Chapters 1 to 38
Translation by Saiva Siddhanta Church
Section One: On Virtue
Chapter 1 Praising God
“A” is the first and source of all the letters. Even so is
God Primordial the first and source of all the world.
What has learning profited a man, if it has not led him
to worship the Good Feet of Him who is pure knowledge itself?
The Supreme dwells within the lotus of the heart. Those who reach
His Splendid Feet dwell enduringly within unearthly realms.
Draw near the Feet of Him who is free of desire
and aversion, and live forever free of suffering.
Good and bad, delusion’s dual deeds, do not cling to those
who delight in praising the Immutable, Worshipful One.
A long and joyous life rewards those who remain firmly
on the faultless path of Him who controls the five senses.
They alone dispel the mind’s distress
who take refuge at the Feet of the Incomparable One.
They alone can cross life’s other oceans who take refuge
at the Feet of the Gracious One, Himself an Ocean of Virtue.
The head which cannot bow before the Feet of the Possessor of
eight infinite powers is like the senses lacking the power to perceive.
The boundless ocean of births can be crossed, indeed,
but not without intimate union with Infinity’s Holy Feet.
Chapter 2 on The Importance of Rain
It is the unfailing fall of rain that sustains the world.
Therefore, look upon rain as the nectar of life.
Rain produces man’s wholesome food;
and rain itself forms part of his food besides.
Though oceanic waters surround it, the world will be deluged
by hunger’s hardships if the billowing clouds betray us.
When clouds withhold their watery wealth,
farmers cease to ply their plows.
It is rain that ruins, and it is rain again
that raises up those it has ruined.
Unless raindrops fall from the sky,
not a blade of green grass will rise from the earth.
The very nature of oceans, though vast, would diminish
if clouds ceased to take up water and replenish rain’s gifts.
Should the heavens dry up, worship here of the heavenly ones
in festivals and daily rites would wither.
Unless the heavens grant their gifts, neither the giver’s generosity
nor the ascetic’s detachment will grace this wide world.
No life on Earth can exist without water,
and water’s ceaseless flow cannot exist without rain.
Chapter 3 on The Greatness of Renunciates
The Scriptures exalt above every other good
the greatness of virtuous renunciates.
Attempting to speak of the renunciate’s magnitude is like
numbering all the human multitudes who have ever died.
Behold those who have weighed the dual nature of things and
followed the renunciate’s way. Their greatness illumines the world.
He whose firm will, wisdom’s goading hook, controls his five senses
is a seed that will flourish in the fields of Heaven.
Such is the power of those who subdue the five senses, that even Indra,
sovereign of spacious Heaven’s celestials, suffered their curse.
The magnificent ones are they who can dispatch the most
difficult tasks; the insignificant ones are they who cannot.
Touch, taste, sight, smell and hearing are the senses—
he who controls these five magically controls the world.
Their own subtle sayings reveal to the world
the greatness of men whose words prove prophetic.
It is impossible to endure, even for a second, the wrath of those
who have scaled and stand upon the mountain called virtue.
Pious men are called the priestly ones,
for they are clothed in robes of compassion for all life.
Chapter 4 on Asserting Virtue’s Power
Virtue yields Heaven’s honor and Earth’s wealth.
What is there then that is more fruitful for a man?
There is nothing more rewarding than virtue,
nor anything more ruinous than its neglect.
Be unremitting in the doing of good deeds;
do them with all your might and by every possible means.
Keep the mind free of impurity. That alone is
the practice of virtue. All else is nothing but empty display.
Virtue is living in such a way that one does not fall
into these four: envy, anger, greed and unsavory speech.
Don’t tell yourself you’ll be wise enough to practice virtue tomorrow.
Do it now, for it will be your deathless companion when you die.
It is utterly superfluous to inquire about virtue’s benefits, so
evident in the difference between the palanquin’s rider and bearer.
Not allowing a day to pass without doing some good
is a boulder that will block your passage on the path to rebirth.
Only virtuous deeds abound in true joy.
All other deeds are empty and devoid of distinction.
Virtue is merely that which should be done in life,
and vice is merely that which should be avoided.
Section II: The Way of The Householder
Chapter 5 on Family Life
He alone may be called a householder who supports
students, elders and renunciates pursuing well their good paths.
The virtuous householder supports the needs
of renunciates, ancestors and the poor.
The foremost duty of family life is to serve duly these five:
God, guests, kindred, ancestors and oneself.
The posterity of householders who gather wealth without misdeeds
and share meals without miserliness will never perish.
When family life possesses love and virtue,
it has found both its essence and fruition.
If a man masters the duties of married life,
what further merits could monkhood offer him?
Among those who strive for liberation, the foremost are they
who live the blessed state of family life as it should be lived.
The householder dedicated to duty and to aiding
ascetics on their path of penance endures more than they do.
Domestic life is rightly called virtue. The monastic path,
rightly lived beyond blame, is likewise good.
He who rightly pursues the householder’s life here on Earth
will be rightfully placed among the Gods there in Heaven.
Chapter 6 on The Good Wife
She is the helpful wife who possesses the fullness of
domestic virtues and spends within her husband’s means.
Family life, however full, remains empty
if the wife lacks the lofty culture of the home.
What does a man lack if his wife is worthy?
And what does he possess if she is lacking worth?
What is more majestic than a woman
who preserves the prodigious strength of chastity?
Even the rains will fall at her command
who upon rising worships not God, but her husband.
A married woman is one who vigilantly guards herself,
cares for her husband and protects their unblemished reputation.
Why do guardians protect women by confinement
when her own resolute chastity is a woman’s best protection?
A woman deeply devoted to the man who wed her
will be worthy of great rewards in the world where Gods delight.
Unless the wife pursues praiseworthy purity,
the husband cannot stride before critics like a proud lion.
It is said a worthy wife is the blessing of a home,
and good children are its precious ornaments.
Chapter 7 on The Blessing of Children
Of all blessings we know of none greater than
the begetting of children endowed with intelligence.
Those who bear children of blameless character
will be untouched by evil for seven births.
It is said that children are a man’s real wealth,
and that this wealth is determined by his deeds.
Far sweeter than divine nectar is simple boiled rice
stirred by the small hands of one’s own child.
The touch of one’s children is a delight to the body,
and listening to them chatter is a joy to the ear.
“Sweet are the sounds of the flute and the lute,” say those
who have not heard the prattle of their own children.
A father benefits his son best by preparing him
to sit at the forefront of learned councils.
What pleasure it is to human beings everywhere
when their children possess knowledge surpassing their own!
When a mother hears her son heralded as a good and learned man,
her joy exceeds that of his joyous birth.
The son’s duty to his father is to make the world ask,
“By what great austerities did he merit such a son?”
Chapter 8 on Possessing Love
Can any lock keep love confined within,
when the loving heart’s tiny tears escape and confess it?
The unloving belong only to themselves,
but the loving belong to others to their very bones.
They say it is to know union with love
that the soul takes union with the body.
Love makes one affectionate toward all,
and affection affords the priceless treasure of friendship.
They say love’s greatness is this: it yields to good families
worldly happiness here and heavenly bliss hereafter.
The uninformed say love abides with virtuous souls,
unaware that love is also friend to those immersed in vice.
As the blazing sun dries up a boneless worm,
so does virtue scorch a loveless being.
Life without love in the heart
is like a sapless tree in a barren desert.
What good is a body perfect in outer ways,
if inwardly it is impaired by lack of love?
With love enshrined in the heart, one truly lives.
Without it, the body is but bones encased in skin.
Chapter 9 on Hospitality
The whole purpose of earning wealth and maintaining
a home is to provide hospitality to guests.
When a guest is in the home, it is improper to hoard one’s meal,
even if it happens to be the nectar of immortality.
If a man cares daily for those who come to him,
his life will never suffer the grievous ruin of poverty.
Wealth’s Goddess dwells in the hospitable home
of those who host guests with a smiling face.
If a man eats only after attending to guests’ needs,
what further sowing will his fertile fields require?
The host who, caring for guests, watches hopefully for more,
will himself be a welcomed guest of those whose home is Heaven.
Charity’s merit cannot be measured by gifts given.
It is measured by measuring the receiver’s merits.
Those who never sacrifice to care for guests will later lament:
“We hoarded wealth, estranged ourselves, now none will care for us.”
The poverty of poverties is having plenty yet shunning guests.
Such senselessness is only found in senseless fools.
The delicate anicham flower withers when merely smelled,
but an unwelcome look is enough to wither a guest’s heart.
Chapter 10 on Speaking Pleasant Words
Pleasant words, full of tenderness and devoid of deceit,
fall from the lips of virtuous men.
Better than a gift given with a joyous heart
are sweet words spoken with a cheerful smile.
A kindly countenance and sweet words
spoken from the heart are virtue’s way.
Poverty-provoking sorrow will not pursue
those who speak joy-producing words to all they meet.
Humility and pleasant words are the jewels
that adorn a man; there are none other.
If a man seeks to do good while speaking sweet words,
his virtues will wax and his vices will wane.
Words yield spiritual rewards and moral excellence
when they do not wander far from usefulness and agreeableness.
Sweet speech that is a stranger to pettiness
imparts pleasure not only in this life, but in the next.
Why would anyone speak cruel words,
having observed the happiness that kind words confer?
To utter harsh words when sweet ones would serve
is like eating unripe fruits when ripe ones are at hand.
Chapter 11 on Gratitude
The bounty of Heaven and Earth are scant repayment
for help rendered though no help was received.
A kindness done in the hour of need may itself be small,
but in worth it exceeds the whole world.
When help is given by weighing the recipient’s need
and not the donor’s reward, its goodness is greater than the sea.
While aid may outwardly seem as puny as a mustard seed,
those who know will deem it as imposing as a towering palm.
Help rendered another cannot be measured by the extent of
assistance given. Its real measure is the recipient’s worthiness.
Never forget fellowship with pure souls,
nor forsake friendship with those who aided you in adversity.
For seven lives in seven bodies the grateful will remember
friends who relieved their anguish and affliction.
It is improper to ever forget a kindness,
but good to forget at once an injury received.
The deadliest injury is effaced the moment
the mind recalls a single kindness received from the injurer.
Having killed every kind of goodness, one may yet be saved,
but there is no redemption for those who let gratitude die.
Chapter 12 on Impartiality
Justice may be called good when it acts impartially
toward enemies, strangers and friends.
The wealth of those who possess justice will not perish;
rather it will be their posterity’s soothing security.
However prosperous it may seem, all wealth gained
by loss of rightness must be relinquished that very day.
In their offspring one may doubtlessly discern
who are the just and who are the unjust.
Adversity and prosperity never cease to exist. The adornment
of great men’s minds is to remain unswervingly just under both.
When his heart forsakes fairness and his deeds turn depraved,
a man realizes deep within himself, “I am ruined.”
Though a man is profoundly impoverished,
if he remains just, the world will not regard him as poor.
To incline to neither side, like a balance scale’s level beam,
and thus weigh impartially is the wise one’s ornament.
Speech uttered without bias is integrity,
if no unspoken bias lurks in the heart.
Those businessmen will prosper whose business
protects as their own the interests of others.
Chapter 13 on Possession of Self-Control
Self-control will place one among the Gods,
while lack of it will lead to deepest darkness.
Guard your self-control as a precious treasure,
for there is no greater wealth in life than this.
Comprehending and acquiring self-control
confers upon one the esteem of wise men.
More imposing than a mountain is the greatness of a man who,
steadfast in domestic life, has mastered self-control.
Humility is a precious quality in all people,
but it has a rare richness in the rich.
Like a tortoise withdrawing five limbs into its shell, those who
restrain the five senses in one life will find safe shelter for seven.
Whatever you may fail to guard, guard well your tongue,
for flawed speech unfailingly invokes anguish and affliction.
The goodness of all one’s virtues can be lost
by speaking even a single word of injury.
The wound caused by fire heals in its time;
the burn inflicted by an inflamed tongue never heals.
Virtue will wait in the streets to meet a man
possessed of learning and self-discipline, his anger subdued.
Chapter 14 on Possession of Virtuous Conduct
Virtuous conduct leads a man to eminent greatness.
Therefore, it should be guarded as more precious than life itself.
In your striving, be mindful to preserve good conduct.
In your deliberations, discover it is your staunchest ally.
Morality is the birthright of high families,
while immoral conduct’s legacy is lowly birth.
If a priest forgets the Vedas, he can relearn them.
But if he falls from virtue, his high birth is forever lost.
Prosperity is not for the envious,
nor is greatness for men of impure conduct.
The firm-minded never slacken in upholding virtuous conduct,
for they know the miseries brought on by such neglect.
By honest conduct one achieves honorable eminence,
while corrupt conduct brings one nothing but blame.
Good conduct is the seed in virtue’s field;
wicked conduct’s harvest is never-ending sorrow.
Men who conduct themselves virtuously
are incapable of voicing harmful words, even forgetfully.
Those who cannot live in harmony with the world,
though they have learned many things, are still ignorant.
Chapter 15 on Not Coveting Another’s Wife
Those who know virtue’s laws and marital rights
never indulge in the folly of desiring another man’s wife.
Among those who stand outside virtue, there is no greater fool
than he who stands with a lustful heart outside another’s gate.
No different from the dead are those who
wickedly desire the wife of a friend.
Though a man’s measure be mountainous, what good is it
if, without the minutest concern, he takes another’s wife?
A man who seduces another man’s wife, knowing she is easy,
suffers a shame that neither dies nor diminishes.
Hatred, sin, fear and disgrace—these four
never forsake the man who commits adultery.
He is decreed a worthy householder who holds
no desire for the womanly charms of another’s wife.
The chivalry that does not look upon another’s wife
is not mere virtue—it is saintly conduct.
In a world encircled by the awesome sea, to whom do good things
belong? To men never impassioned to caress a married woman.
Though a man deserts virtue and indulges in vice, he keeps
some decency by not wanting another’s wife’s womanliness.
Chapter 16 on Possession of Forbearance
Just as the Earth bears those who dig into her,
it is best to bear with those who despise us.
It is always good to endure injuries done to you,
but to forget them is even better.
It is impoverished poverty to be inhospitable to guests.
It is stalwart strength to be patient with fools.
Desiring that greatness should never cease,
let one’s conduct foster forbearance.
Worthless are those who injure others vengefully,
while those who stoically endure are like stored gold.
The joy of the vengeful lasts only for a day,
but the glory of the forbearing lasts until the end of time.
Though unjustly aggrieved, it is best to suffer the suffering
and refrain from unrighteous retaliation.
Let a man conquer by forbearance
those who in their arrogance have wronged him.
Those who patiently endure rude remarks
possess the rare purity of an ascetic.
Great are those who suffer fasting’s hardships; yet they
are surpassed by those who suffer hard words.
Chapter 17 on Avoidance of Envy
The unenvious heart is to be valued
no less than virtuous conduct itself.
Among the many precious things a man may acquire,
none surpasses a nature free from envy toward all.
They say he who is jealous instead of joyous of another’s wealth
clearly desires no wealth or virtue of his own.
Envy will never cause one to commit wrongful deeds
who rightly fathoms the disgrace that follows.
A man’s own envy is foe enough to forge his ruin,
even if he has no other enemies.
Whoever begrudges another’s bounty will watch
his kindred die in poverty, naked and starving.
Goddess Fortune, intolerant of those who cannot tolerate others’
success, introduces them to her sister, Misfortune, and goes away.
The wicked one called Envy consumes this world’s wealth,
then consigns sinners to those worlds of hellish fire.
It is worth pondering why good men may be poor
while the envious in heart can prosper.
There are no envious men who have risen to prosperity.
There are no men free from envy who have fallen from it.
Chapter 18 on Avoidance of Covetousness
In the very attempt to wrongly gain another’s wealth,
a man forfeits his family’s future and his own faultlessness.
Those who deem injustice shameful never commit
guilt-yielding deeds driven by money-yielding desires.
Those who seek immortal bliss will not succumb
to immoral deeds that follow desire for fleeting delights.
With senses conquered and sight unclouded by depravity,
one will not wish for others’ wealth, even in destitution.
What avails a man’s subtle and comprehensive learning,
if, crazed by covetousness, he treats others insensibly?
Desiring grace and doing his duty, a man who desires wealth
but acquires it wrongly is destroyed nevertheless.
Do not seek the fortune that greed gathers,
for its fruit is bitter on the day of enjoyment.
To protect one’s own prosperity from decline,
one must not crave the property held by others.
Just as wise men know the goodness of noncoveting,
so Fortune Herself knows their goodness and draws near.
There is a thoughtless desire for others’ things that is destructive.
There is a mindful pride that, in refusing to covet, is triumphant.
Chapter 19 on Avoidance of Backbiting
Silent about virtue and swift to act wrongly,
one who does not slander others may still be called good.
More vile than violating virtue and committing crime
is slandering a man, then smiling to his face.
Virtue declares that dying, not living, will bring
better rewards to deceiving backbiters.
Though you speak unkind words to a man’s face,
do not talk behind his back heedless of consequent harm.
Though his every word is full of kindly virtue,
a man’s mean backbiting will betray an empty heart.
If a man spreads tales of others’ faults,
his own worst faults will be exposed and spread.
Not knowing the companionable art of cheerful conversation,
men estrange even friends by divisive discourse.
If men are disposed to spread the faults of friends,
what deadly harm might they do to strangers?
Only because she weighs duty well does Earth bear the weight
of those who wait for a man’s departure to defame him.
If men perceived their own faults as they do the faults of others,
could misfortune ever come to them?
Chapter 20 on Avoidance of Pointless Speech
Everyone is disgusted by a man
who offends one and all with meaningless chatter.
Uttering useless words to crowds is worse
than committing unkindnesses toward companions.
A long and pointless discourse itself declares
to all the speaker’s lack of worth.
Worthless words are doubly unprofitable: the listeners’
enjoyment is lost, and the speaker’s own virtues vanish.
Prestige and popularity flee the best of men
the moment they speak inane and useless words.
Do not call him a man who enjoys displaying
his own empty words. Rather, call him the chaff of men.
Let the wise, if they deem it necessary, speak even unpleasant
words, but it is good if they always refrain from pointless speech.
Even in search of extraordinary gains, the wise
will never speak trivial or ungainful words.
The wise, faultless and free from ignorance,
never utter pointless words, even forgetfully.
In your speaking, say only that which is purposeful.
Never utter words that lack purpose.
Chapter 21 on Dread of Sinful Deeds
Wicked men do not fear, but worthy men dread,
the arrogance of sinful deeds.
From evil springs forth more evil.
Hence evil is to be feared even more than fire.
To commit no wrong, even against one’s enemies,
is said to be supreme wisdom.
Only the forgetful plot another’s ruin; others remember
that virtue itself devises every plotter’s downfall.
Do not commit wrongful deeds, claiming to be poor.
Such deeds only cause one to be poorer still.
Let one who hopes for freedom from afflictions’ pain
avoid inflicting harm on others.
One can escape from hate-filled enemies,
but his own hateful acts will pursue and destroy him.
As a man’s shadow follows his footsteps wherever he goes,
even so will destruction pursue those who commit sinful deeds.
If a man feels any fond affection for himself,
let him not indulge in immoral deeds, however trifling.
If men neither deviate from right nor act wrongly,
they will be defended against destruction.
Chapter 22 on Understanding One’s Duty to Give
The benevolent expect no return for their dutiful giving.
How can the world ever repay the rain cloud?
It is to meet the needs of the deserving
that the worthy work so hard to acquire wealth.
Of all duties, none is better than benevolence,
whether in this world or that of the Gods.
He who understands the duty of giving truly lives.
All others shall be counted among the dead.
The wealth of a community-loving wise man
may be likened to a well-filled village water tank.
Riches retained by the big-hearted resemble fruits
ripening on a tree in the heart of a village.
In the hands of a generous man,
wealth is like a medicinal tree whose healing gifts help all.
Those who know duty deeply never neglect giving,
even in their own unprosperous season.
The benevolent man considers himself poor only
when he is unable to render his accustomed duty to humanity.
Were it said that loss of wealth is the price of generosity,
such loss would be worth selling one’s self to acquire.
Chapter 23 on Charity
Giving to the poor is true charity.
All other giving expects some return.
Though some may declare it a good path, garnering gifts is bad.
Even if they say it denies one Heaven, giving gifts is good.
Men of good birth graciously give,
never uttering the wretched excuse, “I have nothing.”
How unpleasant a beggar’s pleading can become,
until one sees his face so sweetly pleased.
Great, indeed, is the power to endure hunger.
Greater still is the power to relieve others’ hunger.
Relieving the ravaging hunger of the poor
is a right use for wealth men have obtained.
The fiery scourge called hunger never touches
the man who shares his daily meal with others.
Is it because they are unaware of the joys of giving
that hard-hearted men waste their wealth by hoarding it?
More bitter than even a beggar’s bread is the meal
of the miser who hoards wealth and eats alone.
There is nothing more bitter than death;
yet even death seems sweet when giving is impossible.
Chapter 24 on Glory
Give to the poor and become praiseworthy.
Life offers no greater reward than this.
Those who expound will always praise
people who bestow alms on the imploring poor.
Nothing on Earth is imperishable,
except exalted glory, which endures forever.
So great is glory gained by men in this world
that celestials cease praising ascended sages.
Loss that is gain and death that is life of
immortal glory are attained only by the wise.
If you must be born, be born for glory.
Those born without it would be better off without birth.
Why do those whose life is devoid of renown blame enemies
who hate them, when they have themselves to blame?
Barren are they and deemed a disgrace by all men on Earth
who fail to beget the offspring called fame.
Even flawlessly fruitful lands will lessen their yields
when forced to support the body of one who lacks illustriousness.
Those who live without reproach truly live.
Those who live without renown don’t live at all.
Section III on The Way of The Renunciate
Chapter 25 on Possession of Compassion
Among the wealthy, compassionate men claim the richest wealth,
for material wealth is possessed even by contemptible men.
Find and follow the good path, ruled by compassion.
Of the many ways, that one leads to liberation.
Those whose hearts are drawn toward mercy
will never be drawn into the dark and woeful world.
Kindly ones who lovingly protect all life
need never dread hurt from the actions of their own life.
This wide and wind-swept fertile Earth is witness to the truth
that misery is not for kind-hearted men.
They say those who act cruelly by forsaking kindness
must have forgotten what it means to forsake virtue.
As this world is not for the penniless,
so is that world not for the pitiless!
Those without wealth may one day prosper,
but those without kindness are utterly and incurably poor.
Practicing charity without compassion is as inconceivable
as realizing God without clarity of mind.
Before proceeding against men weaker than yourself,
ponder when you stood before those more powerful.
Chapter 26 on Abstaining from Eating Meat
How can he practice true compassion
who eats the flesh of an animal to fatten his own flesh?
Riches cannot be found in the hands of the thriftless,
nor can compassion be found in the hearts of those who eat meat.
He who feasts on a creature’s flesh is like he who wields a weapon.
Goodness is never one with the minds of these two.
If you ask, “What is kindness and what is unkindness?”
It is not-killing and killing. Thus, eating flesh is never virtuous.
Life is perpetuated by not eating meat.
The jaws of Hell close on those who do.
If the world did not purchase and consume meat,
no one would slaughter and offer meat for sale.
When a man realizes that meat is the butchered flesh
of another creature, he will abstain from eating it.
Insightful souls who have abandoned the passion to hurt others
will not feed on flesh that life has abandoned.
Greater than a thousand ghee offerings consumed in sacrificial
fires is to not sacrifice and consume any living creature.
All life will press palms together in prayerful adoration
of those who refuse to slaughter or savor meat.
Chapter 27 on Austerity
It is the nature of asceticism to patiently endure hardship
and to not harm living creatures.
Austerity belongs to the naturally austere.
Others may attempt it, but to no avail.
Is it because they must provide for renunciates
that others forget to perform penance?
Should he but wish it, an ascetic’s austerities
will ruin his foes and reward his friends.
In this world men do austerities diligently,
assured of acquiring desires they desire.
Men who follow some austerity fulfill their karma.
All others, ensnared in desires, act in vain.
As the intense fire of the furnace refines gold to brilliance, so does
the burning suffering of austerity purify the soul to resplendence.
One who has realized by himself his soul’s Self
will be worshiped by all other souls.
So potent is the power acquired through disciplined self-denial
that those who attain it may even delay the moment of death.
A few people fast and abstain, while most do not.
Due to this, many suffer deprivation.
Chapter 28 on Deceptive Conduct
A deceiver’s own five elements remain undeceived
by his double-dealing mind and silently mock him.
Of what avail is an outer appearance of saintliness
if the mind suffers inwardly from knowledge of its iniquity?
He who has not attained the power yet wears the garb of saints
is like a cow that grazes about wearing a tiger’s skin.
He who conceals himself beneath holy robes and commits sins
is like a hunter hiding in the bushes to snare unwary birds.
The day will come when those who claim dispassion
yet act deceitfully exclaim,”Alas! Alas! What have I done?”
None is so heartless as he who, without renunciation in his heart,
poses as a renunciate and lives in pretense.
Like the poisonous jequirity bean, with its red and black sides,
there are outwardly dazzling men whose insides are dark.
Many are the men who piously bathe in purifying waters,
while in their black hearts impure conduct lies concealed.
The arrow is straight but cruel; the lute is crooked but sweet.
Therefore, judge men by their acts, not their appearance.
Neither shaven head nor long matted locks are needed,
provided one casts off conduct condemned by the world.
Chapter 29 on Avoidance of Fraud
He who wishes not to be scorned by others
guards his own mind against the slightest thought of fraud.
The mere thought of sin is sin. Therefore,
avoid even the thought of stealing from another.
A fortune amassed by fraud may appear to prosper
but will all too soon perish altogether.
Taking delight in defrauding others yields the fruit
of undying suffering when those delights ripen.
Benevolent thoughts and kindly feelings flee from those
who watch for another’s unwatchfulness to swindle his property.
Those who walk deceit’s desirous path
cannot hope to work wisdom’s measured way.
The dark deceits of fraud cannot be found
in those who desire the greatness called virtue.
As righteousness resides in the hearts of the virtuous,
so does deceit dwell in the hearts of thieves.
Men who know nothing but deception die a little
each time they contrive their crooked deeds.
Even the life in his body will abandon him who cheats others,
while Heaven itself never forsakes those who are honest.
Chapter 30 on Truthfulness
What is truthfulness? It is speaking words
which are totally free from harmful effects.
Even falsehood is of the nature of truth
if it renders good results, free from fault.
Let one not speak as true what he knows to be false,
for his conscience will burn him when he has lied.
One who lives by truth in his own heart
truly lives in the hearts of all people.
Those who speak only truth from the heart
surpass even penitents and philanthropists.
No prestige surpasses the absence of falsehood;
all other virtues flow from it effortlessly.
Not lying, and merely not lying, is beneficial
for those who cannot or will not practice other virtues.
Water is sufficient to cleanse the body,
but truthfulness alone can purify the mind.
Not all lamps give light.
The lamp of not-lying is the learned man’s light.
Among all great truths we have ever beheld,
not a single one rivals the goodness of telling the truth.
Chapter 31 on Avoidance of Anger
It is restraint that restrains rage when it can injure.
If it cannot harm, what does restraint really matter?
Wrath is wrong even when it cannot cause injury,
but when it can, there is nothing more evil.
Forget anger toward all who have offended you,
for it gives rise to teeming troubles.
Anger kills the face’s smile and the heart’s joy.
Does there exist a greater enemy than one’s own anger?
If a man be his own guard, let him guard himself against rage.
Left unguarded, his own wrath will annihilate him.
Anger’s fire engulfs all who draw near it,
burning even friends and family who risk rescue.
As a man trying to strike the ground with his hand can hardly fail,
just as surely will one who treasures his temper be destroyed.
Though others inflict wrongs as painful as flaming torches,
it is good if a man can refrain from inflammatory tantrums.
If hostile thoughts do not invade his mind,
all his other thoughts may swiftly manifest.
As men who have died resemble the dead,
so men who have renounced rage resemble renunciates.
Chapter 32 on Avoidance of Injuring Others
Even if injuring others would bring princely riches,
the pure in heart would still avoid it.
It is the principle of the pure in heart never to injure others,
even when they themselves have been hatefully injured.
Harming others, even enemies who harmed you unprovoked,
surely brings incessant sorrow.
If you return kindness for injuries received and forget both,
Those who harmed you will be punished by their own shame.
What good is a man’s knowledge unless it prompts him
to prevent the pain of others as if it were his own pain?
Actions that are known to harm oneself
should never be inflicted upon others.
The highest principle is this: never knowingly
harm anyone at any time in any way.
Why does he who knows what injury to his own life is like inflict injury upon other living human beings?
If a man visits sorrow on another in the morning,
sorrow will visit him unbidden in the afternoon.
All suffering recoils on the wrongdoer himself. Thus, those
desiring not to suffer refrain from causing others pain.
Chapter 33 on Avoidance of Killing
What is virtuous conduct? It is never destroying life,
for killing leads to every other sin.
Of all virtues summed by ancient sages, the foremost are to
share one’s food and to protect all living creatures.
Not killing is the first and foremost good.
The virtue of not lying comes next.
What is the good way? It is the path that reflects on
how it may avoid killing any living creature.
Among all who disown the world out of dismay,
the foremost, dismayed with killing, embrace nonkilling.
Life-devouring death will not lay waste the living days
of one whose code of conduct is to never kill.
Refrain from taking precious life from any living being,
even to save your own life.
By sacrifice of life, some gain great wealth and welfare,
but great men scorn such odious gains.
Those whose trade is killing creatures are deemed defiled
by men who know the defiling nature of being mean.
They say that beggars who suffer a depraved life
in a diseased body once deprived another’s body of its life.
Chapter 34 on Impermanence of All Things
There is no baser folly than the infatuation
that looks upon the ephemeral as if it were everlasting.
Amassing great wealth is gradual, like the gathering of a theater
crowd. Its dispersal is sudden, like that same crowd departing.
Wealth’s nature is to be unenduring.
Upon acquiring it, quickly do that which is enduring.
Though it seems a harmless gauge of time, to those who fathom it,
a day is a saw steadily cutting down the tree of life.
Do good deeds with a sense of urgency,
before death’s approaching rattle strangles the tongue.
What wondrous greatness this world possesses—
that yesterday a man was, and today he is not.
Men do not know if they will live another moment,
yet their thoughts are ten million and more.
The soul’s attachment to the body is like that of a fledgling,
which forsakes its empty shell and flies away.
Death is like falling asleep,
and birth is like waking from that sleep.
Not yet settled in a permanent home,
the soul takes temporary shelter in a body.
Chapter 35 on Renunciation
Whatsoever a man has renounced,
from the sorrow born of that he has freed himself.
The greatest gladness in the world comes after renunciation.
Let men desiring that rapture renounce early in life.
The five senses must be subdued,
and every desire simultaneously surrendered.
The ascetic’s austerity permits not a single possession,
for possessions draw him back into delusion.
What are life’s petty attachments to the man who seeks severance
from future births, when even his body is a burden?
One who slays the conceit that clamors “I” and “mine”
will reach a realm above the celestials’ world.
If one clings to his attachments, refusing to let go,
sorrows will not let go their grip on him.
Those who perfectly renounce attain the highest peak;
the rest remain ensnared in delusion’s net.
Birth ceases when all attachments are severed;
until then, one only sees life’s impermanence.
Attach yourself to Him who is free from all attachments.
Bind yourself to that bond so all other bonds may be broken.
Chapter 36 on Knowledge of Truth
The muddled mentality that mistakes the unreal for the Real
is the genesis of woeful births.
For those of undimmed perception, free from delusion,
darkness departs and rapture rushes in.
Heaven is nearer than Earth for those who
dispel all doubt and know the Truth.
All knowledge acquired through the five senses is worthless
to those without knowledge of Truth.
In everything of every kind whatsoever,
wisdom perceives Truth in that thing.
Those who find the highest Reality here and now
follow a path which never comes back to this world.
Having thought profoundly and realized fully That which is,
one need never think of being born again.
Wisdom is that rare realization of Perfection’s True Being,
which banishes forever the folly of rebirth.
He who clings to life’s true support clings not to lesser things.
Sorrows, which destroy by clinging, no longer cling to him.
Desire, delusion and indignation—annihilation of these
three terms is the termination of torment.
Chapter 37 on Eradication of Desire
At all times and to all creatures,
the seed of ceaseless births is desire.
If you must desire, desire freedom from birth.
That will only come by desiring desirelessness.
Here no fortune is as dear as desirelessness;
and even there, nothing like it can be found.
Purity is but freedom from desire,
and that comes from thirsting after Truth.
They say only those who have renounced desire are renunciates. Others, though they have renounced all else, are not.
As it is desire, above all else, which deceives a man,
ascetics rightfully dread it.
Desisting from all desire-driven deeds, a renouncer
finds liberation approaching, just as he desired.
He who has no desires has no sorrow.
But where desire exists, endless sorrows ensue.
When desire, sorrow’s sorrow, dies away,
undying bliss prevails here on Earth.
It is the nature of desire never to be fulfilled, but he who utterly
gives it up is eternally fulfilled at that very moment.