The Twenty Virtues


We never stop learning. We must remain humble, listen attentively, observe life carefully, absorb knowledge, grow and become wise.

Here’s some of my favourite wisdom from the great sage Chanakya, who lived in Ancient India as advisor to the first Maurya Emperor Chandragupta. His teachings are appropriate to this very day. My Guru, Srila Prabhupada, would often quote Chanakya in his lectures. I especially like the six things that one can learn from a dog:

“Learn one thing from a lion, one from a crane, four from a cock, five from a crow, six from a dog, and three from an ass.

The one excellent thing that can be learned from a lion is that whatever a man intends doing should be done by him with a whole-hearted and strenuous effort.

The wise man should restrain his senses like the crane and accomplish his purpose with due knowledge of his place, time and ability.

To wake at the proper time; to take a bold stand and fight; to make a fair division (of property) among relations; and to earn one’s own bread by personal exertion are the four excellent things to be learned from a cock.

Union in privacy (with one’s wife); boldness; storing away useful items; watchfulness; and not easily trusting others; these five things are to be learned from a crow.

Contentment with little or nothing to eat although one may have a great appetite; to awaken instantly although one may be in a deep slumber; unflinching devotion to the master; the ability to eat a lot; the ability to fall asleep easily; and bravery; these six qualities should be learned from the dog.

Although an ass is tired, he continues to carry his burden; he is unmindful of cold and heat; and he is always contented; these three things should be learned from the ass.

He who shall practice these twenty virtues shall become invincible in all his undertakings”.

Canakya Niti-darpanam, ch.6
Posted by Kurma on 29/8/05; 10:55:47 AM

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