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 15 - High Birth

1. A noble family will not decrease in (good) qualities, even when their clothes are torn and their body wasted. Even when trouble comes, upon bim, will the lion devour the long grass?

2. Manliness, goodness, right conduct, these three belong to those who are born in a sky-touching family. But, O lord of the hill-country covered by the clouds which touch the sky! they fall not to the share of others, even though they have acquired great riches.

3. Rising from their seat and going to meet (a stranger), leaving others, these the high-born have assumed as their unflinching rule of conduct. It is not their nature to be reckoned one with the mean.

4. If he do good things, it is conformable to (his) nature; if bad, it will be a fault despicable in the eyes of many: and in this case what is the profit to him of being born in a family known to all?

5. (To those born in a good family) there is fear of ignorance, fear of doing the deeds of the base, fear that anything which ought not to be spoken may escape from them, fear of not giving anything to those who beg for all. Brutish are they who are born in a family destitute of these graces.

6. Goodness of relatives, pleasant words, liberality, and every other good quality of the mind, all these, O lord of the cool shore of the roaring ocean, where the large gems and pearls shed their lustre! meet in those who are born in a good family.

7. Though the building be decayed, and the white ants have collected together, a large house may nevertheless have a wing not fallen. So those who are born in a high famliy, even when they suffer distress, will do the things they ought to do.

8. Like the moon, which enlightens the beautiful wide and extended earth on one side, though the serpent (athisesha) hold it in the other, those who are born in a good family will not slacken in well-doing, though poverty be against them.

9. The things which even in poverty those will do who are born in a high family, the vulgar will not do, even though they be rich. The deer, though it should be harnessed (for war), is not strong enough to fight like the charger.

10. The high-born, even when they have not anything, will approach those who are in want, and be a prop when they totter. When the broad river (bed) is dug up, though it be dry, yet clear water will soon appear.

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