Pearls of Wisdom

Avvaiyar’s pearls of wisdom - 8

Moothurai - 8


கற்பிளவோ(டு) ஒப்பர் கயவர் கடுஞ்சினத்துப்
பொற்பிளவோ(டு) ஒப்பாரும் போல்வாரே – விற்பிடித்து
நீர்கிழிய எய்த வடுப்போல மாறுமே
சீர்ஒழுகு சான்றோர் சினம். 23

karpiLavOdu oppar kayavar kadunchinaththu
porpiLavOdu oppArum pOlvArE – virpidiththu
nIrkizhiya aidha vaduppOla mArumE
cIr ozhugu chandrOr sinam 23

The wicked (low character) people do not unite (when a difference sets in) due to anger and this may be compared to a split stone. Though divided, there are people who unite, similar to the split gold fusing back. But the anger of the people of high character is likened to that of an arrow sent from a bow into water, wherein the division is repaired immediately.

Analysis of anger is taken up here. The idea of adama (lowly), madhyama (middle) and uttama (high) character is brought about to underline the harm that anger could cause. Gita categorically identifies lust, greed and anger to be the gateways to hell.

Krishna analyses anger’s causation and effect in a brief but brilliant manner. Non-fulfilment of desire frustrates one. Frustration leads to anger. Anger deludes a man. Being deluded, he forgets his own nature. Having forgotten his nature, he falls to destruction. This is the path of desire-anger-destruction.

Anger must be controlled at any cost. If one is angered, one should find means of getting rid of the blinding feeling as quickly as possible. There are many suggestions given by psychologists as also free advice by many. One may leave the scene to avoid an angry confrontation. One can start counting numbers slowly so that the feeling recedes away. One can divert this blinding, overpowering anger towards some action involving physical movements (go for a run/jog/swim/sing/play, etc.). One can seek some external solace that may soothe the senses and calm the mind (music/movie, etc.).

To precipitate a decision in anger would result in an irreparable situation. This may be due to angry words that are spoken or due to physical fights. Though the anger remains in the mind, if controlled, will not result in harsh words or a physical fight. The harmony of bodily action, words and thought (kAyika- vAcika- manasika) will be achieved and the environment will not turn hostile. If one loses control and gives way to anger, verily he falls to the lowest category in behaviour. The difference that ensues is like a split stone that cannot be joined back.

If one loses control in anger and later realising the harm, turns apologetic, there may still be some patch-up possible. Then the difference is mended like a crack in gold, which, after application of heat, etc., joins together. This happens with the middle order characters.

But a well-controlled mind (and so the anger) will never lead to a regrettable situation. This is similar to the separated water stream flowing back when an arrow pierces the water surface.

The examples given by the poetess are simply brilliant.

Patience is truly a virtue and one should practise it. “pOruttAr boomi AzhwAr” – The patient (also the tolerant) shall rule the world. To be patient, one should be forgiving.

Our scriptures declare that for man his looks are the ornaments. For the looks, character is the ornament. For the character, forgiveness is the ornament.

In the next verse, character and association with the learned and the foolish are brought forth.

நற்றாமரைக் கயத்தில் நல் அன்னம் சேர்தாற்போல்
கற்றாரைக் கற்றாறே காமுறுவர் - கற்பிலா
மூர்க்கரை மூர்க்கரே முகப்பர் முதுகாட்டில்
காக்கை உகக்கும் பிணம். 24

nattramarai kayaththil nal annam sErdhArpOl
kattrArai kattrArE kAmuruvar - karpilA
mUrkkarai mUrkkarE mugappar mudhukAttil
kAkkai ugakkum piNam 24

In a pond, the swan is close to the lotus. Likewise, good-natured, learned people prefer the company of the learned. In the back-forests, the dead bodies are sought after by the crows. Likewise, fools prefer fools.

One’s character decides one’s associations. Tell me who your friends are, I will tell you who you are - This English proverb summarises this. Satsang or good company is begotten in accordance with one’s character formed by the guna.

One of the stories from Mahabharata illustrates this:

Both Yudhishtra and Duryodhana are asked to find a bad man and a good man respectively. Both come back empty-handed. Yudhishtra declares that whomsoever he met was good and he could find no bad man. Whereas, Duryodhana says that he could find no good man, for the world is full of evil-minded people!

Character not only forms the destiny of people but also the mental make-up of people.

And one’s character gets tempered and seasoned with good associations. In the worldly sense, association with good people definitely brings in more advantages.

In Mahabharata, before the war begins, Krishna gives a freedom of choice both to the Kauravas and the Pandavas. They are asked to choose Krishna’s army or Krishna. Further, Krishna comes with the condition that whosoever chooses him will not have him fighting the war. Yet, Arjuna chooses him to be on the Pandavas’ side and the rest of the story is history.

When the Great War ends, Krishna brings the chariot to the palace where a formal welcoming is arranged for. The entrance is decorated and everyone awaits the coming of the great hero, Arjuna. Arjuna’s heart swells in pride and traces of haughtiness set in. As the chariot pulls up to the palace front, Krishna asks Arjuna to step down. Arjuna replies that it is the duty of the charioteer to get down first and make way for the master. Krishna smiles and asks Arjuna to follow his instructions. Arjuna alights to the sounds of fanfare and after that Krishna gets down and moves away from the chariot. The chariot catches fire and burns to ashes. Arjuna and others are shocked.

Krishna says that during the war many evil spirits and spells were cast on Arjuna, which surrounded the chariot. They could not harm Arjuna because of the presence of Krishna. It was for this reason that Arjuna was asked to alight first against the convention, lest he would have been burnt with the chariot!

Association with good-natured people brings forth good effects. Let this be the food for thought for some time…


Rajoo Balaji

Revised from earlier version published in ‘Nandini Voice for the Deprived’

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