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 10 - Liberality

1. To those men the gates of heaven shall never be closed, who with tender hearts and with a mind in accordance with their alms, greatly rejoicing, give even in poverty according to their ability, even as they did in the day of prosperity.

2. Before you is disgusting old age, and your dying day also: these are pains destructive of greatness. Run not vainly here and there. Covet not. Give alms, then eat. Hide not any of it when you possess wealth.

3. The wealth of him who in this birth wipes not away the tears of those who, trembling with poverty, betake themselves to him, by reason of his merit in a former birth, of not eating till he had given a portion to others, shall go on increasing while the time of increase lasts. But when the effect of these good deeds is exhausted, that wealth shall altogether leave him, let him hold it never so firmly.

4. Give what you are able, even though you have not the thousandth part of a measure of rice in the house, and then eat your meal; the wise call those in this birth wandering beggars whose chimneys smoke not in this earth, surrounded by the deep sea, who gave not alms in a former birth.

5. Let a man who regards both this world and the next, give what he can as he gets it; and if, through poverty, giving be impossible, to abstain from begging will be to give twice.

6. Those who give are like the female palm tree surrounded by the terrace in the midst of the village, they live beloved by many. Men who eat without giving to others, though their family be flourishing, are like the male palm in a burning-ground.

7. When the rain that should fall falls not, and when mankind omit to do the things they ought to do, O lord of the cool shore beaten by the waves where the Punnei-flower repels the noisome odour or the fish! in what way does the world get on!

8. Man's duty is to give to those who are unable to bear (their distresses), not driving them away, nor turning away from the extended hands, O lord of the cool shore of ocean, full of rivers! to give to those who will pay it back again--has the name of a loan at interest.

9. Not saying they have very little, not saying they have not anything, let them ever exercise fruitful charity to all. Like the pitcher of the mendicant who enters the house-door for alms, it will, in due course, gradually become full.

10. Those who are ten miles distant can hear the sound of the wide drum beaten with the stick; those a yojana distant, can hear the hoarse thunder; but all who live in the three worlds piled up will hear the report that some of the excellent have given alms.

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