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Window To Our Culture - Proverbs & Sayings
Proverbs, phrases and sayings offer one way to peep into our cultural past. Apart from helping us narrate our culture it provides valuable insight into our ancestors' lifestyle and opinions. Let us catalog them here. I propose the following format:


I will start the ball rolling....
<b>Proverb</b>: Kazhuthu kodi vida Vazhithu kodikku balam adhikam.
<b>Language</b>: Tamil
<b>Translation</b>: The chord of the stomach(womb) is stronger than the chord of the neck.
<b>Meaning</b>: A woman is easily tugged towards her children than towards her husband.
<b>Commentary</b>: The chord of the stomach(womb) is the umbilical chord, the chord of the neck is the "thali" (mangalsutra). There could be several interpretations: A woman tends to take her children's cause more than her husband's cause; a woman tends to support her children than her husband in the case of a conflict, a woman is easily moved by her children's plight than her husbands. We could go on.

IIRC, I also remember variations like:
Vazhithu Aambadiyan, Kazhuthu Aambadiyan vida osathi. (Aambadiyan is husband in TamBraham dialect)

<b>Translation</b>:The husband via stomach (womb), i.e. children are superior than the husband via the neck.

I have heard these being used humorously by the elders.
Hindi -- <b>dudho nahao puto phalo</b>

Meaning - Be prosperous & have many sons
<b>Saying:</b>Uppu iladha pandam koopaiyil
<b>Language:</b> Tamil
<b>Translation/Meaning: </b>A food preparation without salt is meant to be trashed.

<b>Commentary:</b> I have head my grand dad saying this. He was the salt loving kind.
<!--QuoteBegin-SwamyG+Sep 28 2007, 12:39 PM-->QUOTE(SwamyG @ Sep 28 2007, 12:39 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Saying:</b>Uppu iladha pandam koopaiyil
<b>Language:</b> Tamil
<b>Translation/Meaning: </b>A food preparation without salt is meant to be trashed.
SwamyG: Don't take this one literally. There's a temple in Tamil Naidu where all Prasad is served without salt. Will get it's name later. Something Uppuliappan like. Others can fill it in, else I'll dig it up later.
Great thread BTW, will contribute my own later.
The story behind the salt-less offering to Oppiliappan (temple located in Kumbakonam, Tanjore district, TN).

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->MrikaNdu Maharishi's son Sri MaarkaNdEyaa worshipped the Lord and desired that Lakshmi should appear as his daughter and the Lord should become his Son-in-Law. When he was doing theerththaadanam and shEthra yaaththirai, after reaching ThiruvinNagaram, he felt that this was the right place for getting his desire fulfilled. MaarkaNdEyaa then started a severe penance for 1000 years seeking Lakshim dEvi's blessings.

After the thousand years of penance, Lakshmi appeared as a baby under the already incarnated thulasi chedi (thulasi plant). Sri Maarkandeya felt the presence of Lakshmi as the incarnation of the baby and realised that one part of his desire had been fulfilled. He took possession of the baby and brought her up.

When this young girl reached the adolescent age or paruvam, one day (panguNi month sravana nakshathram) the Lord, appeared as an old man and asked for the hand of maarkaNdEya's daughter. maarkaNdEya replied <b>"You are very ripe and old, my daughter is very very young and she does not even know how to cook with proper salt (lavanam) contents. </b>You may get angry and curse her if she cannot cook properly. This is not fair. You are bodily old but mentally v ery aware. You must forgive me and bless me but this will not work out.".

<b>To which the old man replied, "If your daughter must cook without salt, then I will still take it as my best food, but I will not leave from here without marrying her."</b>

Without knowing what to do , maarkaNdEyaa sought the help of the ever protecting Lord Vishnu.

It was then that he realised, using his thapobalam, that the old man was none other than Lord Vishnu Himself.

When he opened his eyes the Lord appeared in front of him with changu and chakram as in SriVaikundam (He is seen in the same form even now in this temple) and maarkaNdEya asked for forgiveness. Sri m aarkaNdEya then offered his daughter's hand in marriage and performed the kannikaathaanam of his daughter (Lakshmi) to the Lord Himself.

<b>Since the Lord had said "I will accept the food that is not salted as my best and most desired food", this temple neyvEthiyam is always done without salt in any food. No one should ever take anything that contains salt into this temple </b>...

Above story is related in detail in skanda purana maheshwar khanda, setu mahatmya.

nice topic.

awadhi and bhojpuri are full of such sayings, which r very funny too. however telugu is very rich really with such witty phrases.

my fav that i heard frm telugu friends - daridroDi pelliki vadgallawana. In wedding of a pauper rain the hailstorms?
"daridroDi pelliki vadgallawana."

just a small correction, should be "daridrudi".
Viren: It is quite possible my g.dad corrupted something, but that is the context he used - when he was served food with a little salt.

Bodhi: You had the translation, but what is the meaning/commentary about the hailstorms in a pauper's wedding?

And, thanks
While i dont know the complete background and how is it used,but i think it hilights the irony of poverty? That even nature shows no mercy to poor. when daridra somehow managed to marry, nature sent the hailstorms. or it might mean - vighna after vighna. Arranging wedding was a huge task for daridra in the first place, then too halstorms upon it!

in hindi nearest would be - 'gareebi me atta geela'. in poverty the wheatflour also got dampened (therefore unuseful).
What Bodhi said is basically the interpretation of it.
In context of wedding, here is a rather crude and bit dehati saying in awadhi

jab duaare aay baraat
tab samadhik laag bayaar

as the marriage party arrived at the door
the girls father disappeared to attend to the nature,s call
(hilights the ironic timing)

another that i had heard from friend but never got the accurate meaning is:

chadu ledu chattabandalu ledu
<!--QuoteBegin-Bodhi+Sep 28 2007, 08:50 PM-->QUOTE(Bodhi @ Sep 28 2007, 08:50 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->chadu ledu chattabandalu ledu<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Perhaps it is:
Chotu ledu Chattabandalu levu = no place, no relations

"Vadiki chotu ledu chattabandalu levu" meaning he is a vagrant
Some quick sayings:

Ara chethilo swargam chupinchadam (Showing heaven in the palm - meaning Raising false hopes)

Usage: US ee nuclear oppandamtho Bharatdesaniki ara chethilo swargam chupisthundi

Some regional ones:

Kundalo kudu kundalo vundali, biddalu moddhula vundali (You want food to stay in the pot, but want kids stout)
- Meaning you want all the gains without any investment.

Majjigisthe mandhali vasthundi (PG version) (Give buttermilk, the scoop comes out)
Mandhuisthe mandhali vasthundi (Give liquor, the scoop comes out)
-Meaning give something of interest to get something of interest.

Mundaki bottu pedithe Moggudu vasthada (If you put bindhi to window, is her (dead) husband going to come back?)
- Meaning you can't bring back something that is already dead.
"chadu ledu chattabandalu ledu"

Bodhi I think you meant "chaduvu ledu chattubandalu ledu", it means there is no education or anything else in you, it's more used when chastising someone with no interest in studies rather than as a Proverb, that was used on me a few times <!--emo&Tongue--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/tongue.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='tongue.gif' /><!--endemo-->

One I hear a lot is:

"guddi eddu chelo padindhi"

"A blind ox has fallen into the field"

I think it means to say it's like someone who has no clue of something being engaged in the same something just like a blind ox has no clue what it is doing in the field (usually they are used to furrow the field).
yes. that fits the context it was used in <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->
The following Monthly fasting may help heart... news item reminded me of something my grandfather often used to say.

<b>Proverb</b>: Langanam param oushadham (sometimes heards Oushadham param langanam)
<b>Language:</b> Sanskrit
<b>Meaning:</b> Fasting is the best medicine
Commentary: Googling shows that this proverb existed in our culture. Now there are research on these lines....
On a personal note, When I used to quip on his weekly fasting along with my grandmother, this is what he used to say.
<b>koli ka ghar jalay, kalandar maangai gannaa!</b>

{While this fellow's house is burning, alms-beggar is pestering him for a sugarcane.} <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->

1. Wrong timing.
2. Own's interest is seen supreme for everyone.

old urdu-hindi from around Delhi area.


The below google book has collected a lot of proverbs from medieval North India. Claims to have a lot of proverbs in Khadi-boli, Urdu, Marwadi, Punjabi, Magadhi, and Bhojpuri etc.

A dictionary of hindustani proverbs By S. W. Fallon
Translation of Vemana Satakam by CP Brown:


His sayings are very well known in Andhra along with those of Sumati Satakam and are used in introductory Telugu textbooks.

These hve some in Telugu lipi:



Telugu Proverbs

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