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 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 accrue.

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 fear.

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 canght 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 his care?

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 serpent's head.

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 mind.

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 these things.

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.

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