Fools are Beasts without Tails- Bhartruhari and Valluvar agree! (Post No.5503)

Written by London Swaminathan
Date: 3 October 2018


Time uploaded in London –17-11  (British Summer Time)


Post No. 5503


Pictures shown here are taken from various sources including google, Wikipedia, Facebook friends and newspapers. This is a non- commercial blog.



Bhartruhari’s Niti Sataka 11,12,13,14


There are some stories to illustrate the points raised in Bhatruhari’s slokas/verses. I will give some stories from Tamil and Sanskrit books.


शक्यो वारयितुं जलेन हुतभुक्च्छत्रेण सूर्यातपो
नागेन्द्रो निशिताग्कुशेन समदो दण्डेन गोगर्दभौ ।
व्याधिर्भेषजसङ्ग्रहैश्च विविधैर्मन्त्रप्रयोगैर्विषं
सर्वस्यौषधम् अस्ति शास्त्रविहितं मूर्खस्य नस्त्यौषधिम् ॥ 1.11 ॥


11:Fire can be quenched by water

Heat of the sun can be kept off by an umbrella

A wild elephant can be guided by a sharp hook

An or an ass by stick

Sickness can be subdued by the help of doctors

Poison by the charms.

A cure has been ordained by the shastras/scriptures for everything

But there is no medicine for the cure of fools.


Kamban is a great Tamil poet who composed over 10,000 verses to sing the glory of Rama. He lived about 1000 years ago in Tamil Nadu. Now and the he had some quarrels with the Chola King.


Then he composed a verse saying ,


Look! your country is only 24 Katham (appr. a katham is 10 miles). Do you think that the rest of the earth is covered by sea? O Kolli Hill ruler! Haven’t I got any other place to go?


When Kamban’s son Ambikapathy was killed by the Chola king, In another verse he asks,

Is there a tree branch which wont entertain a monkey?


A learned person will be welcomed by all.


Nannan was a cruel and stupid king. Once a teenage girl picked a mango that was fallen on the ground in the royal garden. Immediately she was presented before the king and he passed  death sentence on her. The whole town came together in support of the girl and apologized to the king on her behalf. He was adamant. Then they promised him to give gold equal to the weight f the girl. but yet he insisted that she should be executed. All the Tamil poets cursed him that his generation wont be sung by any Tamil poet. This happened 2000 years ago.


The greatest of the Indian poets, Kalidasa also had quarrels and arguments with his contemporary, king Bhoja. when he migrated to other countries Bhoja begged him to return. he had to use various tricks o bring him back.

साक्षात्पशुः पुच्छविषाणहीनः ।
तृणं न खादन्नपि जीवमानस्
तद्भागधेयं परमं पशूनाम् ॥ 1.12 ॥


12, The man who has no sense of literature and music is like a beast, though he has not got horns and a tail; he may not eat grass, but yet he lives a life exactly like that of the cattle.


(The Mogul emperor Aurangzeb was a man who never liked music or literature; quite opposite to Akbar)


येषां न विद्या न तपो न दानं
ज्ञानं न शीलं न गुणो न धर्मः ।
ते मर्त्यलोके भुवि भारभूता
मनुष्यरूपेण मृगाश्चरन्ति ॥ 1.13 ॥


13.Those in whom is neither wisdom nor penance, nor liberality nor  knowledge, nor good disposition, nor virtue, nor righteousness may live in the world of mortals in the form of men, but pass through the world like beasts encumbering the earth.

वरं पर्वतदुर्गेषु
भ्रान्तं वनचरैः सह
न मूर्खजनसम्पर्कः
सुरेन्द्रभवनेष्वपि ॥ 1.14 ॥


14 it is better to wander in a mountain pass with the wild beasts than to live in the palace of the gods with a fool.


(There is a Tamil Verse: better live in forest infested with tigers than to live under a tyrant king)


शास्त्रोपस्कृतशब्दसुन्दरगिरः शिष्यप्रदेयागमा
विख्याताः कवयो वसन्ति विषये यस्य प्रभोर्निर्धनाः ।
तज्जाड्यं वसुधादिपस्य कवयस्त्वर्थं विनापीश्वराः
कुत्स्याः स्युः कुपरीक्षका हि मणयो यैरर्घतः पातिताः ॥ 1.15 ॥


If the learned and reputed poets, whose literary creations are worth learning and emulating by their disciples, are poor and wealthless in a kingdom, then the king himself must be stupid and insensitive! The wise and the learned are already great and famous even without any wealth. If an incompetent jeweller underestimates the value of a gem, then it is his fault and not of the gem.

Tamil poet Valluvar in the Tamil Veda Tirukkural says

Beasts are lower than men in the scale of creation; even so are fools before those who have delved deep in the mines of knowledge – Kural 410


Valluvar and Bhartruhari agree that ignorant people are like beasts.


In another couplet he says,


A deluded fool is shameless, aimless in life, unfeeling, languid. He does not safeguard anything- Kural 833


He also said,

In one brief birth a fool can gain

Enough hell for seven births of pain- Kural 835



Bhartruhari and Valluvar on Fools! A Story from Panchatantra!

Written by London Swaminathan

Date: 20  September 2018


Time uploaded in London – 11-35 am (British Summer Time)


Post No. 5450

Pictures shown here are taken from various sources including google, Wikipedia, Facebook friends and newspapers. This is a non- commercial blog.


Sanskrit poet Bhartruhari who composed 300 verses and Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar who composed 1330 couplets agree on several topics including ‘dealing with fools’.


Bhartruhari says in Niti (Neeti) Sataka,

4.A man may forcibly get back a jewel from the teeth of a crocodile,
He may cross over the raging waves of sea,
He may wear an angry serpent on his head as if it were a garland of flowers,
But he cannot win over the mind of one who is foolish and obstinate.

5.A man may get oil from sand by violent pressure,
He may drink water from mirage when oppressed by thirst,
He may get the possession of a horn from the rabbit,
But he cannot win over the mind of one who is foolish and obstinate.

6.Those who try to lead evil men into the path of virtue by a few soft words, are like people who binds an elephant with a young lotus fibre ,
Or like people who try to cut the diamond with a filament of (softest) Sirisha flower,
Or like one who desires to make the salt sea sweet with a drop of honey.

All the three couplets show how difficult it would be to tackle fools or obstinate people.


Tamil poet Thiru Valluvar says,


‘One who attempts to open the eyes of a fool is a fool himself

For a fool continues to see things only his way’- Kural 849


‘Heeds no advice; knows nothing wise,

His life is an illness till he lives’- Kural 848


‘The person who cannot absorb and digest the great truths of the Vedas and of reputed scholars,

Will bring down on himself all calamities and miseries’—Kural 847

There are many stories about fools told to children in the Panchatantra fables. The popular one is the story of monkey and the weaver bird.

Here is the story:–


‘No sword can bend an unbending tree,

nor prevail against stone,
as Needle-bill’s good advice could not upon one

who took life easy and would not learn’ – Panchatantra


In a jungle there lived a troop of monkeys. On a cold winter day, the monkeys were shivering. At dusk, they saw a firefly. Believing it to be fire, they brought it with great care to their living place, covered it with dry grass and started rubbing their arms and feet to warm themselves. One monkey who felt very cold repeatedly blew hard on the firefly to make it burn more vigorously. A weaver bird called Needle-Bill, who had been watching this, flew from the tree and advised the monkeys not to do such a stupid thing and explained to them it is not fire, but just an insect. The monkeys did not listen to the bird. The bird came too close to a monkey to give the advice in its ears, and  he seized and dashed the poor bird against a rock.

And Vishnusarman, author of Panchatantra finishes this story with a saying,

‘what avails instruction to those unfit

it is like a lamp in a house that’s lit

within a jar with a lid on it’.


In Panchatantra we see more such stories. Even Kalidasa, the greatest poet of India, was dumb in the beginning. He was cutting the branch of a tree by sitting on top of it. Noticing his stupidity, the ministers took him to palace and dressed him like a prince and presented him in front of an arrogant princess.When she found out after marrying him that he was a rustic fool, he was thrown out of the palace. Kalidasa received the blessings of Goddess Kali and became one of the world’s most admired ancient poets.