Dhammapada : 23. The Elephant

I shall endure painful words
as the elephant in battle endures arrows shot from the bow;
for most people are ill-natured.
They lead a tamed elephant into battle;
the king mounts a tamed elephant. 

The tamed are the best of people,
who endure patiently painful words.
Mules are good, if tamed,
and noble Sindhu horses and elephants with large tusks;
but whoever tames oneself is better still.
For with these animals no one reaches the untrodden country
where a tamed person goes on one's own tamed nature.

The elephant called Dhanapalaka is hard to control
when his temples are running with pungent sap.
He does not eat a morsel when bound;
the elephant longs for the elephant grove. 

If one becomes lazy and a glutton,
rolling oneself about in gross sleep,
like a hog fed on grains,
that fool is born again and again. 

This mind of mine used to wander
as it liked, as it desired, as it pleased.
I shall now control it thoroughly,
as the rider holding the hook controls the elephant in rut. 

Do not be thoughtless; watch your thoughts.
Extricate yourself from the wrong path,
like an elephant sunk in the mud. 

If you find an intelligent companion
who will walk with you,
who lives wisely, soberly, overcoming all dangers,
walk with that person in joy and thoughtfulness. 

If you find no intelligent companion
who will walk with you,
who lives wisely and soberly,
walk alone like a king who has renounced a conquered kingdom
or like an elephant in the forest. 

It is better to live alone;
there is no companionship with a fool.
Let a person walk alone with few wishes, 
committing no wrong,
like an elephant in the forest. 

Companions are pleasant when an occasion arises;
sharing enjoyment is pleasant.
At the hour of death, it is pleasant to have done good.
The giving up of all sorrow is pleasant. 

Motherhood is pleasant in this world;
fatherhood is pleasant.
Being an ascetic is pleasant;
being a holy person is pleasant. 

Virtue lasting to old age is pleasant;
faith firmly rooted is pleasant;
attainment of wisdom is pleasant;
avoiding wrong is pleasant.

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