Steps towards Success Chapter 6. Gratitude

Written in Tamil by Vidwan V. Lakshmanan

We have now come to the 6th chapter of Steps towards Success. Translation of the tamizh publication ‘ Vetri Padikal’ written by Vidwan V. Lakshmanan. Thirukkural topics of Gratitude, Neutrality and Self Restraint are analysed in this chapter. The basic codes of conduct to be adapted by the young and responsibility of the elders to train the young minds.

We are all well aware destiny plays the major part in our lives. It must be acknowledged that destiny is sometimes to our detriment. But give a thought why bad moments in our life are Fate oriented. Isn’t that all because of our bad vasanas carried over.

As a result of the bad karma or bad Vasanas, converted as our destiny in this birth we get tormented accordingly. Even after knowing this fact why then do we indulge again and again to bad actions giving in to destiny to torment us. Is it wise to put your hands on it, knowing it is fire? Will you willingly make friends with snakes?

As quoted in earlier chapters our destiny can be conquered by good deeds. They are honest words from experienced elders and men of wisdom. Hence it is indeed always better to go in search of good deeds and keep following them. Whether our fate changes or not we can be praised by others for our good actions. Not necessarily others but our own conscience appreciating our progress. That feeling alone can delight us, giving us an inner satisfaction and peace. That pure calmness of the mind and heart is what desired. When it is readily available within you why go in search of it outside.

Our hearts are capable of being calm at one time and restless at other times. The responsibility to keep our minds and hearts peaceful or turbulent lies with our own use of the intellect. We have the capacity to use our energy in purposeful ways and means rather than using it to destroy ourselves. By understanding the underlying intellect and energy within ourselves and by proper usage of them we can achieve a fulfilled life of peace and quiet. If we cannot understand our own ability then we are as worse as garbage.

Let us assume we have understood our abilities; what ought to be the next step? Along with cultivating good thoughts, good actions must be practiced. Those good actions will guard us like a shield. For the same reasons in this book ‘ Steps towards Success ’ I point out strongly the value of learning everything that goes to make Good Deeds and the need to put them to actions. Once again Tiruvalluvar in his two lined Kurals had preached very many codes of conducts to be followed.

Those Kurals have the capacity as of the perennial rivers, in flowing rapidly to maintain the purposeful phase of a our life’s stream. I have selected only certain pearls of wisdom from the entire book. My belief is that they may enable the readers to go in search of other pearls from the original.

There are some Kurals stressing the need for having some knowledge about gratitude in life. We got to learn them in order not to be blamed as ‘Ingratitude brats’ by others. It is not only a sin but a sin that will perish our lives. A kural points out, it is generally not a sin to be ungrateful but being ungrateful or ignoring the plight of those who have been of help in our times of need is the biggest crime. Another Kural points the help one returns when in need is considered greater than anything in this world. Moreover a help done without any return is greater than even the vast oceans. A Kural states that if one removes the obstacles suffered by another it will never be forgotten by noble persons not only in this birth but in the many births to come. Great men consider even a small help as high as palm trees. One more goes to say never to shirk such a friendship of persons who have never lets us down but stood by us at all times of our troubles.

It is always noble to remember and cherish the good deeds rather than the harmful deeds done to us. We may think here, how can one forget heinous crimes like murder. But the Kural stresses not only to remember the good deeds done by others but also to magnanimously forgive even the cruelest of crimes committed by them. The value of a small help is to be considered greater than their bad deeds enabling us to forgive them easily.

Below are the relevant Kurals and their translation in English.

செய்யாமல் செய்த உதவிக்கு வையகமும் 
வானகமும் ஆற்றல் அரிது.

Transliteration Kural 101
Seyyaamal Seydha Udhavikku Vaiyakamum
Vaanakamum Aatral Aridhu.

A favour done, not as return for another, is more valuable than
heaven and earth put together.

காலத்தி னாற்செய்த நன்றி சிறிதெனினும் 
ஞாலத்தின் மாணப் பெரிது

Transliteration kural 102

Kaalaththi Naarseydha Nandri Siridheninum
Gnaalaththin Maanap Peridhu.

A timely favour, however trivial
Is many times valuable than this universe.

பயன்தூக்கார் செய்த உதவி நயன்தூக்கின் 
நன்மை கடலின் பெரிது.

Transliteration kural 103

Payandhookkaar Seydha Udhavi Nayandhookkin 
Nanmai Katalin Peridhu.

If we delve into the real impact of a favour,
done without calculating the returns, it is mightier than the ocean.

தினைத்துணை நன்றி செயினும் பனைத்துணையாக் 
கொள்வர் பயன்தெரி வார்.

Transliteration kural 104

Thinaiththunai Nandri Seyinum Panaiththunaiyaak 
Kolvar Payandheri Vaar

Those who know the true value of a favour, will see
the quantum of favour, a palm (tree) where there was a grain.

மறவற்க மாசற்றார் கேண்மை துறவற்க 
துன்பத்துள் துப்பாயார் நட்பு.

Transliteration kural 106
Maravarka Maasatraar Kenmai Thuravarka 
Thunpaththul Thuppaayaar Natpu.

Never forget your ties with a flawless person; never forego the friendship
of those who stood by you during a distress

எழுமை எழுபிறப்பும் உள்ளுவர் தங்கண் 
விழுமந் துடைத்தவர் நட்பு.

Transliteration Kural 107

Ezhumai Ezhupirappum Ulluvar ThanaN
Vizhuman Thutaiththavar Natpu

One would remember the friendship of those who helped overcome a distress, forever, even if there are seven births.

நன்றி மறப்பது நன்றன்று நன்றல்லது 
அன்றே மறப்பது நன்று.

Transliteration kural 108
Nandri Marappadhu Nandrandru Nandralladhu 
Andre Marappadhu Nandru.

It is not right to forget the help rendered by someone; but it is virtuous
to forget any harm, the moment it is done.

Transliteration kural 109

கொன்றன்ன இன்னா செயினும் அவர்செய்த 
ஒன்றுநன்று உள்ளக் கெடும்.

Kondranna Innaa Seyinum Avarseydha 
Ondrunandru Ullak Ketum.

Even if a person commits murderous injury, it will be overlooked 
if he has done one good deed earlier.

எந்நன்றி கொன்றார்க்கும் உய்வுண்டாம் உய்வில்லை 
செய்ந்நன்றி கொன்ற மகற்கு.

Transliteration Kural 110

Ennandri Kondraarkkum Uyvuntaam Uyvillai 
Seynnandri Kondra Ma

There is salvation for faltering on any virtue 
but not for ingratitude.

Next topic analysed is Neutrality or Being Unbiased. It denotes a virtue to be followed in our day to day affairs. However benefitted are we in raising enormous wealth we must not indulge in unfair means to earn it. The unlawful accumulation of money is considered again worst of the sins. It adds to our baggage of bad karmas. In the beginning it may look very attractive but in due course this will obstruct our peaceful life and bring total destruction. Why carry such unwanted burden all through our lives. There is no bigger harm done than deviating from proper discrimination or not following the principle of neutrality in weighing right and wrong in all our undertakings. There are chances of ruining our life at the slightest inkling of being biased. Even if we are driven to poverty or misery never must we fall prey to imbalance of mind and intellect. We must never give chance to others to condemn our poverty to our misdeeds.

The Kurals relating to Neutrality or Being Unbiased

தகுதி எனவொன்று நன்றே பகுதியால் 
பாற்பட்டு ஒழுகப் பெறின்.

Transliteration Kural 111

Thakudhi Enavondru Nandre Pakudhiyaal 
Paarpattu Ozhukap Perin.

Neutrality is a great virtue when one practices 
impartiality, unfailingly, towards all sections. (Foes, friends, strangers)

தக்கார் தகவிலர் என்பது அவரவர் 
எச்சத்தாற் காணப்ப படும்.

Transliteration Kural 114

Thakkaar Thakavilar Enpadhu Avaravar 
Echchaththaar Kaanap Patum.

Whether a person has been just or unjust in life, 
will be ascertained by the nature of offsprings left behind.

கேடும் பெருக்கமும் இல்லல்ல நெஞ்சத்துக் 
கோடாமை சான்றோர்க் கணி.

Transliteration Kural 115

Ketum Perukkamum Illalla Nenjaththuk 
Kotaamai Saandrork Kani.

Ups and downs in life are inevitable; noble scholars are embellished 
by not letting their hearts vacillate in either case.

கெடுவல்யான் என்பது அறிகதன் நெஞ்சம் 
நடுவொரீஇ அல்ல செயின்.

Transliteration Kural 116

Ketuvalyaan Enpadhu Arikadhan Nenjam 
Natuvoreei Alla Seyin.

When the heart falters to think unfairly, be alerted 
that you are close to be ruined.

கெடுவாக வையாது உலகம் நடுவாக 
நன்றிக்கண் தங்கியான் தாழ்வு.

Transliteration Kural 117

Ketuvaaka Vaiyaadhu Ulakam Natuvaaka 
Nandrikkan Thangiyaan Thaazhvu.

The world will not think ill of one who has stumbled into poverty 
because of being fair and righteous.

சமன்செய்து சீர்தூக்குங் கோல்போல் அமைந்தொருபால் 
கோடாமை சான்றோர்க் கணி.

Transliteration Kural 118

Samanseydhu Seerdhookkung Kolpol Amaindhorupaal 
Kotaamai Saandrork Kani.

Like a weighing scale that is balanced and sways correctly, 
the grace of noble scholars lies in dispassionate assessment.

வாணிகம் செய்வார்க்கு வாணிகம் பேணிப் 
பிறவும் தமபோல் செயின்.

Transliteration Kural 120

Vaanikam Seyvaarkku Vaanikam Penip 
Piravum Thamapol Seyin.

Responsible business is when a business-person, caringly, 
deploys other people’s money as one’s own.

Next let us look into the next jewel namely Possession of Self Restraint. The first Kural on this topic tells that by having this quality one will attain heaven or the world of Devas without fail. Those not having this virtue are sure to attain only hell. Heaven or world of Devas mean all auspiciousness and imperishable life. Don’t we all yearn for such a position? Quality of Self Restraint will be appreciated even by villainous persons. If anybody not being restraint and indulge in bad ways will sure be pushed into unfathomable pit or abyss. Self restraint is valued to be best possession of wealth. Those who have this attitude are praised to be as loftier than a huge mountain.

Then we come to Kurals preaching high of controlling our tongue. The most important thing is to guard one’s own tongue. One must look into the validity of this philosophy preached. Quarrels spring because of hurtful words. Never should one utter words that cause harm to others. They lead to arguments and end up in big unending fights. That’s why there is a saying ‘ Silence is golden’ . Better to observe silence stresses the Kural too. Words make friends as well as enemies. So must think before we speak and avoid conflicts and indifferences. All the good done so far will vanish just by the utterance of one nasty word. The burns caused by fire will heal inside but the scar caused by the tongue ( harsh words uttered) will never heal.

One more important Kural in this context compares how a tortoise withdraws its limbs from all sides sensing obstacles outside so does a wise man withdraws his senses from the sense objects to abstain from the danger of external bad elements. Bhagwan Krishna expresses the same doctrine in His Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 2, Shloka-58). So too Saint Tiruvalluvar has taken the effort to bring in his Kurals the necessity to control one’s tongue as well as our senses whatever be the situation we face in our lives.

Let us see below the pearls of wisdoms in Kurals on Self Restraint and how to Control one’s tongue.

அடக்கம் அமரருள் உய்க்கும் அடங்காமை 
ஆரிருள் உய்த்து விடும்.

Transliteration Kural 121

Atakkam Amararul Uykkum Atangaamai 
Aarirul Uyththu Vitum.

Restraint will result in a place among the divine; 
lack of it will lead to utter darkness.

காக்க பொருளா அடக்கத்தை ஆக்கம் 
அதனினூஉங் கில்லை உயிர்க்கு

Transliteration Kural 122

Kaakka Porulaa Atakkaththai Aakkam 
Adhaninooung illai Uyirkku.

Preserve your restraint as you would preserve your wealth; 
for humans, there is no treasure more precious.

செறிவறிந்து சீர்மை பயக்கும் அறிவறிந்து 
ஆற்றின் அடங்கப் பெறின்.

Transliteration Kural 123

Serivarindhu Seermai Payakkum Arivarindhu 
Aatrin Atangap Perin

The greatness of one, who is wise and follows the right path 
by being restrained, will be recognized and appreciated.

நிலையின் திரியாது அடங்கியான் தோற்றம் 
மலையினும் மாணப் பெரிது.

Transliteration 124

Nilaiyin Thiriyaadhu Atangiyaan Thotram 
Malaiyinum Maanap Peridhu.

The stature of one, who doesn’t diverge from the right path 
and remains restrained, will belittle a mountain.

எல்லார்க்கும் நன்றாம் பணிதல் அவருள்ளும் 
செல்வர்க்கே செல்வம் தகைத்து.

Transliteration Kural 125

Ellaarkkum Nandraam Panidhal Avarullum 
Selvarkke Selvam Thakaiththu.

Humility is a good quality in everyone; in particular, 
for the wealthy, it is like their wealth.

ஒருமையுள் ஆமைபோல் ஐந்தடக்கல் ஆற்றின் 
எழுநம்யும் ஏமாப் புடைத்து.

Transliteration Kural 126

Orumaiyul Aamaipol Aindhatakkal Aatrin 
Ezhumaiyum Emaap Putaiththu.

If one can restrain his five senses, like a tortoise that retreats limbs into its single shell, it will be the strongest safeguard like a fort even through seven births.

யாகாவா ராயினும் நாகாக்க காவாக்கால் 
சோகாப்பர் சொல்லிழுக்குப் பட்டு.

Transliteration Kural 127

Yaakaavaa Raayinum Naakaakka Kaavaakkaal 
Sokaappar Sollizhukkup Pattu.

Even if nothing else can be restrained, one must control his tongue; if not, 
he will suffer the consequences for the harm inflicted by his words.

ஒன்றானுந் தீச்சொல் பொருட்பயன் உண்டாயின் 
நன்றாகா தாகி விடும்.

Transliteration Kural 128

Ondraanun Theechchol Porutpayan Untaayin 
Nandraakaa Thaaki Vitum.

Even if there is one harm caused by harsh words, all the good 
Earned from other virtuous deeds will loose their merit.

தீயினாற் சுட்டபுண் உள்ளாறும் ஆறாதே 
நாவினாற் சுட்ட வடு.

Transliteration Kural 129

Theeyinaar Suttapun Ullaarum Aaraadhe 
Naavinaar Sutta Vatu.

A wound caused by fire will heal inside; 
a scar caused by the tongue never heals.

கதங்காத்துக் கற்றடங்கல் ஆற்றுவான் செவ்வி 
அறம்பார்க்கும் ஆற்றின் நுழைந்து.

Transliteration Kural 130

Kadhangaaththuk Katratangal Aatruvaan Sevvi 
Arampaarkkum Aatrin Nuzhaindhu.

Virtue will wait for the moment to adorn one, who controls anger, 
learns all there is to learn and exercises restraint.

In this chapter we have learnt to master our destiny by following the Path of the Kural in relation to topics of Gratitude, Neutrality, and Self Restraint.

Let us move to the next important discipline of Good behaviour or Possessing Propriety. Until then keep learning and continue pondering on the above Kurals


Published by sudha06

I have crossed several years of learning and still learning on my threshold of completing seventy next year. My blogs will explain my journey in bits and pieces in the coming days..

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