[ From the Garuda Purana, Achara-kanda (1.108-115) ]

Chapter 108

Suta said:

1. Now I shall explain the essence of polity based on economics for the benefit of kings and others. It is holy conducive to longevity, heavenly bliss, etc.

2. A person wishing for success and achievement should always associate with good men: never with the wicked; it is good neither for this nor the other world.

3. One should always avoid arguments with mean-minded base people and shun even the sight of the wicked. He should avoid enmity with friends and intimacy with persons serving the enemy.

4. Even the scholar comes to grief by trying to advise a foolish disciple, by supporting a wicked wife and by keeping the company of the wicked men.

5. One should keep aloof from a brahmana foolishly puerile, a ksatriya averse to fighting, a vaishya sluggish and inactive and a sudra hot-headed and vain due to complete, defective study.

6. Alliance with an enemy or estrangement with a friend should be indulged in at proper time. A true scholar bides his time after a careful consideration of causes and effects.

7. Time allows all living beings to mature, time brings the dissolution of all people. Even when people are asleep, time is watchful and awake, it is difficult to transgress time.

8. The semen virile flows out at proper time and develops itself in the womb. It is time that causes creation and it is time again that effects dissolution.

9. The passage of time is incomprehensible. It has two-fold functions, an apparent gross movement at one place and a subtle invisible movement at another.

10. The divine preceptor Brihaspati expounded the essence of polity to god Indra which got him omniscience and heavenly glory after killing the asuras.

11. The worship of gods, brahmanas, etc. should be performed by saintly kings and brahmanas. They should also perform the horse sacrifice to wipe off their sins both small and great.

12. A person never comes to grief if he associates with good people, conducts discourses with scholars and contracts intimate friendship with persons devoid of greed.

13. Illicit contact with or gay revelries in the company of another man’s wife, desire for another man’s wealth or residence in another man’s house shall never be pursued.

14. A well-intentioned enemy is actually a kinsman and a kinsman acting against one’s interests is an enemy. Sickness in the body is inimical and a herb in the forest is friendly and beneficial.

15. He is a kinsman who works to our benefit; he is the real father who nurtures and nourishes us; he is a friend where confidence can be placed; it is the native land where sustenance is available.

16. He is the true servant who is loyal and obedient; it is the real seed that germinates well; she is the real wife who speaks pleasantly and he is the real son who lives to the family tradition.

17. His life is perfect who has virtues and good qualities; fruitless, indeed, is the life of a man devoid of these two.

18. A true wife manages the household affairs skilfully, speaks sweet pleasant words, solely dedicates herself to her husband and is loyally devoted to him.

19-21. The man who has a wife endowed with these qualities is no less than Indra, the lord of heaven. He is no ordinary man. The good wife takes her daily bath, applies sweet scents to her body, speaks sweetly, is satisfied with limited quantity of food, is not garrulous, has always auspicious things around her, is very scrupulous in virtuous activities, exhibits her love to her husband by every action and is pleased to surrender herself to his dalliance after the four days of the menstrual flow. She enhances the good luck of everyone.

22-23. What we call old age is not so dispiriting as a wife devoid of good qualities and possessing all bad traits – ugly-eyed, slovenly, quarrelsome, argumentative, visiting other people’s house frequently, depending on other people’s help, evil in actions and devoid of shame.

24. A wife who appreciates good qualities, devoted to her husband, and satisfied with the minimum in everything is real beloved.

25. It is death indeed if one has a wicked wife, a rogue as a friend, a servant who answers back and serpents infesting his house.

26. Forsake the contact with wicked people, resort to the assembly of the good; do meritorious acts day and night and remember the unstability of everything.

27. A woman devoid of love, terrific in appearance, ferocious by nature, more horrible than a serpent round the neck, tigerlike in having ruddy eyes, appearing to spit fire, desirous of visiting other houses and cities should never be approached.

28. Devotion in the son, good deed in the ungrateful, coldness in the fire may occur sometime by God’s grace; but love in a prostitute is never come across.

29. Who can be complacent and carefree if serpents infest the house wherever we cast our eyes, if sickness cannot be cured with all appliances of treatment and if death is ever ready to pounce on the body at every age from infancy to old age?

Chapter 109

Suta said:

1. Money should be saved for emergency; wife should be protected by spending hoarded wealth and one’s own self should be saved even at the risk of preserved assets and wife.

2. One should sacrifice oneself to save the family; a family should be sacrificed to save the village; a village should be sacrificed for the safety of the land and the land should be sacrificed to save one’s soul.

3. The residence in hell is better than that in a house of evil conduct. By the former, one’s sins are washed away whereas there is no redemption from the latter.

4. The intelligent man fixes one foot firmly and moves with the other. Without testing the new place well, the old place of resort should not be abandoned.

5. One should unhesitatingly abandon a country infested with men of evil conduct, a residence of harassing environment, a king of miserly temperament, and a friend of deceptive disposition.

6. What purpose can be served by the riches in the hands of a miser? Of what avail to men can that knowledge be that is tarnished by a roguish disposition? Of what avail is beauty bereft of good qualities and valour? Of what value is a friend who turns his face away at the time of misfortune?

7. Many persons unknown to him before will flock round a person occupying a high post as his friends and assistants. Time being adverse, if he loses his wealth and is dismissed from his post even his kinsmen become his enemies.

8. A friend can be found out if he is genuine or otherwise in times of danger; the test of valour is the battlefield; the test of purity of a man is his conduct in isolated places. Loss of wealth puts fidelity of the wife to a test and famine provides an opportunity to test whether a man is fond of entertaining a guest or otherwise.

9. Birds leave off the tree when the fruits are exhausted; the sarasa [bird] quits the lake when it is dried up; the courtesan turns out the man who has no money in his pockets; ministers bid good-bye to the king who has lost his throne; honeybees never touch the flower that is faded and withered; the deer flee the forest consumed by fire – so it is evident that people take delight in things that delight them. Who takes interest in others otherwise?

10. One should propitiate a greedy man by giving him money; a praiseworthy man by reverence with joined palms; a fool by allowing him to do as he pleases and the scholar by a clear statement of facts.

11. Devas, good people and brahmanas are pleased with genuine good nature; the ordinary vulgar people by an offer of something to eat or drink and the learned scholars by due honour and fitting rewards.

12. The noblest can be won over by humility and submission; the rogue with a threat; the vulgar with small gifts and concessions and men of equal status by exhibiting an equal strength and valour.

13. An intelligent man must penetrate deep into the innermost recesses of everyone’s heart and speak and act befitting his nature and inclination and win him over to his side.

14. Implicit trust in rivers, clawed beasts, horned animals, armed men, women and scions of royal families is never to be encouraged.

15. Men of sense will never disclose loss of wealth, mental anguish, illicit actions in the house, deception (of which they had been the victim) and disrespect.

16. The following are the activities that bring about the destruction of chastity and good conduct in women: association with base and wicked people, a long separation from the husband, too much of consideration and love shown to them (by the would-be defiler) and residence in another man’s house.

17. Which family is devoid of defects? Who is not distressed by sickness? Who is not oppressed by vices and calamities? Who enjoys continuous blessings of the goddess of fortune?

18. Who is the man in the wide world who does not become haughty on attaining wealth? Who has escaped miseries in his life? Whose mind is not ripped asunder by maidens? Who has been a favourite of kings forever? Who is that suppliant who has won honour and respect? Who is that fortunate fellow who has escaped unscathed after having once fallen into the wily nets of the wicked?

19. He who has no friends, relatives or kinsmen to advise him and he who has no intrinsic intellect in himself suffers certainly. How can a wise man pursue that activity which does not produce any tangible result even when completed successfully but which necessarily ushers in great sorrow when left incomplete?

20. One should leave off that land where no one honours him or loves him; where there is no kinsman, and where there are no amenities for higher learning.

21. Earn that wealth to which there is no danger from kings or robbers and which does not leave you even after your death.

22. The wealth that a man acquires by putting in exertions risking his own life is divided among themselves by his successors after his death. Only the sin that he commits in his eagerness to earn remains his exclusive property.

23. Amassed and deposited wealth of the miser is ransacked by others frequently like that of the mouse and is conducive to sorrow.

24. Beggars roaming the streets, naked, grief-stricken, rough and armed with broken bowls point out to the world that the fruits the non-charitable persons reap are like these.

25. O misers! The beggars who request you saying “Please give” really teach you that this is the result of not giving. Do not become like them.

26. A miser’s hoarded wealth is not being employed in hundreds of sacrifices (e.g. for good purposes) nor it is being given in charity to the deserving; but in the end, it is utilised in the houses of robbers or put in the king’s treasury.

27. The wealth of the miser does not go unto the deities, brahmanas, relatives or to himself but it goes unto the robbers or kings or is consumed by fire.

28. Let those riches be not thine – the riches acquired with great deal of toil, by transgressing the curbs of virtue or by falling at the feet of the enemy.

29. A blow of destruction to learning is absence of practice; wearing rags is a blow unto the goddess of wealth; eating after digestion is a blow to sickness; and craftiness is a blow to the enemy.

30. A fitting punishment to the thief is the death sentence; being reserved is the best punishment for a false friend; lying on a separate bed is a punishment for women, and non invitation in sacrifice is a punishment for brahmanas.

31. Wicked persons, artisans, slaves, defiled ones, drums and women are softened by being beaten; they do not deserve gentle handling.

32. By sending them on errands the ability of servants can be known; sincerity of kinsmen can be known by their behaviour during our adversity; the genuine friendship can be understood when some mishap occurs and the fidelity of the wife is known when one’s fortune dwindles.

33. The diet of a woman is twice as much as that of a man; shrewdness four times, energy is six times and amorousness is eight times as much as that of a man.

34. It is impossible to overcome sleep by sleeping it off; to overpower a woman by loving her; to smother a flame by adding fuel and to quench thirst by drinking wine.

35. A delicious fatty meat diet, pleasing dress, glowing wine, fragrant scented pastes, and sweet smelling flowers kindle passion in women.

36. It can be said with certainty that even during the period of celibacy the god of love is busily active. On seeing a man pleasing to her heart the vagina of a woman becomes wet with profuse secretion.

37. O Saunaka, it is true, definitely true that the vaginal passage of a woman begins to secrete profusely on seeing a well dressed man whether a brother or a son.

38. Rivers and women are of similar nature in their love of freedom to choose their own course. The rivers erode the banks and the women undermine their own families.

39. The river undermines the banks and the woman causes the fall of the family. The course of rivers and women is wayward and cannot be checked.

40. A blazing fire cannot be satiated with sufficient supply of fuel; the ocean can never be filled to satiety by rivers flowing into it; the god of death is never satiated by the living beings (whom he smites) and a passionate woman is never satiated with man.

41. It is impossible to be satiated with the company of good men, friends, men of delightful conversation, and pleasures, sons, life and boons.

42. A king is never gratified with his ambitious activity of amassing wealth; a sea is never gratified with a perennial flow of water into it; a scholar is never satiated with the talks and speeches given by him; no layman’s eye is satiated with the glimpses of the king that he gets.

43. They maintain themselves by what they earn by doing their duties; they are devoted to the sacred scriptures; they are fond of their own wives; they have subjugated the unreasonable wanderings of the sense organs; they are delighted in serving guests; they attain salvation at their very doors; they are the excellent among men.

44. If the wife is after your heart, if she is attractive, well bedecked and delightful, if you live in your own house; it is heaven indeed which can be obtained only by good deeds performed in previous birth.

45. Women are incorrigible; they can never be brought round by making a gift, or offering respect, or a straightforward dealing, or repeated service. They can neither be threatened with a weapon nor asked to be quiet by citing scriptural codes.

46. Five things should be pursued slowly and cautiously. Learning, riches, ascending to mountain, amorous approach to women, and assimilation of virtuous conduct.

47. Worship to gods is of permanent benefit; a present to a brahmana leaves a permanent blessing behind; a thoroughly good learning has an everlasting beneficent result and a good bosom friend is a permanent asset.

48. Those who have not acquired enough learning during studentship and those who have not secured a decent wife and sufficient wealth during youth are to be pitied forever. They are no better than beasts, but have a human form.

49. A person devoted to the scriptural codes shall not worry over the meal. He must ponder over a regular study. A man seeking knowledge must be prepared to go a long way with the speed of Garuda.

50. Those who had been unmindful of studies during studentship and those who had wasted their wealth during youth in pursuit of lust fall into a miserable plight during old age slighted by others and burning within like the lotuses in the winter season.

51. Arguments are never stable and irrefutable; Vedas are wide and varied; there is no sage who has not mentioned something different from others. Still the central theme of virtue is hidden in a cave, as it were. Hence, the path traversed by great men should be taken as the correct one.

52. The inner workings of a man’s mind should be inferred from his facial reflexes, behaviour, gestures, movements, speech and the contractions and distortions of his eyes and lips.

53. A spoken word is understood by even a beast. Horses and elephants carry out the orders given. But a scholar infers what is not expressly stated. Intellect is fruitful in being able to comprehend others’s gestures.

54. Deprived of wealth one should go on a pilgrimage; going astray from truth one cannot but fall into the hell Raurava; though failing in the initial attempt in the yogic practice one shall continue to be strictly truthful; a king divested of his royal splendour has no other alternative but go a hunting.

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