Sri Chanakya Niti-Sastra
BY: SUN STAFF
Mar 11, CANADA (SUN) The Political Ethics of Chanakya Pandit.
About 2300 years ago the Greek conqueror Alexander the Great
invaded the Indian sub-continent. His offensive upon the land's patchwork of
small Hindu empires proved to be highly successful due to the disunity of the
petty rulers. It was Chanakya Pandit who, feeling deeply distressed at heart,
searched for and discovered a qualified leader in the person of Chandragupta
Although a mere dasi-putra, that is, a son of a maidservant by
the Magadha King Nanda, Chandragupta was highly intelligent, courageous and
physically powerful. Chanakya cared little that by birth he should not have
dared to approach the throne. A man of acute discretion, Chanakya desired only
that a ruler of extraordinary capabilities be raised to the exalted post of King
of Magadha so that the offensive launched by the Yavanas (Greeks) could be
It is said that Chanakya had been personally offended by King
Nanda and that this powerful brahmana had vowed to keep his long
sikha unknotted until he saw to the demise of the contemptuous ruler and
his drunken princes. True to his oath, it was only after Chanakya Pandit
engineered a swift death for the degraded and worthless rulers of the Nanda
dynasty that this great brahmana was able to again tie up his tuft of
hair. There are several versions relating the exact way that Chanakya had set
about eliminating the Nandas, and it appears historians have found it difficult
to separate fact from folk legend as regards to certain specific details.
After the Nanda downfall, it became easy for Chandragupta to
win the support of the Magadha citizens, who responded warmly to their new
heroic and handsome young ruler. Kings of neighbouring states rallied under
Chandragupta's suzerainty and the last of the Greeks headed by Alexander's
general Seleucus were defeated.
With the dual obstacles of the Nandas and Alexander's troops
out of the way, Chanakya Pandit used every political device and intrigue to
unite the greater portion of the Indian sub-continent. Under the Prime
ministership of Chanakya, King Chandragupta Maurya conquered all the lands up to
Iran in the North west and down to the extremities of Karnataka or Mysore state
in the South. It was by his wits alone that this skinny and ill-clad
brahmana directed the formation of the greatest Indian empire ever before
seen in history (ie. since the beginning of Kali-yuga). Thus the indigenous
Vedic culture of the sacred land of Bharata was protected and the spiritual
practices of the Hindus could go on unhampered.
Although many great savants of the science of niti such as
Brihaspati, Shukracharya, Bhartrihari and Vishnusharma have echoed many of these
instructions in their own celebrated works*, it is perhaps the way that Chanakya
applied his teachings of niti-sastra that has made him stand out as a
significant historical figure. The great Pandit teaches us that lofty ideals can
become a certain reality if we intelligently work towards achieving our goal in
a determined, progressive and practical manner.
Dr. R. Shamashastry, the translator of the English version of
Kautilya's Artha-Sastra, quotes a prediction from the Vishnu
Purana fourth canto, twenty-fourth chapter, regarding the appearance of
Chanakya Pandit. This prediction, incidentally, was scribed fifty centuries ago,
nearly 2700 years before this political heavyweight and man of destiny was to
appear. The prediction informs us: "(First) Mahapadma then his sons - only nine
in number - will be the lords of the earth for a hundred years. A
brahmana named Kautilya will slay these Nandas. On their death, the
Mauryas will enjoy the earth. Kautilya himself will install Chandragupta on the
throne. His son will be Bindusara and his son will be Ashokavardhana." Similar
prophecies are also repeated in the Bhagavata, Vayu and Matsya
In presenting this work I have traced out and referred to two
old English versions of Chanakya Niti-sastra published at the close of
the last century.*2 However, these apparently were translated by mere scholars
(not devotees) who seem to have missed many subtleties of Chanakya's vast wit
and wisdom. Another unedited and unpublished manuscript Chanakya
Niti-sastra with both English translation and Latinised transliteration
produced by the Vrndavana ISKCON Centre was also referred to. It was however the
learned Vaisnava pandit and Sanskrit scholar Sri V. Badarayana Murthy, of
the South Indian Madhva School, who helped me see the depth and import of these
verses from the original Devanagari. A very few slokas which were perhaps
irrelevant or otherwise not useful for our Vaisnava readers have been
I have been told that our blessed spiritual master His Divine
Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada had expressed a desire that Sri
Chanakya Niti-sastra be properly translated into English. It is hoped that
our present rendering will be at least useful if not instructive to the reader.
Let us examine now in a few words on the science of niti, or common
sense, from the pen of Srila Bhaktivinoda, the great 19th century
devotee-pioneer of the worldwide propagation of Lord Caitanya's divine
Taking the two words "common sense" right up to their highest
level, he has written:
"Man's glory is in common sense,
Dictating us the grace,
That man is made to live and love
The beauteous Heaven's embrace"*3
In other words, the real goal of niti, indeed the goal
of life, is to realise one's eternal position of Krishna consciousness. The
Bhagavad-gita confirms Srila Bhaktivinode's view in the final line of its
last sloka: dhruva nitir matir mama. A translation of that full verse
runs: "(Sanjaya said) Wherever there is Krishna the master of all mystics, and
wherever there is Arjuna the supreme archer, there will also be opulence,
victory, extraordinary power and morality (niti). That is My
I would especially like to thank Sri Raju Whabi (Rukmini
Krishna dasa) of Bombay for his generous financial contribution. I am also
grateful to Srimati Rani Lila Ram Kumar Bhargava of Lucknow, a prominent ISKCON
Life Member, and her twin sons Lava and Kush of Raja Ram Kumar Press, for
speedily bringing out this volume.
Miles Davis (Patita Pavana dasa)
Makara Sankranti Day
Pausa Shukla Navami
14th January 1981
* Brihaspati Samhita of Garuda Purana, Shukra-Niti,
Niti-Shataka and Pancatantra respectively.
*2 Sri K. Raghunathaji's version of "Vriddha-Chanakya - The
Maxims of Chanakya" (Family Printing Press, Bombay, 1890) has proven to be an
especially useful reference in bringing out this present edition.
*3 Obviously Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura used the word "heaven
in the English sense meaning "eternal spiritual kingdom."
1. Humbly bowing down before the almighty Lord Sri Vishnu, the
Lord of the three worlds, I recite maxims of the science of political ethics
(niti) selected from the various satras.
2. That man who by the study of these maxims from the
satras acquires a knowledge of the most celebrated principles of duty,
and understands what ought and what ought not to be followed, and what is good
and what is bad, is most excellent.
3. Therefore with an eye to the public good, I shall speak that
which, when understood, will lead to an understanding of things in their proper
4. Even a pandit comes to grief by giving instruction to
a foolish disciple, by maintaining a wicked wife, and by excessive familiarity
with the miserable.
5. A wicked wife, a false friend, a saucy servant and living in
a house with a serpent in it are nothing but death.
6. One should save his money against hard times, save his wife
at the sacrifice of his riches, but invariably one should save his soul even at
the sacrifice of his wife and riches.
7. Save your wealth against future calamity. Do not say, "What
what fear has a rich man of calamity?" When riches begin to forsake one even the
accumulated stock dwindles away.
8. Do not inhabit a country where you are not respected, cannot
earn your livelihood, have no friends, or cannot acquire knowledge.
9. Do not stay for a single day where there are not these five
persons: a wealthy man, a brahmana well versed in Vedic lore, a king, a
river and a physician.
10. Wise men should never go into a country where there are no
means of earning one's livelihood, where the people have no dread of anybody,
have no sense of shame, no intelligence, or a charitable disposition.
11. Test a servant while in the discharge of his duty, a
relative in difficulty, a friend in adversity, and a wife in misfortune.
12. He is a true friend who does not forsake us in time of
need, misfortune, famine, or war, in a king's court, or at the crematorium
13. He who gives up what is imperishable for that which
perishable, loses that which is imperishable; and doubtlessly loses that which
is perishable also.
14. A wise man should marry a virgin of a respectable family
even if she is deformed. He should not marry one of a low-class family, through
beauty. Marriage in a family of equal status is preferable.
15. Do not put your trust in rivers, men who carry weapons,
beasts with claws or horns, women, and members of a royal family.
16. Even from poison extract nectar, wash and take back gold if
it has fallen in filth, receive the highest knowledge (Krsna consciousness) from
a low born person; so also a girl possessing virtuous qualities
(stri-ratna) even if she be born in a disreputable family.
17. Women have hunger two-fold, shyness four-fold, daring
six-fold, and lust eight-fold as compared to men.
1. Untruthfulness, rashness, guile, stupidity, avarice,
uncleanliness and cruelty are a women's seven natural flaws.
2. To have ability for eating when dishes are ready at hand, to
be robust and virile in the company of one's religiously wedded wife, and to
have a mind for making charity when one is prosperous are the fruits of no
3. He whose son is obedient to him, whose wife's conduct is in
accordance with his wishes, and who is content with his riches, has his heaven
here on earth.
4. They alone are sons who are devoted to their father. He is a
father who supports his sons. He is a friend in whom we can confide, and she
only is a wife in whose company the husband feels contented and peaceful.
5. Avoid him who talks sweetly before you but tries to ruin you
behind your back, for he is like a pitcher of poison with milk on top.
6. Do not put your trust in a bad companion nor even trust an
ordinary friend, for if he should get angry with you, he may bring all your
secrets to light.
7. Do not reveal what you have thought upon doing, but by wise
council keep it secret being determined to carry it into execution.
8. Foolishness is indeed painful, and verily so is youth, but
more painful by far than either is being obliged in another person's house.
9. There does not exist a ruby in every mountain, nor a pearl
in the head of every elephant; neither are the sadhus to be found
everywhere, nor sandal trees in every forest.
10. Wise men should always bring up their sons in various moral
ways, for children who have knowledge of niti-sastra and are well-behaved
become a glory to their family.
11. Those parents who do not educate their sons are their
enemies; for as is a crane among swans, so are ignorant so are ignorant sons in
a public assembly.
12. Many a bad habit is developed through overindulgence, and
many a good one by chastisement, therefore beat your son as well as your pupil;
never indulge them. ("Spare the rod and spoil the child.")
13. Let not a single day pass without your learning a verse,
half a verse, or a fourth of it, or even one letter of it; nor without attending
to charity, study and other pious activity.
14. Separation from the wife, disgrace from one's own people,
an enemy saved in battle, service to a wicked king, poverty, and a mismanaged
assembly: these six kinds of evils, if afflicting a person, burn him even
15. Trees on a river bank, a woman in another man's house, and
kings without counsellors go without doubt to swift destruction.
16. A brahmana's strength is in his learning, a king's
strength is in his army, a vaishya's strength is in his wealth and a
shudra's strength is in his attitude of service.
17. The prostitute has to forsake a man who has no money, the
subject a king that cannot defend him, the birds a tree that bears no fruit, and
the guests a house after they have finished their meals.
18. Brahmanas quit their patrons after receiving alms
from them, scholars leave their teachers after receiving education from them,
and animals desert a forest that has been burnt down.
19. He who befriends a man whose conduct is vicious, whose
vision impure, and who is notoriously crooked, is rapidly ruined.
20. Friendship between equals flourishes, service under a king
is respectable, it is good to be business-minded in public dealings, and a
handsome lady is safe in her own home.
1. In this world, whose family is there without blemish? Who is
free from sickness and grief? Who is forever happy?
2. A man's descent may be discerned by his conduct, his country
by his pronunciation of language, his friendship by his warmth and glow, and his
capacity to eat by his body.
3. Give your daughter in marriage to a good family, engage your
son in learning, see that your enemy comes to grief, and engage your friends in
dharma. (Krsna consciousness).
4. Of a rascal and a serpent, the serpent is the better of the
two, for he strikes only at the time he is destined to kill, while the former at
5. Therefore kings gather round themselves men of good
families, for they never forsake them either at the beginning, the middle or the
6. At the time of the pralaya (universal destruction)
the oceans are to exceed their limits and seek to change, but a saintly man
7. Do not keep company with a fool for as we can see he is a
two-legged beast. Like an unseen thorn he pierces the heart with his sharp
8. Though men be endowed with beauty and youth and born in
noble families, yet without education they are like the palasa flower
which is void of sweet fragrance.
9. The beauty of a cuckoo is in its notes, that of a woman in
her unalloyed devotion to her husband, that of an ugly person in his
scholarship, and that of an ascetic in his forgiveness.
10. Give up a member to save a family, a family to save a
village, a village to save a country, and the country to save yourself.
11. There is no poverty for the industrious. Sin does not
attach itself to the person practicing japa (chanting of the holy names
of the Lord). Those who are absorbed in maunam (silent contemplation of
the Lord) have no quarrel with others. They are fearless who remain always
13. What is too heavy for the strong and what place is too
distant for those who put forth effort? What country is foreign to a man of true
learning? Who can be inimical to one who speaks pleasingly?
14. As a whole forest becomes fragrant by the existence of a
single tree with sweet-smelling blossoms in it, so a family becomes famous by
the birth of a virtuous son.
15. As a single withered tree, if set aflame, causes a whole
forest to burn, so does a rascal son destroy a whole family.
16. As night looks delightful when the moon shines, so is a
family gladdened by even one learned and virtuous son.
17. What is the use of having many sons if they cause grief and
vexation? It is better to have only one son from whom the whole family can
derive support and peacefulness.
18. Fondle a son until he is five years of age, and use the
stick for another ten years, but when he has attained his sixteenth year treat
him as a friend.
19. He who runs away from a fearful calamity, a foreign
invasion, a terrible famine, and the companionship of wicked men is safe.
20 He who has not acquired one of the following: religious
merit (dharma), wealth (artha), satisfaction of desires
(kama), or liberation (moksa) is repeatedly born to die.
21. Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth, comes of Her own accord
where fools are not respected, grain is well stored up, and the husband and wife
do not quarrel.
1. These five: the life-span, the type of work, wealth,
learning and the time of one's death are determined while one is in the
2. Offspring, friends and relatives flee from a devotee of the
Lord: yet those who follow him bring merit to their families through their
3. Fish, tortoises, and birds bring up their young by means of
sight, attention and touch; so do saintly men afford protection to their
associates by the same means.
4. As long as your body is healthy and under control and death
is distant, try to save your soul; when death is immanent what can you do?
5. Learning is like a cow of desire. It, like her, yields in
all seasons. Like a mother, it feeds you on your journey. Therefore learning is
a hidden treasure.
6. A single son endowed with good qualities is far better than
a hundred devoid of them. For the moon, though one, dispels the darkness, which
the stars, though numerous, can not.
7. A still-born son os superior to a foolish son endowed with a
long life. The first causes grief for but a moment while the latter like a
blazing fire consumes his parents in grief for life.
8. Residing in a small village devoid of proper living
facilities, serving a person born of a low family, unwholesome food, a frowning
wife, a foolish son, and a widowed daughter burn the body without fire.
9. What good is a cow that neither gives milk nor conceives?
Similarly, what is the value of the birth of a son if he becomes neither learned
nor a pure devotee of the Lord?
10. When one is consumed by the sorrows of life, three things
give him relief: offspring, a wife, and the company of the Lord's devotees.
11. Kings speak for once, men of learning once, and the
daughter is given in marriage once. All these things happen once and only
12. Religious austerities should be practiced alone, study by
two, and singing by three. A journey should be undertaken by four, agriculture
by five, and war by many together.
13. She is a true wife who is clean (suci), expert,
chaste, pleasing to the husband, and truthful.
14. The house of a childless person is a void, all directions
are void to one who has no relatives, the heart of a fool is also void, but to a
poverty stricken man all is void.
15. Scriptural lessons not put into practice are poison; a meal
is poison to him who suffers from indigestion; a social gathering is poison to a
poverty stricken person; and a young wife is poison to an aged man.
16. That man who is without religion and mercy should be
rejected. A guru without spiritual knowledge should be rejected. The wife with
an offensive face should be given up, and so should relatives who are without
17. Constant travel brings old age upon a man; a horse becomes
old by being constantly tied up; lack of sexual contact with her husband brings
old age upon a woman; and garments become old through being left in the sun.
18. Consider again and again the following: the right time, the
right friends, the right place, the right means of income, the right ways of
spending, and from whom you derive your power.
19. For the twice-born the fire (Agni) is a representative of
God. The Supreme Lord resides in the heart of His devotees. Those of average
intelligence (alpa-buddhi or kanista-adhikari) see God only in His
sri-murti, but those of broad vision see the Supreme Lord everywhere.
1. Agni is the worshipable person for the twice-born; the
brahmana for the other castes; the husband for the wife; and the guest
who comes for food at the midday meal for all.
2. As gold is tested in four ways by rubbing, cutting, heating
and beating -- so a man should be tested by these four things: his renunciation,
his conduct, his qualities and his actions.
3. A thing may be dreaded as long as it has not overtaken you,
but once it has come upon you, try to get rid of it without hesitation.
4. Though persons be born from the same womb and under the same
stars, they do not become alike in disposition as the thousand fruits of the
5. He whose hands are clean does not like to hold an office; he
who desires nothing cares not for bodily decorations; he who is only partially
educated cannot speak agreeably; and he who speaks out plainly cannot be a
6. The learned are envied by the foolish; rich men by the poor;
chaste women by adulteresses; and beautiful ladies by ugly ones.
7. Indolent application ruins study; money is lost when
entrusted to others; a farmer who sows his seed sparsely is ruined; and an army
is lost for want of a commander.
8. Learning is retained through putting into practice; family
prestige is maintained through good behaviour; a respectable person is
recognised by his excellent qualities; and anger is seen in the eyes.
9. Religion is preserved by wealth; knowledge by diligent
practice; a king by conciliatory words; and a home by a dutiful housewife.
10. Those who blaspheme Vedic wisdom, who ridicule the life
style recommended in the satras, and who deride men of peaceful
temperament, come to grief unnecessarily.
11. Charity puts and end to poverty; righteous conduct to
misery; discretion to ignorance; and scrutiny to fear.
12. There is no disease (so destructive) as lust; no enemy like
infatuation; no fire like wrath; and no happiness like spiritual knowledge.
13. A man is born alone and dies alone; and he experiences the
good and bad consequences of his karma alone; and he goes alone to hell
or the Supreme abode.
14. Heaven is but a straw to him who knows spiritual life
(Krsna consciousness); so is life to a valiant man; a woman to him who has
subdued his senses; and the universe to him who is without attachment for the
15. Learning is a friend on the journey; a wife in the house;
medicine in sickness; and religious merit is the only friend after death.
16. Rain which falls upon the sea is useless; so is food for
one who is satiated; in vain is a gift for one who is wealthy; and a burning
lamp during the daytime is useless.
17. There is no water like rainwater; no strength like one's
own; no light like that of the eyes; and no wealth more dear than food
18. The poor wish for wealth; animals for the faculty of
speech; men wish for heaven; and godly persons for liberation.
19. The earth is supported by the power of truth; it is the
power of truth that makes the sun shine and the winds blow; indeed all things
rest upon truth.
20. The Goddess of wealth is unsteady (chanchala), and
so is the life breath. The duration of life is uncertain, and the place of
habitation is uncertain; but in all this inconsistent world religious merit
alone is immovable.
21. Among men the barber is cunning; among birds the crow;
among beasts the jackal; and among women, the malin (flower girl).
22. These five are your fathers; he who gave you birth, girdled
you with sacred thread, teaches you, provides you with food, and protects you
from fearful situations.
23. These five should be considered as mothers; the king's
wife, the preceptor's wife, the friend's wife, your wife's mother, and your own
1. By means of hearing one understands dharma, malignity
vanishes, knowledge is acquired, and liberation from material bondage is
2. Among birds the crow is vile; among beasts the dog; the
ascetic whose sins is abominable, but he who blasphemes others is the worst
3. Brass is polished by ashes; copper is cleaned by tamarind; a
woman, by her menses; and a river by its flow.
4. The king, the brahmana, and the ascetic yogi
who go abroad are respected; but the woman who wanders is utterly ruined.
5. He who has wealth has friends. He who is wealthy has
relatives. The rich one alone is called a man, and the affluent alone are
respected as pandits.
6. As is the desire of Providence, so functions one's
intellect; one's activities are also controlled by Providence; and by the will
of Providence one is surrounded by helpers.
7. Time perfects all living beings as well as kills them; it
alone is awake when all others are asleep. Time is insurmountable.
8. Those born blind cannot see; similarly blind are those in
the grip of lust. Proud men have no perception of evil; and those bent on
acquiring riches see no sin in their actions.
9. The spirit soul goes through his own course of karma
and he himself suffers the good and bad results thereby accrued. By his own
actions he entangles himself in samsara, and by his own efforts he
10. The king is obliged to accept the sins of his subjects; the
purohit (priest) suffers for those of the king; a husband suffers for
those of his wife; and the guru suffers for those of his pupils.
11. A father who is a chronic debtor, an adulterous mother, a
beautiful wife, and an unlearned son are enemies ( in one's own home).
12. Conciliate a covetous man by means of a gift, an obstinate
man with folded hands in salutation, a fool by humouring him, and a learned man
by truthful words.
13. It is better to be without a kingdom than to rule over a
petty one; better to be without a friend than to befriend a rascal; better to be
without a disciple than to have a stupid one; and better to be without a wife
than to have a bad one.
14. How can people be made happy in a petty kingdom? What peace
can we expect from a rascal friend? What happiness can we have at home in the
company of a bad wife? How can renown be gained by instructing an unworthy
15. Learn one thing from a lion; one from a crane; four a cock;
five from a crow; six from a dog; and three from an ass.
16. The one excellent thing that can be learned from a lion is
that whatever a man intends doing should be done by him with a whole-hearted and
17. The wise man should restrain his senses like the crane and
accomplish his purpose with due knowledge of his place, time and ability.
18. To wake at the proper time; to take a bold stand and fight;
to make a fair division (of property) among relations; and to earn one's own
bread by personal exertion are the four excellent things to be learned from a
19. Union in privacy (with one's wife); boldness; storing away
useful items; watchfulness; and not easily trusting others; these five things
are to be learned from a crow.
20. Contentment with little or nothing to eat although one may
have a great appetite; to awaken instantly although one may be in a deep
slumber; unflinching devotion to the master; and bravery; these six qualities
should be learned from the dog.
21. Although an ass is tired, he continues to carry his burden;
he is unmindful of cold and heat; and he is always contented; these three things
should be learned from the ass.
22. He who shall practice these twenty virtues shall become
invincible in all his undertakings.
1. A wise man should not reveal his loss of wealth, the
vexation of his mind, the misconduct of his own wife, base words spoken by
others, and disgrace that has befallen him.
2. He who gives up shyness in monetary dealings, in acquiring
knowledge, in eating and in business, becomes happy.
3. The happiness and peace attained by those satisfied by the
nectar of spiritual tranquillity is not attained by greedy persons restlessly
moving here and there.
4. One should feel satisfied with the following three things;
his own wife, food given by Providence and wealth acquired by honest effort; but
one should never feel satisfied with the following three; study, chanting the
holy names of the Lord (japa) and charity.
5. Do not pass between two brahmanas, between a
brahmana and his sacrificial fire, between a wife and her husband, a
master and his servant, and a plough and an ox.
6. Do not let your foot touch fire, the spiritual master or a
brahmana; it must never touch a cow, a virgin, an old person or a
7. Keep one thousand cubits away from an elephant, a hundred
from a horse, ten from a horned beast, but keep away from the wicked by leaving
8. An elephant is controlled by a goad (ankusha), a
horse by a slap of the hand, a horned animal with the show of a stick, and a
rascal with a sword.
9. Brahmanas find satisfaction in a good meal, peacocks
in the peal of thunder, a sadhu in seeing the prosperity of others, and
the wicked in the misery of others.
10. Conciliate a strong man by submission, a wicked man by
opposition, and the one whose power is equal to yours by politeness or
11. The power of a king lies in his mighty arms; that of a
brahmana in his spiritual knowledge; and that of a woman in her beauty
youth and sweet words.
12. Do not be very upright in your dealings for you would see
by going to the forest that straight trees are cut down while crooked ones are
13. Swans live wherever there is water, and leave the place
where water dries up; let not a man act so -- and come and goas he pleases.
14. Accumulated wealth is saved by spending just as incoming
fresh water is saved by letting out stagnant water.
15. He who has wealth has friends and relations; he alone
survives and is respected as a man.
16. The following four characteristics of the denizens of
heaven may be seen in the residents of this earth planet; charity, sweet words,
worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and satisfying the needs of
17. The following qualities of the denizens of hell may
characterise men on earth; extreme wrath, harsh speech, enmity with one's
relations, the company with the base, and service to men of low extraction.
18. By going to the den of a lion pearls from the head of an
elephant may be obtained; but by visiting the hole of a jackal nothing but the
tail of a calf or a bit of the hide of an ass may found.
19. The life of an uneducated man is as useless as the tail of
a dog which neither covers its rear end, nor protects it from the bites of
20. Purity of speech, of the mind, of the senses, and the of a
compassionate heart are needed by one who desires to rise to the divine
21. As you seek fragrance in a flower, oil in the sesamum seed,
fire in wood, ghee in milk, and jaggery (guda) in sugarcane; so seek the
spirit that is in the body by means of discrimination.
1. Low class men desire wealth; middle class men both wealth
and respect; but the noble, honour only; hence honour is the noble man's true
3. The lamp eats up the darkness and therefore it produces lamp
black; in the same way according to the nature of our diet (sattva, rajas,
or tamas) we produce offspring in similar quality.
4. O wise man! Give your wealth only to the worthy and never to
others. The water of the sea received by the clouds is always sweet. The rain
water enlivens all living beings of the earth both movable (insects, animals,
humans, etc.) and immovable (plants, trees, etc.), and then returns to the ocean
it value multiplied a million fold.
5. The wise who discern the essence of things have declared
that the yavana (meat eater) is equal in baseness to a thousand
candalas the lowest class), and hence a yavana is the basest of
men; indeed there is no one more base.
6. After having rubbed oil on the body, after encountering the
smoke from a funeral pyre, after sexual intercourse, and after being shaved, one
remains a chandala until he bathes.
7. Water is the medicine for indigestion; it is invigorating
when the food that is eaten is well digested; it is like nectar when drunk in
the middle of a dinner; and it is like poison when taken at the end of a
8. Knowledge is lost without putting it into practice; a man is
lost due to ignorance; an army is lost without a commander; and a woman is lost
without a husband.
9. A man who encounters the following three is unfortunate; the
death of his wife in his old age, the entrusting of money into the hands of
relatives, and depending upon others for food.
10. Chanting of the Vedas without making ritualistic
sacrifices to the Supreme Lord through the medium of Agni, and sacrifices not
followed by bountiful gifts are futile. Perfection can be achieved only through
devotion (to the Supreme Lord) for devotion is the basis of all success.
13. There is no austerity equal to a balanced mind, and there
is no happiness equal to contentment; there is no disease like covetousness, and
no virtue like mercy.
14. Anger is a personification of Yama (the demigod of death);
thirst is like the hellish river Vaitarani; knowledge is like a kamadhenu
(the cow of plenty); and contentment is like Nandanavana (the garden of
15. Moral excellence is an ornament for personal beauty;
righteous conduct, for high birth; success for learning; and proper spending for
16. Beauty is spoiled by an immoral nature; noble birth by bad
conduct; learning, without being perfected; and wealth by not being properly
17. Water seeping into the earth is pure; and a devoted wife is
pure; the king who is the benefactor of his people is pure; and pure is the
brahmana who is contented.
18. Discontented brahmanas, contented kings, shy
prostitutes, and immodest housewives are ruined.
19. Of what avail is a high birth if a person is destitute of
scholarship? A man who is of low extraction is honoured even y the demigods if
he is learned.
20. A learned man is honoured by the people. A learned man
commands respect everywhere for his learning. Indeed, learning is honoured
21. those who are endowed with beauty and youth and who are
born of noble families are worthless if they have no learning. They are just
like the kimshuka blossoms ( flowers of the palasa tree) which,
though beautiful, have no fragrance.
22. The earth is encumbered with the weight of the
flesh-eaters, wine-bibblers, dolts and blockheads, who are beasts in the form of
23. There is no enemy like a yajna (sacrifice) which
consumes the kingdom when not attended by feeding on a large scale; consumes the
priest when the chanting is not done properly; and consumes the yajaman
(the responsible person) when the gifts are not made.
1. My dear child, if you desire to be free from the cycle of
birth and death, then abandon the objects of sense gratification as poison.
Drink instead the nectar of forbearance, upright conduct, mercy, cleanliness and
2. Those base men who speak of the secret faults of others
destroy themselves like serpents who stray onto anthills.
3. Perhaps nobody has advised Lord Brahma, the creator, to
impart perfume to gold; fruit to the sugarcane; flowers to the sandalwood tree;
wealth to the learned; and long life to the king.
4. Nectar (amrita) is the best among medicines; eating
good food is the best of all types of material happiness; the eye is the chief
among all organs; and the head occupies the chief position among all parts of
5. No messenger can travel about in the sky and no tidings come
from there. The voice of its inhabitants as never heard, nor can any contact be
established with them. Therefore the brahmana who predicts the eclipse of
the sun and moon which occur in the sky must be considered as a vidwan
(man of great learning).
6. The student, the servant, the traveller, the hungry person,
the frightened man, the treasury guard, and the steward: these seven ought to be
awakened if they fall asleep.
7. The serpent, the king, the tiger, the stinging wasp, the
small child, the dog owned by other people, and the fool: these seven ought not
to be awakened from sleep.
8. Of those who have studied the Vedas for material
rewards, and those who accept foodstuffs offered by shudras, what potency
have they? They are just like serpents without fangs.
9. He who neither rouses fear by his anger, nor confers a
favour when he is pleased can neither control nor protect. What can he do?
10. The serpent may, without being poisonous, raise high its
hood, but the show of terror is enough to frighten people -- whether he be
venomous or not.
11. Wise men spend their mornings in discussing gambling, the
afternoon discussing the activities of women, and the night hearing about the
activities of theft. (The first item above refers to the gambling of King
Yuddhisthira, the great devotee of Krsna. The second item refers to the glorious
deeds of mother Sita, the consort of Lord Ramachandra. The third item hints at
the adorable childhood pastimes of Sri Krsna who stole butter from the elderly
cowherd ladies of Gokula. Hence Chanakya Pandita advises wise persons to spend
the morning absorbed in Mahabharata, the afternoon studying
Ramayana, and the evening devotedly hearing the
12. By preparing a garland for a Deity with one's own hand; by
grinding sandal paste for the Lord with one's own hand; and by writing sacred
texts with one's own hand -- one becomes blessed with opulence equal to that of
14. Poverty is set off by fortitude; shabby garments by keeping
them clean; bad food by warming it; and ugliness by good behaviour.
1. One destitute of wealth is not destitute, he is indeed rich
(if he is learned); but the man devoid of learning is destitute in every
2. We should carefully scrutinise that place upon which we step
(having it ascertained to be free from filth and living creatures like insects,
etc.); we should drink water which has been filtered (through a clean cloth); we
should speak only those words which have the sanction of the satras; and
do that act which we have carefully considered.
3. He who desires sense gratification must give up all thoughts
of acquiring knowledge; and he who seeks knowledge must not hope for sense
gratification. How can he who seeks sense gratification acquire knowledge, and
he who possesses knowledge enjoy mundane sense pleasure?
4. What is it that escapes the observation of poets? What is
that act women are incapable of doing? What will drunken people not prate? What
will not a crow eat?
5. Fate makes a beggar a king and a king a beggar. He makes a
rich man poor and a poor man rich.
6. The beggar is a miser's enemy; the wise counsellor is the
fool's enemy; her husband is an adulterous wife's enemy; and the moon is the
enemy of the thief.
7. Those who are destitute of learning, penance, knowledge,
good disposition, virtue and benevolence are brutes wandering the earth in the
form of men. They are burdensome to the earth.
8. Those that are empty-minded cannot be benefited by
instruction. Bamboo does not acquire the quality of sandalwood by being
associated with the Malaya Mountain.
9. What good can the scriptures do to a man who has no sense of
his own? Of what use is as mirror to a blind man?
10. Nothing can reform a bad man, just as the posterious cannot
become a superior part of the body though washed one hundred times.
11. By offending a kinsman, life is lost; by offending others,
wealth is lost; by offending the king, everything is lost; and by offending a
brahmana one's whole family is ruined.
12. It is better to live under a tree in a jungle inhabited by
tigers and elephants, to maintain oneself in such a place with ripe fruits and
spring water, to lie down on grass and to wear the ragged barks of trees than to
live amongst one's relations when reduced to poverty.
13. The brahmana is like tree; his prayers are the
roots, his chanting of the Vedas are the branches, and his religious act
are the leaves. Consequently effort should be made to preserve his roots for if
the roots are destroyed there can be no branches or leaves.
14. My mother is Kamala devi (Lakshmi), my father is Lord
Janardana (Vishnu), my kinsmen are the Vishnu-bhaktas (Vaisnavas) and, my
homeland is all the three worlds.
15. (Through the night) a great many kinds of birds perch on a
tree but in the morning they fly in all the ten directions. Why should we lament
for that? (Similarly, we should not grieve when we must inevitably part company
from our dear ones).
16. He who possesses intelligence is strong; how can the man
that is unintelligent be powerful? The elephant of the forest having lost his
senses by intoxication was tricked into a lake by a small rabbit. (this verse
refers to a famous story from the niti-sastra called pancatantra
compiled by the pandit Vishnusharma 2500 years ago).
17. Why should I be concerned for my maintenance while absorbed
in praising the glories of Lord Vishwambhara (Vishnu), the supporter of all.
Without the grace of Lord Hari, how could milk flow from a mother's breast for a
child's nourishment? Repeatedly thinking only in this way, O Lord of the Yadus,
O husband of Lakshmi, all my time is spent in serving Your lotus feet.
1. Generosity, pleasing address, courage and propriety of
conduct are not acquired, but are inbred qualities.
2. He who forsakes his own community and joins another perishes
as the king who embraces an unrighteous path.
3. The elephant has a huge body but is controlled by the
ankusha (goad): yet, is the goad as large as the elephant? A lighted
candle banishes darkness: is the candle as vast as the darkness. A mountain is
broken even by a thunderbolt: is the thunderbolt therefore as big as the
mountain? No, he whose power prevails is really mighty; what is there in
5. He who is engrossed in family life will never acquire
knowledge; there can be no mercy in the eater of flesh; the greedy man will not
be truthful; and purity will not be found in a woman a hunter.
6. The wicked man will not attain sanctity even if he is
instructed in different ways, and the nim tree will not become sweet even
if it is sprinkled from the top to the roots with milk and ghee.
7. Mental dirt cannot be washed away even by one-hundred baths
in the sacred waters, just as a wine pot cannot be purified even by evaporating
all the wine by fire.
8. It is not strange if a man reviles a thing of which he has
no knowledge, just as a wild hunter's wife throws away the pearl that is found
in the head of an elephant, and picks up a gunj(a type of seed which poor
tribals wear as ornaments).
9. He who for one year eats his meals silently (inwardly
meditating upon the Lord's prasadam); attains to the heavenly planets for
a thousand crore of years. ( Note: one crore equals ten million)
10. The student (brahmacari) should completely renounce
the following eight things -- his lust, anger, greed, desire for sweets, sense
of decorating the body, excessive curiosity, excessive sleep, and excessive
endeavour for bodily maintenance.
12. He alone is a true brahmana (dvija or
"twice-born") who is satisfied with one meal a day, who has the six
samskaras (or acts of purification such as garbhadhana, etc.)
performed for him, and who cohabits with his wife only once in a month on an
auspicious day after her menses.
13. The brahmana who is engrossed in worldly affairs,
brings up cows and is engaged in trade is really called a vaishya.
14. The brahmana who deals in lac-die, articles, oil,
indigo, silken cloth, honey, clarified butter, liquor, and flesh is called a
15. The brahmana who thwarts the doings of others, who
is hypocritical, selfish, and a deceitful hater, and while speaking mildly
cherishes cruelty in his heart, is called a cat.
16. The brahmana who destroys a pond, a well, a tank, a
garden and a temple is called a mleccha.
17. The brahmana who steals the property of the Deities
and the spiritual preceptor, who cohabits with another's wife, and who maintains
himself by eating anything and everything s called a chandala.
18. The meritorious should give away in charity all that they
have in excess of their needs. By charity only Karna, Bali and King Vikramaditya
survive even today. Just see the plight of the honeybees beating their legs in
despair upon the earth. They are saying to themselves, "Alas! We neither enjoyed
our stored-up honey nor gave it in charity, and now someone has taken it from us
in an instant."
1. He is a blessed grhasta (householder) in whose house
there is a blissful atmosphere, whose sons are talented, whose wife speaks
sweetly, whose wealth is enough to satisfy his desires, who finds pleasure in
the company of his wife, whose servants are obedient, in whose house hospitality
is shown, the auspicious Supreme Lord is worshiped daily, delicious food and
drink is partaken, and who finds joy in the company of devotees.
2. One who devotedly gives a little to a brahmana who is
in distress is recompensed abundantly. Hence, O Prince, what is given to a good
brahmana is got back not in an equal quantity, but in an infinitely
3. Those men who are happy in this world, who are generous
towards their relatives, kind to strangers, indifferent to the wicked, loving to
the good, shrewd in their dealings with the base, frank with the learned,
courageous with enemies, humble with elders and stern with the wife.
4. O jackal, leave aside the body of that man at once, whose
hands have never given in charity, whose ears have not heard the voice of
learning, whose eyes have not beheld a pure devotee of the Lord, whose feet have
never traversed to holy places, whose belly is filled with things obtained by
crooked practices, and whose head is held high in vanity. Do not eat it, O
jackal, otherwise you will become polluted.
5. "Shame upon those who have no devotion to the lotus feet of
Sri Krsna, the son of mother Yasoda; who have no attachment for the describing
the glories of Srimati Radharani; whose ears are not eager to listen to the
stories of the Lord's lila." Such is the exclamation of the mrdanga sound
of dhik-tam dhik-tam dhigatam at kirtana.
6. What fault of spring that the bamboo shoot has no leaves?
What fault of the sun if the owl cannot see during the daytime? Is it the fault
of the clouds if no raindrops fall into the mouth of the chatak bird? Who
can erase what Lord Brahma has inscribed upon our foreheads at the time of
7. A wicked man may develop saintly qualities in the company of
a devotee, but a devotee does not become impious in the company of a wicked
person. The earth is scented by a flower that falls upon it, but the flower does
not contact the odour of the earth.
8. One indeed becomes blessed by having darshan of a
devotee; for the devotee has the ability to purify immediately, whereas the
sacred tirtha gives purity only after prolonged contact.
9. A stranger asked a brahmana, "Tell me, who is great
in this city?" The brahmana replied, "The cluster of palmyra trees is
great." Then the traveller asked, "Who is the most charitable person?" The
brahmana answered, "The washerman who takes the clothes in the morning
and gives them back in the evening is the most charitable." He then asked, "Who
is the ablest man?" The brahmana answered, "Everyone is expert in robbing
others of their wives and wealth." The man hen asked the brahmana, "How
do you manage to live in such a city?" The brahmana replied, "As a worm
survives while even in a filthy place so do I survive here!"
10. The house in which the lotus feet of brahmanas are
not washed, in which Vedic mantras are not loudly recited, and in which
the holy rites of svaha (sacrificial offerings to the Supreme Lord) and
swadha (offerings to the ancestors) are not performed, is like a
11. (It is said that a sadhu, when asked about his
family, replied thusly): truth is my mother, and my father is spiritual
knowledge; righteous conduct is my brother, and mercy is my friend, inner peace
is my wife, and forgiveness is my son: these six are my kinsmen.
12. Our bodies are perishable, wealth is not at all permanent
and death is always nearby. Therefore we must immediately engage in acts of
13. Arjuna says to Krsna. "Brahmanas find joy in going
to feasts, cows find joy in eating their tender grass, wives find joy in the
company of their husbands, and know, O Krsna, that in the same way I rejoice in
14. He who regards another's wife as his mother, the wealth
that does not belong to him as a lump of mud, and the pleasure and pain of all
other living beings as his own -- truly sees things in the right perspective,
and he is a true pandit.
15. O Raghava, the love of virtue, pleasing speech, and an
ardent desire for performing acts of charity, guileless dealings with friends,
humility in the guru's presence , deep tranquillity of mind, pure conduct,
discernment of virtues, realised knowledge of the sastras, beauty of form
and devotion to God are all found in you." (The great sage Vasistha Muni, the
spiritual preceptor of the dynasty of the sun, said this to Lord Ramachandra at
the time of His proposed coronation).
16. The desire tree is wood; the golden Mount Meru is
motionless; the wish-fulfilling gem cintamani is just a stone; the sun is
scorching; the moon is prone to wane; the boundless ocean is saline; the demigod
of lust lost his body (due to Shiva's wrath); Bali Maharaja, the son of Diti,
was born into a clan of demons; and Kamadhenu (the cow of heaven) is a mere
beast. O Lord of the Raghu dynasty! I cannot compare you to any one of these
(taking their merits into account).
17. Realised learning (vidya) is our friend while
travelling , the wife is a friend at home, medicine is the friend of a sick man,
and meritorious deeds are the friends at death.
18. Courtesy should be learned from princes, the art of
conversation from pandits, lying should be learned from gamblers and
deceitful ways should be learned from women.
19. The unthinking spender, the homeless urchin, the quarrel
monger, the man who neglects his wife and is heedless in his actions -- all
these will soon come to ruination.
20. The wise man should not be anxious about his food; he
should be anxious to be engaged only in dharma (Krsna consciousness). the
food of each man is created for him at his birth.
21. He who is not shy in the acquisition of wealth, grain and
knowledge, and in taking his meals, will be happy
22. As centesimal droppings will fill a pot so also are
knowledge, virtue and wealth gradually obtained.
23. The man who remains a fool even in advanced age is really a
fool, just as the Indra-Varuna fruit does not become sweet no matter how ripe it
1. A man may live but for a moment, but that moment should be
spent in doing auspicious deeds. It is useless living even for a kalpa
(4,320,000 *1000 years) and bringing only distress upon the two worlds (this
world and the next).
2. We should not fret for what is past, nor should we be
anxious about the future; men of discernment deal only with the present
3. It certainly is nature of the demigods, men of good
character, and parents to be easily pleased. Near and distant relatives are
pleased when they are hospitably received with bathing, food, and drink; and
pandits are pleased with an opportunity for giving spiritual
4 Even as the unborn babe is in the womb of his mother, these
five are fixed as his life destiny: his life span, his activities, his
acquisition of wealth and knowledge, and his time of death.
5. O see what a wonder it is! The doings of the great are
strange: they treat wealth as light as a straw, yet, when they obtain it, they
bend under its weight.
6. He who is overly attached to his family members experiences
fear and sorrow, for the root of all grief is attachment. Thus one should
discard attachment to be happy.
7. He who is prepared for the future and he who deals cleverly
with any situation that may arise are both happy; but the fatalistic man who
wholly depends on luck is ruined.
8. If the king is virtuous, then the subjects are also
virtuous. If the king is sinful, then the subjects also become sinful. If he is
mediocre, then the subjects are mediocre. The subjects follow the example of the
king. In short, as is the king so are the subjects.
9. I consider him who does not act religiously as dead though
living, but he who dies acting religiously unquestionably lives long though he
10. He who has acquired neither virtue, wealth, satisfaction of
desires nor salvation (dharma, artha, kama, moksa), lives an utterly
useless life, like the "nipples" hanging from the neck of a goat.
11. The hearts of base men burn before the fire of other's
fame, and they slander them being themselves unable to rise to such a high
12. Excessive attachment to sense pleasures leads to bondage,
and detachment from sense pleasures leads to liberation; therefore it is the
mind alone that is responsible for bondage or liberation.
13. He who sheds bodily identification by means of knowledge of
the indwelling Supreme Self (Paramatma), will always be absorbed in
meditative trance (samadhi) wherever his mind leads him.
14. Who realises all the happiness he desires? Everything is in
the hands of God. Therefore one should learn contentment.
15. As a calf follows its mother among a thousand cows, so the
(good or bad) deeds of a man follow him.
16. He whose actions are disorganised has no happiness either
in the midst of men or in a jungle -- in the midst of men his heart burns by
social contacts, and his helplessness burns him in the forest.
17. As the man who digs obtains underground water by use of a
shovel, so the student attains the knowledge possessed by his preceptor through
18. Men reap the fruits of their deeds, and intellects bear the
mark of deeds performed in previous lives; even so the wise act after due
19. Even the man who has taught the spiritual significance of
just one letter ought to be worshiped. He who does not give reverence to such a
guru is born as a dog a hundred times, and at last takes birth as a
20. At the end of the yuga, Mount Meru may be shaken; at
the end of the kalpa, the waters of the seven oceans may be disturbed;
but a sadhu will never swerve from the spiritual path.
21. There are three gems upon this earth; food, water, and
pleasing words -- fools (mudhas) consider pieces of rocks as gems.
1. Poverty, disease, sorrow, imprisonment and other evils are
the fruits borne by the tree of one's own sins.
2. Wealth, a friend, a wife, and a kingdom may be regained; but
this body when lost may never be acquired again.
3. The enemy can be overcome by the union of large numbers,
just as grass through its collectiveness wards off erosion caused by heavy
4. Oil on water, a secret communicated to a base man, a gift
given to a worthy receiver, and scriptural instruction given to an intelligent
man spread out by virtue of their nature.
5. If men should always retain the state of mind they
experience when hearing religious instruction, when present at a crematorium
ground, and when in sickness -- then who could not attain liberation.
6. If a man should feel before, as he feels after, repentance
-- then who would not attain perfection?
7. We should not feel pride in our charity, austerity, valour,
scriptural knowledge, modesty and morality for the world is full of the rarest
8. He who lives in our mind is near though he may actually be
far away; but he who is not in our heart is far though he may really be
9. We should always speak what would please the man of whom we
expect a favour, like the hunter who sings sweetly when he desires to shoot a
10. It is ruinous to be familiar with the king, fire, the
religious preceptor, and a woman. To be altogether indifferent of them is to be
deprived of the opportunity to benefit ourselves, hence our association with
them must be from a safe distance.
11. We should always deal cautiously with fire, water, women,
foolish people, serpents, and members of a royal family; for they may, when the
occasion presents itself, at once bring about our death.
12. He should be considered to be living who is virtuous and
pious, but the life of a man who is destitute of religion and virtues is void of
13. If you wish to gain control of the world by the performance
of a single deed, then keep the following fifteen, which are prone to wander
here and there, from getting the upper hand of you: the five sense objects
(objects of sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch); the five sense organs (ears,
eyes, nose, tongue and skin) and organs of activity (hands, legs, mouth,
genitals and anus).
14. He is a pandit (man of knowledge) who speaks what is
suitable to the occasion, who renders loving service according to his ability,
and who knows the limits of his anger.
15 One single object (a woman) appears in three different ways:
to the man who practices austerity it appears as a corpse, to the sensual it
appears as a woman, and to the dogs as a lump of flesh.
16. A wise man should not divulge the formula of a medicine
which he has well prepared; an act of charity which he has performed; domestic
conflicts; private affairs with his wife; poorly prepared food he may have been
offered; or slang he may have heard.
17. The cuckoos remain silent for a long time (for several
seasons) until they are able to sing sweetly (in the Spring ) so as to give joy
18. We should secure and keep the following: the blessings of
meritorious deeds, wealth, grain, the words of the spiritual master, and rare
medicines. Otherwise life becomes impossible.
19. Eschew wicked company and associate with saintly persons.
Acquire virtue day and night, and always meditate on that which is eternal
forgetting that which is temporary.
1. For one whose heart melts with compassion for all creatures;
what is the necessity of knowledge, liberation, matted hair on the head, and
smearing the body with ashes.
2. There is no treasure on earth the gift of which will cancel
the debt a disciple owes his guru for having taught him even a single
letter ( that leads to Krsna consciousness).
3. There are two ways to get rid of thorns and wicked persons;
using footwear in the first case and in the second shaming them so that they
cannot raise their faces again thus keeping them at a distance.
4. He who wears unclean garments, has dirty teeth, as a
glutton, speaks unkindly and sleeps after sunrise -- although he may be the
greatest personality -- will lose the favour of Lakshmi.
5. He who loses his money is forsaken by his friends, his wife,
his servants and his relations; yet when he regains his riches those who have
forsaken him come back to him. Hence wealth is certainly the best of
6. Sinfully acquired wealth may remain for ten years; in the
eleventh year it disappears with even the original stock.
7. A bad action committed by a great man is not censured (as
there is none that can reproach him), and a good action performed by a low-class
man comes to be condemned (because none respects him). Just see: the drinking of
nectar is excellent, but it became the cause of Rahu's demise; and the drinking
of poison is harmful, but when Lord Shiva (who is exalted) drank it, it became
an ornament to his neck (nila-kanta).
8. A true meal is that which consists of the remnants left
after a brahmana's meal. Love which is shown to others is true love, not
that which is cherished for one's own self. to abstain from sin is true wisdom.
That is an act of charity which is performed without ostentation.
9. For want of discernment the most precious jewels lie in the
dust at the feet of men while bits of glass are worn on their heads. But we
should not imagine that the gems have sunk in value, and the bits of glass have
risen in importance. When a person of critical judgement shall appear, each will
be given its right position.
10. Sastric knowledge is unlimited, and the arts to be
learned are many; the time we have is short, and our opportunities to learn are
beset with obstacles. Therefore select for learning that which is most
important, just as the swan drinks only the milk in water.
11. He is a chandala who eats his dinner without
entertaining the stranger who has come to his house quite accidentally, having
travelled from a long distance and is wearied.
12. One may know the four Vedas and the
Dharma-sastras, yet if he has no realisation of his own spiritual self,
he can be said to be like the ladle which stirs all kinds of foods but knows not
the taste of any.
13. Those blessed souls are certainly elevated who, while
crossing the ocean of life, take shelter of a genuine brahmana, who is
likened unto a boat. They are unlike passengers aboard an ordinary ship which
runs the risk of sinking.
14. The moon, who is the abode of nectar and the presiding
deity of all medicines, although immortal like amrta and resplendent in
form, loses the brilliance of his rays when he repairs to the abode of the sun
(day time). Therefore will not an ordinary man be made to feel inferior by going
to live at the house of another.
15. This humble bee, who always resides among the soft petals
of the lotus and drinks abundantly its sweet nectar, is now feasting on the
flower of the ordinary kutaja. Being in a strange country where the
lotuses do not exist, he is considering the pollen of the kutaja to be
16. (Lord Visnu asked His spouse Lakshmi why She did not care
to live in the house of a brahmana, when She replied) " O Lord a
rishi named Agastya drank up My father (the ocean) in anger; Brighu Muni
kicked You; brahmanas pride themselves on their learning having sought
the favour of My competitor Sarasvati; and lastly they pluck each day the lotus
which is My abode, and therewith worship Lord Shiva. Therefore, O Lord, I fear
to dwell with a brahmana and that properly.
17. There are many ways of binding by which one can be
dominated and controlled in this world, but the bond of affection is the
strongest. For example, take the case of the humble bee which, although expert
at piercing hardened wood, becomes caught in the embrace of its beloved flowers
(as the petals close at dusk).
18. Although sandalwood be cut, it does not forsake its natural
quality of fragrance; so also the elephant does not give up sportiveness though
he should grow old. The sugarcane does not cease to be sweet though squeezed in
a mill; so the man of noble extraction does not lose his lofty qualities, no
matter how pinched he is by poverty.
2. The heart of a woman is not united; it is divided. While she
is talking with one man, she looks lustfully at another and thinks fondly of a
third in her heart.
3. The fool (mudha) who fancies that a charming young
lady loves him, becomes her slave and he dances like a shakuntal bird
tied to a string.
4. Who is there who, having become rich, has not become proud?
What licentious man has put an end to his calamities? What man in this world has
not been overcome by a woman? Who is always loved by the king? Who is there who
has not been overcome by the ravages of time? What beggar has attained glory?
Who has become happy by contracting the vices of the wicked?
6. A man attains greatness by his merits, not simply by
occupying an exalted seat. Can we call a crow an eagle (garuda) simply
because he sits on the top of a tall building.
8. The man who is praised by others as great is regarded as
worthy though he may be really void of all merit. But the man who sings his own
praises lowers himself in the estimation of others though he should be Indra
(the possessor of all excellences).
9. If good qualities should characterise a man of
discrimination, the brilliance of his qualities will be recognised just as a gem
which is essentially bright really shines when fixed in an ornament of gold.
10. Even one who by his qualities appears to be all knowing
suffers without patronage; the gem, though precious, requires a gold
11. I do not deserve that wealth which is to be attained by
enduring much suffering, or by transgressing the rules of virtue, or by
flattering an enemy.
13. Those who were not satiated with the enjoyment of wealth,
food and women have all passed away; there are others now passing away who have
likewise remained unsatiated; and in the future still others will pass away
feeling themselves unsatiated.
14. All charities and sacrifices (performed for fruitive gain)
bring only temporary results, but gifts made to deserving persons (those who are
Krsna consciousness) and protection offered to all creatures shall never
15. A blade of grass is light, cotton is lighter, the beggar is
infinitely lighter still. Why then does not the wind carry him away? Because it
fears that he may ask alms of him.
16. It is better to die than to preserve this life by incurring
disgrace. The loss of life causes but a moment's grief, but disgrace brings
grief every day of one's life.
17. All the creatures are pleased by loving words; and
therefore we should address words that are pleasing to all, for there is no lack
of sweet words.
18. There are two nectarean fruits hanging from the tree of
this world: one is the hearing of sweet words (such as Krsna-katha) and
the other, the society of saintly men.
19. The good habits of charity, learning and austerity
practised during many past lives continue to be cultivated in this birth by
virtue of the link (yoga) of this present life to the previous ones.
20. One whose knowledge is confined to books and whose wealth
is in the possession of others, can use neither his knowledge nor wealth when
the need for them arises.
1. The scholar who has acquired knowledge by studying
innumerable books without the blessings of a bonafide spiritual master does not
shine in an assembly of truly learned men just as an illegitimate child is not
honoured in society.
2. We should repay the favours of others by acts of kindness;
so also should we return evil for evil in which there is no sin, for it is
necessary to pay a wicked man in his own coin.
3. That thing which is distant, that thing which appears
impossible, and that which is far beyond our reach, can be easily attained
through tapasya (religious austerity), for nothing can surpass
4. What vice could be worse than covetousness? What is more
sinful than slander? For one who is truthful, what need is there for austerity?
For one who has a clean heart, what is the need for pilgrimage? If one has a
good disposition, what other virtue is needed? If a man has fame, what is the
value of other ornamentation? What need is there for wealth for the man of
practical knowledge? And if a man is dishonoured, what could there be worse in
5. Though the sea, which is the reservoir of all jewels, is the
father of the conch shell, and the Goddess of fortune Lakshmi is conch's sister,
still the conch must go from door to door for alms (in the hands of a beggar).
It is true, therefore, that one gains nothing without having given in the
6. When a man has no strength left in him he becomes a
sadhu, one without wealth acts like a brahmacari, a sick man
behaves like a devotee of the Lord, and when a woman grows old she becomes
devoted to her husband.
8. There is poison in the fang of the serpent, in the mouth of
the fly and in the sting of a scorpion; but the wicked man is saturated with
9. The woman who fasts and observes religious vows without the
permission of her husband shortens his life, and goes to hell.
10. A woman does not become holy by offering by charity, by
observing hundreds of fasts, or by sipping sacred water, as by sipping the water
used to wash her husbands feet.
12. The hand is not so well adorned by ornaments as by
charitable offerings; one does not become clean by smearing sandalwood paste
upon the body as by taking a bath; one does not become so much satisfied by
dinner as by having respect shown to him; and salvation is not attained by
self-adornment as by cultivation of spiritual knowledge.
14. The eating of tundi fruit deprives a man of his
sense, while the vacha root administered revives his reasoning
immediately. A woman at once robs a man of his vigour while milk at once
15. He who nurtures benevolence for all creatures within his
heart overcomes all difficulties and will be the recipient of all types of
riches at every step.
16. What is there to be enjoyed in the world of Lord Indra for
one whose wife is loving and virtuous, who possesses wealth, who has a
well-behaved son endowed with good qualities, and who has a grandchildren born
of his children?
17. Men have eating, sleeping, fearing and mating in common
with the lower animals. That in which men excel the beasts is discretionary
knowledge; hence, indiscreet men who are without knowledge should be regarded as
18. If the bees which seek the liquid oozing from the head of a
lust-intoxicated elephant are driven away by the flapping of his ears, then the
elephant has lost only the ornament of his head. The bees are quite happy in the
lotus filled lake.
19. A king, a prostitute, Lord Yamaraja, fire, a thief, a young
boy, and a beggar cannot understand the suffering of others. The eighth of this
category is the tax collector.
20. O lady, why are you gazing downward? Has something of yours
fallen on the ground? (She replies) O fool, can you not understand the pearl of
my youth has slipped away?
21. O ketki flower! Serpents live in your midst, you
bear no edible fruits, your leaves are covered with thorns, you are crooked in
growth, you thrive in mud, and you are not easily accessible. Still for your
exceptional fragrance you are as dear as a kinsmen to others. Hence, a single
excellence overcomes a multitude of