śatakatrayam 1.9: stop comparing with others

by Jahnabi Barooah

कृमिकुलचितं लालाक्लिन्नं विगन्धि जुगुप्सितं
निरुपमरमप्रीत्या खादन्नरास्थि निरामिषम् ।
सुरपतिमपि श्वा पार्श्वस्थं विलोक्य न शङ्कते
न हि गणयति क्षुद्रो जन्तु: परिग्रहफल्गुताम् ।।९।।

although it is crawling with worms,
without any flesh,
putrid and utterly revolting,
a dog happily guzzles
a juicy human bone,
his saliva dribbling all over.
even if he sees
the most beautiful being nearby,
he does not pause.
poor creatures, after all,
do not ponder the insignificance
of their possessions.

The fourth line of the poem is what Sanskrit rhetoricians call an arthantaranyāsa, which is, to put it briefly, a general statement that is used to justify a particular situation. In this poem, the dog’s behavior is explained by the more universally relevant statement that the poor cannot afford to compare their belongings with others.