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 27 - Riches without goodness

1. The bat will not go to the rough-stemmed wood-apple tree, though near and fruitful. So the riches of those who, though they be very near to one, have no greatness of soul, have not the excellence of being considered as profitable.

2. Though there be handfuls of small buds on the milk-hedge, men will not put out their hand to gather them, for its flowers are not fit for wearing. (Even so,) the wise will not form friendship with the mean, though they have much wealth

3. Though they live on the shore of the rolling ocean, they repair to the saltless well of a running spring and drink. Though wealthy men be nigh, they will go afar off and fix their desire upon the liberal.

4. In the seagirt earth merit is various. The sensible should be great. Those who are foolish, and are like unbeaten steel and the thorny brinjâl, will flourish in silk and gay apparel.

5. If you ask what is the reason why, while the good and just are in poverty, the unjust and unlearned are wealthy, O thou who hast eyes elongated like a lance! when one investigates the matter, it is nothing else but the effect of deeds done in, a former birth.

6. (O Lakshmî,) who like a golden image sits upon that fair flower whose leaves are like scentless plates of gold, die and become ashes upon the ground! you connect yourself with the mean of all sorts, leaving the good who resemble gold.

7. O thou who hast eyes like a lance! is not shame attached to the poverty of the just? Is not the wealth of the miser like painters'-green? (i.e. it so cleaves to him that he will not give alms. ) When thou hast investigated these two states thou wilt not approve or desire either of them.

8. Those who are honest (when they become poor), going to distant lands, and eating various kinds of food, will spend their days; while those who are dishonest (when they become poor) will sit in their houses and eat curry and rice while the perspiration streams from their bodies, and will not go to distant lands.

9. When the ear of the golden-red paddy is scorched, the heaven bright with lightning will vomit and pour forth (rain) in to the sea. The liberality of tbose who are simple, even when they are possessed of riches, is of like character.

10. Those are the senseless who, though they read, understand nat. The sensible, though they read not, resemble the learned. Those who, though utterly poor, will not beg, are the truly rich. Even the rich are poor if they give not.

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