Indian Proverbs

By | March 9, 2016

Sayings of Indian origin

  • There is no hand to catch time.
  • To give jewels to a donkey is as stupid as giving a eunuch to a woman.
  • He who dreams for too long will become like his shadow.
  • To control the mind is like trying to control a drunken monkey that has been bitten by a scorpion.
  • Whoever eats a pancake never counts the holes in it.
  • The thief that is not caught is a king.
  • When you are in difficulty, go to the house of your friend — not your sister’s.
  • He who does not climb, will not fall either.
  • When an elephant is in trouble, even a frog will kick him.
  • The man who has mounted an elephant will not fear the bark of a dog.
  • What good is giving sugar to the dead?
  • When a camel is at the foot of a mountain only then judge his height.
  • It is hard for an ex-king to become a night watchman.
  • Where the needle goes, the thread follows.
  • Don’t eat your bread on someone Else’s table.
  • One man’s house burns so that another may warm himself.
  • When you have an ass for a friend, expect nothing but kicks.
  • The nose didn’t smell the rotting head.
  • The first day a guest, the second day a guest, the third day a calamity.
  • When you drink milk under the palm tree, people will say that it is palm wine.
  • He that is baldheaded has no need of combs.
  • Don’t poison someone whom you can kill with sweets.
  • There are three uncertainties: woman, wind, and wealth.
  • We are both queens, so who will hang out the laundry?
  • Pull someone by the ears and his head will follow.
  • Stolen sugar is the sweetest.
  • Among the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
  • You must answer the devil in his own language.
  • What does the blind man know of the beauty of the tulip?
  • One and one sometimes make eleven.
  • I gave him a staff for his support and he uses it to break my head.
  • If you live on the river, befriend the crocodile.
  • The voice of the poor has no echo.
  • The world flatters the elephant and tramples on the ant.
  • The sieve says to the needle, “You have a hole in your tail.”
  • The hands of a lawyer are always in someone’s pocket.
  • The word of a woman is a bundle of water.
  • Use medicine as well as prayers.
  • When a woman laughs an experienced man will know how much it will cost him.
  • If you call a lady a slave, she laughs, but if you call a slave a slave, he cries.
  • To sing to the deaf, to talk with the dumb, and to dance for the blind are three foolish things.
  • You should not call in a cat to settle the argument of two birds.
  • What is the use of crying when the birds ate the whole farm?
  • A beautiful woman belongs to everyone; an ugly one is yours alone.
  • Fish and guests smell when they are three days old.
  • He who works as a slave, eats as a king.
  • In love, beggar and king are equal.
  • If you can’t give any sugar then speak sweetly.
  • He who has a true friend, has no need of a mirror.
  • The body dies, the fame lives.
  • The potter sleeps soundly, for no one would steal clay.
  • The weakest go to the wall.
  • Happy is the woman whose husband does not speak to her.
  • God laughs when you steal from a thief.
  • Why save when your son is a good son? Why save when your son is a bad son?
  • The dog’s tail stays crooked even if he is buried for twelve years.
  • Never stand in front of a judge or behind a donkey.
  • You may lock up the cock, but the sun will still rise.
  • The money you dream about will not pay your bills.
  • The lawyer’s pouch is a mouth of Hell.

India, officially the Republic of India is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the south-west, and the Bay of Bengal on the south-east, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the north-east; and Myanmar (Burma) and Bangladesh to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives; in addition, India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.

New Delhi is a municipality and district in Delhi which serves as the capital and seat of government of India. In addition, it also serves as the seat of Government of Delhi.
Hindi, also called Modern Standard Hindi, is a standardised and Sanskritised register of the Hindustani language. Hindi is an official language of the Union of India, and the lingua franca of the Hindi belt languages.

English is used extensively in business and administration and has the status of a “subsidiary official language.

More Indian Proverbs and Sayings

  • One of the two partners always bites the best part of the apple.
  • Ask thy purse what thou should buy.
  • The spouse of a woman is a man, the spouse of a man is his livelihood.
  • After eating nine hundred rats, the cat is now going on a pilgrimage.
  • A foolish bride gets no presents.
  • The way to overcome the angry man is with gentleness, the evil man with goodness, the miser with generosity and the liar with truth.
  • In my homeland I possess one hundred horses, yet if I go, I go on foot.
  • The baby is not yet born, and yet you say that his nose is like his grandfather’s.
  • Without men in the neighborhood all the women are chaste.
  • When the devil leaves, heaven comes in.
  • To long for everything: sorrow; to accept everything: joy.
  • A lawyer’s fee and a harlot’s wages are paid in advance.
  • Always be well dressed, even when begging.
  • The cock goes to town for only four days and returns home a peacock.
  • The enemy’s own punishment is his envy.
  • A house without a woman is the devil’s own lodging.
  • Great minds discuss ideas, medium minds discuss events, and little minds discuss people
  • Love from someone who is bad is worse than his hatred.
  • It is better to be blind than to see things from only one point of view.
  • Don’t let grass grow on the path of friendship
  • Theologians, dogs, and singers always disagree.
  • There are only two things from which to choose: profit or loss.
  • Separation secures manifest friendship.
  • A buffalo does not feel the weight of his own horns.
  • Garlic is as good as ten mothers.
  • Be bad to the bad; good to the good; be a flower to other flowers and a thorn to other thorns.
  • Call on God, but row away from the rocks.
  • A blind man sat behind a pile of stones and thought that nobody could see him.
  • Hypocrisy is a homage that vice pays to virtue.
  • It is easy to forget a kindness, but one remembers unkindness.
  • The eyes do not see what the mind does not want.
  • A person consists of his faith. Whatever is his faith, even so is he.
  • The soldier’s wife is always a widow.
  • Be careful for deep water and dogs that do not bark.
  • The Three great mysteries: air to a bird, water to a fish, mankind to himself.
  • An old patient is better than a new doctor.
  • Brains are not to be found in the beard.
  • Every dog is a tiger in his own street.
  • To the mediocre, mediocrity appears great.
  • A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.
  • A pearl is worthless as long as it is still in its shell.
  • You have to believe in gods to see them.
  • Money is the best servant.
  • Have faith — God calls forth life even from eggs.
  • It is worse to excuse than to offend.
  • What was hard to bear is sweet to remember.
  • Where there is a glut of words, there is a dearth of intelligence.
  • The hare that escaped had eight legs.
  • Follow the river and you will get to the sea.
  • Weeping washes the face.
  • A rap on the ringed finger does not hurt.
  • The truth is half a quarrel.
  • Believe what you see and not all you hear.
  • These can never be true friends: Hope, dice, a prostitute, a robber, a cheat, a goldsmith, a monkey, a doctor, a distiller.
  • We admire what we do not understand.
  • Patience is the most beautiful prayer.
  • 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.
  • In a deserted village the jackass is king.
  • Health is wealth.
  • You can often find in rivers what you cannot find in oceans.
  • [There is] a time for mother-in-law and a time for daughter-in-law.
  • Don’t part two brothers.
  • A dog always bites under the knee.
  • Life is not a continuum of pleasant choices, but of inevitable problems that call for strength, determination, and hard work
  • No strength within, no respect without.
  • You may never die before death arrives.
  • A problem is solved when it gets tougher.
  • Speak like a parrot; meditate like a swan; chew like a goat; and bathe like an elephant.
  • Where the sun shines, there is also shade.
  • A fight in your neighbor’s house is refreshing.
  • A known mistake is better than an unknown truth.
  • Your own wealth is flowers and wine; the other man’s is but weeds.
  • Sometimes I go about in pity for myself, and all the while a great wind is bearing me across the sky.
  • There are many people who can sing, but don’t know the words.
  • It’s easy to throw something into the river but hard to get it out again.
  • 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.
  • You cannot separate water by beating it with a fork.
  • In a tree that you can’t climb, there are always a thousand fruits.
  • By joining the tail to the trunk one makes up the whole elephant.
  • Any water in the desert will do.
  • Dependence on another is perpetual disappointment.
  • Though the snake be small, it is still wise to hit it with a big stick.
  • Poverty makes thieves, like love makes poets.
  • A bandicoot is lovely to his parents; a mule is pretty to its mate.
  • The crab instructs its young: “Walk straight ahead — like me.”
  • Life is a bridge. Cross over it, but build no house on it.
  • Every man is the guardian of his own honor.
  • He who has come through the fire will fade in the sun.
  • To loan is to buy troubles.
  • It is only in your coffin that you sleep really well.
  • 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.
  • Yesterday is but a dream, tomorrow but a vision. But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well, therefore, to this day.
  • Blaming your faults on your nature does not change the nature of your faults
  • Consult the wise and do not disobey him.
  • A guilty conscience is a lively enemy.
  • He who is a guest in two houses, starves.
  • The poor looks for food and the rich man for appetite.
  • I met a hundred men going to Delhi and everyone is my brother.
  • You can only lean against that which resists.
  • In the end, all foxes meet at the furrier’s.
  • Faith keeps the world going.
  • A person who misses a chance and the monkey who misses its branch can’t be saved.
  • Hunger drives good taste away.
  • A beggar himself, can he afford to have one asking for alms at his door?
  • Smiles that you broadcast, will always come back to you.
  • Man is like a bubble of water on the ocean.
  • Goodness reaches further than badness.
  • Where love reigns the impossible may be attained.
  • A meal without flesh is like feeding on grass.
  • Blind men have no need to walk.
  • If an actor enacts , the spectator is ashamed.
  • If you want to know what a tiger is like, look at a cat.
  • Many families are built on laughter.
  • Better to have a diamond with a few small flaws than a rock that is perfect.
  • Something done at the wrong time should be regarded as not done.
  • If you throw a handful of stones, one at least will hit.
  • A thief is a thief, whether he steals a diamond or a cucumber.
  • They who give, have all things; they who withhold, have nothing.
  • The most beautiful things in the universe are the starry heavens above us and the feeling of duty within us.
  • When money is not a servant it is a master.
  • Where there is love, there is grief.
  • Justice is better than admiration If you are going to kill, then kill an elephant; if you are going to steal make sure it’s a treasure.
  • Poverty destroys all virtues.
  • Worldly prosperity is like writing on water.
  • Do not blame God for having created the tiger, but thank him for not having given it wings.
  • Better lie than gossip.
  • A dog will not make himself look like a horse just by cutting off his tail.
  • Don’t delay today’s work until tomorrow.
  • Without love everything is in vain.
  • Truth has no branches.
  • A thief thinks everybody steals.
  • Not all the buds on a bush will blossom.
  • Drops join to make a stream; ears combine to make a crop.
  • War is to men, childbirth is to women.
  • If a man from humble beginnings gets rich, he will carry his umbrella at midnight.
  • All the water in the sea doesn’t even reach the knees of the man who fears not death.
  • For the first five years of your son’s life treat him as a prince, for the next ten years as a slave, then as a friend for the rest of his life.
  • Nonviolence is the supreme law of life.
  • Advice sharpens a rusty opinion.
  • Under the mountains is silver and gold, But under the night sky, hunger and cold.
  • Don’t bargain for fish which are still in the water.
  • Do what the mullah says, but don’t do what he does.
  • As day break, the glowworms say “We’ve lit up the world!”
  • A man laughs at others and weeps for himself.
  • The heart at rest sees a feast in everything.
  • Learning is a treasure no thief can touch.
  • A lie has no author, nor a liar a conscience.
  • Pearls are of no value in a desert.
  • He who answers is inferior to the one who asks the question.
  • A smile you sent, will always return
  • Turkeys, parrots, and hares don’t know what gratitude is.
  • The worst kind of poverty is to have many debts.
  • We can’t change the direction of the wind, but we can adjust the sails.
  • To the world wisdom is folly; to the wise the world is foolish.
  • Drums sound loud because they are hollow.
  • Friendly words are convincing.
  • Only the nightingale understands the rose.
  • A friend advises in his interest, not yours.
  • I had no shoes and complained, until I met a man who had no feet.
  • It’s better to pick a fight with your in-laws than with your neighbors.
  • Fate and self-help share equally in shaping our destiny.
  • If they don’t exchange a few words, father and son will never know one another.
  • Undeserved punishment is better than that which is deserved.
  • You cannot have a cake and eat it too.
  • One’s mother and homeland are greater than even heaven.
  • Large desire is endless poverty.
  • A mother is a school, preparing her is like preparing a good nation.
  • It is love that makes the impossible possible.
  • Clouds that thunder seldom rain.
  • Greed is the root cause of sorrow.
  • There is a great uproar made about the debt of a poor man.
  • A house without children is a graveyard.
  • A lot of people become saints because of their stomach.
  • A coconut shell full of water is a sea to an ant.
  • Only the hunchback himself knows how he can lie comfortably.
  • The reputation lost on trivial things cannot be regained by donating big alms.
  • No one was ever lost on a straight road.
  • Conquer a man who never gives by gifts; Subdue untruthful men by truthfulness; Vanquish an angry man by gentleness; And overcome the evil man by goodness
  • No sin is hidden to the soul.
  • Better than the ignorant are those who read books; better still are those who retain what they read; even better are those who understand it; the best of all are those who go to work.
  • Even a cat is a lion in her own lair
  • You may look up for inspiration or look down in desperation but do not look sideways for information.
  • The pain is sometimes preferable to the treatment.
  • Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun.
  • When the bed breaks, there is the ground to lie on.
  • Anger ends in cruelty.
  • Great anger is more destructive than the sword.
  • A doctor is only a doctor when he has killed one or two patients.
  • Eat fire and your mouth burn ; live on credit and your pride will burn.
  • A man without a woman is only half a man.
  • A tree starts with a seed.
  • Good people, like clouds, receive only to give away.
  • When we take one step toward to God, he takes seven steps toward us.
  • Complaining is the weak man’s weapon.
  • The cobra will bite you whether you call it cobra or Mr. Cobra.
  • Since love departs at dawn, create, O God, a night that has no morn.
  • A monkey that amuses me is better than a deer astray.
  • An adder with its poisonous fangs taken out is nothing more than a piece of rope.
  • All the things that are white are not milk.
  • The hot sun melts away the snow; when anger comes, does wisdom go.
  • A spoiled son becomes a gambler, while a spoiled daughter becomes a harlot.
  • A cat in a cage becomes a lion.
  • Only two things matter in this world: a son and a daughter.
  • It is a greater gift to give than to receive.
  • A man without money is like a bow without arrows.
  • 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.
  • Man loves his own mistakes.
  • To watch us dance is to hear our hearts speak
  • Money hides in the tiger’s ear.
  • That which blossoms must also decay.
  • The deceitful have no friends.
  • One man’s beard is burning, and another warms his hands by it.
  • What is sport to the boy is the death of the bird.
  • If you are up to your knees in pleasure, then you are up to your waist in grief.
  • Sit on the bank of a river and wait: Your enemy’s corpse will soon float by.
  • Those who hunt deer sometimes raise tigers.
  • Rather be a slave to a rich man than the spouse of a poor man.
  • War is to a man what bed is to a woman.
  • The tongue is safe; even among thirty teeth.
  • One finger can’t lift a pebble.
  • For the friendship of two, the patience of one is required.
  • Regularity is the best medicine.
  • True happiness lies in giving it to others.
  • An arch never sleeps.
  • A book is a good friend when it lays bare the errors of the past.
  • A single blow of a blacksmith is equal to a hundred blows of a goldsmith.
  • Be like a camel — carrying sweets but dining on thorns.
  • One person can burn water, while another can’t even burn oil.
  • Agriculture is best, enterprise is acceptable, but avoid being on a fixed wage.
  • He who loves drives a nail into his heart.
  • It is little use to dig a well after the house has caught fire.
  • Better a hundred enemies outside the house than one inside.
  • There is nothing noble in being superior to some other person. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self.
  • Life is like the flame of a lamp; it needs a little oil now and then.
  • A harvest of peace grows from seeds of contentment.
  • Like the body that is made up of different limbs and organs, all moral creatures must depend on each other to exist.
  • The grown-up pays attention to what you are doing; the child sees beyond that.
  • The ambitious one makes friends with the elephant, then tramples upon the ant.
  • Be peaceful yet vigilant — a sheep will bite someone without a stick.
  • The crow was killed by the storm — “He died by my curse,” says the owl.
  • There is enmity between to dig and to let dig.
  • Better cross-eyed than blind.
  • It takes drop by drop to fill a pitcher.
  • If you’re going to live by the river, make friends with the crocodile.
  • Death is a camel which sleeps in everyone’s house.
  • Who is blind? He who can see no other world. Who is dumb? He who can say nothing pleasant about his lot. Who is poor? He who is troubled with too many desires. Who is rich? He who is happy with his lot.
  • You do not stumble over a mountain, but you do over a stone.
  • Don’t judge any man until you have walked two moons in his moccasins
  • Deceive me about the price but not about the goods.
  • The tree casts its shadow on everything, even upon the woodcutter.
  • He who wants fruit should not pick flowers.

“Jana Gana Mana” is the national anthem of India.

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