The Naladiyar

The Indian Antiquary, A Journal Of Oriental Research

18,838 words

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....

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 possessor.

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 accoant 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, sach 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 fœtus and takes away the child amidst the cries of its mother. So it is well always to remember his subtlety.

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