Indian Proverbs

  • IT IS NOT the thunder that causes the rain.
  • If you don’t have an enemy, don’t you have a cousin?
  • It may not pay to weigh everyone in the same scales. (- it suggests a lost sense of discrimination).*
  • A lie doesn’t have a foot to stand on.
  • Never scatter pearls for the cocks. (Don’t waste good advice on the foolish).*
  • To get silk from a stone. (An impossible task).
  • May God save me from the one I saved (brought up, too).*
  • You may adopt an indirect approach to reach your goal.*
  • To show one’s fist to a blind man is neither a sin nor a virtue. (Advice can be lost on stupid people).
  • The bachelors crave to get married, and the married ones regret they got married.
  • A truly educated person is a gem.*
  • Distance lends enchantment.*
  • Prosperity teaches one, and poverty puts one to shame.
  • She wants to have buttermilk, but has hidden the pot brought for it behind one’s back. (She wants to have something, but feels shy in asking for it).
  • An idle person may have just three tasks: sleeping, eating and quarrelling.*
  • The wiser the man, the more in trouble.
  • A very jealous person is glad when somebody else cries, and sighs when others laugh.*
  • The lightest is to be barefooted. (No property, no worries).
  • Welcome an opportunity as it comes.*
  • Unity can be equal to a thousand golden coins.*
  • The flea sinned, the reed-mat got the beating.*
  • When pumpkins are watered, brinjals also get watered. (Some small people are often benefited when the benefit is given to the big ones).
  • The mother keeps on caring for her daughter while the daughter keeps on craving for her husband.
  • A human being is quite impatient. (2)
  • Lice flourish in rags.
  • Anyone can be trapped.
  • One may be generous at heart, but may not be able to afford it.
  • It can be impossible to change an established image.*
  • One man cut the bund/barrage, and a thousand people fell into the river.
  • A confused man is like the drowning man who asks for pears from the willow tree. (A confused person doesn’t know what is good for him).
  • One should strive to maintain one’s honour (Dastar (rather frail headgear) represents honour here).
  • People pretend to dislike what they cannot get.
  • AFTER killing a yakur bird your hands will stink. (A bad deed leaves a bad taste). (3)
  • Don’t build the bungalow on an inch of ground. (Cf. Don’t build castles in the air).*
  • Nine days wonders are forgotten soon after that.*
  • To search for thorns in the milk. (An expression for criticizing without justification).
  • First for self, then for the stranger. (Charity begins at home).
  • It may be easier to perceive error than to find truth. (The latter lies in the depth, where few try to search).
  • A king for a moment, and a beggar soon after (One’s fortune can change very fast).
  • Economize expenditure. (4)
  • Good people are gentle.
  • One man’s beard is on fire, and another man warms his hands on it. (On taking advantage of someone’s misery).
  • It does not pay to talk a lot. (Brevity is the soul of wit).
  • The income is like jasmine. (Its scent is lovely).
  • “Mother, no one abuses me.” – “Go and sit by the roadside.” (In other words: Ask for problems and you will get them).
  • Diamond cuts diamond.
  • The customers are known to the shopkeeper.
  • Prosperity improves one’s personality, adversity cripples it.
  • Rice tastes good when properly cooked, and talking is good when the opportunity is ripe. (Strike when the iron is hot).
  • One should try to get enormously benefited by a small effort.*
  • One should set sails with the tide.
  • The sparrow feels comfortable on the thorn bush.
  • TO SERVE a mean man may not be profitable.* (5)
  • Unwanted meddling in affairs could prove harmful.*
  • Maybe a naked person should not be taken to a cloth shop. (It can be so difficult to control the desires of someone who is in great need).*
  • Good connections should pay.* (6)
  • Whatever has bloomed, has bloomed from the very bud. (Cf. Coming events cast their shadows before them).
  • Relations last longer when transactions are clean.*
  • To smell one’s own bosom is fit. (Introspection).*
  • While alive in rags; when dead in satin to cover the body.*
  • The members of the family are in distress, but the idols are worshipped. (7)
  • To chalk out preventive measures in good time before an emergency is much warranted.*
  • Strive to live well within your means.
  • God cures the patient, The doctor takes the fee.
  • You have no cares? Then buy a goat.
  • The goat gave up her life; ’twas not enough:The eater grumbles that the meat is tough!
  • He shot at a sparrow. And spoiled a good arrow.
  • The man thinks he knows, But the woman knows better.
  • Before you have forded the river, o brother, Revile not unduly the crocodile’s mother.
  • Earth laughs at him who calls a place his own.
  • The idol-carver worships not; He knows what gods are made of.
  • Shoot the tiger through and through; Miss him, and he won’t miss you.
  • Cutting down a donkey’s ears. Will make no arab steed of him.
  • What’s in the soul, the sorrow shows. Remember well. There are no fans in hell!
  • “My beard is burning!” one will cry. Another lights his pipe thereby.
  • Man is the slave of gold, Gold is the slave of none.
  • Danger he challenges, laughing and singing, Grasping the tiger’s moustaches and swinging. The barber, lacking custom, shaved the cat.
  • Among the blind the one-eyed man is king.
  • Pearls grow yellow, men grow old.
  • A sin will guide you to a grave.
  • What business had the eggs to dance with stones?
  • Avoid suspicion: when you’re walking through Your neighbor’s melon-patch, don’t tie your shoe.
  • If you suspect him, then reject him. If you select him, don’t suspect him.
  • If friend but speak with friend, The liar is disgraced.
  • Appraise the spring before you drink the water; Observe the mother before you wed the daughter.
  • He knew the ox might kick, So he stood behind the mule.
  • “He has killed a thousand men!'” “Ah, he’s half a doctor, then.”
  • A word informs the wise at once. A hundred lashes teach the dunce.
  • The food was the bee’s, but by man it is eaten. The sin was the flea’s, but the bedding is beaten.
  • Have flowers less of fragrance when they bloom where none may mark? Are rubies dull and worthless when they lie on mountains lone?
  • Who finds a crow asleep when figs are ripe?
  • Within the temple thrives the scamp. It’s darkest underneath the lamp.
  • The rains have come! The rice-blades spring! The farmer cares not who is kingl
  • The eager fish repent within the net. Young lovers wish, and married men regret.
  • Death took him off But cured his cough.
  • Time and space are naught to them that love!
  • The roots of strife are four, all told: A woman, cattle, land and gold.
  • The more he dances, feasts and sings; The married man is bound to toil;
  • His mind is full of sterner things, And those are food and wood and oil.
  • The farmer prays for rain, the washer-man for sun. If prayers were not in vain, the world would be undone.
  • Fair is the hope of a distant day; Blue are the hills that are far away.
  • The wayside spring is the friend of all.
  • Sloth breaks the husbandman.
  • Qlass bracelets at a farthing each are sold; But when on arms without a fleck They clasp, in love, a husband’s neck Their worth is many thousand pounds of gold.
  • The jungle peacocks dance. Though none is there to see.
  • Broken friendship’s friendship ended; Shattered pearls may not be mended.
  • The bridegroom longs to see the bride, The guests to see the dinner.
  • Where donkeys gather, kicks are cheap.
  • A penny buyeth troubles That dollars cannot cure.
  • It is the soldier’s blood and grief That makes the glory of the chief.
  • Both of us are lords of men — Who will drive the donkeys, then?
  • Some men are ruined in pursuit of pleasure. [Mod]
  • Though strong are dagger, sword and musket-ball, The cooking pot is mightiest of all.
  • The crab instructs its young, “Walk straight ahead — like me!”
  • Where deep and smooth the stream beguiles, Beware! Look, out for crocodiles!
  • The curs are barking, one and all, But that won’t make the mountain fall.
  • Although the cow may not be vicious, Her long, sharp horns make folks suspicious.
  • When clover blooms, the honey bee has little time for stinging. [Abr]
  • I’ll make it rain as soon as men Will all agree and tell me when.
  • Who brags about his great forbears Would steal the praise that should be theirs.
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