to leave it uncorrected. The correct verse is ” Manasyekam Wachasyekam Karmanyekam Mahaatmanah; Manasyanyat Wachasyanyat Karmanyanyat Duratmanah”

    • Thank you for the information. I am told it is common to find various representations of the verse. Indeed, it is often the case with many other verses in our ancient texts, I am told.

    • Indeed, yes … it is a modest effort to bring the immortal classic of Kalidasa to a wider, English-reading audience, particularly the younger generation who tends to think of Sanskrit only in terms of religious literature.

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