TRANSLATION: Analects Of Confucius BOOK II Chapters 1-9




The Master said, “He who exercises government by means of his virtue may be compared to the north pole star, which keeps its place and all stars turn to it.”


The Master said, “In ‘The Book of Poetry’ are three hundred pieces, but the meaning of all can be embraced in one sentence ‘Having no depraved thoughts.'”


1. The Master said, “If the people be led by laws, and uniformity sought to be given them by punishments, they will try to avoid the punishment, but have no sense of shame.

2. “If they be led by virtue, and uniformity sought to be given them by propriety, they will have the sense of shame, and moreover will become good.”


1. The Master said, “At fifteen, I had my mind bent on learning.

2. “At thirty, I stood firm.

3. “At forty, I had no doubts.

4. “At fifty, I knew the decrees of Heaven.

5. “At sixty, my ear was an obedient organ for the reception of truth.

6. “At seventy. I could follow what my heart desired, without transgressing what was right.”


1. Mang asked what filial piety was. The Master said, “It is not being disobedient.”

2. Soon after, as Fan Ch’ih was driving him, the Master told him, saying “Mang-sun asked me what filial piety was, and I answered him ‘Not being disobedient.'”

3. Fan Ch’ih said, “What did you mean?”
The Master replied, “That parents, when alive, be served according to propriety; that, when dead, they should be buried according to propriety; and that they should be sacrificed according to propriety.”


Mang Wu asked what filial piety was. The Master replied, “Parents are anxious lest their children should be sick.”


Tsze-yu asked what filial piety was. The Master said, “The filial piety of nowadays means the support of one’s parents. But dogs and horses likewise are able to do something in the way of support; without reverence, what is there to distinguish the one support given from the other?”


Tsze-hsia asked what filial piety was.
The Master said, “The difficult is with the countenance. If, when their elders have any troublesome affairs, the young take the toil of them, and if, when the young have wine and food, they set them before their elders, is THIS to be considered filial piety?”


The Master said, “I have talked with Hui for a whole day, and he has not made any objection to anything I said — as if he were stupid. He has retired, and I have examined his conduct, and I have examined his conduct when away from me, and found him able to illustrate my teachings. Hui! He is not stupid.”


I know, I know! I promised not to write any comments here! But for this chapter, I simply couldn’t stop myself. So, let me indulge in this guilty pleasure of mine!

I found Chapter 3 to be a reflection on the Law System in our current world. Even the most stringent punishments are not stopping people from committing crimes. In fact, it’s more like as though the law is made only for the ones with money and access to influential people. Power and money are the motivators.

When I’d read about a gang rape incident that had taken place in December 2012 in the Indian Capital of Delhi, I was shook by the brutality with which the helpless girl was violated.

If I’m right, there’s now a law called the ‘Nirbhaya Act’ which guarantees death penalty to the rapist in a rarest of the rare case, and in other cases, life imprisonment. But that hasn’t stopped the incidents from taking place. In fact, as far as my knowledge goes, such brutal incidents have only reached a new peak.

It’s become the need of the hour to instill morality in human beings. Virtues are the only way we can salvage ourselves.

In Chapter 4, it has been described to us on what should be done at a particular age. And it serves as a guidance to many lost souls out there.

In Chapter 9, we understand that it is important to question everything that we learn. The moment we nod our heads without questioning is when we truly stop gaining knowledge.


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