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 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 homeless.

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, reftecting 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 excellent.

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.

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