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Subhashita Nivi -4

From: muralidhar rangaswamy (
Date: Thu Nov 27 1997 - 17:48:06 PST

Dear Bhagavatas,

I am resuming the series on Swami Desikan's Subhashita Nivi. 
In this post, I shall present the fourth set of twelve verses. My 
summary is based on U.Ve. Sri. M.K. Srinivasan's translation of this 
work. In this section, Swami Desikan describes the ways of the 

1. Good lineage, nobility, and piety as demonstrated by pilgrimages to 
sacred places and learning under the tutelage of great preceptors are 
all of no avail if a person is ill-behaved and is engaged in evil 

2.Professions of purity and conformity to external religious observances 
will not prevent a man from being regarded as a sinner if 
he indulges in prohibited acts.

3. Despite his honesty of purpose, helpful and friendly nature, good 
character, a person not observing the traditional codes set by elders 
is considered a fallen man, like the moon whose brightness fades away 
when it rises anywhere other than the east.

4. For those whose minds are impure, who do not perform their prescribed 
duties but indulge in prohibited acts even birth in noble families will 
only lead to greater sins.

5. A sinner is inclined to persist in his sinful ways ignoring 
opportunities for expiation intended to purify him. 

6. A hypocrite is staying at one place, standing on one foot, apparently 
detached from the world around, but traps the unwary and ruins them 
without anyone's knowledge.

7. A crane cannot become a swan, although both are hatched from eggs and 
both are white in color and flourish in water. The intrinsic difference 
lies in their food behavior and character.

8. Accepting gifts from those who have no power of discrimination 
between right and wrong, between the worthy and unworthy, and whose 
wealth is ill-gotten does more harm than good to the recipient. 

9. An honest person once falsely accused by wicked men, remains an 
object of distrust for considerable amount of time even by those who 
know that the accusation is false.

10. A person persisting in sinful conduct merits punishment at the 
hands of his well-wishers or by the king himself so that he changes his 
sinful ways.

11. The truly virtuous will shun all contact with those, who, though 
well-born, commit evil deeds, who are shunned in good society, due to 
their actions are ill-tempered and who, having realization of their own 
guilt, swank about in society arrogantly.

12. Appearances are deceptive and not to be trusted. What appears to be 
a bamboo may in reality be a snake. A magician's vision can snuff out a 
snake's eyesight, but a stroke of lightning can destroy the magician's 

Namo Narayana,

Muralidhar Rangaswamy

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