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 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 died.

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 it.

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 sound accordingly.

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 tones.

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 to relatives.

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