Reject each act that may thine honour's clearness stain.
Actions that would degrade (one's) family should not be done; though they may be so important that not doing them would end in death.962 - Who seek with glory to combine honour's untarnished fame,
Do no inglorious deeds, though men accord them glory's name.
Those who desire (to maintain their) honour, will surely do nothing dishonourable, even for the sake of fame.963 - Bow down thy soul, with increase blest, in happy hour;
Lift up thy heart, when stript of all by fortune's power.
In great prosperity humility is becoming; dignity, in great adversity.964 - Like hairs from off the head that fall to earth,
When fall'n from high estate are men of noble birth.
They who have fallen from their (high) position are like the hair which has fallen from the head.965 - If meanness, slight as 'abrus' grain, by men be wrought,
Though like a hill their high estate, they sink to nought.
Even those who are exalted like a hill will be thought low, if they commit deeds that are debasing.966 - It yields no praise, nor to the land of Gods throws wide the gate:
Why follow men who scorn, and at their bidding wait?
Of what good is it (for the high-born) to go and stand in vain before those who revile him ? it only brings him loss of honour and exclusion from heaven.967 - Better 'twere said, 'He's perished!' than to gain
The means to live, following in foeman's train.
It is better for a man to be said of him that he died in his usual state than that he eked out his life by following those who disgraced him.968 - When high estate has lost its pride of honour meet,
Is life, that nurses this poor flesh, as nectar sweet?
For the high-born to keep their body in life when their honour is gone will certainly not prove a remedy against death.969 - Like the wild ox that, of its tuft bereft, will pine away,
Are those who, of their honour shorn, will quit the light of day.
Those who give up (their) life when (their) honour is at stake are like the yark which kills itself at the loss of (even one of) its hairs.970 - Who, when dishonour comes, refuse to live, their honoured memory
Will live in worship and applause of all the world for aye!
The world will (always) praise and adore the fame of the honourable who would rather die than suffer indignity.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
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Courtesy: We have used Thirukural Tamil interpretations by Dr. M. Karunanithi. The Englist translation was used from the book: TIRUKKURAL with translations in English by Rev Dr G U Pope, Rev W H Drew, Rev John Lazarus and Mr F W Ellis Published by The South India Saiva Siddhantha Works Publishing Society, Tinnevelly, Limited. India (1982).