śatakatrayam 1.35: maṇiḥ śāṇollīḍhaḥ (like a gem rubbed by a stone)

by Jahnabi Barooah

मणि: शाणोल्लीढ: समरविजयी हेतिदलितो
मदक्षीणो नाग: शरदि सरिदाश्यानपुलिना ।
कलाशेषश्चन्द्र: सुरतमृदिता बालवनिता
तनिम्रा शोभन्ते गलितविभवाश्चार्थिषु नरा: ।।३५।।
नीतिशतके

like a gem rubbed by a stone,
like a wounded battle hero,
like an exhausted rutting elephant,
like a parched river in the autumn,
like the pale crescent moon,
like a young woman exhausted by love-play,
men whose treasuries are depleted,
seem emaciated when
surrounded by beggars. ||34||
nītiśataka

In this verse, the poet continues with the theme of money / wealth (Sanskrit ‘artha’) that we have seen in the last few. The scene unfolding before us is beggars seeking help from rich men who have lost their wealth. The poet compares this to six other situations: a gem, a battle hero, and so on. Some comparisons are drawn from nature and thus more comprehensible, while others might be more culturally specific to the Sanskrit imaginaire. For instance, the rutting elephant most commonly connotes majesty. Here, however, the elephant is depicted as exhausted.

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