« PreviousContinue »
virtue, nor righteousness, may live in the world of mortals in the form of men, but they pass through the world like beasts encumbering the earth.
14. It is better to wander in a mountain-pass with the wild beasts than to live in the palace of the gods with a fool.
The Praise of Wisdom. 15. When wise men dwell in poverty—men whose words are adorned with polished sayings from the Sâstras, and who impart sacred learning to their disciples—then that prince in whose kingdom they dwell is chargeable with folly, and the wise men, though poor, are the rulers of the land. Should not those bad examiners be worthy of condemnation who (through) carelessness cause jewels to fall from their true value ?
16. O kings! cast off your pride before those who have the inward treasure of wisdom: they are not despoiled by robbers, but their treasure, always increasing, grows greater when it is shared with the needy: not even at the end of the world does it perish. Who indeed may compare with them?
17. Despise not wise men who have attained to knowledge of the truth. They are not held bound by riches, for they count wealth even as grass. The stalk of a waterlily will not bind an elephant who is infuriated by passion.
18. The Creator in his anger may hinder the swan from sporting in the lotus-bed, his dwelling; but he cannot take away his faculty of separating milk from water.
19. Bracelets are no ornament to a man, nor strings of pearls clear as the moon; nor yet bathing, nor perfumes, nor flowers, nor decorated hair. Perfect eloquence alone adorns a man. Adornments may perish, but the ornament of eloquence abides for ever.
20. Wisdom, indeed, is the highest ornament that a man possesses. It is a valuable to be carefully guarded, for wisdom gains food, glory, and blessing. It is the lord
of lords. Wisdom is as a friend to a man travelling in a distant land. Wisdom is honoured among kings even more than wealth. The man devoid of wisdom is but an animal.
21. If a man has patience, what need has he of armour? If he has anger in his heart, what further enemy need he fear? If he has knowledge, what need of fire to consume evil? If a friend, what need has he of divine medicines ? If there are malicious people about him, why should he be afraid of serpents? If he has perfect wisdom, what need of riches ? If he is modest, what need has he of ornament? If he give his mind to poetry, what need has he of power ?
22. Be well disposed towards relatives ; liberal to inferiors: always hate the evil; love the good; be obedient to princes; honour the wise. Be firm towards enemies; be respectful to venerable men; deal shrewdly with women. The man who frames his life after these precepts prospers in the world.
23. Intercourse with wise men takes away dulness of mind, elevates the intellect, inspires the speech with truthfulness. What will it not do for men ?
24. May there be glory to wise men who are learned and accomplished poets! There is no fear that their renown shall wither or perish.
25. A virtuous son, an affectionate wife, a liberal master, a loving friend, a guileless kinsman, a mind not harassed by care, a handsome form, abiding riches, a mouth abounding in wisdom—these are the gifts which Hari, the giver of desires, the delight of the earth, bestows upon the man with whom he is pleased.
26. Abstinence from destroying life, keeping one's hands off another's wealth, speaking the truth, reasonable liberality according to one's power, not conversing with the wives of other men, checking the stream of covetousness, reverence towards spiritual fathers, compassion towards all creatures—this is the path of happiness, violating no ordinances, taught in all the Sâstras.
27. The low-minded man does not make even the least effort in the pursuit of wisdom through fear of difficulties : if he has made any attempt, he stops when obstacles meet him. The noble-minded man may meet with repeated hindrances, but when he has once begun the pursuit of wisdom he does not give it up.
28. Righteousness must be loved; evil must be avoided, even at the risk of death; wicked men must not be spoken to; a poor man, even though he be a friend, must not be asked for alms : even in adversity the foot must be constant, and the vow taught by good and great men must be conformed to, even if it be as difficult as to stand on the edge of a sword !
The Praise of Firmness.
29. The lion, though overwhelmed by hunger and weakened by old age, though at the point of death and in a state of misery, and though his majesty may have left him and his life be vanishing away, yet his whole desire is to swallow at one mouthful the forehead of the kingly elephant which he has crushed in pieces. How should he, the mightiest of living things, feed upon withered grass !
30. A dog rejoices over a small filthy bone of an ox which he has found stripped of flesh, though it satisfies not his hunger; but the lion passes by the jackal standing near him and attacks the elephant. So the man of firm mind, even though he may be in distress, desires that which is in accordance with his natural disposition.
31. The dog falls down low before the feet of one who gives him food, wagging his tail and opening his mouth wide; but the elephant, on the other hand, remains unmoved, and only eats after he is entreated with flattering words.
32. What man is not born again while he passes from one birth to another ? But that man only is truly born by whose birth his family attains to dignity.
33. There are two uses both for a garland of flowers and also for a wise man—they may be exalted on the head or wither in the forest.
34. Although the five or six planets, of which Vșihaspati is the head, are held in high esteem, yet Rahu, whose power and might are great, does not attack them. The lord of the demons, though he has nothing left him but his head, devours in his course only the lord of the day and the ruler of the night.
35. Sesha bears all the worlds placed on his serpentlike head: he himself is always borne on the back of the king of the tortoises, who dwells, held without difficulty, in the bounds of ocean. Ah! with what ease do the mighty perform great marvels !
36. The son of Himâlaya would have behaved far more nobly if he had allowed enraged Indra to cut off his wings with the thunderbolt breathing forth huge masses of flame, and had not, when his father was helplessly subject to calamity, sought a refuge by throwing himself into the ocean.
37. The sun-stone, though insensate, is kindled into light when touched by the rays of the sun : how then should a mighty man bear an injury inflicted by another.
38. The lion, though young, attacks the elephant infuriated with passion. The energy of the noble-minded man proceeds from his natural disposition, not from his youth.
Praise of Riches.
39. Our noble birth may go to the lower regions; our virtues may perish; our moral character may fall as if from a -lofty mountain; our family may be consumed by fire; a thunderbolt may strike our might as it were an enemy: let us keep our money, for without this all the collected virtues are but a heap of grass.
40. These are all the same senses-exactly the same action—the same intellect undiminished: the same voice. But though a man may remain exactly what he was, yet,
when deprived of the warmth which wealth gives him, he becomes some one altogether different. This is indeed wonderful !
41. If a man be wealthy, he is of good family, he is wise, he is learned in the Scriptures, he is virtuous, eloquent, beautiful. All the virtues attach themselves to gold.
42. A king is ruined through evil counsellors : an ascetic through society: a child by spoiling: a priest by not studying the Sacred Scriptures: a family by the evil behaviour of children: good manners by evil habits : modesty by wine: agriculture by want of care: affection by absence from home: friendship by want of love : possessions by mismanagement: money by waste and prodigality.
43. Giving, consuming, and loss, are the three ways by which wealth is diminished. The man who neither gives nor spends has yet the third way open to him.
44. A jewel is cut by the polishing stone; a conqueror in war is killed by weapons; the elephant is weakened by passion; the islands in a river become dry in the autumn; the moon wanes; young women become languid through pleasure, yet is their beauty nothing lessened : so noble men who have diminished their wealth by giving to the needy are still illustrious.
45. A man who is famishing longs for a handful of grain; but when he has revived, he looks on the whole earth as a mere handful of grass. So objects seem great or small according to the condition of the men who possess them : it is the change in men's fortune which makes things seem greater or smaller.
46. If, 0 king! if you would enjoy this earth, which is as fruitful as a cow, nourish it as carefully as you would a calf. The earth brings forth fruits without end like the creeper of plenty if it is perpetually and carefully cultivated.
47. The behaviour of kings is as uncertain as the way of a courtesan. Now it is false, now true—now with