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 32 - Experience in (conducting of) assemblies

1. Before the learned men who are confused in mind, who conduct themselves according to their so-called wisdom, smiting with their hands, reiterating again and again their foolish observations, and who disturb the proper order of the assembly, gently desist from uttering words of wisdom.

2. The eminently wise will not consort with the evil poet who comes into the assembly as if he were a learned man, reciting some poem of another's which he has learned; that evil poet entering into the assembly will reproach the people who are there, or if not, to disgrace them, will smite his own shoulder and rise up to commence strife.

5. There are many men who speak many words, who love to commence strife with others, esteeming their own words unanswerable (or overpowering in speech), who understand not how to argue convincingly with their opponents, and who know not (how to acknowledge themselves) beaten.

4. The simpleton, not being able to acquire any learning for himself, goes into the assembly of the learned, and reciting as his own a stanza which he has learned from some schoolboy, exposes thereby his own ignorance.

5. Those who rise np to show the wisdom or the power of their words, and consort with angry persons who, opposing others with wrathful minds, receive not what is truth, but contend alone for victory, like wild beasts, shall see their own teeth, like the seeds of the gourd, in their hands.

6. When the ignorant recite a poem without understanding its meaning, speak anger-exciting words, the excellent of imperishable renown, being greatly ashamed of them, will stand grieving much for her who bare them.

7. Science is easily acquired by all obedient students, like the shoulders of courtezans who take all they can get. But the substance of acquired learning is as difficult to be understood as are the in ward instructions of those courtezans beauteous in body as flower-buds.

8. Those learned men who collect plenty of books bring them and fill up every room in their houses, and yet understand them not, are of one kind, while those learned men who both understand their purport and are able to explain them to others are of another kind.

9. O lord of the extended hills where the wild oxen resort in herds! Can the works of these persons be called excellent and faultless commentaries who construct them not in these four methods--concisely, copiously, catechetically, and paraphrastically?

10. Will those who are not born of a good family, no matter how much learning they have acquired, will they become sufficiently wise to pass over, without censuring, the faults which occur in the speech of others? The truly learned make as if they knew not the despicable learning of those who understand not their exposition of science.

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