The Hitopadesa

Hitopadesha is a collection of Sanskrit fables in prose and verse written in the 12 century C.E. It is an independent treatment of the Panchatantra. It is meant as an exposition on statecraft (including the conduct of war and peace and the development of allies) but was produced in a format easily digestible for young princes.

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A bad man, though raised to honour, always returns to his natural course, as a dog?s tail, though warmed by the fire and rubbed with oil, retains its form.*
A feverish display of over-zeal, At the first outset, is an obstacle To all success; water, however cold, Will penetrate the ground by slow degrees.
A hundred long leagues is no distance for him who would quench the thirst of covetousness; but a contented mind has no solicitude for grasping wealth.
A husband is the chief ornament of a wife, though she have no other ornament; but, though adorned, without a husband she has no ornaments.
A man eminent in learning has not even a little virtue if he fears to practise it. What precious things can be shown to a blind man when he holds a lamp in his hand?
A prudent man will not discover his poverty, his self-torments, the disorders of his house, his uneasiness, or his disgrace.
A stranger who is kind is a kinsman; an unkind kinsman is a stranger.
Amongst all possessions knowledge appears pre-eminent. The wise call it supreme riches, because it can never be lost, has no price, and can at no time be destroyed.
By the fall of water-drops the pot is filled: such is the increase of riches, of knowledge, and of virtue.
Circumspection in calamity; mercy in greatness; good speeches in assemblies; fortitude in adversity: these are the self-attained perfections of great souls.
E?en as a traveller, meeting with the shade Of some o?erhanging tree, awhile reposes, Then leaves its shelter to pursue his way, So men meet friends, then part with them for ever.
Empty is the house of a childless man; as empty is the mind of a bachelor; empty are all quarters of the world to an ignorant man; but poverty is total emptiness.
Even a blockhead may respect inspire, So long as he is suitably attired; A fool may gain esteem among the wise, So long as he has sense to hold his tongue.
Frugality should ever be practised, but not excessive parsimony.
Good actions lead to success, as good medicines to a cure: a healthy man is joyful, and a diligent man attains learning; a just man gains the reward of his virtue.
He who has wealth has friends; he who has wealth has relations; he who has wealth is a hero among the people; he who has wealth is even a sage.
He who seeks wealth sacrifices his own pleasure, and, like him who carries burdens for others, bears the load of anxiety.
If the friendship of the good be interrupted, their minds admit of no long change; as when the stalks of a lotus are broken the filaments within them are more visibly cemented.
In the sandal-tree are serpents, in the water lotus flowers, but crocodiles also; even virtues are marred by the vicious?in all enjoyments there is something which impairs our happiness.
Knowledge acquired by a man of low degree places him on a level with a prince, as a small river attains the irremeable ocean; and his fortune is then exalted.
Knowledge is destroyed by associating with the base; with equals equality is gained, and with the distinguished, distinction.
Knowledge produces mildness of speech; mildness of speech, a good character; a good character, wealth; wealth, if virtuous actions attend it, happiness.
Learning dissipates many doubts, and causes things otherwise invisible to be seen, and is the eye of everyone who is not absolutely blind.
Let this be an example for the acquisition of all knowledge, virtue, and riches. By the fall of drops of water, by degrees, a pot is filled.
Liberality attended with mild language; learning without pride; valour united with mercy; wealth accompanied with a generous contempt of it?these four qualities are with difficulty acquired.
Like an earthen pot, a bad man is easily broken, and cannot readily be restored to his former situation; but a virtuous man, like a vase of gold, is broken with difficulty, and easily repaired.
Not to attend at the door of the wealthy, and not to use the voice of petition?these constitute the best life of a man.
On the touchstone of misfortune a man discovers the strength of understanding and of spirit in kinsmen, wife, servants, and himself.
Prosperity attends the lion-hearted man who exerts himself, while we say, destiny will ensure it. Laying aside destiny, show manly fortitude by thy own strength: if thou endeavour, and thy endeavours fail of success, what crime is there in failing?
Prosperity is acquired by exertion, and there is no fruit for him who doth not exert himself: the fawns go not into the mouth of a sleeping lion.
Shall He to thee His aid refuse Who clothes the swan in dazzling white, Who robes in green the parrot bright, The peacocks decks in rainbow hues?*
Skill in advising others is easily attained by men; but to practise righteousness themselves is what only a few can succeed in doing.
The good extend their loving care To men, however mean or vile; E?en base Ch?nd?las?* dwellings share Th? impartial sunbeam?s silver smile.
The interval is immense between corporeal qualifications and sciences: the body in a moment is extinct, but knowledge endureth to the end of time.
The man who listens not to the words of affectionate friends will give joy in the time of distress to his enemies.
The man who neither gives in charity nor enjoys his wealth, which every day increases, breathes, indeed, like the bellows of a smith, but cannot be said to live.
The potter forms what he pleases with soft clay, so a man accomplishes his works by his own act.
Through avarice a man loses his understanding, and by his thirst for wealth he gives pain to the inhabitants of both worlds.
To address a judicious remark to a thoughtless man is a mere threshing of chaff.
What a rich man gives and what he consumes, that is his real worth.

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