Written in Tamil by Vidwan V. Lakshmanan
Let the insight be illuminated.
Man has two eyes. Kural has two lines.
A Kural loses its meaning with the absence of any of the lines. Complete vision is possible by using both the eyes. God has given eyes for the purpose of seeing. Same way ears to hear, hands to work and legs to walk. Each organ is set to do a particular task. No doubt about it at all. Every organ is essential for smooth function of our body. But among all the organs eyes play the most significant role; vision is the most essential aspect. Scholars speak of its glory describing it as outer vision and inner vision. Other sense organs are related to exterior attributes only.
If sight is described as the most important requirement, insight or inner vision also plays a more important role. Good eyesight can see everything. But inner vision is selective. It chooses what to see. That’s why there is a Tamil proverb ‘Even if one is blind one must not be blinded by the inner vision’. Life is not worthwhile to live without vision but the capacity to see with an inner vision makes life possible even when blind. One can see the best of three worlds even if normal vision is lost. It is definitely God’s gift to them. Normal vision helps in seeing the outer world. But inner vision helps one to feel the world outside. Insight is the capacity to command anybody with normal vision. It acts like a boss to both normal and blind persons.
If the boss is perfect so are the employees. Likewise inner sight should be pure enough to execute its commands. That’s the way it should work. But sometimes inner vision too gets blinded for some persons. It’s like a horse driven without a bridle. Even with proper vision one loses control hitting some barricade or falling deep inside a pit. In order to avoid such situations we have been given that capacity of the inner vision to guide us. That awareness makes life happier.
Our eyes get their vision at birth itself. Some are unfortunately born blind. Why is it so? Due to accumulation of sinful past karma! Proper vision is really a boon given to all by nature. That is realised by our own inner vision of knowledge. One should take the trouble to protect this gift of ours and utilise it the right way.
If one is blessed with an intelligent and beautiful wife, shouldn’t he appreciate, attend to her and take utmost care of her?
In the same way one must give much attention to one’s vision and take good care like how one would take care of a gold ornament or a precious jewel and benefit from its purposeful capabilities.
This great tendency is made possible by brightening up our inner vision. The strength of our insight is built by one’s knowledge which again is kindled by proper thinking. Thoughts are provoked by scriptural books – in that Thirukkural takes the first place in parting pure knowledge. That’s why the emphasis on the number – two eyes and two lines of the Kural. The combination of the two linking to one single union.
Kural being a kind of religious text paves way for a better life style. It brings clarity to our inner vision of knowledge. There is a close connection between Kural and Remedy or Parihara our main theme of this book. It contains various theories and methods to atone for our day to day mistakes committed knowingly or unknowingly. There is nothing left unexplained or nothing without any remedy.
It is a text of ethics that expounds a universal moral and practical approach to life. Throughout the work, Valluvar is more considerate about the substance than the linguistic appeal of his writing.
Let us now focus on ethics of Kural both through our normal and inner vision.
First comes Invocation to God. Why Prayers are a must? One must pray for long life; to reduce sorrows and to relieve each one of us from worries. This has been stressed in my previous chapter Prayers. Prayers are the basic foundation to be held on with a determined mind. Then other practices come easy.
Next the Kural emphasizes on love and kindness towards all living beings.
Thirdly importance given to Charity or Dharma (Aram-in Tamil) meaning Moral or religious duty; Virtue – the performance of good works according to the shastras – including justice, hospitality, liberality, and also what is prescribed as the duty to be practised by each individual based on their religion.
There are number of Kural verses dealing with the topic of charity or dharma. There is no greater wealth than charity. There is no bigger harm than being noncharitable.
If one craves for wealth and name, first indulge in charity. One must be pure in mind and heart to brighten up one’s own inner vision of knowledge which in short is the state of Dharma within oneself. Avoid the four major unethical vices namely jealousy , greed, anger and rudeness. Do not postpone the intention of performing charity to future or the careless idea to do it at an old age when death awaits you. Do it then and there in the present..
There is a verse in Kural which describes Life’s best companion to be none other than Dharma (giving alms, staying up righteous and helping one in need.) Look at the irony of Fate. One man is destined to carry the palanquin while another is fortunate to ride on it. Virtues determine one’s destiny. So too a Kural describes that happiness is ascertained by Charity alone and by leading a Virtuous life mental peace and joy are also assured.
Tiruvalluvar mentions a set of codes to be followed by husbands in married life.
The man of the house has to observe karmas related to his ancestors, family deities, living parents, guests, kith and kin dependent on him other than his day to day routine for the upkeep of the house. He must never shirk from his duties and at the same time take proper care to protect himself and his family members. Fear of committing any sin and earning his livelihood in judicious ways must be his target always. Whatever income earned be spent prudently and evenly distributed for all the rightful karmas or duties mentioned above.
Love, hand in hand with dharma must be practiced by every individual which goes to make a valuable and purposeful life. Contributions to the welfare of the society he belongs must also be taken into consideration within his limits. Focussing thus he, his family and his future generations, will all be assured of mental peace and happiness which helps in the making of a better society. More such societies grow up to make more cities which build a better nation and more nations come together to build up a beautiful harmonious world.
Recently many countries have learnt the value of this holy text and made it compulsory to be adopted and adapted in educational institutions, government legislatures and judicial proceedings.
Next Tiruvalluvar speaks through his Kural the superior qualities a ‘wife’ must possess to make a happy fulfilled family. A wife must upkeep her family name; be responsible to adapt herself to her new environment of married life and ready to cope up with different challenges. Let us not deal here about the olden days marriages relating to mother-in law – daughter-in law relationships. Kural emphasizes that a wife must manage the expenditure of the family according to the income earned by the husband. Expenses must be within the income or else problems of taking loans and repayment of loans will hinder family affairs. She must be forewarned which is the remedy for tackling difficult situations.
Kural hence pointed out that responsibilities solely lie on the shoulders of the lady of the house for the proper running of the household matters. But times have changed now. The present situation requires both man and wife to be employed. Accordingly management and responsibilities have to be shared equally by both the husband and wife.
A joint visionary approach expected from them. Moreover a wife is expected to be prudent and cautious. A Kural points out that a wife with salient values is always considered a boon since the house then is said to lack nothing. Goddess Lakshmi of wealth and Goddess Saraswati of knowledge resides in a house wherein the lady of the house is responsible and prudent.
Remember the above mentioned verses are not just instructions from the Kural. They are illustrations of life’s true experiences. The doctrines rightly followed will drive away all our sorrows and make our lives happy.
We can thus conclude that prayers, love, kindness, dharma, household ethics are some of the essential virtues taught by the two lined verses of the Holy Kural to maintain a visionary life in this world of ours.
Past happenings had been once the present; the future will become the present and disappear soon to the past. Undoubtedly the Truths of Kural are strong foundation to the present and future. They are remedial measures to sins committed in the past and stays well established as forewarning for all times to come.
Much more to come from the Kural. Stay tuned for some more pearls of wisdom to illuminate our insight or inner vision. Await for the weighing balance which balances Destiny with Efforts.