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 28 - Illiberality

1. To give a part of their meal to the extent of their ability, both to the friendly and unfriendly, and after that to eat, is truly to eat a meal. To those who refuse their food to the needy, and so live and eat and pass on, the door of heaven will be closed.

2. Those who have, to the best of their ability, practised to any extent trifling acts of charity, will in another birth become great; while those who, when they have become wealthy, say, We will give alms some time or other, shall be punished and shall perish from all the sea-surrounded earth.

3. He who employs not his time in enjoying his property, or gives not of it to ascetics, but lays it up (like a miser)--at him, the foolish one, about to perish, his hoarded wealth shall mock, and the favour of the world shall mock.

4. The great wealth which the miserly-minded have attained, who neither know how to give it away nor to use it themselves, shall be like the beauteous damsels of a family, who when they have arrived at puberty are enjoyed by others; i.e. others than its owner shall enjoy it.

5. Though they live near the mighty ocean whose waters overflow, men look on the spring of a small well whose water is almost dried up and live. The poverty of the great is better than the riches of those who know not of the next birth.

6. If you ask why I say, It is mine, It is mine, concerning the property of that ignorant man who gives not to others, saying, It is mine, It is mine,--while it belongs to that wretched man he gives it not in alms, neither does he himself enjoy it, neither do I give it away in alms or enjoy it myself.

7. The poor are more exempt from trouble than the niggardly rich. They are exempt from the labour of guarding that wealth. They are exempt from the trouble of bringing it. They are exempt from the pain of having their hands bound. In many ways are they exempt from trouble.

8. While the property is his own, he gives it not away; when it becomes the property of his partners, they also give it not away in alms. If he gives it away before his death, the partners will find no fault with him; if after death they give it away, he will not find fault with them.

9. Comparing beggars to a calf, and benefactors to a cow, such a spontaneous benevolence is true benevolence. Forced charity is as when a cow will only give its milk when coerced by strong men, who push it about and apply various instruments to its limbs. Such benevolence is the mark of a base mind.

10. The seeking to accumulate wealth is a cause of vexation. The guarding that collected shining wealth causes vexation. Again, if any of that wealth which is so guarded be diminished, there is vexation. If it be lost, how great the vexation! Truly this said wealth is the very abode of vexation.

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