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 12 - Truth

1. To say he has not that which he does not really possess is no harm to any one. It is the usage of the world. To lie standing or running, that the desire (of others) may fail, O thou who hast rows of bracelets! hath evil more than that of those who have destroyed a good thing done.

2. The excellent and the vile never change their respective natures: though a man should eat sugar it will not taste bitter, and though the gods themselves should eat of the Margosa fruit, it will still taste bitter.

3. In time of prosperity a man's near relations will be as numerous as the stars which sport over the sky. When any one is subjected to intolerable sorrow, O lord of the cool mountain! those who will say "We are related to him" are few indeed.

4. He who secures the middle one of these three things, virtue, wealth and happiness, which have a hold on men's minds in this faithless world, shall secure the other two also; whilst he who obtains not the middle one shall be afflicted like the tortoise put into the pot and boiled.

5. If it be the calf of a good cow, the heifer also will fetch a good price. Though they be unlearned, the words of the rich will pass current. Like ploughing when there is little moisture, touching the surface only, the words of the poor will go for nothing.

6. Although deeply instructed in the knowledge of truth, those who have not accustomed themselves to restraint can never be restrained. Thus, O large-eyed beauty! though the wild gourd be dressed with salt, ghee, milk, curds, and various condiments, its natural bitterness will never be removed.

7. O lord of the shores of the swelling ocean covered with forests, scented by the perfume of the Punnei flowers! since that which is fated to happen will happen, let persons never utter reproachful words behind the backs of those who revile them, but only before their faces.

8. Though cows be of different colours, the milk which the cows prodnce is not of different colours. Like milk, the fruit of virtue is of one nature, though virtue itself take many colours in this world, like the cows.

9. Has any one lived entirely without praise in the world? Has any one failed through exertion to prosper? Has any one died without being reproached? Has anyone, even to the end of his life, collected (what he deems) sufficient wealth? If you inquire, you will not find even one.

10. If they every way consider there is nothing else that goes with them but the actions they have done, there (in the other world) even the body which (here) they cherished and adorned is useless when death takes them away.

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