A Concise Collection of Hindu/Indian Proverbs
Download word document: Proverbs
One attains greatness by personal qualities and not by merely holding high office. A crow perching on top of a palace does not become Garuda (the king of birds and carrier of Vishnu)
A pigeon today is better than a peacock tomorrow
Do not blame God for having created the tiger, but thank him for not having given it wings.
Flies seek open wounds, bees seek fragrant flowers; good people search after good qualities, whereas mean people simply find faults.
When an elephant is in trouble, even a frog will kick him.
When dealing with fire, debt, enemies and disease get rid of them completely. Otherwise, any remainder may again increase.
Saintly people bestow their mercy on all living beings, even those with no good qualities. The moon does not withhold his cooling rays even from the house of an outcaste.
There two types of envious beings – the snake and the man who is like a snake. Of the two, the snake is less dangerous, because herbs or mantra can subdue him; but nothing can check the envious human being.
Lakshmi, the Goddess of fortune, personally resides in a place where fools are not venerated, where food grains are stored in abundance, and where there is no quarrel between husband and wife.
That man is truly learned who sees other men’s wives as mother, other’s belonging as rubble, and all living entities like himself.
Time is so valuable that even all the wealth in the world cannot buy back a single moment. What is lost is gone forever. If you spoil your valuable time, just consider how great a loser you are!
There is no comparison between learning and political power. A ruler is respected in his own kingdom, but a learned scholar is respected everywhere.
A well-dressed fool remains undetected until he speaks.
Feeding milk to a snake only increases their venom. Similarly, giving good advice to the foolish only influences their anger.
One may be ornamented with many qualities but poverty can destroy them all.
The measure of an ascetic is his ability to forgive.
These seven are considered mothers: the natural mother, the wife of the guru or teacher, the wife of a Brahmin, the wife of the king, the cow, the nurse and the earth.
To eat or not to eat? Then better not to eat – unless it’s the middle of winter (for then the digestion will be strong). To go or not to go? Best to stay put – unless you have a call of nature, and then you must go!
Better to have an intelligent enemy than a foolish friend.
The union of even small people can become irresistible. The elephant is tied of rope made of grass.
As gardener plucks each flower without destroying its root, so also should the ruler collect revenue without harming its source.
Four people perish very quickly; the shy courtesan, the immodest wife, the satisfied kshatriya (ruler) and the dissatisfied Brahmin.
Excessive courtesy should never be trusted.
One who cannot dance, blames the floor.
These six should never be given up; truthfulness, generosity, good humour, friendliness, forgiveness and contentment.
Do not be despondent because of ill fate; there cannot be sesame-oil without the crushing of sesame seeds.
Do not entertain thought of revenge unless you are capable of action – the chick pea hopping up and down, will not break the pan it is fried in.
Self-praise is no praise.
One who speaks other’s faults in an assembly proclaims his own defects.
Don’t listen to other’s secrets.
Worship of elders in the root of humility.
One should not argue with the intelligent, the foolish, friends, teachers or the beloved.
The wealth of learning cannot be stolen by thieves.
Life is a bridge. Cross over it, but build no house on it.
Don’t bargain for fish that are still in the water.
For the friendship of two, the patience of one is required.
If you live in the river, you should make friends with the crocodile.
A thief is a thief, whether he steals a diamond or a cucumber.
One should entertain neither friendship nor enmity towards an evil person: a piece of coal, when hot burns the hand, and when cold blackens it.
If your foot slips, you may regain your balance; if your mouth slips, you cannot recall your words”.
Fall from a horse and you may be saved; fall from public respect and you are lost.
A friend may be judged in adversity; a hero in war; an honest man in money-lending; a wife in poverty and a relative in trouble”.
Excessive leniency fosters many faults, while strictness builds good character. Therefore be strict not lenient, with the son or disciple.