Indian Proverbs

Indian Proverbs, Old Sayings and Customary Wisdom, Inspiring Culture and Proverbial Wisdom from India about daily life and hereafter.

India has been a partially united land for much of history, and it is difficult to differentiate between proverbs of the current country divisions, especially in differentiating those from India and those from Pakistan. Most of the proverbs below have been categorized into a culture/region.

Indian proverb

See also: India Quotes

A bandicoot is lovely to his parents; a mule is pretty to its mate. – Indian Proverb

A beautiful woman belongs to everyone; an ugly one is yours alone. – Indian Proverb

A beggar himself, can he afford to have one asking for alms at his door? – Indian Proverb

A blind man sat behind a pile of stones and thought that nobody could see him. – Indian Proverb

A book is a good friend when it lays bare the errors of the past. – Indian Proverb

A book is like a garden in the pocket. – Indian Proverb

A book is like a garden carried in the pocket. – Indian Proverb

A buffalo does not feel the weight of his own horns. – Indian Proverb

A cat in a cage becomes a lion. – Indian Proverb

A coconut shell full of water is a sea to an ant. – Indian Proverb

A doctor is only a doctor when he has killed one or two patients. – Indian Proverb

A dog always bites under the knee. – Indian Proverb

A dog will not make himself look like a horse just by cutting off his tail. – Indian Proverb

A fight in your neighbor’s house is refreshing. – Indian Proverb

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. – Indian Proverb

A foolish bride gets no presents. – Indian Proverb

A foolish ruler, a weak child, and a person mad after riches, desire that which can not be procured. – Indian Proverb

A good bark year makes a good wheat year. – Indian Proverb

A guilty conscience is a hidden enemy. – Indian Proverb

A guilty conscience is a lively enemy. – Indian Proverb

A harvest of peace grows from seeds of contentment. – Indian Proverb

A house without a woman is the devil’s own lodging. – Indian Proverb

A house without children is a graveyard. – Indian Proverb

A lawyer’s fee and a harlot’s wages are paid in advance. – Indian Proverb

A lie has no author, nor a liar a conscience. – Indian Proverb

A lot of people become saints because of their stomach. – Indian Proverb

A man in this world without learning is as a beast of the field. – Indian Proverb

A man laughs at others and weeps for himself. – Indian Proverb

A man without a woman is only half a man. – Indian Proverb

A man without money is like a bow without arrows. – Indian Proverb

A meal without flesh is like feeding on grass. – Indian Proverb

A pearl is worthless as long as it is still in its shell. – Indian Proverb

A person consists of his faith. Whatever is his faith, even so is he. – Indian Proverb

A rap on the ringed finger does not hurt. – Indian Proverb

A spoiled son becomes a gambler, while a spoiled daughter becomes a harlot. – Indian Proverb

A thief is a thief, whether he steals a diamond or a cucumber. – Indian Proverb

A thief thinks everybody steals. – Indian Proverb

A viper without fangs is like a piece of rope. – Indian Proverb

A friend advises in his interest, not yours. – Indian Proverb

A hundred divine epochs would not suffice to describe all the marvels of the Himalaya. – Indian Proverb

A known mistake is better than an unknown truth. – Indian Proverb

A monkey that amuses me is better than a deer astray. – Indian Proverb

A mother is a school, preparing her is like preparing a good nation. – Indian Proverb

A person of excellent qualities is like a flower, which, whether found amongst weeds or worn on the head, still preserves its fragrance. – Indian Proverb

A person who misses a chance and the monkey who misses its branch can’t be saved. – Indian Proverb

A problem is solved when it gets tougher. – Indian Proverb

A tree starts with a seed. – Indian Proverb

A wise and prudent person is not thrown into confusion by reproach; but is like the flame, which, when stirred, ascends higher and higher. – Indian Proverb

Advice sharpens a rusty opinion. – Indian Proverb

Advice to the stupid produces anger. – Indian Proverb

Among the blind, the one-eyed man is king. – Indian Proverb

Any water in the desert will do. – Indian Proverb

Ask thy purse what thou should buy. – Indian Proverb

Abstinence is the best medicine. – Indian Proverb

After eating nine hundred rats, the cat is now going on a pilgrimage. – Indian Proverb

Agriculture is best, enterprise is acceptable, but avoid being on a fixed wage. – Indian Proverb

All that is not given is lost. All that is not given is lost. – Indian Proverb

All the water in the sea doesn’t even reach the knees of the man who fears not death. – Indian Proverb

Always be well dressed, even when begging. – Indian Proverb

An adder with its poisonous fangs taken out is nothing more than a piece of rope. – Indian Proverb

An arch never sleeps. – Indian Proverb

An old patient is better than a new doctor. – Indian Proverb

Anger ends in cruelty. – Indian Proverb

Anger is as a stone cast into a wasp’s nest. – Indian Proverb

As day break, the glowworms say “We’ve lit up the world!” – Indian Proverb

Austerity is an ornament, humility is honorable. – Indian Proverb

All that is not given is lost. – Indian Proverb

A woman talks to one man, looks at another, and thinks about a third. – Indian Proverb

A house without a child is like a tomb. – Indian Proverb

A good well-lived today makes every yesterday a dream of a good future, and every morning is a vision of hope. – Indian Proverb

As people go their own way, destiny goes with them. – Indian Proverb

A fool who knows he is a fool has a little intelligence, but a fool that thinks he is intelligent is really a fool. – Indian Proverb

A sin that is confessed is less heavy to bear. – Indian Proverb

As the spokes of a wheel are attached to the hub, so all things are attached to life. – Indian Proverb

A woman’s appetite is twice that of a man’s; her sexual desire, four times; her intelligence, eight times. – Indian Proverb

Be bad to the bad; good to the good; be a flower to other flowers and a thorn to other thorns. – Indian Proverb

Be careful for deep water and dogs that do not bark. – Indian Proverb

Be first at the feast, and last at the fight. – Indian Proverb

Before you build a house you have to dig a pit. – Indian Proverb

Be like a camel — carrying sweets but dining on thorns. – Indian Proverb

Be peaceful yet vigilant — a sheep will bite someone without a stick. – Indian Proverb

Better cross-eyed than blind. – Indian Proverb

Better lie than gossip. – Indian Proverb

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. – Indian Proverb

Better to have a diamond with a few small flaws than a rock that is perfect. – Indian Proverb

Blaming your faults on your nature does not change the nature of your faults. – Indian Proverb

Blaw the wind ne’er so fast, it will lower at last. – Indian Proverb

Blind men have no need to walk. – Indian Proverb

Brains are not to be found in the beard. – Indian Proverb

By joining the tail to the trunk one makes up the whole elephant. – Indian Proverb

Before his appointed time, a person cannot die though thrown into the very jaws of death; but when that time arrives, even a straw destroys him. – Indian Proverb

Believe what you see and not all you hear. – Indian Proverb

Better a hundred enemies outside the house than one inside. – Indian Proverb

Can the monkey know the taste of ginger? – Indian Proverb

Can’t tell his ass from a hole in the ground. – Indian Proverb

Call on God, but row away from the rocks. – Indian Proverb

Clouds that thunder seldom rain. – Indian Proverb

Complaining is the weak man’s weapon. – Indian Proverb

Consult the wise and do not disobey him. – Indian Proverb

Deceive me about the price but not about the goods. – Indian Proverb

Dependence on another is perpetual disappointment. – Indian Proverb

Do not ask advice of the ignorant. – Indian Proverb

Do not blame God for having created the tiger, but thank him for not having given it wings. – Indian Proverb

Do what the mullah says, but don’t do what he does. – Indian Proverb

Don’t bargain for fish which are still in the water. – Indian Proverb

Don’t judge any man until you have walked two moons in his moccasins. – Indian Proverb

Don’t just cross a river–cross it bearing fire!. – Indian Proverb

Don’t poison someone whom you can kill with sweets. – Indian Proverb

Drops join to make a stream; ears combine to make a crop. – Indian Proverb

Drums sound loud because they are hollow. – Indian Proverb

Danger should be feared when distant, and braved when present. – Indian Proverb

Death is a camel which sleeps in everyone’s house. – Indian Proverb

Death, dreaded through life, is not perceived when he arrives. – Indian Proverb

Don’t delay today’s work until tomorrow. – Indian Proverb

Don’t eat your bread on someone Else’s table. – Indian Proverb

Don’t just cross a river – cross it bearing fire!. – Indian Proverb

Eat fire and your mouth burn; live on credit and your pride will burn. – Indian Proverb

Even a cat is a lion in her own lair. – Indian Proverb

Even if fed milk, a snake will still emit poison. – Indian Proverb

Every dog is a tiger in his own street. – Indian Proverb

Every man is the guardian of his own honor. – Indian Proverb

Every one looking downwards becomes impressed with ideas of his own greatness; but looking upwards, feels his own littleness. – Indian Proverb

Faith keeps the world going. – Indian Proverb

Fate and free-will both play an equal role in destinies. – Indian Proverb

Fate and self-help share equally in shaping our destiny. – Indian Proverb

First God, then the white man. – Indian Proverb

Fish and guests smell when they are three days old. – Indian Proverb

Follow the river and you will get to the sea. – Indian Proverb

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. – Indian Proverb

For the friendship of two, the patience of one is required. – Indian Proverb

Friendly words are convincing. – Indian Proverb

Garlic is as good as ten mothers. – Indian Proverb

God laughs when you steal from a thief. – Indian Proverb

Good people, like clouds, receive only to give away. – Indian Proverb

Goodness reaches further than badness. – Indian Proverb

Great anger is more destructive than the sword. – Indian Proverb

Great minds discuss ideas, medium minds discuss events, and little minds discuss people. – Indian Proverb

Greatness is not the fruit of birth, but of effort: it is not attained but by the greatest exertions; whereas to become insignificant costs no pains: to raise a stone to the top of a mountain requires great labour, but it will descend with the utmost velocity. – Indian Proverb

Happiness consists in the absence of anxiety. – Indian Proverb

Happy is the woman whose husband does not speak to her. – Indian Proverb

He is a real friend who assists in time of danger. – Indian Proverb

He is a real teacher who not only instructs others, but practises the same instructions himself. – Indian Proverb

Have faith — God calls forth life even from eggs. – Indian Proverb

He that is bald headed has no need of combs. – Indian Proverb

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. – Indian Proverb

He who answers is inferior to the one who asks the question. – Indian Proverb

He who does not climb, will not fall either. – Indian Proverb

He who dreams for too long will become like his shadow. – Indian Proverb

He who has a true friend, has no need of a mirror. – Indian Proverb

He who has come through the fire will fade in the sun. – Indian Proverb

He who is a guest in two houses, starves. – Indian Proverb

He who loves drives a nail into his heart. – Indian Proverb

He who wants fruit should not pick flowers. – Indian Proverb

He who works as a slave, eats as a king. – Indian Proverb

He who delivers another from danger, and he who removes terror from the mind, are the greatest of friends. – Indian Proverb

He who in your presence speaks kindly, but in your absence seeks to injure you, must be utterly rejected, like a bowl of poison covered with milk. – Indian Proverb

He who purifies himself in the river of a subdued spirit, the waters of which are truth, its waves compassion, and its shores excellent temper and conduct, will be liberated from this world; but liberation cannot be obtained by just outward observances. – Indian Proverb

Hunger drives good taste away. – Indian Proverb

Hypocrisy is a homage that vice pays to virtue. – Indian Proverb

I gave him a staff for his support and he uses it to break my head. – Indian Proverb

I had no shoes and complained, until I met a man who had no feet. – Indian Proverb

I have lanced many boils, but none pained like my own. – Indian Proverb

I met a hundred men going to Delhi and everyone is my brother. – Indian Proverb

If a man from humble beginnings gets rich, he will carry his umbrella at midnight. – Indian Proverb

If not today — when? – Indian Proverb

If they don’t exchange a few words, father and son will never know one another. – Indian Proverb

If we dig precious things from the land, we will invite disaster. – Indian Proverb

If you are up to your knees in pleasure, then you are up to your waist in grief. – Indian Proverb

If you call a lady a slave, she laughs, but if you call a slave a slave, he cries. – Indian Proverb

If you can’t give any sugar then speak sweetly. – Indian Proverb

If you live in the river you should make friends with the crocodile. – Indian Proverb

If you live on the river, befriend the crocodile. – Indian Proverb

If you throw a handful of stones, one at least will hit. – Indian Proverb

If you want to know what a tiger is like, look at a cat. – Indian Proverb

In a deserted village the jackass is king. – Indian Proverb

In a tree that you can’t climb, there are always a thousand fruits. – Indian Proverb

In love beggar and king are equal. – Indian Proverb

In my homeland I possess one hundred horses, yet if I go, I go on foot. – Indian Proverb

In the end, all foxes meet at the furrier’s. – Indian Proverb

It is a greater gift to give than to receive. – Indian Proverb

It is better to make a vow of silence than to utter falsehoods. – Indian Proverb

It is better to be blind than to see things from only one point of view. – Indian Proverb

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. – Indian Proverb

It is easier to cover our feet with sandals than to cover the earth with carpets. – Indian Proverb

It is easy to forget a kindness, but one remembers unkindness. – Indian Proverb

It is hard for an ex-king to become a night watchman. – Indian Proverb

It is little use to dig a well after the house has caught fire. – Indian Proverb

It is love that makes the impossible possible. – Indian Proverb

It is only in your coffin that you sleep really well. – Indian Proverb

It is worse to excuse than to offend. – Indian Proverb

It’s a brave bird that makes its nest in the cat’s ear. – Indian Proverb

It’s better to pick a fight with your in-laws than with your neighbors. – Indian Proverb

It’s easy to throw something into the river but hard to get it out again. – Indian Proverb

Justice is better than admiration. – Indian Proverb

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. – Indian Proverb

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. – Indian Proverb

Large desire is endless poverty. – Indian Proverb

Let no human being be despised, for who can tell how soon even the lowest may be raised; and how the arrogant fall. – Indian Proverb

Let the traveller fainting on his journey take rest under a tree which contains both fruit and shade. – Indian Proverb

Learning is a treasure no thief can touch. – Indian Proverb

Life is a bridge. Cross over it, but build no house on it. – Indian Proverb

Life is like the flame of a lamp; it needs a little oil now and then. – Indian Proverb

Life is not a continuum of pleasant choices, but of inevitable problems that call for strength, determination, and hard work. – Indian Proverb

Love from someone who is bad is worse than his hatred. – Indian Proverb

Man is like a bubble of water on the ocean. – Indian Proverb

Man loves his own mistakes. – Indian Proverb

Many families are built on laughter. – Indian Proverb

Money hides in the tiger’s ear. – Indian Proverb

Money is the best servant. – Indian Proverb

Most adults are attentive to what someone is doing, but children see beyond that. – Indian Proverb

Never stand in front of a judge or behind a donkey. – Indian Proverb

Never strike your wife, not even with a flower. – Indian Proverb

Never use a dwarf to measure the depth of the water. – Indian Proverb

No one was ever lost on a straight road. – Indian Proverb

No sin is hidden to the soul. – Indian Proverb

No strength within, no respect without. – Indian Proverb

Nonviolence is the supreme law of life. – Indian Proverb

Not all the buds on a bush will blossom. – Indian Proverb

Nothing is comprehensible except by virtue of its edges. – Indian Proverb

One ‘no’ averts seventy evils. – Indian Proverb

One and one sometimes make eleven. – Indian Proverb

One finger can’t lift a pebble. – Indian Proverb

One man’s beard is burning, and another warms his hands by it. – Indian Proverb

One man’s house burns so that another may warm himself. – Indian Proverb

One person can burn water, while another can’t even burn oil. – Indian Proverb

Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun. – Indian Proverb

Only the hunchback himself knows how he can lie comfortably. – Indian Proverb

Only the nightingale understands the rose. – Indian Proverb

Only two things matter in this world: a son and a daughter. – Indian Proverb

Patience is the most beautiful prayer. – Indian Proverb

Pearls are of no value in a desert. – Indian Proverb

Pearls are worthless in the desert. – Indian Proverb

People are not naturally either friends or enemies: friendship and enmity arise from circumstances. – Indian Proverb

Poverty destroys all virtues. – Indian Proverb

Poverty makes thieves, like love makes poets. – Indian Proverb

Pull someone by the ears and his head will follow. – Indian Proverb

Rather be a slave to a rich man than the spouse of a poor man. – Indian Proverb

Riches are treasured up against the day of danger ; but to save life every thing is to be sacrificed. If life be preserved, all is safe; if life be lost, all is lost. – Indian Proverb

Regularity is the best medicine. – Indian Proverb

Separation secures manifest friendship. – Indian Proverb

September blow soft till the fruit’s in the loft. – Indian Proverb

Since love departs at dawn, create, O God, a night that has no morn. – Indian Proverb

Sit on the bank of a river and wait: Your enemy’s corpse will soon float by. – Indian Proverb

Smiles that you broadcast, will always come back to you. – Indian Proverb

Something done at the wrong time should be regarded as not done. – Indian Proverb

Speak like a parrot; meditate like a swan; chew like a goat; and bathe like an elephant. – Indian Proverb

Stolen sugar is the sweetest. – Indian Proverb

Take a close look then at today. – Indian Proverb

That which blossoms must also decay. – Indian Proverb

The ambitious one makes friends with the elephant, then tramples upon the ant. – Indian Proverb

The answerer is inferior to the asker. – Indian Proverb

The baby has not been born yet, and yet you assert that his nose is like his grandfather’s. – Indian Proverb

The baby is not yet born, and yet you say that his nose is like his grandfather’s. – Indian Proverb

The cobra will bite you whether you call it cobra or Mr. Cobra. – Indian Proverb

The cock goes to town for only four days and returns home a peacock. – Indian Proverb

The crab instructs its young: “Walk straight ahead — like me.” – Indian Proverb

The crow was killed by the storm — “He died by my curse,” says the owl. – Indian Proverb

The deceitful have no friends. – Indian Proverb

The dog’s tail stays crooked even if he is buried for twelve years. – Indian Proverb

The dog’s tail, even if buried for twelve years, will remain as crooked as ever. – Indian Proverb

The enemy’s own punishment is his envy. – Indian Proverb

The eyes do not see what the mind does not want. – Indian Proverb

The first day a guest, the second day a guest, the third day a calamity. – Indian Proverb

The grown-up pays attention to what you are doing; the child sees beyond that. – Indian Proverb

The hands of a lawyer are always in someone’s pocket. – Indian Proverb

The hare that escaped had eight legs. – Indian Proverb

The heart at rest sees a feast in everything. – Indian Proverb

The hot sun melts away the snow; when anger comes, does wisdom go. – Indian Proverb

The lawyer’s pouch is a mouth of Hell. – Indian Proverb

The man who has mounted an elephant will not fear the bark of a dog. – Indian Proverb

The money you dream about will not pay your bills. – Indian Proverb

The most beautiful things in the universe are the starry heavens above us and the feeling of duty within us. – Indian Proverb

The nose didn’t smell the rotting head. – Indian Proverb

The pain is sometimes preferable to the treatment. – Indian Proverb

The poor looks for food and the rich man for appetite. – Indian Proverb

The potter sleeps soundly, for no one would steal clay. – Indian Proverb

The sandal tree perfumes the axe that fells it. – Indian Proverb

The sieve says to the needle, “You have a hole in your tail.” – Indian Proverb

The soldier’s wife is always a widow. – Indian Proverb

The spouse of a woman is a man, the spouse of a man is his livelihood. – Indian Proverb

The thief that is not caught is a king. – Indian Proverb

The tongue is safe; even among thirty teeth. – Indian Proverb

The tree casts its shadow on everything, even upon the woodcutter. – Indian Proverb

The truth is half a quarrel. – Indian Proverb

The voice of the poor has no echo. – Indian Proverb

The way to overcome the angry man is with gentleness, the evil man with goodness, the miser with generosity and the liar with truth. – Indian Proverb

The weakest go to the wall. – Indian Proverb

The word of a woman is a bundle of water. – Indian Proverb

The world flatters the elephant and tramples on the ant. – Indian Proverb

The worst kind of poverty is to have many debts. – Indian Proverb

The contented are always happy; the discontented are ever miserable. – Indian Proverb

The cruel are feared even by the wise. – Indian Proverb

The earth trembles while she sustains a person who seeks to injure a generous, faithful, and holy person. – Indian Proverb

The friendship of a good person is not easily interrupted, and if lost is soon regained: a golden bowl is not easily broken, but if broken is soon repaired. – Indian Proverb

The genuine friend, who is affected with the joys and sorrows of another, is a medicinal cordial, the sanctuary of the heart, the delight of the eyes, and worthy of confidence. – Indian Proverb

The good exercise compassion by making the case of others their own. – Indian Proverb

The heart of an excellent person resembles the coconut, which, though hard without, contains refreshing water and delicious food within. – Indian Proverb

The more you nourish the anxiety of the heart, quarrels and disorders, the more they increase. – Indian Proverb

The sieve says to the needle; you have a hole in your head. – Indian Proverb

The sight of the eyes is not sight; but he is blessed with vision who possesses knowledge; the ignorant are the blind. – Indian Proverb

The Three great mysteries: air to a bird, water to a fish, mankind to himself. – Indian Proverb

The tree casts its shade upon all, even the woodcutter. – Indian Proverb

The vicious, notwithstanding the sweetness of their words, and the honey on their tongues, have a whole storehouse of poison in their hearts. – Indian Proverb

Theologians, dogs, and singers always disagree. – Indian Proverb

There are as many characters as there are individuals. – Indian Proverb

There are many people who can sing, but don’t know the words. – Indian Proverb

There are only two things from which to choose: profit or loss. – Indian Proverb

There are three uncertainties: woman, wind, and wealth. – Indian Proverb

There is a great uproar made about the debt of a poor man. – Indian Proverb

There is enmity between to dig and to let dig. – Indian Proverb

There is no hand to catch time. – Indian Proverb

There is no evil without its advantages. – Indian Proverb

There is no union between the thoughts, the words, and the actions of the wicked; but the thoughts, words, and actions of the good, all agree. – Indian Proverb

There is nothing noble in being superior to some other man. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self. – Indian Proverb

These can never be true friends: Hope, dice, a prostitute, a robber, a cheat, a goldsmith, a monkey, a doctor, a distiller. – Indian Proverb

They who give, have all things; they who withhold, have nothing. – Indian Proverb

Those who hunt deer sometimes raise tigers. – Indian Proverb

Though the snake be small, it is still wise to hit it with a big stick. – Indian Proverb

To control the mind is like trying to control a drunken monkey that has been bitten by a scorpion. – Indian Proverb

To give jewels to a donkey is as stupid as giving a eunuch to a woman. – Indian Proverb

To lend is to buy a quarrel. – Indian Proverb

To loan is to buy troubles. – Indian Proverb

To long for everything: sorrow; to accept everything: joy. – Indian Proverb

To sing to the deaf, to talk with the dumb, and to dance for the blind are three foolish things. – Indian Proverb

To the mediocre, mediocrity appears great. – Indian Proverb

To the world wisdom is folly; to the wise the world is foolish. – Indian Proverb

True happiness lies in giving it to others. – Indian Proverb

Truth, contentment, patience, and mercy, belong to great minds. – Indian Proverb

Truth has no branches. – Indian Proverb

Turkeys, parrots, and hares don’t know what gratitude is. – Indian Proverb

Under the mountains is silver and gold, But under the night sky, hunger and cold. – Indian Proverb

Undeserved punishment is better than that which is deserved. – Indian Proverb

Use medicine as well as prayers. – Indian Proverb

Walking slowly, even the donkey will reach Lhasa. – Indian Proverb

We can’t change the direction of the wind, but we can adjust the sails. – Indian Proverb

War is to a man what bed is to a woman. – Indian Proverb

War is to men, childbirth is to women. – Indian Proverb

We admire what we do not understand. – Indian Proverb

We are both queens, so who will hang out the laundry? – Indian Proverb

Weeping washes the face. – Indian Proverb

Wisdom assists more than strength. – Indian Proverb

What does the blind man know of the beauty of the tulip? – Indian Proverb

What good is giving sugar to the dead? – Indian Proverb

What is sport to the boy is the death of the bird. – Indian Proverb

What was hard to bear is sweet to remember. – Indian Proverb

When a camel is at the foot of a mountain only then judge his height. – Indian Proverb

When a crow is killed by a storm, the fortuneteller says, “He died by my curse.” – Indian Proverb

When a woman laughs an experienced man will know how much it will cost him. – Indian Proverb

When an elephant is in trouble, even a frog will kick him. – Indian Proverb

When money is not a servant it is a master. – Indian Proverb

When the bed breaks, there is the ground to lie on. – Indian Proverb

When the sculptor is dead his statues ask him for a soul. – Indian Proverb

When we take one step toward to God, he takes seven steps toward us. – Indian Proverb

When you are in difficulty, go to the house of your friend — not your sister’s. – Indian Proverb

When you drink milk under the palm tree, people will say that it is palm wine. – Indian Proverb

When you have an ass for a friend, expect nothing but kicks. – Indian Proverb

When you are in the water you swim. – Indian Proverb

When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life in such a manner that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice. – Indian Proverb

Where the needle goes, the thread follows. – Indian Proverb

Where the sun shines, there is also shade. – Indian Proverb

Where there is a glut of words, there is a dearth of intelligence. – Indian Proverb

Where there are no learned men, there even the ignorant are esteemed learned, as where there are no trees, there the lonely palm is esteemed a tree. – Indian Proverb

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. – Indian Proverb

Whoever eats a pancake never counts the holes in it. – Indian Proverb

Why save when your son is a bad son? – Indian Proverb

Without love everything is in vain. – Indian Proverb

Without men in the neighborhood all the women are chaste. – Indian Proverb

Worldly prosperity is like writing on water. – Indian Proverb

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. – Indian Proverb

You can never enter the same river twice. – Indian Proverb

You cannot separate water by beating it with a fork. – Indian Proverb

You can often find in rivers what you cannot find in oceans. – Indian Proverb

You can only lean against that which resists. – Indian Proverb

You do not stumble over a mountain, but you do over a stone. – Indian Proverb

You may look up for inspiration or look down in desperation but do not look sideways for information. – Indian Proverb

 

Indian proverbs

The water from the river becomes salty when it reaches the ocean. – Indian Proverb

The beggar is not afraid of the drawbacks of being rich. – Indian Proverb

You should not call in a cat to settle the argument of two birds. – Indian Proverb

To quarrel with a man of good speech is better than to converse with a man who does not speak well. – Indian Proverb

It is better to walk than to run; it is better to stand than to walk; it is better to sit than to stand; it is better to lie than to sit. – Indian Proverb

You can convince an ignorant man easily you can convince a wise man more easily. But a man who knows a little and thinks himself to be perfect, not even Brahma can convince. – Indian Proverb

The greatest hero is one who has control over his desires. – Indian Proverb

Saints fly only in the eyes of their disciples. – Indian Proverb

You cannot cook one half of the chicken and leave the other lay eggs. – Indian Proverb

These three take crooked ways: carts, boats, and musicians. – Indian Proverb

Eating while seated makes one of large size; eating while standing makes one strong. – Indian Proverb

If you gently touch a nettle it’ll sting you for your pains; grasp it like a lad of mettle, an’ as soft as silk remains. – Indian Proverb

You must answer the devil in his own language. – Indian Proverb

Who is the happiest person in the world? An unfaithful husband. – Indian Proverb

The one who teaches is the giver of eyes. – Indian Proverb

You can buy everything, except a father and a mother. – Indian Proverb

The gardener had not yet dug out the radish, when the beggar held the alms-bowl in front of him. – Indian Proverb

Of what use is the veil if you are going to dance. – Indian Proverb

Dig a well every day to drink water every day. – Indian Proverb

Take a close look at today, because yesterday is but a dream and tomorrow is barely a vision. – Indian Proverb

One of the two partners always bites the best part of the apple. – Indian Proverb

IF you are buying a cow, make sure that the price of the tail is included. – Indian Proverb

The tip of a finger cannot be touched by itself. – Indian Proverb

Sorrow for the death of a father lasts six months; sorrow for a mother, a year; sorrow for a wife, until another wife; sorrow for a son, forever. – Indian Proverb

O daughter, I’m telling you. O daughter-in-law, listen to it. – Indian Proverb

Help thy brother’s boat across, and lo! thine own has reached the shore. – Indian Proverb

You sometimes forget the harm that was done to you, but never the harm you have done to others. – Indian Proverb

Why save when your son is a good son? Why save when your son is a bad son? – Indian Proverb

When pumpkins are watered, brinjals [small plants] also get watered. – Indian Proverb

There are none so deaf as those who will not hear advice. – Indian Proverb

The beggar who asks for crumbs gets more than the one who asks for bread. – Indian Proverb

Many dogs kill a hare, no matter how many turns it makes. – Indian Proverb

Even the devil needs a friend. – Indian Proverb

The customers are known to the shopkeepers. – Indian Proverb

Wash your hands in the flowing Ganges. – Indian Proverb

Ignorance is the peace of life. – Indian Proverb

Only the cure you believe in cures. – Indian Proverb

The danger past, and God forgotten. – Indian Proverb

Waste makes want. – Indian Proverb

Our shadow will follow us. – Indian Proverb

The fall is nobody’s sire. – Indian Proverb

Eleven persons take eleven paths. – Indian Proverb

When I drown, the whole world drowns. – Indian Proverb

Even an elephant can slip. – Indian Proverb

Whose stick, his buffalo. – Indian Proverb

Waste not, want not. – Indian Proverb

Dig your well before you’re thirsty. – Indian Proverb

Kill a cow to donate shoes. – Indian Proverb

Our faults provide opportunities for others. – Indian Proverb

Kind words conquer. – Indian Proverb

Snakes turn milk into poison. – Indian Proverb

Anger has no eyes. – Indian Proverb

One and one are sometimes eleven. – Indian Proverb

The wind sweeps the road clean. – Indian Proverb

Fear is the fever of life. – Indian Proverb

You may never die before death arrives. – Indian Proverb

Indian Proverbs

 

It is not as safe opening the mouth as keeping it shut. – Indian Proverb

Who stands still in mud sticks in it. – Indian Proverb

Without a true friend a man cannot discern the nature of his actions. – Indian Proverb

Trust not to appearances – the drum which makes much noise is filled with wind. – Indian Proverb

You may know a man’s face, but not his mind. – Indian Proverb

Man sees just the present, God all things. – Indian Proverb

The friendship of the bad is like the shade of some precipitous bank with crumbling sides, which, falling, buries him who sits beneath. – Indian Proverb

Who are destitute of sight? Those who turn a blind eye. Who are the deafest? Those who ignore good advice. – Indian Proverb

Wherever you roam your deeds will follow you as the shadow the substance. – Indian Proverb

They know not their own defects who search for the defects of others. – Indian Proverb

Who has no sense of his own, what can be done for him? What will a mirror do for him who cannot see? – Indian Proverb

Don’t be the slave of money nor of money worshippers. – Indian Proverb

He who learns without real understanding fails to benefit; just as the spoon doesn’t taste the sweetness of sugar. – Indian Proverb

Meditate on your own defects, not that of others. – Indian Proverb

Look at the clouds, how they roll on,
Look at us, how soon we’re gone! – Indian Proverb

Where your faith is, there is God. All paths lead to God. – Indian Proverb

What is beauty without good behavior? What is night without the moon ? What is fluent speech without the gift of poetry? – Indian Proverb

Persons of superior qualities meet with suffering while persons destitute of such qualities live joyous and happy. Parrots are captured and imprisoned but crows roam freely. – Indian Proverb

A stone in the shoe, a bug in the ear, a spec of dust in the eye, a thorn in the foot, and a quarrel in the family, however small in themselves, are unspeakably tormenting. – Indian Proverb

As the great universe has no boundary, so Supreme Reason has no limits. To measure boundless space would be very stupid indeed. – Indian Proverb

The storm may uproot the trees, but not the mountains. – Indian Proverb

Wealth stops at the house, friends and relatives at the time of death, good and evil deeds follow the dying person. – Indian Proverb

O, Foolish Ruler, thou seest the faults of others, though only as large as mustard seeds; but, seeing, thou seest not thine own, though of the bulk of an elephant. – Indian Proverb

Indian Proverb

  • सौ सोनार की, एक लोहार की (Hindi)
    • Transliteration: Sau sunar ki ek luhar ki.
    • A single blow of a blacksmith is equal to a hundred blows of a goldsmith.
    • “Things that need a hundred nuanced actions can be achieved with a single coarse action.”
    • Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order …. p. 22.
    • Source: John Christian (1891). Behar proverbs. K. Paul, Trench, Trübner & co., limited. p. 131.
  • வெளுத்ததெல்லாம் பாலல்ல / மின்னுவதெல்லாம் பொன்னல்ல (Tamil)
    • Transliteration: Velluthathellam Paal alla.
    • All the things that are white are not milk.
    • English Equivalent: All that glitters is not gold
    • Kannada Equivalent: “bellage irodella halalla” (ಬೆಳ್ಳಗೆ ಇರೋದೆಲ್ಲ ಹಾಲಲ್ಲ.)
    • M. Kaṇapatippiḷḷai, Tenpulōliyur. Payircit Tamil.Practical Tamil. p. 274.
  • जान है तो जहान है(Hindi)
    • Transliteration: Jaan hai to Jahan Hai.
    • (If) there’s life, then there’s the world.
    • English equivalent: After us, the deluge.
    • Meaning: Only if you are alive, things matter.
    • Source: Vihārilāla Mitra (1998). The Yoga-Vāsiṣṭha of Vālmīki. Parimal Publications. p. 294.
  • जंगल में मोर नाचा किस ने देखा ? (Hindi)
    • Transliteration: Jangal main mor nacha, kisne dekha?
    • English equivalent: He was in Rome and did not see the pope.
    • Source: India Today Volume 25. Thomson Living Media India Ltd.. 2000. p. viii.
  • जिस की लाठी उस की भैंस (Hindi)
    • Transliteration: Jis ki lathi usi ki bhains.
    • Meaning: Whoever owns the lathi (a huge cane/stick) eventually owns the buffalo.
    • English equivalent: Might is right.
    • Source: S. W. Fallon; Sir Richard Carnac Temple; Faqir Chand (Lala.) (1998). A dictionary of Hindustani proverbs. Asian Educational Services. p. 119. ISBN 978-81-206-0663-0.
  • जननी जन्मभूमिश्च स्वर्गादपि गरीयसी ॥
    • Transliteration: Jananee janmabhoomischa swargaadapi gareeyasi. (Sanskrit)
    • One’s mother and homeland are greater than even heaven.
    • Source: Ramayana (when Ravana’s brother Bibhisan asks Rama to take charge of Lanka after defeating Ravana, Rama says the above words, indicating his willingess to return to his own kingdom)
  • घर का भेदी लंका ढाये (Hindi)
    • Transliteration: Ghar ka bhedi lanka dhaye.
    • The insider who knows all the secrets can bring down Lanka (a very prosperous city in Hindu mythology)
    • Meaning: Beware of the insider, for he can bring down the biggest setup (because of his insider knowledge).
    • Bengali equivalent: ঘরের শত্রু বিভীষণ।
    • Source: Sanjay Chadha (2004). Mantras Of Success. Ocean Books (P) Ltd.. p. 89. ISBN 978-81-88322-49-7.
  • बंदर क्या जाने अदरक का स्वाद (Hindi)
    • Transliteration: Bandar kya jaane adrak ka swaad.
    • What does a monkey know of the taste of ginger?
    • Meaning: Someone who can’t understand can’t appreciate (or) Someone without refined tastes cannot appreciate a fine thing.
    • English equivalent: Laying pearls before swine.
    • Bengali equivalent: চাষা কি জানে কর্পূরের গুণChasa ki jane karpurer gun
    • Kannada equivalent: Kattheg enu gotthu Kasthuri parimala (A donkey would not know the scent of Kasthuri)
    • Malayalam equivalent: Nallathe ariyo nayike (Does the dog know what’s good)
    • Marathi equivalent: गाढवाला गुळाची चव कायGaadhavala gulaachi chav kay (A donkey cannot appreciate the taste of jaggery)
    • Tamil equivalent: கழுதைக்குத் தெரியுமா கற்பூர வாசனை ? – Kazhudaikku theriyuma karpoora vaasanai? (What does a donkey know about the fragrance of camphor?)
    • Telugu equivalent: Gadida kemi thelusu Gandapu vasana (or) Pandi kemi thelusu panneru vasana.
    • గాడిదకేం తెలుసు గంధపు వాసన? (లేదా)పందికేం తెలుసు పన్నీరు వాసన?
    • Source: Henk W. Wagenaar; S. S. Parikh; D. F. Plukker (1993). Allied Chambers transliterated Hindi-Hindi-English dictionary. Allied Publishers. p. 79. ISBN 978-81-86062-10-4.
  • अब पछताए होत क्या जब चिड़िया चुग गई खेत (Hindi)
    • Transliteration: Ab pachhtaaye hote kya, jab chidiya chug gayi khet?’’
    • What is the use of crying when the birds ate the whole farm?
    • Meaning: There is no use crying over something that has already finished/happened.
    • English equivalent: There is no use crying over spillt milk.
    • Telugu equivalent: Chethulu kalaka akulu pattukunnattu
    • Sanskrit equivalent: गोतोस्यो सोचोन नास्ति (यथा कर्मो तथा सस्ति)
    • Source: Shyam Bahadur Varma, ed (2006). Encyclopaedia of Quotations. Prabhat Prakashan. p. 96.
  • नौ सौ चूहे खाके बिल्ली हज को चली (Hindi)
    • Transliteration: Nau sau chuhe khake billi haj ko chali.
    • After eating 900 hundred rats, the cat goes to Hajj.
    • Source: (2007)”[1]”. Indian Literature 51 (240-242). Retrieved on 2012-02-01.</ref>
  • आसमान से गिरे खजूर में अटके (Hindi)
    • Literal: Fell from the sky, got stuck in a date palm.
    • English equivalent: From the frying pan into the fire.
    • Meaning: While trying to avoid a a bad situation one might end up in an even worse situation.
    • Marathi equivalent: Aagitun fufaatyaat padane. आगीतून फुफाट्यात पडणे
    • Tamil equivalent: வாணலிக்குத் தப்பி அடுப்பில் விழுந்தது போல (vANalikkuth thappi aduppil vizhundhathu pOla) (out of the frying pan, onto the stovetop)
    • Telugu equivalent: Anna prasanannpude avakayi annam pettaru.
    • Literal: A child is not fed with pickled rice at the time of naming ceremony.
    • Baṛāyauda (1987). Jonokākajiko oṛoh kaji raah jugutuko. Jhārakhaṇḍa Pablikesansa. p. 1.

ಅಪ್ಪನ ಮಾತು, ಆನೆಯ ಬಲ

appana maatu, aaneya bala

Literal: father’s approval [provides one with] the strength of an elephant [morally].

ಅಣ್ಣ ತಮ್ಮನ ಬೇರೆ ಮಾಡ ಬೇಡ

aNNa tammana bEre maaDa bEDa

Literal: don’t part two brothers.

ಆರೊಗ್ಯವೇ ಭಾಗ್ಯ

aarOgyavE bhaagya

Literal: Health is wealth.

Meaning: In one’s life, health is more essential than material wealth and so it should not be neglected.

ಅಲ್ಪನಿಗೆ ಐಶ್ವರ್ಯ ಬಂದರೆ ಅರ್ಧ ರಾತ್ರೀಲಿ ಕೊಡೆ ಹಿಡಿಸಿಕೊಂಡ

alpanige aishwarya baMdare ardha raatrIli koDe hiDisikoMDa

Literal: if an inferior gets riches, he demands an umbrella to be held over his head at midnight

Meaning: this is indirect way of saying a person should be poised and should maintain his emotional balance, when fortune smiles on him.

Equivalent: No pride like that of a enriched begger

ಅಳಿವುದೇ ಕಾಯ ಉಳಿವುದೇ ಕೀರ್ತಿ

aLivudE kaaya uLivudE kIrti

Literal: the body dies, the fame lives.

Meaning: the acquired name and fame of a person lives longer than the self.

ಅಳಿಯ ಅಲ್ಲ ಮಗಳ ಗಂಡ

aLiya alla magaLa gaMDa

Literal: [he is] not my Son-in-law, but my daughter’s husband.

Meaning: The fact does not change by saying it in a different way.

ಆಡಿದರೆ ಅರಗಿಣಿ ಕಾಡಿದರೆ ನಾಗರ ಕಾಟ

aaDidare aragiNi kaaDidare naagara kaaTa

Literal: if you act out you are a royal parrot, if annoyed, you bother like a cobra

Meaning: when things are fine you are excellent companion, the moment it goes wrong you are like a serpent

ಅಳೋ ಗಂಡ್ಸನ್ನು ನಗೋ ಹೆಂಗ್ಸನ್ನು ನಂಬಬಾರದು

aLO gaMD’sannu nagO heMg’sannu naMbabaaradu

Literal: never believe a man who is cry-prone nor a female who is smile-prone

Meaning: Do not believe a man who cries for everthing and similarly a lady who smiles things away.

ಅಯ್ಯೋ ಪಾಪ! ಅಂದ್ರೆ ಅರ್ಧ ಆಯಸ್ಸು

ayyO paapa aMdre ardha aayassu

Literal: if you pity [on somebody], [you have] half life.

Meaning: show pity on someone your lifespan will be cut short i.e., you spend half your life worrying about it.

Meaning: Don’t be kind to one and everyone, some times people take you for a ride

ಆಡುವವ ಆಡಿದ್ರೆ ನೋಡುವವಗೆ ಸಿಗ್ಗು

aaDuvava aaDidre nODuvavage siggu

Literal: If an actor enacts [indecently/without inhibitions], the spectator is ashamed

Meaning: an actor may perform to the embarrassment of the spectator

ಅಂಜಿದವನ ಮೇಲೆ ಕಪ್ಪೆ ಹಾರಿದಂಗೆ

aMjidavana mEle kappe haaridaMge

Literal: It’s like frog jumping on a person who is already afraid (of it).

ಅಲ್ಲದ ಕನಸು ಕಂಡರೆ ಎದ್ದು ಕುಂಡ್ರು.

allada kanasu kaMDare eddu kuMDru

Literal: if you see a negative dream, get up and sit.

Meaning: wake up to the alaraming calls

ಅಡ್ಡ ಗೋಡೆಯ ಮೇಲೆ ದೀಪ ಇಟ್ಟ ಹಾಗೆ

aDDa gODeya mEle dIpa iTTa hAge

Literal: It is like placing a lamp atop a partitioning wall.

Equivalent: He is as undecided as an orphan: if he does not wash his hands, he is called dirty, if he does, he is wasting water.

Usage: This is said of people who refuse to take sides (/ take a stand). Sometimes, it is used in the negative sense to chide people who are indecisive.

ಆರು ಕೊಟ್ಟರೆ ಅತ್ತೆ ಕಡೆ, ಮೂರು ಕೊಟ್ಟರೆ ಸೊಸೆ ಕಡೆ

aaru koTTare atte kaDe, mUru koTTare sose kaDe

Literal: Give him six denominations he sides with mother-in law (backs her up), give him three denominations he sides with daughter-in-law (backs her up).

ಅಡಿಕೆಗೆ ಹೋದ ಮಾನ ಆನೆ ಕೊಟ್ಟರೂ ಬರದು

aDikege hOda maana aane koTTarU baradu

Literal: The reputation lost on a betelnut won’t comeback though you donate an elephant.

Meaning: The reputation lost on trivial things cannot be regained by donating big alms.

Equivalent: A wounded reputation is seldom cured

ಅಜ್ಜಿಗೆ ಅರಿವೆಯ ಚಿಂತೆ, ಮೊಮ್ಮಗಳಿಗೆ ಕಜ್ಜಾಯದ ಚಿಂತೆ

ajjige ariveya chinte, mommagaLige kajjaayada chinte

Literal: Grandma is worried about her worn out dress; the Granddaughter worried about having a sweet dish.

Meaning: This is said of irresponsible youngsters who expect a lot from parents who struggle to make ends meet. Used to stress the importance of prioritizing.

Equivalent: Every heart has its own ache

ಅಕ್ಕಿಯ ಮೇಲೆ ಆಸೆ, ನೆ೦ಟರ ಮೇಲೆ ಪ್ರೀತಿ

akkiya mEle aase, neMTara mEle prIti

Literal: She has desire for rice(likes saving it) and has love for her relatives too.

Equivalent: you cannot have a cake and eat it too.

Equivalent: I love you well but touch not my pocket

ಅ೦ಬಲಿ ಕುಡಿಯುವವನಿಗೆ ಮೀಸೆ ಹಿಡಿಯುವವ ಒಬ್ಬ

aMbali kuDiyuvavanige mIse tikkuvanobba

Literal: For the one who drinks porridge, [there is] a person to hold moustache.

Meaning: The one who subsists on porridge, has got an attender to trim his moustache.

Usage: This is said of people who live beyond their means.

Equivalent: Nothing agrees worse than a proud mind and a begger’s purse

Equivalent: Little roast great boast

ಅ೦ತೂ ಇಂತೂ ಕು೦ತಿ ಮಕ್ಕಳಿಗೆ ರಾಜ್ಯ ಇಲ್ಲ.

aMtU iMtu kuMti makkaLige eMtU rajyavilla

Literal: somehow Kunti’s sons have got no state [to rule].

Usage: This proverb is reserved for unlucky ones who never make it however they struggle.

history: The Pandavas, sons of Kunti, spent their childhood and youth in exile. After they finally won the great battle of Mahabharata there was nothing to rule but a ghost kingdom.

ಅತ್ತೆಗೊ೦ದು ಕಾಲ; ಸೊಸೆಗೊ೦ದು ಕಾಲ

attegondu kaala; sosegondu kaala

Literal: [There is] a time for mother-in-law and a time for daughter-in-law.

Usage: The image of the mother-in-law who ruled the roost in joint families with a vengeance to make up for the indignities suffered during her daughter-in-law days is evident here.

Equivalent: Every dog has his day

ಆಸೆಯೇ ದುಃಖಕ್ಕೆ ಮೂಲ

aaseyE duHKakke mUla

Literal: greed is the rootcause of sorrow.

ಆಳ್ ಮೇಲ್ ಆಳ್ ಬಿದ್ದು ಗೋಣು ಬರಿದಾಯ್ತು

aaL mEl aaL biddu gONu baridaaytu

(= ಒಬ್ಬರು ಮತ್ತೊಬ್ಬರ ಮೇಲೆ ಹೊಣೆ ಹೊರಿಸಿ, ಹೊಣೆ ಹೊರಲು ಒಬ್ಬರು ಇಲ್ಲ) (ಆಳ್ = ವ್ಯಕ್ತಿ ; ಗೋಣು = ಕುತ್ತಿಗೆಯ ಹಿಂಭಾಗ, ಹೊರೆ ಹೊರಲು ಬಳಸುವ ಹೆಗಲಿನ ಭಾಗ)

Literal: [each] servant turn(fell) on [the other] servant and the shoulder/s [which were supposed to share owner’s burden] cleared out!

Meaning: This is said referring to a group of individuals.[When occassion called for taking up the responsibility,] Each individual passed the buck to the other individual and there was none left to shoulder the responsibility.

ಅರಿಯದೆ ಮಾಡಿದ ಪಾಪ ಅರಿತಂದು ಪರಿಹಾರ

ariyade maaDida paapa aritandu parihaara

Literal: a sin did without realizing is cured when you realize it.

Meaning: a sin committed out of mistake could be rectified when you look back on it.

Equivalent: a fault confessed is half redressed

ಅಕ್ಕರೆಯಿದ್ದಲ್ಲಿ ದುಃಖವುಂಟು

akkareyiddalli duHKavunTu

Literal: where there is love, there is grief.

Meaning: love accompanies grief.

ಅಕ್ಕನ ಚಿನ್ನವಾದ್ರೂ ಅಕ್ಕಸಾಲಿ ಟೊಣೆಯದೆ(=ಕದಿಯದೆ) ಬಿಡ

akkana cinnavAdrU akkasAli ToNeyade(=kadiyade) biDa

Literal: Though the gold belogs to his own sister, a goldsmith wouldn’t let it without swindling

Equivalent: I would cheat my own father at cards.

ಆಯಕಟ್ಟು ಇಲ್ಲದವನಿಗೆ ಆರುಕಟ್ಟು ವಿಭೂತಿ

aaya-kaTTu illadavanige aaru-kaTTu vibhUti

Literal: a person with no physique/vitality/propriety has six packs of holy-ash [i.e., he would resort to a consecrated ointment to ward off any harm/danger to himself]

Meaning: no fighting spirit would make a man [pseudo] religious

ಅವನು ಸಗಣಿ ತಿಂತಾನೆ, ನೀನೂ ತಿಂತೀಯಾ?

avanu sagaNi tiMtaane, nInU tiMtIyaa?

Literal: He eats dung, would you eat it too?

Meaning: Don’t follow others blindly.

ಅಡಿಗೆ ಬಿದ್ದರೂ ಮೂಗು ಮೇಲೆ

aDige biddarU mUgu mEle

Literal: though he fell to the feet, his nose is above the feet [i.e., his nose is not touching the feet]

Equivalent: Though vanquished, he could still argue.

  • बूँद-बूँद से घड़ा भरता है (Hindi)
    • Transliteration: Boond-boond se ghara bharta hai.
    • It takes drop by drop to fill a pitcher.
    • English equivalent: Persistence leads to success.
    • “A drop hollows out the stone by falling not twice, but many times; so too is a person made wise by reading not two, but many books.”
    • (Giordano Bruno, Il Candelaio)

Indian Proverb

Hindi proverbs

  • हाथ कंगन को आरसी क्या
    • Transliteration: Haath kng’gan ko aar’si kya
    • You don’t need a mirror to look at the wound in your palm.
    • Plukker, D. F.; Zanten, R. Veldhuijzen van (1 January 1993). Allied Chambers transliterated Hindi-Hindi-English dictionary. Allied Publishers. p. 239. ISBN 978-81-86062-10-4.
  • जान है तो जहान है
    • Transliteration: Jaa’n hey to ja’han hey
    • there is life, there is world.
    • Source: Phansi se Poorv. Atmaram & Sons. p. 360. GGKEY:0ELREBJ4Q0B.
  • जंगल में मोर नाचा किस ने देखा ?
    • Transliteration: Jun’gl mei mo’r na’che kis ne de’ka
    • Who saw a peacock dance in the woods?
    • English equivalent: If you got it, flaunt it.
    • Source: India Today Volume 25. Thomson Living Media India Ltd.. 2000. p. viii.
  • जिस की लाठी उसकी भैंस
    • Whoever owns the lathi (a huge cane/stick) owns the buffalo.
    • English equivalent: Might is right.
  • घर का भेदी लंका ढाये
    • An harmless-appearing confidant can bring down Lanka (a then very prosperous city with probably smaller territory from Hindu mythology, today known by name of country called Srilanka)
    • Source: Tivārī, Gajendra (1996). Rañja līḍara ko bahuta hai. Amana Prakāśana. p. 1.
  • बंदर क्या जाने अदरक का स्वाद
    • What does a monkey know about the taste of ginger?
    • English equivalent: Laying pearls before swine.
    • Source: Prakash, Om (1995). “110”. Vyavharik Hindi Shuddh Prayog. Rajpal & Sons. p. 166. ISBN 978-81-7028-107-8.
  • अब पछताए होत क्या जब चिड़िया चुग गई खेत
    • What is the use of crying when the birds ate the whole farm?
    • English equivalent: It’s no use crying over spilled milk.
    • “It’s no use crying over spilt evils. It’s better to mop them up laughing.”
    • Eleanor Farjeon, Gypsy and Ginger (1920)
    • Source: Shyam Bahadur Varma, ed (2006). Encyclopaedia of Quotations. Prabhat Prakashan. p. 96.
  • नाच न जाने, आँगन ठेढ़ा
    • Literal: Knows no dance, claims the stage is tilted.
    • English equivalent: A bad workman blames his tools.
    • “A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.”
    • Douglas Adams in Mostly Harmless (1992)
    • Source: Hindi Proverbs, Popular Sayings, Hindi Kahavat, Kahawat
  • दूर के ढोल सुहावने लगते हैं
    • The drums sound better at a distance.
    • برگرفته از ضرب المثل فارسی : صدای دهل از دور خوشه .
    • From persian proverb -refer to the people that their lifes seems to be very good but infact they arent happy and just try to show something else to the others
    • English equivalent: The grass is always greener on the other side.
    • “We tend to like the things we don’t have.”
    • Source: Hindi Proverbs, Popular Sayings, Hindi Kahavat, Kahawat
  • घर की मुर्गी दाल बराबर
    • Something owned(POSSESSED) in abundance is undervalued. Literally it means chicken at home (expensive food) feels like daal (lentil dish, staple food in India)
    • “Self possessions are always undermined and other’s possessions seem better.”
    • Source: Hindi Proverbs, Popular Sayings, Hindi Kahavat, Kahawat
  • जल में रहकर मगर से बैर ठीक नहीं
    • You should not have enmity with the crocodile if you are living in the water.
    • English equivalent: It is hard to live in Rome and strive against the Pope.
    • “You should not be hostile with people you need to stay/work with.”
    • Source: Hindi Proverbs, Popular Sayings, Hindi Kahavat, Kahawat,
  • जाति ना पूछो साधु की; पूछ लीजिए ज्ञान.
    • Ask not a saint of his caste; ask of his knowledge.
    • English equivalent: Don’t judge a book by its cover.
    • “A person’s merit should be determined by his inherent qualities and contributions as an individual, not by superficial traits which fail to capture the essence of a person.”
  • Knowledge is higher than power. – Hindi proverb

Marathi proverbs

Proverbs from all Marathi speaking parts of the world.

डॉक्टरला आणि देवाला कधीच नाराज करू नका, कारण देव नाराज झाला तर तुम्हाला डॉक्टर कडे जावे लागेल आणि डॉक्टर नाराज असेल तर देवाकडे जावे लागेल….!

  • The remedy is worse than the cure.
    • English equivalent: The remedy is often worse than the disease; Burn not your house to rid it off the mouse.
  • A donkey cannot appreciate the taste of jaggery. – Marathi proverb

Telugu proverbs

Proverbs from all Telugu speaking parts of the world.

  • కొండ నాలుక కు మందు వేస్తే, ఉన్న నాలుక ఊడిందంట
    • Literal: Konda naaluka ku mandhu vesthe, unna naaluka oodindhanta.
    • When he applied medicine to the uvula, it took out the whole tongue.
    • English equivalent: The remedy is often worse than the disease.
  • Is there a day called tomorrow?
    • English equivalent: Tomorrow comes never.
    • “There’s no hope without endeavor. Hope has no meaning unless we are prepared to work to realize our hopes and dreams.”
    • Aung San Suu Kyi, Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought Acceptance Speech by Aung San Suu Kyi, Strasbourg, 22 October 2013
  • Can a blind man discern the color of pure gold?
    • English equivalent: A blind man should not judge of colours.
    • “An uneducated man cannot judge of the attainments of the learned.”
  • The neighbour’s curry even if sour is tasty. – Telugu proverb

Bhojpuri proverbs

  • अबरे क भंइस बियाइल, सगरे गाँव मेटिया ले धाइल
    • Translation: When the poor man’s buffalo calves every one runs with his pail (for milk).
  • For a satiated duck fish becomes tasteless. – Bhojpuri proverb

Mizo proverbs

This page is for proverbs from the Mizo language, the official language in the Indian state of Mizoram.

  • A ṭha lam kawng a chho va, a chhe lam kawng a phei.
    • Literal: The right path is very steep upward, whereas the wrong path is horizontal.
    • Literal: The right path is steep and upwards, the wrong path is easy and horizontal.
    • Meaning: Used to say that good things are hard to achieve, and hence easily obtained riches are worthless.
  • Kawi pawh a kawm a ṭhat chuan a rah pawh a ṭha, a kawm a chhiat chuan a rah pawh a chhia.
    • Literal: If the shell of Kawi is good, the nut it bears is also good; if the shell is not good, the nut inside is also poor. (Kawi is a large bean-like seed or nut.)
  • Lungpui pawh lungtëin a kamki loh chuan a awm thei lo.
    • Literal: Without the support of small pebbles, a big rock cannot be stable.
  • Mihring hmelma lian ber chu mahni.
    • Literal: The main foe of man is himself.
  • Se bo hnua se kawng khàr ang.
    • Literal: To close the gate of the bull pen after the bull has escaped is foolishness.
    • English equivalent: Prevention is better than cure.
  • Vawiina tih tùr naktûka tihah khêk suh.
    • Literal/Meaning: Do not put off till tomorrow what you can do today.

Kannada proverbs

Proverbs used by speakers of the Kannada language, one of the classical languages of India. It is one of the oldest languages alive predominantly spoken in southern parts of the country.

  • One who has control over his pants, hand and mouth has nothing to worry about.
    • Meaning: ‘Control over sexual conduct, behaviour and speech is necessary if we wish to lead a happy and content life.’
  • A colt you may break but an old horse you never can. p. 3
  • ‘Tis in vain to kick after you have once put on fetters. p. 3
  • Great braggers little doers. p. 5
  • He that knows least commonly presumes most. p. 5
  • No pride like that of an enriched beggar. p. 5
  • Good deeds remain, all things else perish. p. 5
  • Be slow to promise and quick to perform. p. 6
  • They talk like angels but live like men.
    • p. 6; variant translation: Many talk like philosophers and live like fools.
  • Dicen, que el primer consejo
    Ha de ser de la muger.

    • “They say that the best counsel is that of woman.”
    • Calderon, El Médico de su Honra, I. 2.
  • If wishes were horses beggars would ride. p. 6
  • No one knows the weight of anothes burden. p. 7
  • Vows made in storms are forgotten in calms. p. 7
  • Do all you can and leave the rest to providence. p. 7

  • Do not dig a well only after the house catches fire.

  • A truth teller finds the doors closed against him. p. 8
  • A fox should not be of the jury at a goose’s trial. p. 9
  • Burn not your house to fright away the mice. p. 9
  • Misfortunes come by forties. p. 12
  • Death meets us everywhere. p. 13
  • As a man lives so shall he die.
    As a tree falls so shall it lie.‎ p. 50

Hindu Proverbs

Regularity is the best medicine. – Hindu Proverb

Love your neighbor, but don’t take down the separating-wall. – Hindu Proverb

No one can be a totally fair judge in his own case. – Hindu Proverb

In a treeless country, the castor plant is a big tree. – Hindu Proverb

Diet cures more than the surgical knife does. – Hindu Proverb

Sitting while you eat makes you large; standing while you eat makes you strong. – Hindu Proverb

Dig your well before you are thirsty. – Hindu Proverb

The person who is too humble becomes a scoundrel. – Hindu Proverb

The supreme excellence is not in being better than others, but in being better than your former self. – Hindu Proverb

The living things of the Earth depend on each other just like the limbs and organs of the body do. – Hindu Proverb

People don’t trip on mountains, but they sometimes stumble on stones. – Hindu Proverb

An elephant, no matter how skinny, is valuable. – Hindu Proverb

Dependence on someone else can cause reoccurring disappointment. – Hindu Proverb

The speech, actions, manner of movement, and turban of each man differs from all others. – Hindu Proverb

Like the body that is made up of different limbs and organs, all moral creatures must depend on each other to exist. – Hindu Proverb

To control the mind is like trying to control a drunken monkey that has been bitten by a scorpion. – Hindu Proverb

Great minds discuss ideas, medium minds discuss events, and little minds discuss people. – Hindu Proverb

Kashmiri proverbs

Dogs fight with each other, but unite when they hear the voice of a jackal. – Kashmiri proverb

If its not gossip, then why are you whispering it? – Kashmiri proverb

Clean your heart and mind of negative thoughts. – Kashmiri proverb

Bachelors want to get married, while married men regret that they did. – Kashmiri proverb

(To most people), distant pepper is perceived as being sweet, and close sweets are perceived as being bitter. – Kashmiri proverb

When pumpkins are watered, brinjals (a small vegetable) also get watered. – Kashmiri proverb

(It’s useless to attempt to) carry water in baskets. – Kashmiri proverb

(Don’t try to) cook six liters of food in a pot that only holds three liters. – Kashmiri proverb

A simple meal at home is better than an elaborate one while away. – Kashmiri proverb

Saving the mustard seeds that are in your hand might cause you to miss out on getting a watermelon. – Kashmiri proverb

For every hundred lashes needed by the foolish, only one word is needed by the wise. – Kashmiri proverb

If a man’s beard is on fire, there are bound to be plenty of people who will want to warm their hands on the fire. – Kashmiri proverb

(When well united and synergized), one plus one equals eleven. – Kashmiri proverb

With the right trap, even an elephant can be caught. – Kashmiri proverb

The innocent often pay for the acts of the guilty. – Kashmiri proverb

The healthy person experiences a healthy world. – Kashmiri proverb

Rice tastes good when it is cooked properly, and talking is good when it is said at the right time. – Kashmiri proverb

Thunder is not the source of the rain. – Kashmiri proverb

The message spoken to the daughter is often aimed at the daughter-in-law. – Kashmiri proverb

Life is like a lamp flame; it needs a little oil now and then. – Kashmiri proverb

Giving advice to a stupid man is like giving salt to a squirrel. – Kashmiri proverb

I bought the nettle, sowed the nettle, and then the nettle stung me. – Kashmiri proverb

Where there is sunshine, there is also shade. – Kashmiri proverb

One man’s beard is on fire, and another man warms his hands on it. – Kashmiri proverb

Bengali proverb

The poor search for food, and the rich search for hunger. – Bengali proverb

You can have your nose broken easily if you put it in other people’s business. – Bengali proverb

Non-violence is the best religion. – Bengali proverb

You can easily find a thousand teachers, but it is difficult to find a true disciple. – Bengali proverb

Even when many people attempt to travel the same road, there are some who walk and some who stumble. – Bengali proverb

Be careful of the teacher you choose and the water you drink. – Bengali proverb

Even if the caged bird has food to eat, he always dreams of the liberty of the forest. – Bengali proverb

What one has in the heart shows in the eyes. – Bengali proverb

Just as beauty spots and hair beautify women, proverbs beautify language. – Bengali proverb

If you want to be a true man, become good like the earth. – Bengali proverb

It requires lots of time to build a good name, but only a little time to ruin it. – Bengali proverb

Tamil proverbs

The worth of the shade is only known when the sun is beating down hot. – Tamil proverb

An enemy’s punishment is his envy. – Tamil proverb

Faith in medicine makes it effective. – Tamil proverb

A good husband might have a bad wife, and a bad wife might have a good husband. – Tamil proverb

Extreme hunger will cause a person to break through a stone wall and steal. – Tamil proverb

He who has studied himself is his own master. – Tamil proverb

The owl is small, but its voice is loud. – Tamil proverb

Kind words can conquer. – Tamil proverb

When you are shopping for a cow, make sure that the price of the tail is included. – Tamil proverb

Sinhala proverbs

When the wild pig’s running (inadvertently) crushes the seed shells, the wild birds celebrate. – Sinhala proverb

When the dogs bark at the moon, the moon is not brought down because of it. – Sinhala proverb

During the daylight, a person will not fall into a pit that he fell into during the nighttime. – Sinhala proverb

The fool carries the burden. – Sinhala proverb

Don’t believe everything you hear, and don’t tell everything you believe. – Sinhala proverb

Sanskrit proverbs

People searching for other people’s faults often do not know their own. – Sanskrit proverb

The greatest hero is the person who controls his desires. – Sanskrit proverb

Wind sweeps the street clean. – Sanskrit proverb

Something done at the wrong time should be considered not done. – Sanskrit proverb

You can’t cook one half of a chicken and expect the other half to lay eggs. – Sanskrit proverb

Who are destitute of sight ? Those who do not perceive the future world. – Sanskrit proverb

There’s no greater enemy than pride. – Sanskrit proverb

If the heart be impure, all actions will be wrong. – Sanskrit proverb

They know not their own defects who search for the defects of others. – Sanskrit proverb

Time is stronger than all things else. – Sanskrit proverb

A good man’s anger lasts an instant, a meddling man’s for two hours, a base man’s a day and night, a great idiot’s until death. – Sanskrit proverb

If one is lazy, even nectar turns into poison. – Sanskrit proverb

…More regional proverbs

The mouse who finds a piece of turmeric cannot claim to own a grocery store. – Sindhi proverb

There will always be a ditch in front of a person in a hurry. – Punjabi proverb

Wherever there is cow dung, that is where you will find your bread. – Mewari proverb

Without the breeze blowing can the leaves tremble? – Manipuri proverb

The cloud that roars seldom pours. – Maithili proverb

One can sense the fragrance of the tulsi even when the first two tender leaves appear. – Oriya proverb

To lift an elephant you need an elephant. – Tulu proverb

A peacock’s eggs do not need to be painted. – Gujarati proverb

All the ten fingers are used in eating. But it is the thumb that has to push the food into the mouth. – Assamese proverb

Whether you like it or not, I am your guest. – Urdu proverb

Elders’ advice is like gooseberries; at first sour then sweet. – Malayalam proverb

You can’t get drunk if you are riding a horse. – Konkani proverb

Even a witch spares her neighbourhood. – Marwari proverb


Hindustan: a region in India. Note that the term Hindustan can also be used categorized as the entire country of India, or to refer to the culture of Hinduism the religion.
Bengal: the culture and language of Bengali people, most of whom live in Bangladesh
Kashmir: a region in Northern India and parts of other countries such as Pakistan
Tamil: An ethnicity and language found primarily Southern India and in Sri Lanka
Sinhala / Sinhalese: The ethnicity and language that make up the majority in Sri Lanka.
Sanskrit: an ancient Indian language

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