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30 Wise Sayings of Hindus

This is a collection of 30 wise sayings of Hindus. These wise sayings are from Sanskrit and are known as Subhashita.
  1. Ears are to be adorned by listening to the scriptures and not with ear rings; hands by alms giving and not with bracelets, and body by benevolence and not with the application of sandal-paste.
  2. He restrains his friend from committing sins, and induces him to do good deeds.  He conceals the unseemly secrets of a friend, projecting only his good qualities.  He does not desert his friend in difficulties, but gives timely assistance.  Saints describe these as the characteristics of a true friend.
  3. Wanting to reform the wicked with nectar-sweet advice, is like trying to control an elephant with the pith of a lotus-stem, or cutting a diamond with delicate petals of the Shireesh flower, or sweetening the salty ocean with a drop of honey.
  4. Indeed, a son is he who makes his father happy with his good deeds.  The woman who is a well-wisher of her husband is a wife in the real sense.  A friend who remains alike in times of happiness and misery, is a true friend.  Verily, men obtain these three only as a result of their good deeds.
  5. Those who are devoid of learning, restraint, charity, knowledge, moral conduct, virtue and righteousness are virtually animals living in the garb of men, and burdening the Earth.
  6. It is wise to keep a wicked man at arm's length even if he is embellished with knowledge.  Is it not true that a snake even though crowned with a jewel is yet dreadful?
  7. Bracelets do not adorn a person. Nor do pearl necklaces shining like the moon, or a cleansing bath; nor anointment of the body, nor flowers, nor decoration for the hair.  It is cultured speech alone which embellishes a man.  All other ornaments lose their glitter, only the jewel of speech ever remains the jewel of jewels.
  8. Knowledge is certainly a man's greatest beauty.  It is a safe and hidden treasure.  It provides prosperity, fame and happiness.  Knowledge is the guru of all gurus.  It acts as one's friend in a foreign country.  Knowledge is the Supreme God.  It is the knowledge, not wealth, which is adored by kings.  Without knowledge one remains as animal.
  9. The companionship of good people removes the inertia of one's mind, nurtures truth in the speech, enhances prestige, expiates the sins, comforts the conscience, spreads the name and fame in all directions.  Say! what good is there which the company of devout does not bring to a man.
  10. Base men do not undertake any work apprehending obstacles. Mediocre people make a start, but cease working when they encounter hindrances.  The men of excellence, however, after commencing a job do not give up despite of recurrence of impediments.
  11. A lion's cub also attacks a frenzied elephant. Valour is inherent in the nature of the powerful, and age, as such, is of no consequence to their prowess.
  12. Patience in adversity, magnanimity in ascendancy, eloquence in assembly, bravery in battle, aspiration for eminence and engrossment in the Scriptures are the self-evident attributes of great men.
  13. There are only three ends of wealth-charity, enjoyment or destruction.  One who neither gives, nor enjoys, leaves open only the third course for it.
  14. The path of service is formidable.  It is difficult even for a yogi to follow.  If a man in service remains quiet, then he is called dumb.  If he is quick-witted, then he is described as loquacious.  If he stays close by, then he is taken to be audacious, and if he maintains a distance, then is considered as shy.  If he is tolerant, then he is regarded as timid, and if he is unable to bear indignities, then he is known as ill bred.
  15. What is gain? It is the companionship of the virtuous. What is grief? It is the company of fools. What is loss? It is the dissipation of time. What is prudence? It is devotion to virtue. What is valor? It is the conquest of the senses. What is wealth? It is knowledge.  What is happiness? It is to remain settled in one's own country. What is ruler ship?  It is to command obedience.
  16. Discerning men may slight or laud them, the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, may come or go as she likes, death may occur today or after ages; but strong-willed men do not deviate from the path of justice.
  17. The result of men's efforts depends upon fate.  Intelligence is also determined by fate, yet wise men should think before acting.
  18. Before taking any action, whether good or bad, wise men should carefully ponder over its consequences. Or else, the result of an act done in haste keeps piercing the heart like an arrow even after death.
  19. (A King) desiring to attack (an enemy) should first make his soldiers contented (by good pay and just treatment) and having injured (weakened) the enemy by strategy should himself then advance (to the attack).
  20. A well-wisher (friendly) but not learned, and a learned man but unreliable (is no good), for kingship is maintained by wise counsel and therefore it (state secrets) should be well guarded.
  21. Dependents give advice for taking an unbeneficial course actuated by greed (for their own future). He who listens to their pleasing words is not favored by prosperity.
  22. One well born, though insulted, does not hit back in the same strain due to innate breeding (natural courtesy). The sandal tree of the Malaya mountain does not exude filth (even) to him who cuts it with an axe.
  23. An enemy, though powerful can be easily uprooted by a patient person, if he is shaken by the wind of disaffection and if his supporters are gradually estranged, like a tree which, though big, can be easily uprooted shaken by the wind and its mass of roots gradually giving way.
  24. A stream of tasteful water, having flown into the sea, becomes saline and thus undrinkable. For this simple reason, a wise man should never associate with one of wicked and impure soul.
  25. One who ever stands for reason must accept a science, though man made, if it stands to reason; and he must reject the other (the unreasonable) though it may be propounded by the sages (of yore).
  26. If, even after having acquired human birth those who do not become truly wise, it is far better that they are born as beasts; for then they will do no mischief to others.
  27. Wise men should get friends, even if they live in abundance, the lord of rivers [the ocean], although filled, impatiently waits for the rise of the moon.
  28. A wise man should rather remain inactive like a branchless trunk, and wither away with oppressive hunger, than seek a means of maintenance from the worthless.
  29. One becomes a fool by not questioning, but wisdom comes up by deep thinking. A vessel, not full, makes noise, but not so a full one.
  30. Foolish is he, who though prosperous does not help others; who though poor is generous; and who though ignorant is proud and swollen.