Emphasis, old style

Do look at these sikshaavali quotes from Taittireeya upanishad, given by me in pairs. The first pair occurs separately in the original.

  • satyam vada; satyaanna pramaditavyam. Speak the truth; do not swerve from the truth (even inadvertently)
  • yaanyanavadyaani karmaani, taani tvayopaasyaani, no itaraani; yaanyasmaakam sucharitaani, taani tvayopaasyaani, no itaraani . Acts that are blameless alone should be resorted to by you, not other acts; acts of ours (the Gurus) that are good alone should be followed by you, not other acts  of ours.
  • shraddhayaa deyam; ashraddhayaa adeyam. Give with dedication; do not give without dedication

 The ancients did not take chances even with aphorisms. They carefully repeated them in another form for emphasis using techniques like partial annotation, double negative, narrowing the context and such others.

Elsewhere, in the eastern part of the world again, a few centuries before the Christian era, there was this wise man whom they called Master Kong or Kong-fu-tzu.

Look how he goes on and on and in different ways about how the superior man, the wise man will choose virtue as an option every time:

The Master said, "It is virtuous manners which constitute the excellence of a neighborhood. If a man in selecting a residence do not fix on one where such prevail, how can he be wise?"

The Master said, "Those who are without virtue cannot abide long either in a condition of poverty and hardship, or in a condition of enjoyment. The virtuous rest in virtue; the wise desire virtue."

The Master said, "It is only the truly virtuous man, who can love, or who can hate, others."

The Master said, "If the will be set on virtue, there will be no practice of wickedness."

The Master said, "Riches and honors are what men desire. If they cannot be obtained in the proper way, they should not be held. Poverty and meanness are what men dislike. If they cannot be avoided in the proper way, they should not be avoided.

"If a superior man abandon virtue, how can he fulfill the requirements of that name?

"The superior man does not, even for the space of a single meal, act contrary to virtue. In moments of haste, he cleaves to it. In seasons of danger, he cleaves to it."

The Master said, "I have not seen a person who loved virtue, or one who hated what was not virtuous. He who loved virtue, would esteem nothing above it. He who hated what is not virtuous, would practice virtue in such a way that he would not allow anything that is not virtuous to approach his person.

"Is any one able for one day to apply his strength to virtue? I have not seen the case in which his strength would be insufficient.

"Should there possibly be any such case, I have not seen it."

The Master said, "The faults of men are characteristic of the class to which they belong. By observing a man's faults, it may be known that he is virtuous."

The Master said, "If a man in the morning hear the right way, he may die in the evening hear(ing) regret."

The Master said, "A scholar, whose mind is set on truth, and who is ashamed of bad clothes and bad food, is not fit to be discoursed with."

The Master said, "The superior man, in the world, does not set his mind either for anything, or against anything; what is right he will follow."

The Master said, "The superior man thinks of virtue; the small man thinks of comfort. The superior man thinks of the sanctions of law; the small man thinks of favors which he may receive."

 The  extract is from Confucian works published by the University of Evansville, Indiana.

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