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 25 - The possession of understanding

1. When the excellent behold their enemies in adverse circumstances, being themselves confused on that account, they will not come near to invade them. In like manner the invincible and mighty serpent (Rhagu) will not draw near to afflict the moon in her first quarter.

2. Lord of the cool shore of the broad ocean! self-control is the ornament of the poor. Should they behave without respect and without any measure of propriety, their lineage will be published by (the inhabitants of) the village they live in.

3. Let the seed of the wormwood be sown in the best of soils, it will never become a cocoanut-tree. So even the Southerns (Yama's subjects) have, by performing acts of virtue, attained heaven; while the Northerns, having derived no advantage from their privileges, very many of them have perished. A happy new birth depends upon a person's virtuous conduct.

4. Though the fruit of the plantain be ripened in the bitter season of the margosa, it will not lose its sweetness. Thus, although those who are naturally good, associate with the bad, their friendship with them will not corrupt their minds.

5. Sweet water may be produced even on the brink of the sea-shore, and salt water on the side of a mountain. O lord of the cool shore washed by the waves of the ocean! it is truly said that sensible men will not imitate those with whom they consort, but will preserve their own minds.

6. O lord of the cool shore of the ocean where the thick-boughed punnei-trees flourish! will those who are virtuous and impartial towards all, first contract and then dissolve friendship? (Sooner) than this, it is better that friendship should never be contracted.

7. To be united in friendship with the prudent, who think of that of which they ought to think, is productive of the highest felicity, and affliction is avoided by separating from fools, who know not what belongs to friendship,

8. Whether an individual establish himself in a good situation, or whether, spoiling that condition, he debase himself, or whether he exalt himself to a much higher condition, or whether he make himself superior to all, he does so entirely by his own exertions.

9. In the way of business, even for the great to follow after the ignorant is not folly, but wisdom, O nobly-born king of the cool shore resounding with ocean-waves!

10. Having undertaken a profitable business,having experienced enjoyment, having performed acts of charity to the excellent! if any one in any one birth is able to do all this, such a consummation may well be compared to a merchant-ship that has reached her port.

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