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 35 - Meanness

1. Though one every morning, as a necessary duty, put bruised grain into the mouth of the fowl, it desists not from turning up the dunghill; so though one explain books of science of great importance, yet the mean man will the more follow the path most agreeable to his mind.

2. When one proposes, saying, Let us go at once to the abode of the perfect, who have acquired learning which establishes the mind, the base will rise up and say, Let us go to sleep, or if not, they will say something else equally foolish and refuse to go altogether.

3. Though the excellent obtain great honour, they swerve not from their former disposition, but follow one line of conduct. O lord of the fair land of copious streams! though the base obtain great honour, they too alter not their line of conduct.

4. If one confer a benefit upon them even as small as a grain of millet, the excellent will consider it to be as large as a palmyra-tree. O lord of the fair land of sparkling steams! though a benefit as large as a palmyra be daily conferred upon him, the ignorant mean man has no gratitude (it is considered as no benefit at all by those who are ungrateful for the good done to them).

5. Though the dog be delicately nourished and fed from a golden dish, yet it will ever be earnestly looking out for the leavings of others. Thus the acts of the base-minded, though they are esteemed as honourable persons, will not correspond with their rank in life.

6. The worthy, though they have attained the wealth of the world, will at no time indulge in haughty speech, but if the mean have acquired the wealth of one cani (1/80 part) added to one muntheri (1/320) they will regard themselves as great as Indra king of heaven.

7. Though the shoe be wrought with excellent gems set in the purest gold, yet it is intended for the foot of its owner. In like manner, though the mean-minded be very rich, yet he will be found out by his deeds.

8. O lord of the fair and victorious land of mighty hills! the base man is mighty in speaking harsh words. He regards no one, laughs at the misery of others, grows more and more enraged and will continually reproach others.

9. O lord of the cool shores of the sea where the honey-producing Nay (a water-flower) grows, resounding with waves! if persons remain with them many days, the excellent will say, These are old friends, and will show kindness to them, whereas the base-minded will hate and revile them.

10. Though men take away the plucked-up grass from the bullock and give it to the heifer, and thus feed it up for many days, yet it will never be strong enough to be yoked to a cart. O king, hear! Though the base are very rich, yet their deeds will betray them.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: