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 18 - Good Society

1. The habitual sins which they, contrary to right conduct, commit, associating in the time of ignorance with those who know the way of virtue, vanish as the dewdrops do from the blades of grass as soon as the sun has become hot.

2. Know ye the way of virtue. Fear ye death. Bear with the harsh words of others. Restrain deceitfulness. Hate ye the friendship of the wicked. Ever obtain instruction at the mouth of the great.

3. Since separations from friends, grievous disease, and death are close at hand to all who possess a body, let my soul unite with the truly learned, who are convinced that the metempsychosis, which commenced ages ago, is a great evil.

4. If one can obtain the privilege of living always with men of good disposition in friendship, who constantly perform acts of virtue through a succession of births, though that succession is affliction, no one will despise it when they have considered the matter.

5. The water that runs from the sink when it reaches great waters will become a Tîrtha, even its name being changed. Thinking of this, even those who have not family greatness will stand as a rock associating: with the good, who have virtue and greatness.

6. Even the hare in the wide, beauteous, and sublime heavens, since it is seen in the moon with refulgent beams, will be adored (by men). And in like manner even those who are without any dignity (of their own), if they obtain the love of the good, who are as mountains of virtue, will have dignity.

7. Water when mixed with milk will become milk, not remaining water. Will it exhibit the appearance of water? In like manner, if you consider it, the meanness of the mean when united with the dignity of the excellent will utterly vanish.

8. The grass near the stump of the tree will not shake with the plough of the ploughman. Feeble though they be, the anger of enemies will not come on those who have joined the society of the good.

9. Like paddy multiplied through the goodness of the soil, persons will become good through the goodness of their respective families. Like the destruction of a good ship on the approach of a strong gale, goodness will be destroyed by bad company.

10. Though innocent in intention, persons will be despised on account of the (bad) company they have joined. In the forest both the scent-giving sandal and the teak tree will be burned when the brushwood, which has been cut, has caught fire.

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