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~ Abai Kunanbaev ~


Word Fifteen

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How do I live?
Have I done anything
to improve my learning,
my worldly life or
my life hereafter?
Will I have to swallow
the bitter dregs of
regret later on?

~ ABAI KUNANBAEV

From Word Fifteen,
The Book of Words




There is an essential difference, in my view, between intelligent and stupid people.

Coming into this world, man cannot live without being attracted and excited by the fascinating things around him. Those days of questioning and passionate interests remain in a person's memory as the brightest period of life. A sensible man will interest himself in worthy and serious matters, he will steadfastly pursue his objectives, and even his recollections of his past struggles to attain them will be heard with pleasure and warm the hearts of his listeners. Such a person will not betray even a shadow of regret over the years he has lived.

A frivolous man dissipates his time in worthless, futile and absurd undertakings. When he comes to his senses, he realizes that his best years have swiftly passed in vain, and his belated regrets bring no consolation. In his younger days he behaves as if youth were eternal, never doubting that even more captivating delights are in store for him. Yet all too soon, losing his former strength and agility, he becomes good for nothing. Another temptation lurks in the path of passionate souls. Success — attained or within their grasp — intoxicates their senses and makes them dizzy. The flush of success clouds their reason and causes them to commit blunders; a man like this attracts attention even against his will, he becomes an object of gossip and a butt of ridicule.

Reasonable people keep their wits about them even in such critical moments; they will not lose their senses but rather show restraint and not expose their feelings to all and sundry. But a stupid person is like a horseman galloping on a steed without a bridle: lifting his eyes to the sky as if crazy and having lost his cap in his frenzy, off he goes and does not see that the edge of his chapan [1] covers the horse's rear...

This is what I have observed.

If you wish to be counted among the intelligent, then ask yourself once a day, once a week, or at least once a month:
"How do I live? Have I done anything to improve my learning, my worldly life or my life hereafter? Will I have to swallow the bitter dregs of regret later on?"

Or perhaps you don't know or remember how you have lived and why?

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FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 1: chapan- horseman's cloak or mantle] Back to text