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Tirukkural-On Virtue-The Helpmate-Kural 55

By Staff

Teyvam tolaa al kolunan toluteluvaal

Peyyenap peyyum malai.

Even the clouds will obey and pour out rain at the bidding of a wife,Who prefers to worship her husband rather than any other God.

A virtuous woman who knows no other God but her husband may command the very clouds to pour forth rain and they will do so.

It is in accordance with the teachings of Lord Buddha and in fact, of most religious teachers, that if there be one righteous person (Nallar) on earth, rain falls for his sake.This idea, which is a generalization of the present Kural, is familiar in Tamil literature thus:

Nallavar oruvar ularael avarporutu

Yellaarkkum paiyum mazai

Reciprocally, the import of this verse could be construed to mean that a wife who is devoted to her husband to the exclusion of all else, becomes for that reason one of the 'Nallars' of the earth, and God Himself will be so pleased with her that He will send down the rains when she calls for it.

This Kural, therefore, does not involve any neglect of God. In fact according to Rajaji, the Vedanta philosophy as well as the Hindu practice, recognize forms of worship which enable the devotee to see the supreme Deity in every object of love and adoration. It is, therefore, not necessary to labour as Thiru K M Balasubramaniam has done, to bring out that the reference to God here is not to the Supreme God but only to the petty god, Kaman (Cupid)'.

When Jesus cured the Centurion's servant of his palsy, he said, 'As thou has believed, so be it done unto thee'. (Matt. 8:13).

The basic idea here is really one of faith, a 'faith which can move mountains'. Any desired result could be achieved by one's implicit and all consuming faith, whether it be with reference to God, parent or husband. Valluvar actually had all this in mind when he said,

Yeniyar yenniyaangu yeithuba yenniyar

thiniyar aaga perin

The present Kural gains importance in other respects also. Both Illangovadigal and Seethalai Sathanar have quoted these lines partly and fully respectively, in their works below:

Deivam tholaa al kolunar tholu theluvaalai

Deivam tholudha kaiyai thinithaai-Deivamaai

Mannaga maadharku aniyaaya kanagi

Vinaga maadharku virundhu

In the latter passage the poet has even referred to the title of Thiruvalluvar as 'Poyil pulavan', besides quoting the Kural in full. These quotations are useful in fixing that Tirukkural belongs to a date well before Silapathikarm and Manimekalai, both of which belong to the 2nd Century A.D., as decided from Mahavamsa of Ceylon, on the information available in 'Silapathikaram' that King Kayavahu of Ceylon attended the ceremony of commencement of worship at the temple of Kannagi in Crangannore organized by the Chera King Chenguttuvan.

It is, therefore, clear that these lines of Tirukkural were very familiar not only to the poets and educated elite of Tamil Nadu during the second century, but also to the cultured public all over the land, who would have been in a position to appreciate the references. For such a development to take lace in literary history, in those days it would normaly have taken a century of popularity of the classic at all levels and so, it will not be wrong to place the date of Tirukkural at least a century before the date of Silapathikaram and Manimekalai which definitely belong to the latter half of the 2nd century.

Learned men of Tamil letters, however, would go a step further and say that additional internal and allied evidence would take the date of Tirukkural to 31 B.C., for which I must confess that there is still no conclusive evidence as such. In the light of my discussions in the preceding paragraph, we can only say, with reference to this specific date, that it is quite probable.

Story first published: Tuesday, July 22, 2008, 12:46 [IST]
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