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 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 jessamine 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 freces and seething filth abominable, from nine orifices which ooze out with excrementitious 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, p. 222 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.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: