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 38 - Courtesans

1. If you impartially investigate the two things, it will be found that there is no difference between the shining light of a lamp and the love of courtesans. When the oil is exhausted, the light of the lamp vanishes, and when the money of their lovers is gone, their love also evaporates.

2. The fair and beantiful matron who is adorned with chosen jewels (a courtesan) said, I will go with you to the top of the mountain and cast myself down from it for your sake. But when he said, My money is gone, she came weeping, stating that her foot was painfnlly swollen and she could not go up the monntain, and left altogether.

3. Let them (i.e. their lovers) be even as fair as Indra the red-eyed, who is worshipped by the gods in the beauteous and wide-spread heavens,--courtesans, like freshly plucked mango-leaves, will politely dismiss them, and send them away as soon as their money is exhausted.

4. Those who have no property are as poison to the lotus-eyed beautiful courtesans, who are destitute of all goodness of mind; while those who in the sight of all have acquired their wealth by working the oil-mill will be as delicious as sugar.

5. (Only) those fools who like wild beasts will come near courtesans, who act as the vilanga-fish, which shows its one end to the shark and its other end to the fish in the clear pool, filled with honey-producing flowers.

6. If the golden-braceleted one who has affirmed, saying, As the perforated bead leaves not the thread on which it is strung, and as the andril-bird which never leaves its mate, I will never separate from you,--if she becomes, like the horn of the ram, turned away from its fellow, O my poor heart! will you still remain with her, or will you come away with me?

7. They shall be derided by many who are delighted with the love of courtesans (thinking that they are their friends), who, like the wild cow, lick the hands of men, at the same time poisoning them, and who are like the ghyal in jumping and running away when they have spoiled their lovers of their property, and yet imagine that they are their friends!

8. Courtesans rejoice and appear as friends while their lovers have aught to give; but when they have exhausted their wealth, then they show thernselves as enemies and become (estranged from them), as the horn of a ram twisted from its fellow. Those who come not near the full-breasted courtesans whose eyes roll like the deer, yet leave not off their way of sin, may well say, We have attained the right way.

9. Those who imagine the beauteous courtesans who hide within them the disposition that will afterwards injure them, even when they speak lowly words in order to create confidence, and who, believing these words to be true; imagine them to be their friends, possess their own bodies for themselves alone, and not for any benefit to be done to others.

10. Even at the time when those who have bodies laden with sin have by inquiry found out all the crafty intentions which beautiful-browed courtesans whose minds are fixed upon others have conceived against them, they walk as though they knew them not.

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