Tkl 1 2 15

Created by Jijith Nadumuri at 11 Oct 2011 10:27 and updated at 11 Oct 2011 10:27

TIRUKKURAL of Tiruvalluvar, the Tamil poet




1.2 Domestic Virtue


1.2.15 Not Backbiting

Though virtuous words his Lips speak not, and all his deeds are ill.
If Neighbour he defame not, there s good within him still.
Though one do not even speak of Virtue and live in sin, it will be well if it be said of him "he does not backbite."

Than he who Virtue scorns, and Evil deeds performs, more vile,
Is he that slanders Friend, then meets him with false smile.
To smile deceitfully (in another s presence) after having reviled him to his destruction (behind his back) is a greater Evil than the commission of (every other) sin and the destruction of (every) Virtue.

Tis greater gain of virtuous good for man to die,
Than live to slander absent Friend, and falsely praise when nigh.
Death rather than life will confer upon the deceitful backbiter the Profit which (the treatises on) Virtue point out.

In presence though unkindly words you speak, say not
In absence words whose ill result exceeds your thought.
Though you speak without Kindness before another s face speak not in his absence words which regard not the Evil subsequently resulting from it.

The slanderous meanness that an absent Friend defames,
This man in words owns Virtue, not in Heart, proclaims.
The emptiness of that man s mind who (merely) praises Virtue will be seen from the meanness of reviling another behind his back.

Who on his Neighbours sins delights to dwell,
The story of his sins, culled out with care, the World will tell.
The character of the faults of that man who publishes abroad the faults of others will be sought out and published.

With Friendly art who know not pleasant words to say,
Speak words that sever Hearts, and drive choice Friends away.
Those who know not to live in Friendship with amusing conversation will by back biting estrange even their relatives.

Whose nature bids them faults of closest Friends proclaim
What Mercy will they show to other men s good name?
What will those not do to Strangers whose nature leads them to publish abroad the faults of their intimate Friends

Tis charity, I ween, that makes the Earth sustain their load.
Who, Neighbours absence watching, tales or slander tell abroad.
The World through charity supports the weight of those who reproach others observing their absence.

If each his own, as Neighbours faults would scan,
Could any Evil hap to living man?
If they observed their own faults as they observe the faults of others, would any Evil happen to men

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