Thirukkural in English - From chapters 039 to 050
Division II. Wealth
039 Greatness of the king
0381 Who has these six is a lion among kings:
An army, subjects, food, ministers, allies and forts.
0382 These four unfailing mark a king:
Courage, liberality, wisdom and energy.
0383 A ruler should never lack these three:
Diligence, learning and boldness.
0384 He is a honourable king who sticks to virtue,
Removes evil, and is spotless in valour.
0385 He is a king who can do these:
Produce, acquire, conserve and dispense.
0386 That king, who is easy of access and soft-spoken,
Is extolled in his kingdom.
0387 The world listens to all the commands of the king
Who is sweet-spoken and liberal.
0388 A just king, who guards over his subjects,
Will be deemed god by them.
0389 The world is secure under the parasol of the worthy king
Who brooks bitter counsel.
0390 A light among kings is he who has these four:
Grace, bounty, justice and concern.
0391 Learn thoroughly what should be learnt.
And having learnt, stand according to that.
0392 They say: Numbers and other one called Letters
Are the two eyes to live with.
0393 Only the learned have eyes.
The unlearned have two sores on their face!
0394 It is the prowess of scholars that meetings bring delight
And departures leave memories.
0395 The learned learn to humble, like destitute before the rich;
Only the low never learn.
0396 The more you dig a sand-spring, more the flow.
The more you learn more the wisdom.
0397 Why does one stop learning till he dies
When it makes all lands and place his?
0398 The learning acquired in one birth
Protects a man in the next seven.
0399 Seeing that what delights him delights the world,
Gets a scholar also delighted.
0400 The wealth that never declines is learning.
All others are not riches.
0401 To address a gathering ill equipped
Is to play dice without a board.
0402 An illiterate's lust for words is like the lust of a woman
Who has neither of her breasts.
0403 Even a fool is fine
If he can hold his tongue before the wise!
0404 The learned will not acknowledge
An ignoramus' occasional knowledge.
0405 An unlettered man's conceit will find its end
When the occasion for speech arrives.
0406 The ignorant are like barren land:
They are there, but useless.
0407 A handsome man without subtle and sharp intellect
Has the beauty of a mud-doll.
0408 The wealth of the ignorant does more harm
Than the want of the learned.
0409 The ignorant, however high-born,
Is lower than the low-born learned.
0410 Amid scholars of celebrated works,
Are others like beasts among men.
0411 The wealth of wealths is the wealth of hearing;
That wealth out-tops all else.
0412 When there is no food for the ear,
A little can be given to the stomach as well.
0413 As gods in heaven are fed through fire,
So men on earth are fed through their ears.
0414 Though unlettered, listen;
You will find this a great help in distress.
0415 Words from the lips of upright men
Are like a steadying staff in a slippery place.
0416 Listen to the good however little
And even that much will bring great dignity.
0417 Those who have sought and heard much
Will not talk nonsense even by mistake.
0418 Ears may hear and yet remain deaf,
If not drilled by words of instruction.
0419 A modest mouth is hard for those
Whose ears lend not to wise counsels.
0420 What matters if they live or die
Whose taste is in their tongues, not ears?
043 Possession of Wisdom
0421 Wisdom is a weapon of defence,
An inner fortress no foe can raze.
0422 Wisdom checks the wandering mind
And pulls it from ill to good.
0423 The mark of wisdom is to discern the truth
From whatever source it is heard.
0424 Wisdom lies in simplifying intricate facts
And grasping that of others, however intricate.
0425 Prudence goes with the world,
But wisdom is not a lotus to open and shut at will.
0426 It is a part of wisdom to conform
To the ways of the world.
0427 The wise know what comes next.
The unwise lack that wisdom.
0428 It is folly not to fear what ought to be feared.
The wise dread what ought to be dreaded.
0429 No frightful evil shocks the wise
Who guard against surprises.
0430 Those who have wisdom have all:
Fools with all have nothing.
0431 Freedom from arrogance, anger and meanness
Spells dignity in greatness.
0432 Miserliness, undignified pride and fraudulent indulgence
Are flaws in a king.
0433 To those ashamed of wrong doings,
Even millet of fault is as big as a palm-tree.
0434 Guard against error as you would guard wealth,
For error is a foe that kills.
0435 A life that does not guard against faults
Would vanish like a heap of straw before fire.
0436 How can a king be faulted who removes his own fault
Before seeing that of others?
0437 The miser's wealth, unspent on what should be spent,
Does not increase but cease.
0438 That miserliness which clings to men
Is one thing that stands out among all sins.
0439 Never flatter yourself,
Nor delight in deeds that bring no good.
0440 Keep your delights in pleasures unknown
To keep the designs of your foes at bay.
045 Company of the great
0441 Value and secure the friendship
Of the virtuous, mature and wise.
0442 Ally with them who can allay your present ills
And avert those to come.
0443 The rarest of rare things is to seek and secure
The friendship of the great.
0444 The greatest of all strengths come from
Associating with one greater than oneself.
0445 A king's counselors are his eyes
To be chosen with careful counseling.
0446 Foes are rendered ineffective by one
Who lives in fellowship with the worthy.
0447 Who can ruin the man who commands
The friendship of those who can reprove him?
0448 A king unguarded with reproving counsel
Needs no foes to come to grief.
0449 There can be no gain without capital,
And no stability unpropped by wise counsel.
0450 To give up good friends is ten times worse than
Being hated by countless foes.
046 Avoiding mean company
0451 The great fear the company of the base.
Only the mean take them as kinsmen.
0452 Nature of soil governs the quality of water.
One's wisdom by the nature of company.
0453 Perceptions spring from nature
And character from company.
0454 Wisdom which seems to come from the mind
Comes really from one's company.
0455 The pure thought and the pure deed, these two,
Come from pure company.
0456 Good legacy is for the pure-minded.
No evil deeds befall men of pure company.
0457 A good mind is an asset to everyone
While good company contributes to glory.
0458 Even though the wise have a good mind,
They strengthen it by good company.
0459 Purity of mind leads to heaven,
But even that is secured by good company.
0460 There is no greater aid than good company,
Nor worse affliction than bad.
047 Planned action
0461 Act after taking into account the cost,
The benefit and the resultant net.
0462 Nothing is hard for him who acts with
Worthy counsels weighing facts.
0463 The wise will never, in the hope of profit,
Launch an undertaking to lose their capital.
0464 Those who fear the disgrace of failure
Will not launch thoughtless ventures.
0465 Ill considered aggressive operations serve
Only to mobilize and strengthen the enemy.
0466 It is ruinous to do what should not be done,
And ruinous to leave undone what should be done.
0467 Think before you launch.
To launch and then think is disgrace.
0468 Undetermined efforts of any scheme
Are bound to fail even if backed by many.
0469 Even perfect schemes can fail when there is
Imperfection in the division of labour.
0470 Think and act without incurring scorn.
The world will not approve what is improper.
048 Knowing the strength
0471 Weigh the strengths of the task, yourselves,
Opponents, and allies before acting.
0472 Nothing is impossible for him
Who knows his task and strength, and is well set.
0473 Ignorant of their strengths,
Many in their zeal have perished midway.
0474 The inadaptable have speedy end
Who boast unconcerned of their real strengths.
0475 Too great a load of even peacock-feathers
Will break the axle-tree of the cart.
0476 Persisting to climb beyond the terminal branches of a tree
Will forfeit one's life.
0477 Know the limit and grant with measure.
This is the way to guard your treasure.
0478 No harm if income is narrow
If outgoings are not broad.
0479 A life lived without adjustment to the means
May seem to prosper but will perish.
0480 He who is generous beyond his means
Will quickly lose the measure of his wealth.
049 Knowing the time
0481 A crow can defeat an owl by day.
Kings need the right time to win.
0482 The rope that binds Fortune
Is deeds done at the right time.
0483 What is impossible
If right means are adopted at the right time?
0484 Even the world will be yours,
If you act choosing the right time and place.
0485 Those who hope for the world wait unperturbed
Hoping for the right moment.
0486 The restraint of an active person
Is akin to the retreat of a butting ram.
0487 The wise do not burst with rage.
They hold it for the right time.
0488 The best is to bear with your enemy
Till the time comes to topple him.
0489 Hesitate not to seize opportunities rare,
And achieve tasks otherwise hard.
0490 Bide your time like the stork, and like it
Strike at the opportune moment.
050 Knowing the place
0491 Don't despise your foe, nor start any action
Till you find a place to besiege him.
0492 A fortress gives numerous advantages
Even to men of strength and valour.
0493 Even the weak can fight enemies with determination
If they choose the right place.
0494 When fighters fight from strategic locations,
Enemies lose their strategic plans.
0495 A crocodile prevails in deep waters;
But when out of water, others prevail over it.
0496 A mighty chariot cannot run in the sea,
Nor a boat navigate land.
0497 No other aid than courage is needed
If one ponders from which place to pounce.
0498 A large army will lose its morale
If driven to a place meant for a small one.
0499 Men on their own ground are hard to tackle
Even when they lack fortress and strength.
0500 A fearless tusker that defies spearman, if caught in a bog,
Will be overcome by jackals.