Indian Proverbs and Sayings

A bandicoot is lovely to his parents; a mule is pretty to its mate.

A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.

A dog always bites under the knee.

A fight in your neighbor’s house is refreshing.

A fly, a harlot, a beggar, a rat, and gusty wind; the village-boss and the tax collector – these seven are always annoying to others.

A foolish ruler, a weak child, and a person mad after riches, desire that which can not be procured.

A friend advises in his interest, not yours.

A good bark year makes a good wheat year.

A guilty conscience is a hidden enemy.

A house without children is a graveyard.

A hundred divine epochs would not suffice to describe all the marvels of the Himalaya.

A known mistake is better than an unknown truth.

A man without a woman is only half a man.

Advice to the stupid produces anger.

A man without money is like a bow without arrows.

A monkey that amuses me is better than a deer astray.

A mother is a school, preparing her is like preparing a good nation.

A person of excellent qualities is like a flower, which, whether found amongst weeds or worn on the head, still preserves its fragrance.

A person who misses a chance and the monkey who misses its branch can’t be saved.

A problem is solved when it gets tougher.

A thief thinks everybody steals.

A tree starts with a seed.

A wise and prudent person is not thrown into confusion by reproach; but is like the flame, which, when stirred, ascends higher and higher.

Advice sharpens a rusty opinion.

Advice to the stupid produces anger.

Agriculture is best, enterprise is acceptable, but avoid being on a fixed wage.

Among the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

An old patient is better than a new doctor.

Anger ends in cruelty.

Any water in the desert will do.

Ask thy purse what thou should buy.

Be first at the feast, and last at the fight.

Before his appointed time, a person cannot die though thrown into the very jaws of death; but when that time arrives, even a straw destroys him.

Believe what you see and not all you hear.

Better a hundred enemies outside the house than one inside.

Better to have a diamond with a few small flaws than a rock that is perfect.

Blaming your faults on your nature does not change the nature of your faults.

Blaw the wind ne’er so fast, it will lower at last.

Call on God, but row away from the rocks.

Clouds that thunder seldom rain.

Complaining is the weak man’s weapon.

Consult the wise and do not disobey him.

Danger should be feared when distant, and braved when present.

Death is a camel which sleeps in everyone’s house.

Death, dreaded through life, is not perceived when he arrives.

Dependence on another is perpetual disappointment.

Do not blame God for having created the tiger, but thank him for not having given it wings.

Don’t bargain for fish which are still in the water.

Don’t delay today’s work until tomorrow.

Don’t eat your bread on someone Else’s table.

Don’t judge any man until you have walked two moons in his moccasins.

Don’t just cross a river – cross it bearing fire!.

Drops join to make a stream; ears combine to make a crop.

Eat fire and your mouth burn; live on credit and your pride will burn.

Even a cat is a lion in her own lair.

Every dog is a tiger in his own street.

Every one looking downwards becomes impressed with ideas of his own greatness; but looking upwards, feels his own littleness.

Evil will befall him who regards not the advice of a benevolent friend.

Faith keeps the world going.

Fate and self-help share equally in shaping our destiny.

Fish and guests smell when they are three days old.

Follow the river and you will get to the sea.

Garlic is as good as ten mothers.

Great anger is more destructive than the sword.

Great minds discuss ideas, medium minds discuss events, and little minds discuss people.

Greatness is not the fruit of birth, but of effort: it is not attained but by the greatest exertions; whereas to become insignificant costs no pains: to raise a stone to the top of a mountain requires great labour, but it will descend with the utmost velocity.

Happiness consists in the absence of anxiety.

He is a real friend who assists in time of danger.

He is a real teacher who not only instructs others, but practises the same instructions himself.

He that is bald headed has no need for a comb.

He who allows his day to pass by without practicing generosity and enjoying life’s pleasures is like a blacksmith’s bellows: he breathes but does not live.

He who delivers another from danger, and he who removes terror from the mind, are the greatest of friends.

He who has a true friend, has no need of a mirror.

He who in your presence speaks kindly, but in your absence seeks to injure you, must be utterly rejected, like a bowl of poison covered with milk.

He who purifies himself in the river of a subdued spirit, the waters of which are truth, its waves compassion, and its shores excellent temper and conduct, will be liberated from this world; but liberation cannot be obtained by just outward observances.

I had no shoes and complained, until I met a man who had no feet.

I have lanced many boils, but none pained like my own.

If they don’t exchange a few words, father and son will never know one another.

If we dig precious things from the land, we will invite disaster.

If you are up to your knees in pleasure, then you are up to your waist in grief.

If you live in the river you should make friends with the crocodile.

If you live on the river, befriend the crocodile.

If you want to know what a tiger is like, look at a cat.

In a tree that you can’t climb, there are always a thousand fruits.

In my homeland I possess one hundred horses, yet if I go, I go on foot.

It is a greater gift to give than to receive.

It is better to be blind than to see things from only one point of view.

It is better to make a vow of silence than to utter falsehoods.

It is better to sit down than to stand, it is better to lie down than to sit, but death is the best of all.

It is little use to dig a well after the house has caught fire.

It’s better to pick a fight with your in-laws than with your neighbors.

Justice is better than admiration.

Keep five yards from a carriage, ten yards from a horse, and a hundred yards from an elephant; but the distance one should keep from a wicked man cannot be measured.

Large desire is endless poverty.

Learning is a treasure no thief can touch.

Let no human being be despised, for who can tell how soon even the lowest may be raised; and how the arrogant fall.

Let the traveller fainting on his journey take rest under a tree which contains both fruit and shade.

Life is not a continuum of pleasant choices, but of inevitable problems that call for strength, determination, and hard work.

Like the body that is made up of different limbs and organs, all moral creatures must depend on each other to exist.

Never stand in front of a judge or behind a donkey.

No one was ever lost on a straight road.

No strength within, no respect without.

Nothing is comprehensible except by virtue of its edges.

One and one sometimes make eleven.

One finger can’t lift a pebble.

One ‘no’ averts seventy evils.

Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun.

Only two things matter in this world: a son and a daughter.

Patience is the most beautiful prayer.

Pearls are of no value in a desert.

People are not naturally either friends or enemies: friendship and enmity arise from circumstances.

Poverty makes thieves, like love makes poets.

Regularity is the best medicine.

Riches are treasured up against the day of danger ; but to save life every thing is to be sacrificed. If life be preserved, all is safe; if life be lost, all is lost.

Separation secures manifest friendship.

September blow soft till the fruit’s in the loft.

Sit on the bank of a river and wait: Your enemy’s corpse will soon float by.

Smiles that you broadcast, will always come back to you.

Something done at the wrong time should be regarded as not done.

Speak like a parrot; meditate like a swan; chew like a goat; and bathe like an elephant.

Stolen sugar is the sweetest.

The contented are always happy; the discontented are ever miserable.

The cruel are feared even by the wise.

The earth trembles while she sustains a person who seeks to injure a generous, faithful, and holy person.

The eyes do not see what the mind does not want.

The friendship of a good person is not easily interrupted, and if lost is soon regained: a golden bowl is not easily broken, but if broken is soon repaired.

The genuine friend, who is affected with the joys and sorrows of another, is a medicinal cordial, the sanctuary of the heart, the delight of the eyes, and worthy of confidence.

The good exercise compassion by making the case of others their own.

The heart of an excellent person resembles the coconut, which, though hard without, contains refreshing water and delicious food within.

The money you dream about will not pay your bills.

The more you nourish the anxiety of the heart, quarrels and disorders, the more they increase.

The nose didn’t smell the rotting head.

The sieve says to the needle; you have a hole in your head.

The sight of the eyes is not sight; but he is blest with vision who possesses knowledge; the ignorant are the blind.

The Three great mysteries: air to a bird, water to a fish, mankind to himself.

The tongue is safe; even among thirty teeth.

The tree casts its shade upon all, even the woodcutter.

The vicious, notwithstanding the sweetness of their words, and the honey on their tongues, have a whole storehouse of poison in their hearts.

The way to overcome the angry man is with gentleness, the evil man with goodness, the miser with generosity and the liar with truth.

The weakest go to the wall.

The worst kind of poverty is to have many debts.

There are three uncertainties: woman, wind, and wealth.

There is no evil without its advantages.

There is no union between the thoughts, the words, and the actions of the wicked; but the thoughts, words, and actions of the good, all agree.

There is nothing noble in being superior to some other man. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self.

They who give, have all things; they who withhold, have nothing.

Those who hunt deer sometimes raise tigers.

To control the mind is like trying to control a drunken monkey that has been bitten by a scorpion.

To lend is to buy a quarrel.

To sing to the deaf, to talk with the dumb, and to dance for the blind are three foolish things.

To the mediocre, mediocrity appears great.

True happiness lies in giving it to others.

Truth, contentment, patience, and mercy, belong to great minds.

Under the mountains is silver and gold, But under the night sky, hunger and cold.

Walking slowly, even the donkey will reach Lhasa.

War is to men, childbirth is to women.

We can’t change the direction of the wind, but we can adjust the sails.

What was hard to bear is sweet to remember.

When an elephant is in trouble even a frog will kick him. — Hindu Proverb

When you are in the water you swim.

When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life in such a manner that when you die the world cries and you rejoice.

Where the needle goes, the thread follows.

Where there are no learned men, there even the ignorant are esteemed learned, as where there are no trees, there the lonely palm is esteemed a tree.

Whoever eats a pancake never counts the holes in it.

Wisdom assists more than strength.

You can never enter the same river twice.

You can often find in rivers what you cannot find in oceans.

You can only lean against that which resists.

You do not stumble over a mountain, but you do over a stone.

You may look up for inspiration or look down in desperation but do not look sideways for information.