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Thirukkural-On Virtue-Not Causing Injury-Kural 316

Innaa enathaan unarndhavai thunnaamai Vaendum pirankan seyal

What one has realized as causing pain to himself,Should not be inflicted on the neighbour.

Anything that is appreciated as causing pain to oneself shall not be inflicted on the neighbour.

It is remarkable how Valluvar goes to the fundamentals of enlightened human conduct. The inference in this context can only be that the society in which he lived was also quite enlightened. The teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ is exactly the same (Luke 6, 31). One should not do to others what one would not like to be done unto oneself. The reference to... 'neighbour', is also reminiscent of the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 30-31).

Great men think alike; for among the precepts of Confucius of China is also found this line 'Do not do unto others what you would not have others do unto you', though this sage, sometimes, did question the wisdom of returning good for evil, by asking, 'If you return good for evil, what will you return good with?' that must have been only a case of impish humour, similar to Bernard Shwa's when he said, 'Do not do unto others what you would others do unto you. Their tastes may be different.'

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Story first published: Monday, December 7, 2009, 17:10 [IST]