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 33 - Defective knowledge

1. The learned will esteem as precious the speech of those friends who declare to them the gracious way of wisdom. The base, who are esteemed as worthless, will abuse and revile them. The ladle appreciates not the flavour of the milk-porridge.

2. Though men destitute of rectitude listen to those who are destitute of envy, when they declare the way of virtue, yet they give no heed, just as the chakler's dog, which seizes and devours leather, knows not how to appreciate the taste of rice and milk.

3. Although they see by numerous examples the way by which their precious life may depart in the twinkling of an eye, yet they do not good even to the extent of a grain of millet. What does it matter whether such stupid, shameless (persons) live, or whether they die?

4. Since the days of life are few, and to our life there is no continuing stay, and since it is reviled (or contemned) by many, why should any one nourish fierce hatred in his heart in secret, and not be friendly with those he may meet.

6. If a person going before a public assembly abusively reproach another, and the reproached reviles not in turn but remains quiet, if the reviler thereafter live on and prosper, he will indeed be an object of astonishment to all (who see him).

6. The hard words, Get out and go away, will be uttered by the female slave in his own house, while she pushes him out, to him who, before old age comes upon him, perseveres not in performing deeds of virtue.

7. Men of small understanding fruitlessly spend their day of life; since they themselves enjoy not their wealth, they bestow no benefit on the good. They attain not the excellent way of life, which would be a strong fortress for them, and with confused minds do they rely on their wealth.

8. The foolish man who in the time of youth binds not up as a viaticum the rice needful for the road on which he travels, but binds up his money (like an orange) and says, Hereafter we will do the requisite acts of charity,--when with the hand he makes a sign that he wishes a bag of gold to be brought, the relations will say he wants a sour wood-apple.

9. Men of small understanding who in time of adversity and dangerous sickness anxiously think of another world, in the time of prosperity think not of another birth, even to the extent of a grain of mustard-seed.

10. Alas! though men of defective understanding see Yama surrounding with his rope to take away those precious ones, immeasurably beloved, dear as their own lives, what is it? Though they have acquired these children, they think not of virtue, but fruitlessly waste their days of life.

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