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 31 - Dread of mendicity

1. Will those who possess clear understanding follow after such men as constantly revile them, saying, These poor men will become rich through our means; they cannot acquire wealth of themselves?

2. Does not a man's death and his birth take place (frequently) in the twinkling of an eye? Is it, therefore, a reproach to a man if he starve and keep his integrity inviolate, rather than fill his stomach by the disgraceful practice of mendicity?

3. There are none who, using poverty as a pretext, venturing on beggary, do not go to others for assistance in the way of meanness. Will the excellent then go for alms to any others but to those who will embrace them and say, Come to my house and eat?

4. Though Lakshmî withdraw from them and God be angry, the excellent will not stand with bended neck before the ignorant who bury their money in the earth, and who contemplate not heavenly things with constant minds.

5. Living without begging from friends, strong in affection and who are like the apple of our eyes, who withhold not their assistance from us, is life indeed. Since one's mind melts with angnish when one reflects on a life of mendicity, what must their feelings be who receive alms!

6. Since it is a means of removing the affliction of poverty for one to beg for himself, then let affliction be my portion, and let precious wealth depart from me. Of what use is it for him to ask alms of his neighbour with a mind rocked with covetaus desires and eyes dimmed with tears?

7. O lord of the mountains from whose sides fall streams which throw up gold! though a person be born again and again in the world who will not allow himself to reproach beggars, yet (so few are such persons) it must be said he belongs not to this world.

8. If a person being tormented with poverty, rejecting true wisdom and allowing ignorance to abide in his mind, goes to a person and says, Give me alms, and if the person so asked refuse to give, will he not die from very shame at that moment?

9. Is the gently walking in the way of asceticism more grievous than the saying to others, Give me at least something, thus debasing one's dignity of the custom of doing homage to others, to whom he has attached himself by making their acquaintance?

10. Let a person, on the ground of old acquaintance, do that benevolence which is fitting in the way of affection to others if they be unworthy of that benevolence. A fire unquenchable pressed down in their minds will consume them (till they perish).

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