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 19 - Greatness

1. It is no longer in our power to give alms. Youth for ever has fled away. Those damsels who before loved us care no more for us; (therefore,) no longer desiring (to continue in) the domestic state, and renouncing the arbitrary desire of becoming great, this is now the one thing needful.

2. In the household state we have enjoyed pleasure, here we are rich. Fools so thinking, will behave inconsiderately. Those who understand the household state, that it, though seeming to last, lasts not, will never have sorrow.

3. Lay up seed for heaven without delusion of mind; and, void of all distress, enjoy life like the wise, maintaining your proper station, remembering always that there are various things that change their nature without efficient cause.

4. They say that in the time of drought the well of spring-water will preserve the inhabitants, though by drawing its water they subsist. So the duty of liberality is found with the great, even when in declining circumstances; with others, even when they are rich, it is rare.

5. As the river which springs up in the place where they dug for a spring, even when it is dry, yielding much water supports the people, (the great) even when exhausted and wasted by giving of their riches to many, will do the things they ought to do, giving to a few.

6. O lord of the mighty mountains! a crime committed by the worthy will appear like a brand-mark on a white ox. Though the base commit sins as heinous as that of killing an ox, no blot will appear upon those base ones, their guilt will be wholly invisible (being wholly guilt, and nothing else).

7. Connexion with those who are destitute of a disposition fitted to their mean condition, as far as it extends, will produce sorrow; while even enmity on the part of the excellent wise, who will not do what is wrong even in sport, will bring with it greatness.

8. Desire ye that honour should accrue to the good and merciful in disposition; alarm your enemies with terror, enough to alarm Yama himself. Decide then who endeavour to deceive you, and render unto the good their just measure of beneficence.

9. Those who are imperturbable and without any change of mind, even though they be confused by any one hastening and uttering evil calumny, are truly pure-minded, like the bright light in a lamp.

10. The excellent expend the food first prepared in charity (or a first portion of food), and eat what food is left. That food will deliver the eater from these three crimes--lust, anger, and delusion, and will serve him in all his afflictions even to the end.

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