In this transitory world, who is unborn or immortal? Only the person by whose birth the family prospers can be said to have been “born”.
Wicked people decry a modest person as dull, a person observing religious vows as showy, a holy person as a charlatan, a brave one as cruel, a hermit as foolish, a soft-spoken person as meek, a bright one as vain, an orator as a glib-talker and a patient person as weak. Is there any quality of the virtuous that the wicked do not condemn?
A well chiseled gem, a wounded victor, an elephant languid after rut, a slender river during the fall, the narrow crescent of the waning moon, a young maiden fatigued after love, and people whose wealth has dwindled because of charity – all these become more charming in their slenderness.
The Creator has provided a means for hiding one’s ignorance.
It is to keep silent, particularly in the company of the learned.
Knowledge is an inner treasure. It is imperceptible to a thief; it provides enduring happiness; it grows ceaselessly while being imparted to earnest disciples, and it is not destroyed even with the passing of an era. O kings, give up your pride in the presence of those who have this treasure; who indeed can compete with them?
Whether you fill a pitcher in the well or in the ocean,
it can only hold water according to its capacity.
Even the cub of a lion attacks a frenzied elephant. Valor is inherent in the nature of the powerful, and age is of no consequence to their prowess.
A person can be made beautiful neither with bracelets, nor garlands shining like the moon, nor through bathing, nor anointment of the body, nor flowers, nor decorated hair. It is cultured speech alone that makes a person beautiful. All other ornaments lose their glitter; speech alone is an indestructible ornament.
To be judicious and amicable,
to desist from committing evil even in the face of death,
to refrain from soliciting favors from the wicked,
to avoid asking for help from a destitute friend,
to remain steadfast in adversity and to follow
the footsteps of the great ones-
who taught good people these rules which is
as difficult as ‘walking on the edge of a sword’?
When water is mixed with milk,
the milk gives water all of its own qualities.
Seeing the milk suffer (being heated),
the water sacrifices itself (begins to get evaporated).
Seeing its friend’s distress, the milk gets ready to take on the fire
(begins to overflow with effervescence).
When reunited with water (i.e. water is sprinkled on it),
it calms down. Such is the friendship between good people.
It is wise to keep a wicked person at arm’s length even if he or she is full of knowledge. Isn’t a snake dreadful even though it is crowned with a jewel?
It is better to wander in the mountain caves along with the forest-dwellers than to be with conceited fools even in the mansion of the king of gods.
The lion is the foremost among those with self-respect
and is accustomed to devouring the flesh by tearing to
pieces the temples of wild elephants. Will such a lion ever
eat grass even though suffering from pangs of hunger,
emaciated by aging, weary, living in a distressful
condition, and having lost all his vigor?
Those who are devoid of learning,
restraint, charity, knowledge, moral conduct,
virtue and righteousness are virtually animals
living in the human form and burdening the earth.
When my knowledge was limited, I assumed that I was fully proficient.
I was blinded by pride like an elephant in frenzy. However,
when I started learning in the company of the erudite and
realized my shortcomings, the conceit of mine disappeared like fever.
When people have nothing, all they want is a handful of grains.
When they become wealthy, they treat the world like a straw.
Material objects by themselves are not great or worthless.
It is the fluctuating fortune of people that makes things appear big or small.
The difficulties faced by good people are almost always
temporary: a ball bounces back even when it is thrown down.
Laziness is the great enemy within. There is no friend like dynamism, having whom no person suffers.
Knowledge is certainly our greatest beauty. It is a safe and hidden treasure. It provides prosperity, fame and happiness. Knowledge is the guru of all gurus. It acts as our friend in a foreign country. Knowledge is the Supreme God. It is knowledge, not wealth, which is adored by kings. Without knowledge one remains an animal.
Trees bend when fruits arrive;
clouds float low and wide when filled with
fresh water; good people remain humble even in
prosperity. Such indeed is the nature of those who help others.
A fool can be pleased easily, and it is even easier to please the wise. But even the creator cannot satisfy a conceited person with a bit of knowledge.
Sages are those who teach their students with
words refined through the study of the scriptures.
If these eminent ones live in poverty,
it only shows the folly of the ruler of that kingdom,
for the sages remain great even without riches.
The real worth of a gem does not decline
because of bad evaluation by an incompetent jeweler.
A fire can be extinguished with water; an umbrella protects one from the heat of the sun; a frenzied elephant can be tamed by a mahout’s sharp iron-goad, and so can a cow and a donkey with a stick; diseases can be cured by an assortment of medicines, and the incantation of various mantras is an antidote to toxicants. The scriptures contain remedies for all, but there is none for a conceited fool.
Man is born in the world with a lifespan of a hundred years, more or less, and he spends half the time sleeping. The half of the remaining years is spent in infancy and dotage. The remaining twenty-five are spent in suffering from various diseases, in lamenting and grieving over a series of bereavements caused by the death of offspring and other relatives, in working hard day and night at the household of the rich to scrape a living. Living, as he must, a life so full of turbulence and wave-like unsteadiness, when does man find time to experience true happiness?
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Subhashita Manjari Sanskrit Anthology of Proverbs
- Patanjali Indian Hindu Philosopher
- Dada J. P. Vaswani Indian Hindu Philosopher
- Lucretius Roman Epicurean Philosopher
- Ramakrishna Paramahamsa Indian Hindu Philosopher
- Jiddu Krishnamurti Indian Philosopher
- Basava Indian Hindu Philosopher
- Nagarjuna Indian Buddhist Philosopher
- Seneca the Younger (Lucius Annaeus Seneca) Roman Stoic Philosopher
- Albert Camus Algerian-born French Philosopher