The most precious wealth is the wealth acquired by the ear.
Indeed, of all wealth, that wealth is paramount.
Only when no fare can be found for the ear
is it time to offer the stomach a morsel.
In Heaven, Deities feed from sacrificial fires.
On Earth, men who feast on listening are their equal.
Though he has no learning, if a man listens to the learned,
that will serve as his staff of strength in adversity.
Words from the lips of upright men
are like a steadying staff in a slippery place.
Let a man listen to good things, however little.
Even that little will enlarge his greatness.
Those who have studied deeply and listened diligently never speak
foolish words, even when they have misunderstood a matter.
If not pierced by acute listening,
ears may hear and yet remain deaf.
Unless he has listened to learning's subtlety,
it is rare indeed for a man to speak with humility.
There are those whose tongues taste but whose ears savor nothing.
What does it matter whether they live or die?
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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.