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 34 - Ignorance

1. The quality of those who greatly rejoice in the act of domestic joy in this life, while they continually behold Yama slaughtering their lives, even Yama the great and mighty in slaughter, is like that of a tortoise which its captors have put in a pot of water, while they kindle a fire (to boil it), which sports in the water, being ignorant of its real condition.

2. The quality of those who have resolved, saying, After we have performed all the duties incumbent upon us in the domestic state, we will learn the way of virtue, is like the speech of those who having gone down to the sea to bathe, said, We will begin to bathe as soon as the noise has altogether ceased.

3. The ignorance of the customs of the world anciently renowned, faultless and full of excellence, in one who has obtained without let or hindrance these five things,--caste, penance, learning, high birth, and preƫminence, --is like rice-milk destitute of butter (therefore tasteless).

4. Though great stones do not understand the speech of men, yet since they do what is required of them, as standing, sitting, lying down, or moving, they are far more useful than a fool (as it is impossible to induce a fool to act as we wish him).

5. If a fool, when angry with others, with any cause for anger,--like one who supposes he has made an acquisition, without having really obtained anything--bewildered by passion, cannot crowd together abusive words, his tongue tingles all over.

6. The worthless friendships of those who say, We will make them our own, while they follow those who have no friendship for them, O lord of the sea-shore where the punnei with fair blossoms grows! is as it were losing one's arm in striking another with a stone.

7. As the ants without intermission walk round and round the outside of the pot in which there is butter, though it be impossible to get at it, so men of the world will never learn, but cleave to those rich men who never give them anything.

8. Will they not abhor the days of life who daily enjoy not good, who practise not virtue, who give not to the destitute, who enjoy not their own wives (but seek to dishonour others'), and who live not a life commended by others?

9. Friendship with those who say, We care not for their commendation, when those who love them praise them, and who are destitute of all tried good qualities, although by it one should be able to obtain the whole eorth surrounded by the sea with rolling harsh-resounding waves, will be only affliction.

10. When a man's neighbours commend one on account of his learning, wide-extended fame, and high birth, he shall obtain glory. But if he himself speak of these things. his brother-in-law will mock him, saying, He is a lunatic who cannot be cured by any medicine.

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