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RANGASWAMY_at_plh.af.mil
Date: Sat Aug 02 1997 - 16:36:45 PDT

Dear Friends,

In this post, I shall provide the translation of the twelve verses 
from Swami Desikan's first section, "The Ways of the Unlettered" of the
Subashita Nivi.

1 The foremost good person is God and the foremost evil person is myself. 
Each does not remember what he has done. By doing good and evil
respectively, each erases all the evil or good done by the other in this 
world. My salutations to both. 

In this verse, Swami Desikan perhaps has in mind the "Aparadha
Chakravarthi" salutation from the Daya Shatakam. 

2. The treasure of wise words uttered by poets with fervour and with 
literal or figurative meanings, is immune to theft by nimble-handed 
thieves. 

Here, Swami Desikan is referring to the superiority of the wealth of
wisdom over the wealth of gold. The former is everlasting while the latter
is transient.  

3. Men see non-existent faults in others but not their obvious virtues. On
the contrary, they see not their own defects but imagine virtues in
themselves. This is due to the collyrium of illusion hiding their vision. 

Swami Desikan here refers to cynics, who only find fault with others
and ignore their virtues. 

4. What glory is there in men, who despite having enjoyed the milk and 
hospitality of virtuous men, deny and behave as if they have never done
so?

Swami Desikan brings out the vile nature of those who never have any 
gratitude towards their benefactors.  

5. Can a prejudiced person who sees only yellow color in the pure white
Panchajanya conch, resting like a swan in the lotus hands of Lord Hari and 
which is the source of milky white pearls in Goddess Lakshmi's necklace, 
ever be a physician to cure other's illnesses?

6. None can besmear the reputation of spotless persons, who are like the
quartz crystal unaffected by other colors, even though in close proximity;
none will believe or respect the words of the wicked slanderers. 

7. The clouds, after drinking a little water, sends out thunders, but 
Sage Agastya coolly drank the entire ocean in one sip. No wonder the
rivers of the Pandya kingdom with pearls in their beds laugh scornfully at
these clouds. 

8. A learned person loses his reputation quickly and becomes the laughing 
stock of society when he turns arrogant and acquires distorted
perspectives. 

9. Sinful is the ingratitude in the recipient of favors from his true 
friends who do not publicize his errors or defects known to themselves 
only. 

10. Fie on those who turn against their patrons and benefactors and take
to darkened ways! Of what use is their brilliance to anyone?

11. How glorious is the banyan tree, on a single leaf of which reclines
Lord Narayana, under whose shade rests Lord Shiva after his strenuous
dance? Yet all that a beggar thinks is when will the tender sshoots
blossom, from which he can make a cup for drinking water. 

12. Professional slanderers with sharp tongues speak ill even of Lord 
Sri Rama, the embodiment of all virtues, by saying that he killed a 
woman (Tataka), He slew Vali by hiding behind a tree and stepped back a 
little in his fight with the Rakshasas Khara and Dushana. Can they keep 
quiet if they see a person of few virtues and many grievous defects of 
character?

Acharyan Tiruvadigale SharaNam,

Muralidhar Rangaswamy