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 36 - Baseness or Envy

1. Those who have knowledge bound up in their minds, though young in years, watch over, keep, and restrain themselves. The ignorant, though old in years, go on obstinately practising evil deeds, and, like the reed, never lose their hollowness.

2. Though the frog dwells always in the beauteous and wide pool it never divests itself of its slime; and though those who have no sound knowledge learn faultless and illustrious sciences, yet they have not ability to understand them.

3. O good lord of the heaped-up mountain land! while it is indecorous to extol the good qualities of persons before their faces, what are those wretches' tongues made of, who, standing in the presence of those persons, declare their faults, for the purpose of destroying their reputation?

4. O beauteous and fair matron! women of high birth will not set off their beauty by ornaments as slave-girls. Courtesans who thus pride themselves on their dress will pass away (fruitlessly) or despised by all, just like the sudden swelling of a river, which soon passes off altogether.

5. Those mean persons are of the nature of the chisel, which without being struck will not even penetrate a tender leaf, though resting upon it; they will give nothing to the kind-hearted, but will give anything to those who employ force, if they meet them.

6. The mountaineer thinks of his mountains, the husbandman of his productive lands, the wise think of the special benefits they have received from others, and the fool thinks only of the abuse he has received.

7. For one good turn they have received from another the wise will endure a hundred evils afterwards inflicted. But if they have received a hundred good turns and have suffered only one evil turn, fools will consider the hundred good turns as evil.

8. The base in prosperity will not do these things which those who are of high birth will do even in adversity. Though one place rings (of gold) upon the tusks of a hog, O thou who hast eyes like a lance! it will never become a warlike elephant.

9. Many persons fade away like the lotus-leaf (having been obliged to alter their tone of speech) after they exultingly boasted of their intention to others, saying, To-day we will grow rich; yea, this very day we will grow rich; after a time we will grow rich.

10. The serdei-plant, though growing in water and green in colour, has no moisture in it. so the world has in it persons who are as useless as the great stony rocks, though they abound in great wealth.

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