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 30 - Innocence

1. The minds of the honourable, when they see the disgraceful things or excesses perpetrated by the ignorant who rely upon their wealth, will burn in one compact flame as the fire burns the jungle on which it has seized.

2. The honourable, though they become through destitution mere bones and skin, will they follow those who are destitute of proper dispositions, to make known their afflictions to them? Or will they refrain from telling the trouble which they endure to the great (or wise), who are beforehand intuitively acquainted with them?

3. If it be that they are like those who say, as soon as others see their wives, Alas, the chastity of our wives is in danger! being afraid, place us outside and give us rice,--on this account forsake associating with the rich.

4. The estimation of the excellent will bestow on us good in this life. It will stand unswervingly in the way of goodness, and it will afford benefits to be enjoyed in the next birth; That estimation is good indeed, O thou who sheddest a delicious scent from thy hair!

5. The excellent will not do the things which will bring upon them the effects of sin in another birth, or disgrace in this birth, though it should cost them their lives. Death will cause trouble for only a moment in one day; there is nothing like sin, which will cause grievous and long-enduring misery.

6. Among all those who live in this fertile and wide world, those who give not alms to others, amongst the rich, though exceeding rich, are poor indeed; while those who go not to beg alms of the rich, though they have become exceedingly poor, are indeed illustrious.

7. All who are in the lowest grade of virtue dread pinching hunger; all who are in the middle grade will fear affliction. O thou with long lance-shaped eyes, whose brows are spread like a bow on each side! the highest grade of all will fear the reproach uttered against them by others.

8. These are the good, these are the liberal givers, but they are now become poor. When the rich, thus reviling them, cast upon them a contemptuous smile, the minds of the eminently excellent will burn, like the fire in the smith's forge when excited by the bellows.

9. The shame which is caused by not giving alms to those who desire of us, is not modesty. Nor is the shame which one feels every day who flees from battle, modesty. But true modesty is that shame which will not suffer us to declare the wrongs inflicted on us by our enemies in the day of our distress.

10. The tiger of the forest having slain an elk, will not eat it, but will leave it if it fall on the left side. In like manner, could the excellent by a sacrifice of principle obtain all the wealth that exists under the wide-extended heavens, they would not even desire it.

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