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Wisdom from the son of Armenia.

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  • yeteh heemahr pahnehr tzahngahs, tuhzpahght veejahgee metch geenahs
    (If you desire foolish things, you’ll end up in a difficult situation)

    There was a man who decided to see the world. He traveled far and wide seeking to acquire wealth and comfort. He entered a desert-like plain that was very hot. The hot sun bore down on him so much that he became thirsty and exhausted. He came upon a small oasis of palm trees. This secluded place was a magical place. Whoever stayed there could wish for anything and it came true.

    The traveler rested under a tree. He mused to himself, “How nice it would be if I could have a bed to sleep on under this cool shade.” Immediately a comfortable bed appeared. Shocked to his wits, he gazed at the bed and slowly touched it to make sure he was not hallucinating. Reassuring himself that the bed was real, he jumped on it and felt its soft, clean sheets and perfumed pillow. Again he mused, “Oh, how pleasant it would be if there was a pretty woman to massage my feet and legs until I fall asleep.” Miraculously, a young woman appeared and began to massage his feet.

    He felt somewhat confident that he was not dreaming. This was all real and wonderful. He thought, “How nice it would be to have a table of delicious food and cool wine to entertain this beautiful woman.” His wish materialized. The beautiful woman joined him at the table. She poured wine and held the glass to his lips as he drank his fill. Soon he was very intoxicated. Still not satisfied, he yell out, “There is not enough wine to satisfy my thirst. Let there be an ocean of wine!”

    Quickly his joy turned to horror as a gigantic ocean of wine appeared into which he drowned helplessly.

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  • In the quiet depths, unassuming, the fish eat their fill
    Deer graze in peace on the grassy green hill
    Virtuous men live happily sharing their good will
    Yet, the angler, hunter and the wicked use their skill
    To hook, to stalk, to shoot, to torture, to kill

    A drop of water on a waxy lotus petal is unsteady
    Life in this uncertain world is like a whirling eddy
    A swirling pool of lusty, angry and greedy humanity
    Who drown in the vortex of suffering and envy

    The vast ocean can be crossed by a ship
    The darkness of night can be lighted by a lamp
    The sweltering heat can be relieved by a fan
    The huge elephant can be controlled by a short goad
    With the passage of time, the worst problem can be solved
    But the wicked mind of evil men cannot be changed by God

    You can convince the ignorant man easily
    The learned man can be convinced even more readily
    But the man who knows little but thinks he knows everything
    Even God cannot convince such a boorish person

    A water drop falling on a red hot rock vanishes without leaving a trace
    The same drop falling on a lotus leaf glistens like a crystal diamond
    If it falls on an oyster shell in the sea, it becomes a pearl of lasting beauty
    So by associating with the inferior, the normal and the superior, men reach different ends

    The man of good qualities can honorably live
    The doer of virtuous deeds will always thrive
    But one who has neither can barely survive
    In the end he drops to hell in a free-fall dive

    Some may study the holy scripture and codes of ethics
    But knowledge of right and wrong is not merely academics
    The student requires training by an expert teacher
    Whose life and example empowers him as the best preacher
    He can give insights, wisdom and correct the student’s faults
    Impress by practical applications with the power of thunderbolts
    Without such expert guidance, the student remains like the ladle
    Though stirring good food, but for the taste is incapable

    The blind man does not see external faults in others
    The man seized by lust is also blind
    So is the man who is full of arrogance
    Likewise the greedy knave whose only thought is money

    The hawk’s visual acuity can espy a carrion from afar
    But it’s powers of sight are used only for survival as a predator
    Man’s vision is much less developed than the hawk
    Yet man can understand that spiritual salvation is greater than mere survival
    He can use all his faculties for the higher quest
    Failing to do this, he is no better than a bird of prey

    By nature and frame, all men are not the same
    There are differences, though they have a common name
    The cow and the serpent are both from high heaven
    One eats grass to give milk, one licks milk and spits venom

    There are three gates to hell – lust, anger and greed
    Every sane man should give up their lead
    They make one ungrateful, without compassion, unsteady
    Degrading the soul, to go to hell, they ready

    When advising others, every one expounds wisdom as if a master
    When putting the advise into practice, most pretenders are a disaster

    There are five ways to know a fool,
    First, he is stubborn as a mule
    He is reluctant to follow any rule
    He uses foul language like filthy stool
    His pride flames like fire fed by gas fuel
    He considers good advice like drool
    Above all, his conversation is very uncool
    What he didn’t learn at home, he’ll never learn at school
    The best advice is to avoid such a fool

    Ants work long hours to collect grain
    The miser amasses wealth with much pain
    Honey is collected by bees for the hive to sustain
    But all will be lost and their efforts will be in vain

    The bee keeper will steal the honey
    Thieves or relatives will squander the miser’s money
    The ant’s grain will end up in others’ tummy
    One’s loss is gain for another. Is the worker a dummy?

    The company of a truthful, wise man should be sought
    Beware of the crafty, wise one who can guile you to naught
    The honest fool may be treated with compassion
    While the deceitful fool, one must abandon

    The flames of the fire attract the moth who flies into them not knowing they burn
    The hungry fish bites the tasty bait not seeing that there is a hook so hard and stern
    Although men know the risks of sensual pleasures, they yearn them incessantly to return
    The workings of the mind heated by passion reasons ill and good advice spurns

    The unstoppable thrust of old age threatens us like a fierce tiger
    Ravaged by disease and pain we are beset with continual danger
    Life slips away like water in a broken pot, youth is a stranger
    Loose teeth, cataracts, sore joints, wrinkles, ready for the grave digger

    Man is not known for what he saved
    He is praised for the charity he gave

    Our parents are gone long ago
    Our youthful friends are deep below
    We too are near the end of the show
    Memories jostle our mind to and fro

    Pleasures I had, I have no more
    Those to come seem like distant lore
    They may be mine if I don’t die before
    They last a short time, not anymore
    What then is the meaning of it all

    There are many setbacks for the evil doer
    Full of failures on the path to false grandeur
    Sorrow, misfortune and loss of wealth
    Separation of loved ones, ill health
    Betrayed by trusted friends in his stealth
    At last in prison, alone, defeated, forlorn
    Why was he ever born to live in such scorn

    Lust deprives one of shame and makes one uncouth
    Old age ravages the lustrous beauty of youth
    A mean nature spoils virtuous and honorable acts
    Anger can push one to lose memory and overreact
    Greed may force us to have more than we need
    Depriving others, ruining their chance to succeed
    By service for evil people, good qualities are destroyed
    But false pride will ruin everything and leaves no joy

    One’s speech should never be too harsh or severe,
    Impress with pleasant words, truthful and sincere
    One’s dearest friends, parents, wife or son
    Hurt by invective, your company will shun

    Never be puffed up with pride by acquiring knowledge
    Wealth, power, fame or by good birth. Let God be the judge.
    Conceited by these one may reject good advice
    Of well-wishers, by mouthing a reasoned device

    Speaking harshly kindles people’s ire
    Emblazons anger, puts their minds on fire
    Arguing incessantly disturbs those that hear
    Troubles the mind, and wearies the ear

    Contempt is bred by stinginess and greed
    Fanatic beliefs are a ribbed, false creed
    Madness and rage are not a social grace
    Sinful life will lead to failure and disgrace

    Spending for gambling is a total waste
    What is squandered for lust is bad taste
    Angry words leave one rash and red faced
    Good deeds come not of ill-thought haste

    We act with the body but live in the mind
    Daily we think, feel and will for joy to find
    Confronted always by much opposition
    We struggle hard to better our condition

    Through endless strife we strive to control the mind
    So unsteady, restless, oft mean and unkind
    Such bitter struggle for life of short duration
    Baffled, we question why be in the creation

    The body is like a cart, intelligence the driver
    Mind the reins, senses the incautious horses
    The self is the rider, who suffers or enjoys
    Driven to a frenzy by the mind’s restless ploys

    The intelligence should direct the mind
    Often though, it is incapable and blind
    Powerless to distinguish good from bad
    It is helpless to control the mind gone mad

    One cannot catch the raging wind
    Nor the mind that has often sinned
    One may restrain the senses by force
    But mind unbridled will bring remorse

    Man conceited by wealth no matter how astute
    Exploits others and denies his disrepute
    Like the goat that smears himself with its piss
    Though amiss, thinks he enjoys heavenly bliss

    Money should never be an object of worship
    Judiciously used, it is an aid to servitorship
    One should spend it for charity that makes us wiser
    The world is sustained by the giving man, not the miser.

    Mind can be a friend or enemy as well
    Slave to the senses, the mind is like hell
    “I want to control, I want to enjoy”
    Such thoughts are the mind’s cleaver decoy
    Luring us in a trap of hard work and no joy

    There may be short-lived joy, but it is a pittance
    We are left frustrated, sore that it lacks endurance
    Our hopes, desires and dreams never grow old
    But the body will dwindle to be wrinkled and cold

    By not controlling the mind, one’s life is spoiled
    Control of lust, anger, greed, will be foiled
    Is one safe living with a poisonous snake?
    Also meet the whims of the mind is a mistake.

    The enlightened strive ever for perfection
    Of charity, sacrifice, love, and compassion
    They attempt to nurture these to fruition
    Death will test if they are real or deception

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