They say if a man is easily accessible to everyone,
the virtue of courtesy will be easily accessible to him.
Loving kindness and birth in a good family--
these two are said to confer on one a gracious manner.
Resemblance among humans is not that their bodies look alike.
Real similarities come from similar traits of courtesy.
The world commends the civility of those
who combine fruitful effort and kindly benevolence.
Disparaging words are painful even when uttered in jest.
Hence, knowers of human nature are courteous even to enemies.
The world exists because civilized men exist.
Without them, it would collapse into mere dust.
Though their minds are as sharp as a wood rasp,
men without human decency are as wooden as a tree.
It is disgraceful to be discourteous towards others,
even to unfriendly fellows who treat you unjustly.
To those who cannot smile in joy, this wide world
lies engulfed in darkness, even in broad daylight.
Great wealth amassed by men who lack sweet courtesy
is like good milk turned sour in an unclean vessel.
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These daily couplets are drawn from Saint Tiruvalluvar's Tirukural, an ethical masterpiece written over 2,200 years ago in South India. This American English translation, known as Weaver's Wisdom, is available at our Minimela online store.