Global Asia Studies - Lecture 4
o Take up our fourth universal theme: the communication of ideas through words,
uttered and written. Also the stilling of that communication. Lesson is divided into
four parts which include: (1) proverbs, (2) sayings, (3) folktales, and (4) hero
o What is a proverb? How is it used?
A proverb is a saying that has a moral to it
There usually ancient sayings that express meaning of life
They are brief and easy to memorize
In theory, it‟s something that you carry – it belongs to the people
It‟s cleaver, and is passed on from generations to generations
It‟s sharp and cut to the chase
Generally passed on orally
o What is the “Nitisara” – ‘Niti‟ translates to good conduct, and „sara‟ translates to
essence = good essence for good behavior
It‟s not datable, he brings about short collections of proverbs and what they
mean to him; text of a generally modern version of old proverbs
The verse is largely of a simple type called sloka. A sloka verse has 32
syllables, on two lines - 16 syllables on each line. It is not grand poetry.
Rather, it has a catchy rhythm that is used as a didactic device. It is
easy to remember, easy to teach.
It appears to have taken its current shape in late19th or early 20th century.
It‟s a compilation that had gained wide popularity in the state of Kerala
Even to-day it is being sold a low-priced publication in the bookshops of
temple towns like Guruvayar, but it does not seem to be attracting the
attention of the Sanskrit students or the reading public any more.
The idea was to guide children in the proper direction at an
Talking about material of immediate use and is pulling from multiple
traditions and all kinds of other interventions
Menon groups the verses thus:
1. Act with care and caution
2. Education and training
3. Greatness of knowledge
4. Nature of the vicious
5. Who is happy?
6. Wealth is to be utilised
7. Always prudent
8. Man and nature
9. Support from the wife
o The second reading expands our view of proverbs to the world
Proverb: denotes something that belongs to the people. Something that
everyone knows. Public knowledge. Memorable and short. o What are sayings? How are they used?
Sayings are usually something that is offered by an author
It differs from the proverb because it does not belong to the public
It can be little bit longer then a proverb, and can also be unmemorable
It is not necessarily catchy, all of the sayings can be viewed as quiet, brief,
spare and very brief
Referred to, looked up, recited, rather than carried around ever in the head of
the average person.
1. Sayings of Confucius
It was aimed to modify society, increase good conduct (li),
promote harmony in society, etc. There seemed to be an
emphasis on: Ren: good conduct, benevolence, harmony, fitting
in with society. Xing: human nature, an inborn quality that can
be improved upon.