Translation of Selected Verses
by Rev.F.J.Leeper, Tranquebar
from the Indian Antiquary, a Journal of Oriental
Research in Archaeology, History, Literature, Religion,
Folklore, Edited by Jas Burgess, M.R.A.S, F.R.G.S. Vol
II , 1873, VOL. II.--1873 [Bombay, Education Society's
Press] (Scanned and edited by Christopher M. Weimer, May 2002)
[see also Tamil
- நாலடியார் ]
The Naladiyar is one of the few original works we
have in Tamil. It contains altogether forty chapters, of ten stanzas
each, on moral subjects. The origin of the name is thus told in the
introduction of Father Beschi's Sen Tamil Grammar:--
"Eight thousand poets visited the court of a
certain prince, who, being a lover of the Muses, treated them
with kindness and received them into favour; this excited the
envy of the bards who already enjoyed the royal patronage, and
in a short time they succeeded so completely in their attempt to
prejudice their master against the new comers that the latter
found it necessary to consult their safety by flight, and,
without taking leave of their host, decamped in the dead of
night. Previous to their departure each poet wrote a venba on a
scroll, which he deposited under his pillow. When this was made
known, the king, who still listened to the counsels of the
envious poets, ordered the scrolls to be collected and thrown
into a river, when four hundred of them were observed to ascend,
for the space of four feet, naladi, against the stream. The
king, moved by this miraculous occurrence, directed that these
scrolls should be preserved, and they were accordingly formed
into a work, which from the foregoing circumstance received the
name of Naladiyar."
I append a few chapters as specimens of the work.
CHAPTER 1.--Unstable Wealth.
1. Even those who have eaten of every variety of food of six
flavours laid before them by their wives with anxious attention, not
taking a second portion from any dish, may yet become poor and go
and beg somewhere for pottage. Verily riches are but seeming, not to
be considered as actually existing.
2. When by blameless means thou hast acquired great wealth, then eat
with others rice imported by oxen, for wealth never remaineth in the
centre with anyone, but changes its position like a cart-wheel.
3. Even those who have marched as generals, mounted on the back of
an elephant and shaded by the umbrella, when the effect of evil
deeds works their ruin, will suffer a change of state, and while
their wives are enjoyed by their foes, will fall for ever.
4. Understand that these things are unstable which thou deems
stable. Therefore do quickly the duties in thy power to perform if
thou wouldst do them at all, for the days of life are gone, are
gone, and even now death is come, is come.
5. Those who give alms at once without keeping it back, when
anything, however small, has come into their hands, and do not say,
Oh, this can be given hereafter, will escape from the forest path in
which the cruel but just Yama drags those whom he has bound fast
with the rope.
6. The day appointed passes not its burden; there are none in this
world who, escaping it and passing by, have leaped over death and
lived. Be liberal, then, ye who have laid up abundant and exceeding
wealth. Your funeral drum may beat to-morrow.
7. Death devours your days, using the sun from which they originate
as the measure by which he metes them. Practise therefore virtue and
be compassionate, for such as do not act thus, though they are born,
must be esteemed as unborn.
8. Men of but small attainments in virtue, not considering their
natural tendency, say, We are wealthy. The greatest wealth may be
utterly destroyed and vanish, like a flash of lightning darting in
the night from a thunder-cloud.
9. If a man will not eat sufficiently, will not dress becomingly,
does nothing worthy of commendation, will not wipe away the distress
of relatives, who are with difficulty to be obtained, and is not
liberal, but keeps his wealth to himself, of such a one it must
surely be supposed that he is lost.
10. They who, vexing their own bodies by stinting them in food and
raiment, perform not acts of that goodly charity which never
faileth, but avariciously hoard up what they have gathered together,
will lose it all. O Lord of the mountain land which toucheth the
sky! the bees which are driven from the honey they have collected
CHAPTER 2.--Unstable Youth.
1. Those who are truly wise, mindful that grey hairs will come, have
become ascetics in youth. Those who rejoice in unstable youth, never
free from vice, leaning on a staff will rise up with difficulty.
2. The bonds of friendship are broken, wives have become cold in
love, or few, the cords of love are loosened. Consider the matter
well. What profit is there in the married state? Oh, it is come, the
wail of distress, as when a ship founders!
3. Those foolish men who give themselves up to lust and cling to the
marriage state until their body is an object of disgust to all,
their teeth falling out, their gait unsteady, and compelled to
lean for support on a staff, while they are indistinct in speech,
walk not in the path of virtue, which is a fortress to its
4. To those men who conceive useless desires towards her who is
ready to die, stooping, staggering, shaking her head, leaning on a
staff and stumbling, shall trouble come; when the staff she holds in
her hand becomes her mother's, i.e. when she exchanges her own staff
for her mother's, on account of age.
5. She who was my mother, having borne me in this world, had
departed seeking a mother for herself, if this be the case also with
her mother, one mother seeking after another mother, then is this
world wretched indeed.
6. Unstable joy like that of a sheep, which when the fragrant
garland, thick with leaves, is waved in front of it, in the hands of
the priest in the horrid place where he exorcises devils, eats
thereof as though it were fodder, such joy wise men have not.
7. Since the season of youth is like the ripe fruit, which being
loosed falls from the trees in the cool grove, desire ye not greatly
the damsel, saying she has eyes like a lance, for she will hereafter
stoop in her gait and have to use a staff in lieu of her eyes.
8. How old are you? What is the state of your teeth? Do you eat
twice a day? Thus with one question after another do they inquire
about the state of the body. The wise, who understand its nature,
care not about it.
9. Say not, We will look to virtue bye-and-bye, we are young; but do
good while you have wealth, without concealing it. Not only does the
ripe fruit which has come to maturity, but strong green fruit also
falls down during a storm.
10. Truly relentless death wanders about seeking after men, Oh, take
ye the shoulder wallet betimes and be ready. He even thrusts forth
the f?#8220;tus and takes away the child amidst the cries of its
mother. So it is well always to remember his subtlety.
CHAPTER 3.--The unstable body.
1. Even of the lords of the umbrella held over the head of the
elephant, like the moon when seen over the hills, none are left in
this world without its being proclaimed upon earth that they have
2. The orb of shining light rises as the measure of the day of life
without one day's omission. Therefore perform your duty before the
day of life be finished. No person will abide in the earth beyond
3. The mind of the excellent will urge them along the path of safety
by the suggestion that the marriage drum that is beaten in their
house may that very day become the funeral drum for the inmates and
4. Once they go and beat the drum, they beat a little and beat it
again; behold how brave it is. And in beating it the third time,
they rise and cover up the corpse and take the funeral fire, the
dying carrying the dead.
5. To him who though he has seen the relatives assemble together and
with loud lamentations take the corpse and convey it to the
burning-place, does nevertheless marry, and say to himself this is
happiness, It is, It is the funeral drum speaking out in warning
6. When the soul which carries the skin bag, i.e. the body, to
experience joy and sorrow; and dwelling in it operates secretly but
perfectly, has left the body, what does it matter whether it be
dragged about with a rope, or be buried in some carefully selected
place, or whether it be cast into any hole dug in the centre, or
whether it is left to be contemned by all?
7. Who are they upon this wide world who can be compared with the
men of profound wisdom, who look upon the body as nothing more than
a thing which is like the bubbles caused by the falling rain,
appearing for a moment and then vanishing; and who say, We are the
persons who will remove this evil of births?
8. Let those who have got a vigorous body enjoy the benefit which is
to be derived from it; for the body is like a cloud which quivers on
the mountain--it appears for a time and almost directly vanishes.
9. Practise virtue even now, acknowledging the instability of the
body, which is like the drop of dew on the point of grass; for it is
daily said, This very moment he stood, he sat down, he reclined, and
amidst the cries of relations he died.
10. Men come into the world unasked for, appear in the house as
relations and quietly depart, as the bird which goes far off, its
nest-tree being forsaken, leaving their body without saying a word
CHAPTER 4.--The source of the power of virtue.
1. Those who, relying on penance done in a former birth, do not
exercise penance now, will be greatly afflicted, for they shall
stand at the threshold, not being allowed to enter, and looking in
will say, How flourishing is this family! i.e. they shall be
2. Say not, foolish heart, While here let us pursue our interests
and forget virtue; for although thou mayest live long and prosper,
say, what wilt thou do when the days of thy life are past?
3. When the ignorant receives the fruit of former evil deeds, he
sighs bitterly and grieves within himself. The wise, reflecting that
it is the destined consequence of their sins, hasten to pass the
limit of metempsychosis and to depart from it.
4. Having obtained a human body, so difficult of attainment, so act
as to procure great merit by it, for in the next birth charity will
profit thee as the juice of the sugarcane when pressed, while thy
body will decay like the refuse cane.
5. Those who have pressed the cane and extracted the sugar will not
be grieved when they see the flame arising from the refuse cane
while burning; nor will they who have acquired the merit arising
from the mortification of the body mourn when death approaches.
6. Think not whether it will be this day, or that day, or what day,
but, reflecting that death even now stands behind thee, eschew evil,
and as far as possible practise the good prescribed to thee by the
7. Since upon inquiry it will be found that the benefits that arise
from being born in human shape are great and various, it is proper
to practise virtue in order to obtain heavenly bliss, and to walk
circumspectly, avoiding evil desires.
8. The seed of the banyan tree, though exceedingly small, grows into
a large tree and affords abundant shade; in like manner, however
small may be the benefit of a virtuous act, it covers as it were the
face of heaven.
9. Although they daily see the passing away of days, yet they think
not of it, and daily rejoice over the present day, as if it would
last for ever, for they do not consider the past day to be one day
added to the portion of their life that has expired.
10. Shall I put away the precious jewel of honour, and by the
ignoble practice of mendicancy shall I live? I will do so if this
body can endure permanently though fed by meanness.
CHAPTER 5.--The impure body.
1. Do they look on a perishable body, i.e. the wise? and are they
loud in praise of woman 's beauty? If only a piece of skin, small as
the wing of a fly, be grazed on the body, a stick will be required
to drive away the crows.
2. Since the beauty of the body consists in a covering which hides
its inward filth, a covering of skin in which are many orifices,
encourage not these sensual desires which are excited by this
external covering of the body, which hides its filth. It is proper
to look upon it as the inside of a (dirty) bag.
3. The ancients noticing that by the process of eating, the body
always emits a stench, and on account of this bundle of dry and
worthless sticks, (i.e. the body), chewed betel, crowned the head
with many flowers, and adorned the body with meretricious ornaments.
Is the inward filth thereby done away with?
4. Shall I forsake asceticism because the senseless crowd would
excite me, saying, Woman's eye is like the lotus in clear water, the
Gyal fish, and the battle-spear? I will conduct. myself as one who
sees that the nature of the eye is like a Palmyra nut, from which
the pulp has been taken and the water poured out.
5. Shall I forsake asceticism because foolish, vain, and despicable
persons trouble me, saying foolish things about teeth white as
pearls or the jasmine buds? No; I will conduct myself as if I saw
the jawbone fallen from the head in the burning-ground, in the
presence of all men.
6. Tell me what is the nature of the damsel adorned with cool
garlands, who is composed of flesh and fat, which are placed in the
skin with the sinews which bind together the bowels and marrow, the
blood and the bones.
7. By reason of the beautiful skin causing it to appear lovely to
the eye, and which is the external covering of the body, which is
like a pot ejecting liquid faeces and seething filth abominable,
from nine orifices which ooze out with excrement matter, the foolish
will say of this body, Oh, thou who hast wide shoulders! Oh, thou
who art adorned with bracelets! &c. &c.
8. Have they not seen the powerful vulture, both cock and hen, close
to the carcase, overturning and pecking at the stinking vehicle, the
axle (i.e. life) being broken--they who, not comprehending the true
nature of the body, commend it because they see it adorned with
sandal powder and garlands?
9. The skulls of the dead appearing with deep and hollow eyes, that
alarm the minds of those who see them, look at the living and
working, will abundantly testify and say, Stand in the way of
virtue, this is the nature of the body.
10. The whitened skull of the dead will correct the faults of the
proud, alarming and mocking at them. Those whose faults are
corrected by seeing the skulls, acknowledge that such is the quality
of the body; they will not therefore be anxious to hold themselves
as things that have any real existence.
1. Like as when a lamp is brought into a room darkness disappears,
so sin cannot stand before the effects of former good deeds. And
like as darkness approaches and spreads over the room when the oil
in the lamp is decreasing, so when the effect of the good deeds is
exhausted, the effect of evil deeds will take its place.
2. Those who are pre eminent in learning, knowing that youth is
unstable and that sickness, old age, and death are certainties,
perform their duty now. There are no men so foolish as those, or
fools so foolish as those who rave about the indestructible
treatises of grammar and astrology.
3. Those who are greatly wise, seeing that, on careful examination,
all such things as youth, complexion, form, dignity, and strength,
are unstable, will without delay endeavour to save themselves by
4. The poor, though they endure many days' affliction, will desire
one day's pleasure; the self-controlled, knowing the changeableness
of domestic happiness, and having regard to its attendant misery,
have renounced the domestic state.
5. Youth is gone in vain, and now old age with sickness comes.
Therefore, oh my soul! take courage and rise up with me without
hesitation--wilt thou not go? Let us walk in the way of asceticism
6. Since it is a hard thing for a husband to part with his wife,
though she may neither have borne children, nor have a good
disposition,-- therefore on account of the misery which matrimony
causes, the wise have long ago called it kerdu,--that is, the thing
to be eschewed.
7. Those earnest men who, when troubles hard to be borne and enough
to prostrate the mind come upon them, to frustrate the austerities
which they have resolutely undertaken, put them aside, and,
confining themselves steadfastly, observe their rules, are ascetics
8. It is the duty of the excellent not only to forgive despite, but
also to pity those who, on account of the despite they have done
them, will in the next birth fall into the fire of hell.
9. He who has power to observe the rule of virtue which he has laid
down, and to keep himself undisturbed by the five organs of sense
from which arise lust and desire--or the body, mouth, nose, ears,
and eyes--shall unfailingly obtain beatitude.
10. The mean, though they see afflictions come thronging upon them,
never think of asceticism, and long only for gratification; but the
excellent, though pleasures come crowding in; upon them, having
regard to their attendant miseries, cherish not the desire of any
1. Let the respectful honour, and let despising tramplers trample:
good is the freedom from abusive anger in those who know that all is
as the treading of a fly upon their heads.
2. Will those renounce their precious life of indestructible
excellence, not caring to preserve it when they find any cause of
offence (or when their penance is hindered), who, not removing from
the place in which they stand, are able perseveringly to complete
their penance, even when they experience great reproach.
3. As the angry words which a man speaks, opening his mouth
unguardedly, continually burn him, so those who possess that
knowledge which arises from oral instruction and incessant search
after truth will never be angry and utter burning words of fury.
4. The excellent will not be hot and angry when their inferiors
oppose them and utter bad words. The base, turning it over in their
minds will speak of it and chafe in the hearing of everybody in the
place, and jump with rage and knock their heads against a post.
5. The self-control exhibited by youth is self-control indeed.
Liberality manifested by one who has no increasing riches is
liberality that is profitable for all things. The patience shown by
one who has the power and ability to oppress others is patience
6. They who are noble will, in the sight of all men, take patiently
and regret the evil words that issue from the mouth of the vulgar
like stones that are thrown, being influenced by the consideration
of their high birth, as the cobra quickly closes its hood when ashes
are thrown upon it.
7. To be unresisting to those who would oppose them as enemies, the
wise call not imbecility. When others have impatiently opposed them
and done them evil, it is good if they do not evil in return.
8. The wrath of the vulgar will continue to spread though it run on
a long time; the anger of the excellent in disposition will cool of
itself, like the heat of boiling water.
9. Having done them a kindness they mind it not; do them never so
much unkindness they will do what is kind; but to do unjustly, even
through inadvertence, is not proper for those who are born in a high
10. There are none here who, though they see a dog snap angrily at
them, will in return snap at the dog again with their mouth. When
baseborn persons mischievously utter base things, will the noble
repeat such words with their mouths in return?
1. Good lord of the cool hills festooned with springs! speak not at
all with a fool. If a fool speak, he will speak only to injure you.
To slip away from him, and to avoid him by any means in your power,
2. When inferiors speak improper words, the patient hearing these
words is patience indeed. The earth, surrounded with swelling waves,
will not regard impatient behaviour as praiseworthy, but baseness
3. Will the hard words uttered (in reproof) by friends be more evil
than the sweet words of strangers speaking with joy, O lord of the
cool shore of the mighty ocean, where the beautiful winged insects
turn over all the flowers, if they get men who understand the
4. Knowing what ought to be known, and submitting thereunto, fearing
what ought to be feared, performing every duty so as to satisfy the
world, and living in the enjoyment of pleasure according to their
means; they who are thus disposed never experience the evils of
5. When two persons are friends, mixing without variance, should
there be misconduct on the part of one, let the other be patient, as
far as he can bear it. If he cannot take it patiently, let him not
speak evil, but withdraw to a distance.
6. Though another do one evil, if he say, Well, let it pass, and
blame himself, it is good: To give up intimate associates, O lord of
the forests! is hard even to brutes.
7. O king of the fair hills abounding with hollow-sounding streams!
does not close intimacy with the great arise from the idea that they
forgive the grievous faults that are committed against them? Will
friends be wanting to them who do what is good?
8. Those who are gifted with patience, and who are not so rash as to
destroy themselves though withered and famished with hunger, will
not declare their misery to those who love them not. They will make
it known only to those who have the power to help them.
9. Let pleasure alone, when thou canst enjoy it, if disgrace attends
it, O Lord of the hill country abounding in waters! though pleasure
only be constantly regarded, it is preferable to enjoy it in a
10. Although he himself be ruined, let not a man think of injuring
the worthy; let him not eat with whom he should not eat, even though
the flesh of his body waste away; let him not speak words
intermingled with falsehood, although he get the whole world
canopied by the heavens for his reward.
CHAPTER 9.--Not coveting another's wife.
1. Let not the modest man covet another's wife, since the fear
attending that sin is great, the pleasure is of short duration, and
if you daily reflect, it renders one liable to the punishment of
death by the king, and it is a sin that daily leads men to hell.
2. To those who covet their neighbours' wives these four
things,--virtue, praise, friendship, and dignity,--will not accrue.
To those who covet their neighbours' wives these four
things,--hatred, vengeance, and sin accompanied with fear,--will
3. What benefit arises from the shamelessly desiring one's
neighbour's wife? Since in the going to her there is fear, in going
away there is fear, in the enjoyment itself there is fear, in case
the sin be not known there is fear,--it is always productive of
4. Of what matter is that enjoyment, O wicked one, which you regard?
Say. Since if you are discovered your family will be dishonoured, if
you are caught your leg will be cut off; while in the act you are in
dread, and it will cause ever-enduring anguish in hell.
5. Those who are destitute of everything that is good, and
companions of the vile, have habitually sinned with damsels with
mole-spotted breasts, and in a former birth have violated by force
the wives of others, shall in the next birth be born hermaphrodites
and live by dancing.
6. Why should he look with desire upon his neighbour's wife who,
after inquiring about a propitious day, and having the drum beaten
that all may know, has celebrated his marriage, who has a wife
tender and loving in his own house, who then placed herself under
7. The enjoyment of the man of unstable mind possessed with
delusion, who desires and embraces the wife of his neighbour, while
his neighbours reproach him and his relations fear and are troubled,
is of the nature of that pleasure which is caused by licking a
8. Since the desire which arises in the minds of the wise increases
not, nor shows itself (by actions), nor extends beyond their own
family, the pain which it causes being very grievous, and they,
fearing lest by it they should be put to shame before their foes,
speak not of it at all. Therefore it dies away of itself in the
9. An arrow, or fire, or the sun with shining beams, though they
wound and burn, scorch only the body. But desire,--since it wounds,
grieves, and burns the soul,--is much more to be feared than any of
10. If he plunge overhead in the water, a man may escape from the
fearful red flames which have sprung up in, and are ravaging a town.
But though he plunge in many holy rivers, desire will still be
unquenched; yea, though he live like an anchorite on the mountain
top, it will still burn.
1. To those men the gates of heaven shall never be closed, who with
tender hearts and with a mind in accordance with their alms, greatly
rejoicing, give even in poverty according to their ability, even as
they did in the day of prosperity.
2. Before you is disgusting old age, and your dying day also: these
are pains destructive of greatness. Run not vainly here and there.
Covet not. Give alms, then eat. Hide not any of it when you possess
3. The wealth of him who in this birth wipes not away the tears of
those who, trembling with poverty, betake themselves to him, by
reason of his merit in a former birth, of not eating till he had
given a portion to others, shall go on increasing while the time of
increase lasts. But when the effect of these good deeds is
exhausted, that wealth shall altogether leave him, let him hold it
never so firmly.
4. Give what you are able, even though you have not the thousandth
part of a measure of rice in the house, and then eat your meal; the
wise call those in this birth wandering beggars whose chimneys smoke
not in this earth, surrounded by the deep sea, who gave not alms in
a former birth.
5. Let a man who regards both this world and the next, give what he
can as he gets it; and if, through poverty, giving be impossible, to
abstain from begging will be to give twice.
6. Those who give are like the female palm tree surrounded by the
terrace in the midst of the village, they live beloved by many. Men
who eat without giving to others, though their family be
flourishing, are like the male palm in a burning-ground.
7. When the rain that should fall falls not, and when mankind omit
to do the things they ought to do, O lord of the cool shore beaten
by the waves where the Punnei-flower repels the noisome odour or the
fish! in what way does the world get on!
8. Man's duty is to give to those who are unable to bear (their
distresses), not driving them away, nor turning away from the
extended hands, O lord of the cool shore of ocean, full of rivers!
to give to those who will pay it back again--has the name of a loan
9. Not saying they have very little, not saying they have not
anything, let them ever exercise fruitful charity to all. Like the
pitcher of the mendicant who enters the house-door for alms, it
will, in due course, gradually become full.
10. Those who are ten miles distant can hear the sound of the wide
drum beaten with the stick; those a yojana distant, can hear the
hoarse thunder; but all who live in the three worlds piled up will
hear the report that some of the excellent have given alms.
CHAPTER 11.--The effect of actions done in a former birth.
1. As a young calf when let loose among a number of cows naturally
seeks out and attaches itself to its own mother, so does the act of
a former state of existence seek out and attach itself to him who
has performed it.
2. The prosperity of him who knows that beauty, youth, glittering
wealth, and honour remain not stable in one birth to any one, and
yet in one birth performs not a single good deed--has the nature of
a thing that takes a body, remains for a time, and then utterly
3. There are none at all who are not anxious to acquire wealth. Each
one's experience of happiness or misery is measured by the deeds of
a former birth. None can make the wood-apple round, none can dye the
4. To avoid those things which are to happen, or to detain those who
are to depart, is alike impossible even to saints, even as there is
none who can give rain out of season, or prevent its falling in
5. Those who were once in dignity as tall as the Palmyra, live on,
daily losing their greatness, and becoming small as a grain of
millet, hide within them their glory. On enquiry it will appear that
that which has happened is nothing but the effect of deeds done in a
6. If you wish to know how it is that those perish, who know the
benefits accruing from the sciences which they have acquired by oral
instruction, while the unlearned prosper: it is because Yama looks
upon the unlearned as refuse cane, since they are destitute, as to
their minds, of the sap of knowledge, and therefore he cares not to
take them away.
7. Behold all those whose bosoms are goaded by distress and who
wander forlorn through the long streets, know--O lord of the cool
shore of the billowy ocean where the playful swans tear in pieces
the water-flowers!--that this proceeds from the acts of former
8. When those who, besides being not ignorant, have learned that
which they ought to know and do that which is blameable, O king of
the cool shore of the broad ocean, where the lotus flings its odours
to the winds! this proceeds from the acts they have formerly done.
9. All who dwell in the world surrounded by the surging ocean desire
to be exempt from the afflictive effects of former evil deeds, and
to experience the effect of former good deeds; but, whether men wish
or do not wish, it is impossible to prevent that from
affecting them which is ordained to happen.
10. The effect of the act of former births does not fall below nor
exceed its due proportion, nor doth it fail to come in its turn,
neither does it assist out of season, but when it ought to be there
it is. Of what use therefore is sorrow when it afflicts you?
1. To say he has not that which he does not really possess is no
harm to any one. It is the usage of the world. To lie standing or
running, that the desire (of others) may fail, O thou who hast rows
of bracelets! hath evil more than that of those who have destroyed a
good thing done.
2. The excellent and the vile never change their respective natures:
though a man should eat sugar it will not taste bitter, and though
the gods themselves should eat of the Margosa fruit, it will still
3. In time of prosperity a man's near relations will be as numerous
as the stars which sport over the sky. When any one is subjected to
intolerable sorrow, O lord of the cool mountain! those who will say
"We are related to him" are few indeed.
4. He who secures the middle one of these three things, virtue,
wealth and happiness, which have a hold on men's minds in this
faithless world, shall secure the other two also; whilst he who
obtains not the middle one shall be afflicted like the tortoise put
into the pot and boiled.
5. If it be the calf of a good cow, the heifer also will fetch a
good price. Though they be unlearned, the words of the rich will
pass current. Like ploughing when there is little moisture, touching
the surface only, the words of the poor will go for nothing.
6. Although deeply instructed in the knowledge of truth, those who
have not accustomed themselves to restraint can never be restrained.
Thus, O large-eyed beauty! though the wild gourd be dressed with
salt, ghee, milk, curds, and various condiments, its natural
bitterness will never be removed.
7. O lord of the shores of the swelling ocean covered with forests,
scented by the perfume of the Punnei flowers! since that which is
fated to happen will happen, let persons never utter reproachful
words behind the backs of those who revile them, but only before
8. Though cows be of different colours, the milk which the cows
produce is not of different colours. Like milk, the fruit of virtue
is of one nature, though virtue itself take many colours in this
world, like the cows.
9. Has any one lived entirely without praise in the world? Has any
one failed through exertion to prosper? Has any one died without
being reproached? Has anyone, even to the end of his life, collected
(what he deems) sufficient wealth? If you inquire, you will not find
10. If they every way consider there is nothing else that goes with
them but the actions they have done, there (in the other world) even
the body which (here) they cherished and adorned is useless when
death takes them away.
CHAPTER 13.--The fear of misconduct.
1. A burning-ground is the proper place for the bodies of those who,
though plunged in the sea of domestic cares, betake not themselves
to asceticism as a refuge. The stomach of the possessors of little
wisdom is a burning-place for beasts and birds without number, i.e.
he eats them.
2. They should have their legs bound with iron, become slaves to
their enemies, and go to the field of gloomy soil, who keep in a
cage the partridge or the quail, which live in the woods resounding
with the sound of winged insects.
3. He who in a former birth desiring crabs broke off their legs and
ate them, when the effect of that sin shall take place, he shall
wander about afflicted with leprosy, the palms of his hands
excepted; all his fingers like Chank-shell beads will rot away.
4. Even such a thing as ghee when approached by the flame of fire
will cause intolerable pain by fierce burning; of many bad actions
will they become guilty who, though not crooked, become so, and
associate with those who are bad.
5. Friendship with the wise will daily increase in regular
gradation, like the crescent moon. Friendship with the base will
daily decrease, like the full moon which rides through the sky.
6. Thinking them good thou didst associate with them. If in those
with whom thou hast associated there be no good intent towards thee
who hast associated with them. O thou who didst associate (with
such)! listen: It is like a man opening a box believing that there
is an unguent in it and seeing a snake inside.
7. O lord of the land resplendent with mountains on whose
declivities genii abound! since a man's actions differ so much from
his mind, who is there that is capable of searching out so as to
understand the resources of another's mind?
8. O lord of the fair hills over which slowly roll streams that cast
up gems! the great friendship of those who love with deceit,
making a pretence of steadfast attachment but not loving with the
heart, will only afflict the mind.
9. Like as when the glittering spear that he cast is caught by his
enemy's hand, the thieves' courage is destroyed, so since the gains
of sin follow after and destroy the acquirer of these gains in two
births, it is good to leave the ignorant altogether.
10. Wilt thou not cease to long for a family? How long wilt thou
live in sorrow saying, It is for children? O my heart! there is no
advantage that accrues to the soul except the good thou doest,
though it be but little.
1. The beauty of the hair, and the beauty of the encircling garment,
and the beauty of saffron is no beauty; the beauty of learning is
(real) beauty, for it is decisive of our mental excellence.
2. Since learning even in this life will be beneficial, since
when it is imparted to others it is not diminished, since it renders
its possessors illustrious, since they who have it during life
suffer no loss, we see no medicine like it which destroys delusion.
3. Wise people take the salt produced in a barren soil to be more
valuable than the rice of a fertile soil. Though they be of the
lowest station, people who have acquired learning will be put in the
4. From the place in which it is stored up it cannot be stolen. It
can suffer no harm, though to that place fire should come. Though
very glorious kings rage, they cannot sear it. Therefore wisdom, and
nothing else, is what one who intends to lay up an inheritance for
his children should acquire.
5. Learning has no bounds; the students' days are few. Would they
calmly reflect, diseases are many. Let them carefully investigate
and make themselves acquainted with those things which are
essential, making a good choice like the swan, which drinks the milk
and leaves the water.
6. They will not despise the boatman because he is at the lower end
among the old castes. Lo, by his assistance they pass the river! And
like this is getting advantage through the help of a man who has
7. Let me see whether the joy of associating with those who possess
the qualities which are derived from indestructible ancient
learning, who are without hatred and also very acute, be not as
sweet as dwelling in Amravuti, the city of the gods, in the wide
expanse of heaven.
8. Lord of the cool shore of the roaring ocean! the friendship of
those who have acquired learning is like eating sugar-cane from the
top (downwards). Attachment to those who are graceless and destitute
of good qualities is like eating it from the root (upwards), having
rejected the top.
9. Though unlearned, if they walk in the society of the learned they
will daily acquire good understanding, as a new (earthen) vessel by
contact with the bright-coloured Padiri flower gives (its scent) to
the water itself.
10. If a man learn ever so much, instead of studying the books of
wisdom, the reading of worldly books is all of the nature of mere
noise: there are none who can discover from them the way to rid
themselves of sorrow.
CHAPTER 15.--High Birth.
1. A noble family will not decrease in (good) qualities, even when
their clothes are torn and their body wasted. Even when trouble
comes, upon him, will the lion devour the long grass?
2. Manliness, goodness, right conduct, these three belong to those
who are born in a sky-touching family. But, O lord of the
hill-country covered by the clouds which touch the sky! they fall
not to the share of others, even though they have acquired great
3. Rising from their seat and going to meet (a stranger), leaving
others, these the high-born have assumed as their unflinching rule
of conduct. It is not their nature to be reckoned one with the mean.
4. If he do good things, it is conformable to (his) nature; if bad,
it will be a fault despicable in the eyes of many: and in this case
what is the profit to him of being born in a family known to all?
5. (To those born in a good family) there is fear of ignorance, fear
of doing the deeds of the base, fear that anything which ought not
to be spoken may escape from them, fear of not giving anything to
those who beg for all. Brutish are they who are born in a family
destitute of these graces.
6. Goodness of relatives, pleasant words, liberality, and every
other good quality of the mind, all these, O lord of the cool shore
of the roaring ocean, where the large gems and pearls shed their
lustre! meet in those who are born in a good family.
7. Though the building be decayed, and the white ants have collected
together, a large house may nevertheless have a wing not fallen. So
those who are born in a high family, even when they suffer distress,
will do the things they ought to do.
8. Like the moon, which enlightens the beautiful wide and extended
earth on one side, though the serpent (athisesha) hold it in the
other, those who are born in a good family will not slacken in
well-doing, though poverty be against them.
9. The things which even in poverty those will do who are born in a
high family, the vulgar will not do, even though they be rich. The
deer, though it should be harnessed (for war), is not strong enough
to fight like the charger.
10. The high-born, even when they have not anything, will approach
those who are in want, and be a prop when they totter. When the
broad river (bed) is dug up, though it be dry, yet clear water will
CHAPTER 16.--The Good.
1. The moon, which sheds its beams abroad over the beautiful and
wide-spread sky, and the good, are like each other. But the moon
bears spots, the good bear them not. They would be confused and
waste away should a blemish befall them.
2. Whether successful or otherwise, the good will be held blameless.
Is the dart which glanced from the lion inferior to the arrow that
pierced the heart of the jackal?
3. The good, though they be poor and emaciated, will not guiltily
ascend and rise over the bounds (of duty); binding their courage, as
much as in them lies, with the cords of a mind free from anxiety,
they will do the things that ought to be done.
4. The good, though they should meet with a person in the way, only
for one day, will cleave to him with affection, as if (there
subsisted between them) an ancient friendship. O lord of the goodly
hills! a path will be made even upon a rock if one walk upon it for
a few days.
5. If an unlearned person in the assembly speak what is destitute of
meaning, like unconnected letters, the good will listen kindly,
though with pain, even feeling pity that he should be put to shame
before a multitude.
6. Though you bite the sugar-cane, or take its juice by beating and
bruising it till the joints be broken, it will only be pleasant as
far as it is tasted. Though people abuse them injuriously, the
highborn will not speak faulty with the mouth.
7. The faultless virtuous steal not, drink not spirits; these things
the good reject and leave altogether. Neither do they mock or
reproach others; though confused in speech they will not lie with
their mouths; and though in declining circumstances, they grieve not
8. If one be deaf to the secrets of others, blind to the wife of his
neighbour though well acquainted with her excellencies, and dumb in
calumniating others, to him it is not necessary to inculcate virtue.
9. When people go day after day to those who are destitute of good
qualities, they will despise them as beggars. The excellent,
whenever they see (such), will say (if they want anything), Well,
and will do them honour.
10. The base will live in obsequious attendance on the rich. Is it
not like falling in a cave full of everything, when thou hast fallen
upon a good family?
CHAPTER 17.--Against reproaching the great.
1. O lord of the fair hill-land resounding with streams! we should
not, thinking they will forgive us, do what is hateful to the
guiltless, for none can remove their anger when once they are
2. What though those who know not good and right feelings obtain the
privilege of associating without expense with those who cannot be
approached though gold be offered to them, yet they do but vainly
waste their time.
3. These two things, the esteeming of any person, or the
depreciation of any person, fall within the province of the
excellent (alone). Deeply learned sages regard as nothing the
contempt or praise of those who know not how to conduct themselves
4. Like as the golden-coloured serpent trembles, though in Patala,
if he hear the sound of the fierce anger of the thunder in the
heavens, so enemies, though they have shut themselves up in a fort
difficult of access, will not be able to escape when the great are
5. The estimation which they form (of others) who say, Ye know us
not, there are none like us, is no true estimation. But the
estimation formed by the excellent; who know what virtue is, and
consider themselves as not to be at any one's beck and call, is a
6. O lord of the shore of the cool broad ocean! friendship with the
mean, like the shadow of the morning, will continually decrease,
while friendship with those who have long been famous will increase
more and more, like the shadow of the afternoon.
7. Like as the cool budding umbrageous trees afford shelter alike to
all who approach them, so the wealth of kings and the excellence of
the beauty of women may be enjoyed by all who may venture to
approach them, no worthiness being required at their hands.
8. Since separation even from those who possess not the power of
investigating what they have, causes great and unceasing pain, O
lord of the wide-spread, mighty, and exhaustless backwaters! the not
contracting friendship with any one is a karor of times the best.
9. When the matter is spoken of, (it will be found) that with the
excellent such days as these are not, viz. days which have not been
spent in study, days in which the great have not been visited, or
days in which alms have not been given according to ability.
10. The glory of the great consists in humility; the acquirements of
the learned appear in his self-control. The rich are rich indeed if
they remove the afflictions of their dependants, when acquainted
CHAPTER 18.--Good Society.
1. The habitual sins which they, contrary to right conduct,
commit, associating in the time of ignorance with those who know the
way of virtue, vanish as the dewdrops do from the blades of grass as
soon as the sun has become hot.
2. Know ye the way of virtue. Fear ye death. Bear with the harsh
words of others. Restrain deceitfulness. Hate ye the friendship of
the wicked. Ever obtain instruction at the mouth of the great.
3. Since separations from friends, grievous disease, and death are
close at hand to all who possess a body, let my soul unite with the
truly learned, who are convinced that the metempsychosis, which
commenced ages ago, is a great evil.
4. If one can obtain the privilege of living always with men of good
disposition in friendship, who constantly perform acts of virtue
through a succession of births, though that succession is
affliction, no one will despise it when they have considered the
5. The water that runs from the sink when it reaches great waters
will become a TÓrtha, even its name being changed. Thinking of this,
even those who have not family greatness will stand as a rock
associating: with the good, who have virtue and greatness.
6. Even the hare in the wide, beauteous, and sublime heavens, since
it is seen in the moon with refulgent beams, will be adored (by
men). And in like manner even those who are without any dignity (of
their own), if they obtain the love of the good, who are as
mountains of virtue, will have dignity.
7. Water when mixed with milk will become milk, not remaining water.
Will it exhibit the appearance of water? In like manner, if you
consider it, the meanness of the mean when united with the dignity
of the excellent will utterly vanish.
8. The grass near the stump of the tree will not shake with the
plough of the ploughman. Feeble though they be, the anger of enemies
will not come on those who have joined the society of the good.
9. Like paddy multiplied through the goodness of the soil, persons
will become good through the goodness of their respective families.
Like the destruction of a good ship on the approach of a strong
gale, goodness will be destroyed by bad company.
10. Though innocent in intention, persons will be despised on
account of the (bad) company they have joined. In the forest both
the scent-giving sandal and the teak tree will be burned when the
brushwood, which has been cut, has caught fire.
1. It is no longer in our power to give alms. Youth for ever has
fled away. Those damsels who before loved us care no more for us;
(therefore,) no longer desiring (to continue in) the domestic state,
and renouncing the arbitrary desire of becoming great, this is now
the one thing needful.
2. In the household state we have enjoyed pleasure, here we are
rich. Fools so thinking, will behave inconsiderately. Those who
understand the household state, that it, though seeming to last,
lasts not, will never have sorrow.
3. Lay up seed for heaven without delusion of mind; and, void of all
distress, enjoy life like the wise, maintaining your proper station,
remembering always that there are various things that change their
nature without efficient cause.
4. They say that in the time of drought the well of spring-water
will preserve the inhabitants, though by drawing its water they
subsist. So the duty of liberality is found with the great, even
when in declining circumstances; with others, even when they are
rich, it is rare.
5. As the river which springs up in the place where they dug for a
spring, even when it is dry, yielding much water supports the
people, (the great) even when exhausted and wasted by giving of
their riches to many, will do the things they ought to do, giving to
6. O lord of the mighty mountains! a crime committed by the worthy
will appear like a brand-mark on a white ox. Though the base commit
sins as heinous as that of killing an ox, no blot will appear upon
those base ones, their guilt will be wholly invisible (being wholly
guilt, and nothing else).
7. Connexion with those who are destitute of a disposition fitted to
their mean condition, as far as it extends, will produce sorrow;
while even enmity on the part of the excellent wise, who will not do
what is wrong even in sport, will bring with it greatness.
8. Desire ye that honour should accrue to the good and merciful in
disposition; alarm your enemies with terror, enough to alarm Yama
himself. Decide then who endeavour to deceive you, and render unto
the good their just measure of beneficence.
9. Those who are imperturbable and without any change of mind, even
though they be confused by any one hastening and uttering evil
calumny, are truly pure-minded, like the bright light in a lamp.
10. The excellent expend the food first prepared in charity (or a
first portion of food), and eat what food is left. That food will
deliver the eater from these three crimes--lust, anger, and
delusion, and will serve him in all his afflictions even to the end.
1. Let those branches of a family who subsist on what their
relations give them, like the rice-plants nourished beneath the bank
of a tank which holds but little water, perish. Is want known by
those persevering people who (constantly) change their position,
like the eye of the juggler watching the motion of the sword?
2. Even that which stood a trembling stick by the wayside, when it
has acquired strength, may become fit for a post to tie an elephant
to. Life also is similar to this if a man free himself from a base
3. The strong tiger, if it be without prey for a single day, will
even catch a small frog and eat it. Do not despise small things;
even great matters will become greater by exertion.
4. O lord of the cool shore of the breakwaters, where the waves dash
against the calderia bushes! though a person think within himself
that the matter will not succeed, yet, if he still go on with it,
and unswervingly labour, this is perseverance. When all things
around them are prosperous, will not even women succeed in their
5. There is neither limit nor use in talking thus, He is of
low-caste, and, He is of good caste. Good caste is constituted by
those things alone, viz. ancient, glorious, and resplendent wealth;
penance; learning and perseverance.
6. The wise, who know their own ability (to complete a work), until
it is completed keep their knowledge to themselves, and speak not of
it to others. The world lies at the beck of those men, illustrious
ill wisdom, who can ascertain by the expression (of their faces) the
ability of others.
7. The hanging root supports the banyan-tree like a son, when it is
eaten away by white ants. Even so if imbecility appear in the
father, it will not be apparent when the son he begat conceals it.
8. Though they should die meanly, not having anything in their
house, will they do things fitted to bring down disgrace upon their
own heads who have the strength of the lion possessed of powerful
paw and sharp claws, which make sore the livid face of the elephant?
9. The hair-like, round-stalked flower produced by the sugar-cane is
destitute of sweet honey and fragrant odour. Even so, what will be
the good of being born in a high and lofty family, if there be no
manly courage to carve out for one's self a name?
10. The base will eat the curry and boiled rice given with much
pleasure by the great and rich. Even water procured by the earnest
perseverance of those who do not know the name of curry will be as
CHAPTER 21.--The union of relations.
1. As a mother forgets the pain and trouble she suffered during
pregnancy and childbirth when she sees her infant in her lap, so the
distress a man suffers from poverty and other misfortune disappears
when he sees his relatives inquiring for him.
2. Supporting his relatives without partiality (like a tree which
gives shade to all those who approach it at the time when the hot
season is nigh), taking pains himself that many may eat the fruit of
these exertions, is like a tree whose fruit is ripe. So to live is
the duty of a good man.
3. Lord of the piled-up hills! the great will not say of their
relatives; We cannot bear them. Though very many large unripe fruits
be produced (upon a tree) very closely, there is not one branch
which does not bear its (share of the) fruit.
4. Though they contract very close friendship in the sight of the
world, yet the friendship of the base will not endure; (while) the
amity of the stable-minded will be as enduring as the perseverance
of the unswerving great, (which endures) till they have realized
their hopes of heaven.
5. Those who, making no distinctions between persons and conditions,
relatives and strangers, actuated by their natural feelings alone,
seek all who are in poverty or affliction and relieve their
distress, will be regarded by every one as pre-eminently worthy.
6. It is sweeter to take a heap of grass-seed without salt, and in
any kind of dish, in the house of a relative dear as life, than to
eat on a golden dish rice white as the tiger's claws, and mixed with
sugar and milk from the hands of an enemy.
7. The desirable fried curry of politeness, though had at due-time
in the house of those who are not one's friends, will be (bitter) as
margosa-seed. Hear, A curry of vegetables, though served up at
sunset, by those who are relatives, is pleasant.
8. Even those who have been pleasantly entertained by another as
frequently as a hammer strike the anvil, will forsake him, just as
the tongs leave the iron in the forge; but those who are truly
worthy of being called friends will adhere to him in distress, as
the rod by which it is turned adheres to the metal in the furnace.
9. O thon who art adorned by a cool and fragrant garland! when
relations have partaken of the prosperity of their relatives, if
they partake not also of their adversity until death, is there
anything they can do for them in the other world?
10. Delicious curry (yellow as the cat's eye), when eaten alone in
the homes of those who love us not, will be as the margosa. When
living in the house of those who are like us and love us, cold water
and grass-seed will be as nectar.
CHAPTER 22.--The choice of friends.
1. Friendship with the wise, whose intelligence divines our
thoughts, is like eating a sugar-cane from the top (as its sweetness
increases more and more); connexion with persons without sweetness
of disposition is like eating it from the opposite end (the flavour
decreasing by degrees).
2. Some accept (the highborn as friends) merely on the ground that
such, remembering their high birth, will not act
inconsistently--not, O lord of the fair hills, from which the birds
flee on the approach of the gold-coloured torrent! because the minds
of such are known.
3. Avoiding the friendship of those who resemble elephants, seek the
friendship of those who resemble dogs; for an elephant will kill his
driver whom he has known for a long time, but a dog will wag his
tail while the spear thrown at him is still in his body.
4. Men cleave not to those to whom their hearts cleave not, within a
short space of time; but will the friendship which cherishes the
memory of those who are intertwined with one's heart be abandoned,
though they are absent from us for a long time?
5. When affection continues affection, then is friendship preserved,
like the flower on the stalk, which, being full-blown, closes not
again. Those who resemble the lotus, which, having once blown,
closes again its petals, know neither affection nor friendship.
6. Those who are at the bottom in (the scale of) friendship are like
the areca-tree; those others who are in the middle are like the
cocoanut-tree. The friendship of those who have experience of .the
past is like the palmyra-tree, (whose uses are) difficult to reckon.
Such are at the top (in the scale).
7. Even vegetable curry served in the water that rice has been
boiled in will be as nectar if a man accept it kindly. To eat the
abundance of the unfriendly, though it be white rice flavoured with
meat and rich seasoning is (to eat) the kanjira-fruit.
8. Though they adhere to one in friendship as closely as the small
toes of a dog to one another, yet of what benefit is the love of
those who do not help one even to the extent of the leg of a fly?
Therefore, though the friendship of those who, like the channel
which fructifies the rice-field, be ever so far away, we must
nevertheless go to obtain it.
9. It is better to be without the love of those who are without
sincerity. Death is preferable to an incurable disease. To kill him
at once is more desirable than to vex a man so that he becomes sore
at heart, and to abuse is better than to praise one for that which
we do not possess.
10. To join oneself to many, and strive many days and examine
dispositions, and take (for friends) those who are worthy, is
proper. Even with a deadly serpent, to associate and afterwards to
part from it will be painful.
CHAPTER 23.--The bearing with the faults of others.
1. When those we love greatly, and esteem as virtuous, prove
otherwise, this ought carefully to be concealed, for rice in the
grain has a husk, water, foam, and flowers some unseemly leaves.
2. Though it burst the bank whenever they would stop it, they will
not be angry with good water. Those who live desiring good water
will repeatedly draw it up. Men will not be angry, but be patient
concerning the friendship of those whom they themselves have
courted, though these persons act towards them with constant hate.
3. Though they do evil exceedingly, is it not fitting to be patient
with one's friend? O lord of the lofty hills where the beautiful
winged insects hum over the variegated konju-flowers! the
forbearance of one is the friendship of both.
4. O lord of the wave-resounding shore where bright-rayed pearls are
thrown up by the rolling billows, and where float swift-sailing
ships! if friends from whom it is difficult to separate, possess not
virtuous dispositions, they are as a fire kindled to burn our
5. Even though they do what is disagreeable, one should preserve as
gold those who ought not to be forsaken. Daily do men seek for fire
and keep it in their house, though it has consumed both their good
house and gold.
6. Is it right utterly to abandon friends, who ought not to be
forsaken though guilty of evil deeds? O lord of the renowned
mountains, which, covered by the long-stemmed bamboo, pierce the
sky! will men cut off their hand because it has struck the eye?
7. Lord of the cool land where the waters brightly shine! the good
will not look upon the faults of others after mixing with them (in
friendship), though they act disagreeably. Persons destitute of
strength of mind who take up evil things and speak of them after
mixing (in friendship), are themselves inferior to those of whom
8. In a thing done by strangers, though in itself exceeding bad,
what is there fitted to give pain? Considered rightly, it is the
acts of those who are affectionately attached; which, O lord of the
land where the waterfalls murmur! will be esteemed excellent,
abiding in the mind.
9. If persons become aware that those whom they have taken into
friendship, supposing them to be their friends, are not their
friends, let them nevertheless esteem them better than their
friends, and conceal the discovery in their own breasts.
10. If after contracting a firm friendship with any one, I set
myself to note his good and bad qualities, may I be cast into the
hell where the traitor who discovers the secrets of his friend is
punished, and may I be scoffed at by the whole world!
CHAPTER 24.--Improper Friendship.
1. O lord of the fair and well-watered mountains, where abundance of
cascades fall down from the black crags! men will remain until they
have done their work in an old house the thatch of which is untied,
keeping out the water of a dam, and being drenched with the rain
falling down upon them. Thus will friends! remain with one until
their business is finished.
2. The friendship of illustrious men is eminently valuable, and is
productive of benefit as timely rain. But the friendship of the
mean, even in the time of their prosperity, resembles, O lord of the
land of clear water! the failure of rain in its due season.
3. The enjoyment of the friendship of men of acute understanding is
desirable as the joys of heaven. But connexion with unprofitable men
uninstructed in science and literature is a very hell.
4. Our intimacy with those to whom we are not bound by the chain of
friendship, O king of the hills, the sides of which are covered with
groves of tall sandal-trees! though it seem day by day to increase,
will be dissolved as instantaneously as fire catches straw.
5. The presumptuously saying, We are those who will do what should
not be done, and the deferring and putting aside that which ought to
be done at once, verily these two things will cause affliction
instantly, even to ascetics, who have renounced the pleasures of the
6. Though born in the same pool and grown up together, the
ambel-flower will never be like the expanded kuverlei. The actions
of those who are destitute of excellence, though they obtain the
friendship of people of high excellence, will never at tain the
actions of such persons.
7. A little monkey breaking into a fruit with its finger, will
strike and seize its own father, though coming to meet it. Lord of
the hills! the friendship of those who are without unity (of mind)
is not pleasant.
8. If I stretch not out my hand and deliver my whole soul without
hesitation to my friend who is in distress, may I be cast into the
hell where the wretch is punished who has violated the chaste wife
of his friend, and may I be scoffed at throughout the far-famed
9. Like pouring margosa-oil into a pot into which ghee has been
poured and taken out again, O lord of the fragrant and goodly
mountains! is the acquisition of the favour of those who are
acquainted with evil, after the renunciation of the favour of those
who are acquainted with good.
10. The absence of benevolence of disposition in him whose form is
beautiful is like water mixed with milk, that is pleasant to drink.
For those who are wise, to become companions of the wicked is like
the n‚g‚ playing with the female cobra.
CHAPTER 25.--The possession of understanding.
1. When the excellent behold their enemies in adverse circumstances,
being themselves confused on that account, they will not come near
to invade them. In like manner the invincible and mighty serpent
(Rhagu) will not draw near to afflict the moon in her first quarter.
2. Lord of the cool shore of the broad ocean! self-control is the
ornament of the poor. Should they behave without respect and without
any measure of propriety, their lineage will be published by (the
inhabitants of) the village they live in.
3. Let the seed of the wormwood be sown in the best of soils, it
will never become a cocoanut-tree. So even the Southerns (Yama's
subjects) have, by performing acts of virtue, attained heaven; while
the Northerns, having derived no advantage from their privileges,
very many of them have perished. A happy new birth depends upon a
person's virtuous conduct.
4. Though the fruit of the plantain be ripened in the bitter season
of the margosa, it will not lose its sweetness. Thus, although those
who are naturally good, associate with the bad, their friendship
with them will not corrupt their minds.
5. Sweet water may be produced even on the brink of the sea-shore,
and salt water on the side of a mountain. O lord of the cool shore
washed by the waves of the ocean! it is truly said that sensible men
will not imitate those with whom they consort, but will preserve
their own minds.
6. O lord of the cool shore of the ocean where the thick-boughed
punnei-trees flourish! will those who are virtuous and impartial
towards all, first contract and then dissolve friendship? (Sooner)
than this, it is better that friendship should never be contracted.
7. To be united in friendship with the prudent, who think of that of
which they ought to think, is productive of the highest felicity,
and affliction is avoided by separating from fools, who know not
what belongs to friendship,
8. Whether an individual establish himself in a good situation, or
whether, spoiling that condition, he debase himself, or whether he
exalt himself to a much higher condition, or whether he make himself
superior to all, he does so entirely by his own exertions.
9. In the way of business, even for the great to follow after the
ignorant is not folly, but wisdom, O nobly-born king of the cool
shore resounding with ocean-waves!
10. Having undertaken a profitable business, having experienced
enjoyment, having performed acts of charity to the excellent! if any
one in any one birth is able to do all this, such a consummation may
well be compared to a merchant-ship that has reached her port.
CHAPTER 26.--The want of understanding.
1. Poverty consists in the being destitute of accurate learning.
Great wealth, which has been accumulated by acquisition, consists in
the possession of that learning. Will not the hermaphrodite, who is
destitute of manliness, adorn itself with every jewel which is
desirable in its eyes?
2. Would you know why affliction and loss of dignity befall those
who know the benefits of knowledge derived from many books? It is
this: when Sarasvati, of ancient renown, takes up her abode with
them, Lakshmi, being coy, will flee away.
3. He that receives not, but despises as mere talk the command of
his father to study, on a letter being gently held out to him in the
presence of many, calls out to the person who presented it and
seizes the rod of offence.
4. If one who has grown up in ignorance enter the assembly of the
excellent in learning, in the earth, and sits down, it will be like
the sitting down of a dog; and though, not remaining quiet, he
should say anything, it will be like the barking of a dog.
5. The vulgar will repair to the learned and speak of what they know
nothing of; the good, though asked of all they know, display it not,
knowing that it will be thrown away.
6. Those whose tongues are adorned with learning and knowledge fear
the disgrace of evil speaking. The unwise indulge therein. Thus on
the palm-tree the dry leaves maintain a perpetual rustling, whilst
the green leaves make no noise.
7. When speaking of the way of virtue to those who comprehend not
what is good, it is like pressing the sweet mango into a bowl of
hogwash. Like a stick driven against a rock,--the point is broken,
it will not enter in at the ear. 8, Though they wash it with milk
and put it to dry many days, charcoal has not the property of
becoming white. Though they strike with a stick, and thrust too,
understanding will not enter into the body void of virtue.
9. Like the fly, which battens on filth, instead of feasting on the
sweet-smelling and (honey) dropping flower, so to those whose minds
are inherently base, what pleasure is there in words that come from
the mouth of the worthy, though clean and sweet as honey?
10. The acute and faultless instruction uttered by the wise, strikes
on the mind of the mean without laying hold of it. A mean man will
look on the face of one like himself, and with him hold converse.
CHAPTER 27.--Riches without goodness.
1. The bat will not go to the rough-stemmed wood-apple tree, though
near and fruitful. So the riches of those who, though they be very
near to one, have no greatness of soul, have not the excellence of
being considered as profitable.
2. Though there be handfuls of small buds on the milk-hedge, men
will not put out their hand to gather them, for its flowers are not
fit for wearing. (Even so,) the wise will not form friendship with
the mean, though they have much wealth
3. Though they live on the shore of the rolling ocean, they repair
to the salt less well of a running spring and drink. Though wealthy
men be nigh, they will go afar off and fix their desire upon the
4. In the sea girt earth merit is various. The sensible should be
great. Those who are foolish, and are like unbeaten steel and the
thorny brinj‚l, will flourish in silk and gay apparel.
5. If you ask what is the reason why, while the good and just are in
poverty, the unjust and unlearned are wealthy, O thou who hast eyes
elongated like a lance! when one investigates the matter, it is
nothing else but the effect of deeds done in, a former birth.
6. (O LakshmÓ,) who like a golden image sits upon that fair flower
whose leaves are like scentless plates of gold, die and become ashes
upon the ground! you connect yourself with the mean of all sorts,
leaving the good who resemble gold.
7. O thou who hast eyes like a lance! is not shame attached to the
poverty of the just? Is not the wealth of the miser like
painters'-green? (i.e. it so cleaves to him that he will not give
alms. ) When thou hast investigated these two states thou wilt not
approve or desire either of them.
8. Those who are honest (when they become poor), going to distant
lands, and eating various kinds of food, will spend their days;
while those who are dishonest (when they become poor) will sit in
their houses and eat curry and rice while the perspiration streams
from their bodies, and will not go to distant lands.
9. When the ear of the golden-red paddy is scorched, the heaven
bright with lightning will vomit and pour forth (rain) in to the
sea. The liberality of those who are simple, even when they are
possessed of riches, is of like character.
10. Those are the senseless who, though they read, understand nat.
The sensible, though they read not, resemble the learned. Those who,
though utterly poor, will not beg, are the truly rich. Even the rich
are poor if they give not.
1. To give a part of their meal to the extent of their ability, both
to the friendly and unfriendly, and after that to eat, is truly to
eat a meal. To those who refuse their food to the needy, and so live
and eat and pass on, the door of heaven will be closed.
2. Those who have, to the best of their ability, practised to any
extent trifling acts of charity, will in another birth become great;
while those who, when they have become wealthy, say, We will give
alms some time or other, shall be punished and shall perish from all
the sea-surrounded earth.
3. He who employs not his time in enjoying his property, or gives
not of it to ascetics, but lays it up (like a miser)--at him, the
foolish one, about to perish, his hoarded wealth shall mock, and the
favour of the world shall mock.
4. The great wealth which the miserly-minded have attained, who
neither know how to give it away nor to use it themselves, shall be
like the beauteous damsels of a family, who when they have arrived
at puberty are enjoyed by others; i.e. others than its owner shall
5. Though they live near the mighty ocean whose waters overflow, men
look on the spring of a small well whose water is almost dried up
and live. The poverty of the great is better than the riches of
those who know not of the next birth.
6. If you ask why I say, It is mine, It is mine, concerning the
property of that ignorant man who gives not to others, saying, It is
mine, It is mine,--while it belongs to that wretched man he gives it
not in alms, neither does he himself enjoy it, neither do I give it
away in alms or enjoy it myself.
7. The poor are more exempt from trouble than the niggardly rich.
They are exempt from the labour of guarding that wealth. They are
exempt from the trouble of bringing it. They are exempt from the
pain of having their hands bound. In many ways are they exempt from
8. While the property is his own, he gives it not away; when it
becomes the property of his partners, they also give it not away in
alms. If he gives it away before his death, the partners will find
no fault with him; if after death they give it away, he will not
find fault with them.
9. Comparing beggars to a calf, and benefactors to a cow, such a
spontaneous benevolence is true benevolence. Forced charity is as
when a cow will only give its milk when coerced by strong men, who
push it about and apply various instruments to its limbs. Such
benevolence is the mark of a base mind.
10. The seeking to accumulate wealth is a cause of vexation. The
guarding that collected shining wealth causes vexation. Again, if
any of that wealth which is so guarded be diminished, there is
vexation. If it be lost, how great the vexation! Truly this said
wealth is the very abode of vexation.
1. Although a man live wearing a patched cloth round his loins, yet
the possession of eight or ten pieces of money will gain him great
honour among many persons. Those who have nothing at all, though
born of a respectable family, are considered (by such) as more
despicable than a dead carcase.
2. It is said that ghee is more subtle than water, and all know that
smoke is more subtle than ghee. If you inquire, you will find that
the afflicted mendicants will creep in through crevices through
which even smoke cannot permeate.
3. O king of the woodlands where they chase the parent from the
cultivated field with stones, where the Kantharla (November-flower
plant) growing upon the mountains lofty and abounding with rocks, is
out of flower the swarms of red-spotted winged insects will not even
approach near it (to extract its honey): thus the destitute have no
4. In the day of prosperity thousands are very slaves, as crows will
collect together at the mangled carcase (i.e. the dead crow); but in
the day when this is changed, like the insect (which wanders about
for food), there is not one single person in the world who will ask
you, Are you well?
5. O lord of the fair hills crowded together, where the streams fall
upon the rocks and wash them! the high birth of those who are
environed by poverty will disappear, their great dignity will
disappear, and their illustrious learning will also disappear.
6. Scorn those who, though they live in the same town, give no alms
to those who came to them tormented in mind by sharp hunger, and
asking for somewhat with great desire. It would be far better to go
away to some distant place and live as guests in other houses, than
to remain fruitlessly spending their days in that place.
7. O thou who hast sharp teeth causing envy to the buds of the
jasmine! those who are mendicants (or those who have the affliction
of begging) will lose, together with their right-mindedness,
abundant accurate learning, and all other good qualities which they
may have at any time possessed.
8. It is better for him who once was charitable, i.e. who stood in
the way of giving, but who now cannot give aught to beggars, to
spend his life in the afflictive way of stretching out his hands for
alms in every house in the far land to which he has gone, than to
remain in his own land,--than living in his native town, standing in
the way of poverty, trying to mend his circumstances.
9. When wealth has gone, in the time of adversity, the poor, with
those arms once adorned with bracelets, bend the branches of trees,
pluck off the leaves and eat them, using as a dish an earthen pot,
and live on with discontented minds eating leaf-curry (or that which
is (cooked) without salt.
10. O lord of the hill-country, cool and very beautiful and lofty,
where the streams of water fall down (from the rocks)! the swarms of
shining and beautiful winged beetles crowded with red spots crawl
not on the branch which has ceased to blossom; in like manner the
unfortunate have no friends.
1. The minds of the honourable, when they see the disgraceful things
or excesses perpetrated by the ignorant who rely upon their wealth,
will burn in one compact flame as the fire burns the jungle on which
it has seized.
2. The honourable, though they become through destitution mere bones
and skin, will they follow those who are destitute of proper
dispositions, to make known their afflictions to them? Or will they
refrain from telling the trouble which they endure to the great (or
wise), who are beforehand intuitively acquainted with them?
3. If it be that they are like those who say, as soon as others see
their wives, Alas, the chastity of our wives is in danger! being
afraid, place us outside and give us rice,--on this account forsake
associating with the rich.
4. The estimation of the excellent will bestow on us good in this
life. It will stand unswervingly in the way of goodness, and it will
afford benefits to be enjoyed in the next birth; That estimation is
good indeed, O thou who sheddest a delicious scent from thy hair!
5. The excellent will not do the things which will bring upon them
the effects of sin in another birth, or disgrace in this birth,
though it should cost them their lives. Death will cause trouble for
only a moment in one day; there is nothing like sin, which will
cause grievous and long-enduring misery.
6. Among all those who live in this fertile and wide world, those
who give not alms to others, amongst the rich, though exceeding
rich, are poor indeed; while those who go not to beg alms of the
rich, though they have become exceedingly poor, are indeed
7. All who are in the lowest grade of virtue dread pinching hunger;
all who are in the middle grade will fear affliction. O thou with
long lance-shaped eyes, whose brows are spread like a bow on each
side! the highest grade of all will fear the reproach uttered
against them by others.
8. These are the good, these are the liberal givers, but they are
now become poor. When the rich, thus reviling them, cast upon them a
contemptuous smile, the minds of the eminently excellent will burn,
like the fire in the smith's forge when excited by the bellows.
9. The shame which is caused by not giving alms to those who
desire of us, is not modesty. Nor is the shame which one feels every
day who flees from battle, modesty. But true modesty is that shame
which will not suffer us to declare the wrongs inflicted on us by
our enemies in the day of our distress.
10. The tiger of the forest having slain an elk, will not eat it,
but will leave it if it fall on the left side. In like manner, could
the excellent by a sacrifice of principle obtain all the wealth that
exists under the wide-extended heavens, they would not even desire
CHAPTER 31.--Dread of mendacity.
1. Will those who possess clear understanding follow after such men
as constantly revile them, saying, These poor men will become rich
through our means; they cannot acquire wealth of themselves?
2. Does not a man's death and his birth take place (frequently) in
the twinkling of an eye? Is it, therefore, a reproach to a man if he
starve and keep his integrity inviolate, rather than fill his
stomach by the disgraceful practice of mendacity?
3. There are none who, using poverty as a pretext, venturing on
beggary, do not go to others for assistance in the way of meanness.
Will the excellent then go for alms to any others but to those who
will embrace them and say, Come to my house and eat?
4. Though LakshmÓ withdraw from them and God be angry, the excellent
will not stand with bended neck before the ignorant who bury their
money in the earth, and who contemplate not heavenly things with
5. Living without begging from friends, strong in affection and who
are like the apple of our eyes, who withhold not their assistance
from us, is life indeed. Since one's mind melts with anguish when
one reflects on a life of mendacity, what must their feelings be who
6. Since it is a means of removing the affliction of poverty for one
to beg for himself, then let affliction be my portion, and let
precious wealth depart from me. Of what use is it for him to ask
alms of his neighbour with a mind rocked with covetous desires and
eyes dimmed with tears?
7. O lord of the mountains from whose sides fall streams which throw
up gold! though a person be born again and again in the world who
will not allow himself to reproach beggars, yet (so few are such
persons) it must be said he belongs not to this world.
8. If a person being tormented with poverty, rejecting true wisdom
and allowing ignorance to abide in his mind, goes to a person and
says, Give me alms, and if the person so asked refuse to give, will
he not die from very shame at that moment?
9. Is the gently walking in the way of asceticism more grievous than
the saying to others, Give me at least something, thus debasing
one's dignity of the custom of doing homage to others, to whom he
has attached himself by making their acquaintance?
10. Let a person, on the ground of old acquaintance, do that
benevolence which is fitting in the way of affection to others if
they be unworthy of that benevolence. A fire unquenchable pressed
down in their minds will consume them (till they perish).
CHAPTER 32.--Experience in (conducting of) assemblies.
1. Before the learned men who are confused in mind, who conduct
themselves according to their so-called wisdom, smiting with their
hands, reiterating again and again their foolish observations, and
who disturb the proper order of the assembly, gently desist from
uttering words of wisdom.
2. The eminently wise will not consort with the evil poet who comes
into the assembly as if he were a learned man, reciting some poem of
another's which he has learned; that evil poet entering into the
assembly will reproach the people who are there, or if not, to
disgrace them, will smite his own shoulder and rise up to commence
5. There are many men who speak many words, who love to commence
strife with others, esteeming their own words unanswerable (or
overpowering in speech), who understand not how to argue
convincingly with their opponents, and who know not (how to
acknowledge themselves) beaten.
4. The simpleton, not being able to acquire any learning for
himself, goes into the assembly of the learned, and reciting as his
own a stanza which he has learned from some schoolboy, exposes
thereby his own ignorance.
5. Those who rise up to show the wisdom or the power of their words,
and consort with angry persons who, opposing others with wrathful
minds, receive not what is truth, but contend alone for victory,
like wild beasts, shall see their own teeth, like the seeds of the
gourd, in their hands.
6. When the ignorant recite a poem without understanding its
meaning, speak anger-exciting words, the excellent of imperishable
renown, being greatly ashamed of them, will stand grieving
much for her who bare them.
7. Science is easily acquired by all obedient students, like the
shoulders of courtesans who take all they can get. But the substance
of acquired learning is as difficult to be understood as are the in
ward instructions of those courtesans beauteous in body as
8. Those learned men who collect plenty of books bring them and fill
up every room in their houses, and yet understand them not, are of
one kind, while those learned men who both understand their purport
and are able to explain them to others are of another kind.
9. O lord of the extended hills where the wild oxen resort in herds!
Can the works of these persons be called excellent and faultless
commentaries who construct them not in these four
methods--concisely, copiously, catechistically, and
10. Will those who are not born of a good family, no matter how much
learning they have acquired, will they become sufficiently wise to
pass over, without censuring, the faults which occur in the speech
of others? The truly learned make as if they knew not the despicable
learning of those who understand not their exposition of science.
CHAPTER 33.--Defective knowledge.
1. The learned will esteem as precious the speech of those friends
who declare to them the gracious way of wisdom. The base, who are
esteemed as worthless, will abuse and revile them. The ladle
appreciates not the flavour of the milk-porridge.
2. Though men destitute of rectitude listen to those who are
destitute of envy, when they declare the way of virtue, yet they
give no heed, just as the chakler's dog, which seizes and devours
leather, knows not how to appreciate the taste of rice and milk.
3. Although they see by numerous examples the way by which their
precious life may depart in the twinkling of an eye, yet they do not
good even to the extent of a grain of millet. What does it matter
whether such stupid, shameless (persons) live, or whether they die?
4. Since the days of life are few, and to our life there is no
continuing stay, and since it is reviled (or contemned) by many, why
should any one nourish fierce hatred in his heart in secret, and not
be friendly with those he may meet.
6. If a person going before a public assembly abusively reproach
another, and the reproached reviles not in turn but remains quiet,
if the reviler thereafter live on and prosper, he will indeed be an
object of astonishment to all (who see him).
6. The hard words, Get out and go away, will be uttered by the
female slave in his own house, while she pushes him out, to him who,
before old age comes upon him, perseveres not in performing deeds of
7. Men of small understanding fruitlessly spend their day of life;
since they themselves enjoy not their wealth, they bestow no benefit
on the good. They attain not the excellent way of life, which would
be a strong fortress for them, and with confused minds do they rely
on their wealth.
8. The foolish man who in the time of youth binds not up as a
viaticum the rice needful for the road on which he travels, but
binds up his money (like an ) and says, Hereafter we will do
the requisite acts of charity,--when with the hand he makes a sign
that he wishes a bag of gold to be brought, the relations will say
he wants a sour wood-apple.
9. Men of small understanding who in time of adversity and dangerous
sickness anxiously think of another world, in the time of prosperity
think not of another birth, even to the extent of a grain of
10. Alas! though men of defective understanding see Yama surrounding
with his rope to take away those precious ones, immeasurably
beloved, dear as their own lives, what is it? Though they have
acquired these children, they think not of virtue, but fruitlessly
waste their days of life.
1. The quality of those who greatly rejoice in the act of domestic
joy in this life, while they continually behold Yama slaughtering
their lives, even Yama the great and mighty in slaughter, is like
that of a tortoise which its captors have put in a pot of water,
while they kindle a fire (to boil it), which sports in the water,
being ignorant of its real condition.
2. The quality of those who have resolved, saying, After we have
performed all the duties incumbent upon us in the domestic state, we
will learn the way of virtue, is like the speech of those who having
gone down to the sea to bathe, said, We will begin to bathe as soon
as the noise has altogether ceased.
3. The ignorance of the customs of the world anciently renowned,
faultless and full of excellence, in one who has obtained without
let or hindrance these five things,--caste, penance, learning, high
birth, and pre-eminence,-is like rice-milk destitute of butter
4. Though great stones do not understand the speech of men, yet
since they do what is required of them, as standing, sitting, lying
down, or moving, they are far more useful than a fool (as it is
impossible to induce a fool to act as we wish him).
5. If a fool, when angry with others, with any cause for
anger,--like one who supposes he has made an acquisition, without
having really obtained anything--bewildered by passion, cannot crowd
together abusive words, his tongue tingles all over.
6. The worthless friendships of those who say, We will make them our
own, while they follow those who have no friendship for them, O lord
of the sea-shore where the punnei with fair blossoms grows! is as it
were losing one's arm in striking another with a stone.
7. As the ants without intermission walk round and round the outside
of the pot in which there is butter, though it be impossible to get
at it, so men of the world will never learn, but cleave to those
rich men who never give them anything.
8. Will they not abhor the days of life who daily enjoy not good,
who practise not virtue, who give not to the destitute, who enjoy
not their own wives (but seek to dishonour others'), and who live
not a life commended by others?
9. Friendship with those who say, We care not for their
commendation, when those who love them praise them, and who are
destitute of all tried good qualities, although by it one should be
able to obtain the whole earth surrounded by the sea with rolling
harsh-resounding waves, will be only affliction.
10. When a man's neighbours commend one on account of his learning,
wide-extended fame, and high birth, he shall obtain glory. But if he
himself speak of these things. his brother-in-law will mock him,
saying, He is a lunatic who cannot be cured by any medicine.
1. Though one every morning, as a necessary duty, put bruised grain
into the mouth of the fowl, it desists not from turning up the
dunghill; so though one explain books of science of great
importance, yet the mean man will the more follow the path most
agreeable to his mind.
2. When one proposes, saying, Let us go at once to the abode of the
perfect, who have acquired learning which establishes the mind, the
base will rise up and say, Let us go to sleep, or if not, they will
say something else equally foolish and refuse to go altogether.
3. Though the excellent obtain great honour, they swerve not from
their former disposition, but follow one line of conduct. O lord of
the fair land of copious streams! though the base obtain great
honour, they too alter not their line of conduct.
4. If one confer a benefit upon them even as small as a grain of
millet, the excellent will consider it to be as large as a
palmyra-tree. O lord of the fair land of sparkling steams! though a
benefit as large as a palmyra be daily conferred upon him, the
ignorant mean man has no gratitude (it is considered as no benefit
at all by those who are ungrateful for the good done to them).
5. Though the dog be delicately nourished and fed from a golden
dish, yet it will ever be earnestly looking out for the leavings of
others. Thus the acts of the base-minded, though they are esteemed
as honourable persons, will not correspond with their rank in life.
6. The worthy, though they have attained the wealth of the world,
will at no time indulge in haughty speech, but if the mean have
acquired the wealth of one cani (1/80 part) added to one muntheri
(1/320) they will regard themselves as great as Indra king of
7. Though the shoe be wrought with excellent gems set in the purest
gold, yet it is intended for the foot of its owner. In like manner,
though the mean-minded be very rich, yet he will be found out by his
8. O lord of the fair and victorious land of mighty hills! the base
man is mighty in speaking harsh words. He regards no one, laughs at
the misery of others, grows more and more enraged and will
continually reproach others.
9. O lord of the cool shores of the sea where the honey-producing
Nay (a water-flower) grows, resounding with waves! if persons remain
with them many days, the excellent will say, These are old friends,
and will show kindness to them, whereas the base-minded will hate
and revile them.
10. Though men take away the plucked-up grass from the bullock and
give it to the heifer, and thus feed it up for many days, yet it
will never be strong enough to be yoked to a cart. O king, hear!
Though the base are very rich, yet their deeds will betray them.
CHAPTER 36.--Baseness or Envy.
1. Those who have knowledge bound up in their minds, though young in
years, watch over, keep, and restrain themselves. The ignorant,
though old in years, go on obstinately practising evil deeds,
and, like the reed, never lose their hollowness.
2. Though the frog dwells always in the beauteous and wide pool it
never divests itself of its slime; and though those who have no
sound knowledge learn faultless and illustrious sciences, yet they
have not ability to understand them.
3. O good lord of the heaped-up mountain land! while it is
indecorous to extol the good qualities of persons before their
faces, what are those wretches' tongues made of, who, standing in
the presence of those persons, declare their faults, for the purpose
of destroying their reputation?
4. O beauteous and fair matron! women of high birth will not set off
their beauty by ornaments as slave-girls. Courtesans who thus pride
themselves on their dress will pass away (fruitlessly) or despised
by all, just like the sudden swelling of a river, which soon passes
5. Those mean persons are of the nature of the chisel, which without
being struck will not even penetrate a tender leaf, though resting
upon it; they will give nothing to the kind-hearted, but will give
anything to those who employ force, if they meet them.
6. The mountaineer thinks of his mountains, the husbandman of his
productive lands, the wise think of the special benefits they have
received from others, and the fool thinks only of the abuse he has
7. For one good turn they have received from another the wise will
endure a hundred evils afterwards inflicted. But if they have
received a hundred good turns and have suffered only one evil turn,
fools will consider the hundred good turns as evil.
8. The base in prosperity will not do these things which those who
are of high birth will do even in adversity. Though one place rings
(of gold) upon the tusks of a hog, O thou who hast eyes like a
lance! it will never become a warlike elephant.
9. Many persons fade away like the lotus-leaf (having been obliged
to alter their tone of speech) after they exultingly boasted of
their intention to others, saying, To-day we will grow rich; yea,
this very day we will grow rich; after a time we will grow rich.
10. The serdei-plant, though growing in water and green in colour,
has no moisture in it. so the world has in it persons who are as
useless as the great stony rocks, though they abound in great
1. Though it be a building on which the clouds creep, a fort
exceeding strong, shining: resplendent with the gems stored up in
it, of what benefit is it? The house of him who has no beloved and
excellent wife is to the view a dreadful forest.
2. Though they be guarded (as it were) with naked swords, with
unrelaxing vigilance, should there be the smallest possible
relaxation of that vigilance, the period will be short indeed before
they begin to act ignominiously. And long indeed will that period
last during which softly speaking females will not desire to return
to proper conduct.
3. The woman who bold in opposition threatens blows is as death. She
who resorts not to her kitchen betimes in the morning is an
incurable disease, and she who gives grudgingly the food she has
prepared is a household devil. Women of these three kinds are a
destroying weapon to their husbands.
4. Though he is advised to eschew marriage, he eschews it not;
though the sound of the dead-drum pierces his ear he heeds it not.
Moreover the wise say that the delusion which leads him to think
that matrimony is indeed a pleasant state is a crime worthy to be
punished by stoning.
5. The highest grade of virtue is living in persevering austerities.
The middle grade of virtue is living in marriage with wives who are
dear to us. The lowest grade of all is, thinking that money does not
come in fast enough, covetously to follow after and abide with those
persons who know us not.
6. The chiefs of the learned are those who spend their time in
learning many sciences. The next in rank are those who give to the
worthy the goods acquired by merit in a former birth, and thus pass
their time. The lowest of all are those who cannot sleep for envy,
arising from the feeling that they have not fared luxuriously or
obtained sufficient wealth.
7. As the fruitful shoot of the red-grained rice becomes afterwards
itself red rice and. flourishes, O lord of the city (Indra)
surrounded by fruitful fields which are covered by red rice! in the
same manner the learning of the father becomes the learning of the
8. The wealthy and the excellent perish, while the sons of
concubines and the base wax great, the lower place becoming the
upper place. Thus the world subsists, the lower part becoming the
upper part of an umbrella.
9. O good lord of the victorious mountain-land where the falling
streams sweep along gems! it were better that those who when
they hear their dear friends declaring the affliction of their
minds, have no desire to alleviate their sorrows, should die by
casting themselves down from a mountain top than that they should
10. If we impartially examine the two things, it will be found that
the inundation of the river and the love of beauteous and desirable
courtesans are alike. If the rains fail, the inundation will cease;
and if their lovers' money is expended, those courtesans' love for
them will fail also.
1. If you impartially investigate the two things, it will be found
that there is no difference between the shining light of a lamp and
the love of courtesans. When the oil is exhausted, the light of the
lamp vanishes, and when the money of their lovers is gone, their
love also evaporates.
2. The fair and beautiful matron who is adorned with chosen jewels
(a courtesan) said, I will go with you to the top of the mountain
and cast myself down from it for your sake. But when he said, My
money is gone, she came weeping, stating that her foot was painfully
swollen and she could not go up the mountain, and left altogether.
3. Let them (i.e. their lovers) be even as fair as Indra the
red-eyed, who is worshipped by the gods in the beauteous and
wide-spread heavens,--courtesans, like freshly plucked mango-leaves,
will politely dismiss them, and send them away as soon as their
money is exhausted.
4. Those who have no property are as poison to the lotus-eyed
beautiful courtesans, who are destitute of all goodness of mind;
while those who in the sight of all have acquired their wealth by
working the oil-mill will be as delicious as sugar.
5. (Only) those fools who like wild beasts will come near
courtesans, who act as the vilanga-fish, which shows its one end to
the shark and its other end to the fish in the clear pool, filled
with honey-producing flowers.
6. If the golden-braceleted one who has affirmed, saying, As the
perforated bead leaves not the thread on which it is strung, and as
the andril-bird which never leaves its mate, I will never separate
from you,--if she becomes, like the horn of the ram, turned away
from its fellow, O my poor heart! will you still remain with her, or
will you come away with me?
7. They shall be derided by many who are delighted with the love of
courtesans (thinking that they are their friends), who, like the
wild cow, lick the hands of men, at the same time poisoning them,
and who are like the ghyal in jumping and running away when they
have spoiled their lovers of their property, and yet imagine that
they are their friends!
8. Courtesans rejoice and appear as friends while their lovers have
aught to give; but when they have exhausted their wealth, then they
show thernselves as enemies and become (estranged from them), as the
horn of a ram twisted from its fellow. Those who come not near the
full-breasted courtesans whose eyes roll like the deer, yet leave
not off their way of sin, may well say, We have attained the right
9. Those who imagine the beauteous courtesans who hide within them
the disposition that will afterwards injure them, even when they
speak lowly words in order to create confidence, and who, believing
these words to be true; imagine them to be their friends, possess
their own bodies for themselves alone, and not for any benefit to be
done to others.
10. Even at the time when those who have bodies laden with sin have
by inquiry found out all the crafty intentions which
beautiful-browed courtesans whose minds are fixed upon others have
conceived against them, they walk as though they knew them not.
CHAPTER 39.--Chaste Women.
1. Though women be high in reputation and equal to the goddess Aryan
in conjugal fidelity, they must carefully avoid those who love them,
and follow them in hopes of gratification, for such caution is the
safeguard of the virtue of matrons with perfumed foreheads.
2. If in time of distress, when the meal of the whole family is
cooked by the water of a small pot, if a host of relatives
sufficient to consume the water of the sea should come all at once,
the softly-speaking woman, who shows herself as bounteous as the
ocean, is the glory of her house.
3. Though her house be open on the four quarters, though it be
exceedingly small, and though the rain pour in on every side, a
chaste and virtuous woman will be honoured in the place where she
resides, and her habitation respected.
4. She who is pleasing to the eye, who in all things gratifies her
husband according to his desire, and at all times stands in awe of
him, whose modesty is so conspicuous as to shame her sex, and in all
her love-quarrels with him acts with such prudence that
reconciliation affords him increased delight, this mildly-speaking
matron is truly a woman.
5. Whenever our husbands embrace our shoulders, we feel ashamed as
if we saw them for the first time. What pleasure, then, can these
women enjoy who from the desire of money endure daily the embraces
6. Riches in the possession of a generous man resemble in their
effects the learning acquired by a man of great natural ability. The
chastity of a modest woman is like a sharp sabre in the hands of a
7. As if when we had by us red and black gram at the same rate of
six measures for a fanam, his breast, which is like a hill, after
having embraced many fair women altogether inferior to me, comes
unwashed to embrace me also. My husband comes to embrace me with his
unwashed breast like a hill, after having embraced the bosoms of
fair-browed ones who are not like me.
8. O poet, speak not harshly to me! for if you so speak I shall be
to my husband like the left side of the tambour, which gives no
sound. Wherefore lift up thy feet and gently retire from me; speak
to those (strange women) who are to him like the right side of the
tambour, which gives forth sound.
9. I am she who was afflicted when flies flew around my husband, who
possesses the cool field, where the reeds being plucked up, the
waters shine. I am she who when sparks of fire fly about him and
(courtesans) fight against it with their opposing breasts; still
endure life, though I look upon his wide bosom adorned with
10. O singer, utter not that gross falsehood, saying, He who wears a
garland of buds loosely strung together will be kind to me. I am not
dear to him, but am like the flower of the sugarcane (which is
destitute of sweetness). Speak these words to them who are like the
middle joints of the cane and sweet to him.
CHAPTER 40.--De Amore.
1. O lord of the cool shore of the wide-extended backwaters, whose
pellucid waves dash along with unceasing noise! if one live not in
matrimony the body will suffer in health. If there are no
love-quarrels between man and wife, marriage will be tame indeed.
2. The sound of the approaching monsoon booming in every quarter of
the heavens from the rain-fraught clouds is like that of the
death-drum to a wife separated from her husband, for he promised to
return before the rains set in. They are setting in, and therefore
she fears that he is no more, or else he would have returned.
3. At eventide, when darkness prevents mechanics from distinguishing
their tools, the wife will select blooming flowers, and after having
strung them on a thread, will cast away the garland from her
weeping., and will say, Of what use will this garland be to me,
whose husband is absent?
4. Does not my wife, while reclining on her couch and counting with
her taper fingers the days I had appointed for my absence, reproach
me for my absence, while she wipes away one by one the tears which
fall from her eyes, red with weeping as she beholds the setting sun?
5. The kingfisher, mistaking my wife's eyes for a gyal-fish, will
fly after her, but when it sees her beautiful eyebrow it will
forbear to strike, afraid and supposing it a bow.
6. When the henna-dyed cotton was applied to the foot of my daughter
of beauteous form, and whose mouth is perfumed like the red lotus,
she would say, Gently, gently, and withdraw her foot lest it should
be hurt by the cotton. How then will that foot be able to travel the
gravely paths of the forest?
7. In the golden and ruddy-tinted eventide, when the sound of the
stylus on the palm-leaves is hushed, the wife separated from her
husband, while she thinks of his absence, will tear off her garland
and cast it from her, wiping off the sandal paste which adorns her
8. O thou with shining bracelets! you asked me saying, Will you be
able to follow him through the paths of the forest difficult to be
traversed? As a person who has bought a horse immediately learns to
ride, if I, did not previously know how to do so, so will I learn to
9. I understood not yesterday what she meant when she so closely
embraced me [the... mother is speaking]. Now I do understand, what
she meant, viz. that to-day she would leave me and follow her
husband through the forest-paths by which the timid deer flee away
from the tiger.
10. I upbraid not the three-eyed äiva, nor the crow, nor the hooded
serpent,--they have not sinned against me. Nor do I upbraid my
mother who bore me--O thou who hast breasts like the buds of the
golden-coloured congon-flower! But I do complain of the path which
has taken away my husband from me,--who, has left me for the sake of