The Spirit of India
India’s Proverbs and Poems
PROVERBS have been part of every culture for thousands of years.
Francis Bacon said that the wit, genius, and spirit of a nation are discovered in its proverbs.
It’s difficult to find true love, but even more difficult to find true friendship
One who is walking alone, walks fastest
If you are noble you will find the world noble.
One who believes in his own capabilities, is never unsuccessful
You cannot get knowledge without a teacher
POETRY is the language of the emotions. Thomas Gray described poetry as thoughts that breathe, and words that burn.
You cannot take your boat across the sea
If you are afraid of the waves,
The one who tries
- Harivansh Rai Bachchan
In the Bazaars of Hyderabad
What do you sell O ye merchants ?
Richly your wares are displayed.
Turbans of crimson and silver,
Tunics of purple brocade,
Mirror with panels of amber,
Daggers with handles of jade.
What do you weigh, O ye vendors?
Saffron and lentil and rice.
What do you grind, O ye maidens?
Sandalwood, henna, and spice.
What do you call , O ye peddlers?
Chessman and ivory dice.
What do you make, O ye goldsmiths?
Wristlets and ankles and ring,
Bells for the feet of blue pigeons
Frail as a dragon- fly’s wing,
Girdles of gold for dancers,
Scabbards of gold for the king.
What do you cry, O ye fruitmen?
Citron, pomegranate, and plum.
What do you play , O magicians?
Spells for aeons to come.
What do you weave, O ye flower-girls
With tassels of azure and red?
Crowns for the brow of a bridegroom,
Chaplets to garland his bed,
Sheets of white blossoms new-garnered
To perfume the sleep of the dead.
- Sarojini Naidu
In Praise of Trees
O Tree, life-founder, you heard the sun
Summon you from the dark womb of earth
At your life’s first weakening; your height
Raised from rhythmless rock the first
Hymn to the light; you brought feeling to harsh impassive desert…
Nobel Laureate in Literature, 1913
(Translated by Dr. William Radice, 1985)
India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great-grandmother of tradition.
– Mark Twain