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20 Hindi Proverbs That Have Stood the Test of Time

The rich history of Hindi proverbs is a testament to India’s vibrant cultural heritage. The origins of many of these expressions can be traced back to ancient times, when the oral tradition of storytelling played an important role in sharing the knowledge and values of a community. This accumulated wisdom came from a wide array of sources, including cultural practices, fables and folklore, philosophical teachings, and religious scripture.

Because India is largely an agrarian society, traditional Indian aphorisms have often drawn parallels between nature and human behavior. Some of these sayings not only offered practical advice for farming, but also served as metaphors for navigating the challenges of everyday life. Many of India’s oldest proverbs reflect various aspects of community life, family dynamics, spirituality, and social norms inherent to certain regions of the country.

These wise sayings continue to evolve and change with time and circumstance, and many have been adapted and interpreted to fit new contexts while still retaining their essential meaning. Here are 20 Hindi proverbs whose fundamental wisdom is still relevant to modern life.

सत्य की ही जीत होती है (saty kee hee jeet hotee hai)

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Truth alone triumphs.

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यदि एक दरवाज़ा बंद है तो हज़ार अन्य दरवाज़े खुले हैं।(yadi ek daravaaza band hai to hazaar any daravaaze khule hain)

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If one door is shut there are a thousand others open.

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सलाह हर किसी से लें लेकिन वही करें जो आपको सबसे अच्छा लगे।(salaah har kisee se len lekin vahee karen jo aapako sabase achchha lage)

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Take advice from everyone, but do what you think is best.

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विपत्ति में मित्र ही सच्चा मित्र होता है (vipatti mein mitr hee sachcha mitr hota hai)

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A friend in adversity is a true friend.

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यदि कोई व्यक्ति ऐसा सोचता है तो वह जीत जाता है और यदि वह ऐसा सोचता है तो वह हार जाता है।(yadi koee vyakti aisa sochata hai to vah jeet jaata hai aur yadi vah aisa sochata hai to vah haar jaata hai)

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One has won if in his heart he feels so, and is defeated if he thinks so.

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दोषी विवेक छिपा हुआ शत्रु है (doshee vivek chhipa hua shatru hai)

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A guilty conscience is a hidden enemy.

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ख़ुशी और दुःख एक घूमते हुए पहिये की तरह हैं।(khushee aur duhkh ek ghoomate hue pahiye kee tarah hain)

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Joy and grief are a whirling wheel.

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एक आदमी की बर्बादी, दूसरे की बरसात का मौसम।(ek aadamee kee barbaadee, doosare kee barasaat ka mausam)

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One man’s ruin, another’s rainy season.

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एक पेड़ की पहचान उसके फल से होती है।(ek ped kee pahachaan usake phal se hotee hai)

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A tree is judged by its fruit.

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हर किसी को खुश करने की कोशिश करना आसमान को छूने की कोशिश करना है(har kisee ko khush karane kee koshish karana aasamaan ko chhoone kee koshish karana hai)

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To try to please everyone is to try to touch the sky.

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किसी चीज़ को नदी में फेंकना आसान है लेकिन उसे दोबारा बाहर निकालना कठिन है(kisee cheez ko nadee mein phenkana aasaan hai lekin use dobaara baahar nikaalana kathin hai)

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It’s easy to throw something into the river but hard to get it out again.

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दूसरे के मित्र के रूप में कार्य करें और दूसरे को अपना मित्र बनाएं (doosare ke mitr ke roop mein kaary karen aur doosare ko apana mitr banaen)

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Act as a friend to another and have another as your friend.

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जीवन छोटा है लेकिन आशा लंबी है (jeevan chhota hai lekin aasha lambee hai)

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Life is short, but hope is long.

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ऐसा कोई नहीं है जो सब कुछ जानता हो ऐसा कोई नहीं है जो कुछ नहीं जानता (aisa koee nahin hai jo sab kuchh jaanata ho aisa koee nahin hai jo kuchh nahin jaanata)

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There is no one who knows everything, there is no one who knows nothing.

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क्रोध का सर्वोत्तम इलाज मौन है (krodh ka sarvottam ilaaj maun hai)

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Anger’s best cure is silence.

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यदि आपने कोई पेड़ लगाया है तो उसे पानी भी अवश्य दें (yadi aapane koee ped lagaaya hai to use paanee bhee avashy den)

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If you have planted a tree you must water it too.

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जहां आस्था है वहां सब कुछ है (jahaan aastha hai vahaan sab kuchh hai)

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Where there is faith there is everything.

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हारना ही सीखना है (haarana hee seekhana hai)

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To lose is to learn.

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आग के बिना धुआं नहीं होता (aag ke bina dhuaan nahin hota)

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Without fire there is no smoke.

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जब दिल में बहार होती है सारा संसार हरा-भरा होता है (jab dil mein bahaar hotee hai saara sansaar hara-bhara hota hai)

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When it is springtime in the heart, the whole world is green.

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Featured image credit: KavaImages/ Shutterstock

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About the Author
Kristina Wright
Kristina is a coffee-fueled writer living happily ever after with her family in the suburbs of Richmond, Virginia.
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