Modesty is the Ornament of the Wise! (Post No.3827)

Written by London swaminathan


Date: 17 APRIL 2017


Time uploaded in London:- 21-26


Post No. 3827


Pictures are taken from various sources; thanks.





Two great poets of India Kalidasa and Tiruvalluvar say that Modesty is the ornament of the wise. Valluvar used ten couplets in Tamil to emphasise modesty and Kalidasa mentioned it in Sanskrit  at least  in three places in his work Raghuvamsa.


Tiru Valluvar says,

Is not Modesty (sense of shame) an ornament to the wise? If not present, a stately strut is a disease (Kural 1014)


Food, Clothing and the like are common to all men; but modesty is the chief feature of the good (1012)


In blessed modesty the worthy find a tower of strength. For such a rare jewel, they hold the world well lost. (1016)

Kalidasa in his Kavya Raghuvasa says,


तस्य संस्तूयमानस्य चरितार्थैस्तपस्विभिः।
शुशुभे विक्रमोदग्रम् व्रीडयावनतम् शिरः॥ १५-२७

tasya saṁstūyamānasya caritārthaistapasvibhiḥ |
śuśubhe vikramodagram vrīḍayāvanatam śiraḥ|| 15-27


He (King Shatrughna) gracefully held his head high by his heroic deed; when the object-accomplished hermits eulogised him he modestly bent it down; even then it looked more graceful. [15-27]



`स्तूयमानः स जिह्राय स्तुत्यमेव समाचरन्।
तथापि ववृधे तस्य तत्कारिद्वेषिणो यशः॥ १७-७३

stūyamānaḥ sa jihrāya stutyameva samācaran |
tathāpi vavṛdhe tasya tatkāridveṣiṇo yaśaḥ|| 17-73


He (King Atithi)  who did what was but praiseworthy became suffused with shame when praised for it; however, the reputation of him as the hater of those who praised him only increased his fame. [17-73]


तस्याभवत्सूनुरुदारशीलः शिलः
जितारिपक्षोऽपि शिलीमुखैर्यः
शालीनतामव्रजदीड्यमानः॥ १८-१७

tasyābhavatsūnurudāraśīlaḥ śilaḥ
śilāpaṭṭaviśālavakṣāḥ |
jitāripakṣo’pi śilīmukhairyaḥ
śālīnatāmavrajadīḍyamānaḥ || 18-17


King Pariyatra had a son named Shila possessing a generous disposition, and having a broad chest like a slab of stone; although he had vanquished divisions of the enemies’ armies by his arrows still he was abashed when he heard himself praised. [18-17]

Parimel Azakar, the most famous commentator of Tirukkural, quotes a Sanskrit saying about modesty:- Gunadyasya satah pumsah stutau ajjaiva Bhushanam.

A virtuous person becomes abashed when he is praised and it is an ornament for him.


Virtuous people feel shy when they are praised; even though their heads bow down, their fame go sky high!


Raghuvamsa slokas are from; thanks.