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Get These in Correct Time or Else!?

प्रथमे नार्जिता विद्या द्वितीये नार्जितं धनम्।

तृतीये नार्जिता कीर्तिः चतुर्थे किं करिष्यति॥ Chanakya Niti, Chapter 1, Verse 10.

Word to word meaning:

प्रथमे (prathame) - First

नार्जिता (nārjitā) - not acquired

विद्या (vidyā) - knowledge, education

द्वितीये (dvitīye) - second

नार्जितं (nārjitaṃ) - acquired

धनम् (dhanam) - wealth

तृतीये (tṛtīye) - third

नार्जिता (nārjitā) - not acquired

कीर्तिः (kīrtiḥ) - fame, reputation

चतुर्थे (caturthe) - fourth

किं (kiṃ) - what

करिष्यति (kariṣyati) - will do,

Shloka meaning:

  • In the first phase of life i.e., in childhood, if knowledge is not acquired.

  • In the second phase of life i.e., in adulthood, if wealth is not acquired.

  • In the third phase of life i.e., in middle age , if fame is not acquired

  • In the fourth phase of life i.e., in old age, then what can be acquired?


1. Childhood - Acquiring Knowledge:

- Childhood is traditionally seen as the phase for acquiring foundational knowledge and education. It's a crucial period for developing cognitive abilities, learning skills, and understanding the world. The acquisition of knowledge during this phase lays the groundwork for intellectual growth and future pursuits.

2. Adulthood - Acquiring Wealth:

- Adulthood brings responsibilities and opportunities for economic advancement. It's the phase where individuals typically focus on building a career, earning income, and accumulating wealth. Financial stability and security are often significant goals during this period, enabling individuals to support themselves and their families.

3. Middle Age - Acquiring Fame or Reputation:

- Middle age is characterized by maturity and experience. It's a phase where individuals strive to establish their reputation, influence, and social standing. Achievements in professional fields, contributions to society, and recognition for one's accomplishments are sought after during this period.

4. Old Age - Reflection and Beyond:

- Old age is a time of reflection and introspection. It's when individuals look back on their lives and evaluate their achievements. The shloka suggests that if knowledge, wealth, and fame have not been adequately acquired in their respective phases, old age may present challenges in terms of pursuing new goals or ambitions.


The shloka presents a structured approach to life, suggesting that each phase has its own set of objectives and achievements. It implies that failing to fulfill these objectives in their designated phases may limit opportunities or make it more challenging to achieve them later in life. However, it also encourages a broader perspective on life's purpose beyond material success.

-Timing and Life Goals: It underscores the importance of timing and seizing opportunities during the appropriate phases of life. Each stage provides a unique window for personal and professional growth, and neglecting to pursue these goals at the right time may result in missed opportunities.

Reflection in Old Age: The question posed in old age about what can be acquired reflects on the limitations of advancing age and the need to prioritize and achieve goals earlier in life. It encourages individuals to reflect on their life's journey and assess whether they have utilized their opportunities effectively.

Beyond Material Success: Ultimately, the shloka prompts deeper reflection on life's purpose and the balance between material achievements and spiritual fulfillment. It suggests that while worldly pursuits are important, true fulfillment may also come from wisdom, virtue, and meaningful relationships cultivated throughout life.

In essence, the shloka encourages individuals to live purposefully, recognizing the significance of each phase of life and the opportunities they present. It advocates for a balanced approach to personal and spiritual growth, acknowledging that life's journey involves both external achievements and inner fulfillment.

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