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Thirukkural-On Virtue-On Fate-Kural 373

Nunniya noolpala karpinum matrundhan

Unmai arrivae mikum

Where intelligence is clouded by fate, due to one"s actions in a previous birth,

Any amount of formal learning will not make a difference.

This again elaborates the idea brought out in the two previous Kurals, that fate does take a hand in shaping conditions of one"s life. In the final analysis, it brings about prosperity or adversity according to one"s deserts, contingent upon an assessment of the sum total of one"s previous actions.

In such a context, any amount of super-imposed learning does not make a difference and only the ordained knowledge and intelligence surfaces out of it all. Though this sounds a little fatalistic, considering the import of Kurals 594 and 620, I should say that the Poet"s idea is only to emphasise the basis and inclination as predetermined, but not necessarily the outcome which could be swayed by a strong will as well as systematic and persistent effort.

In this context it is relevant to examine the following passage of the Gita:

'As blazing fire reduces wood into ashes, so, O Arjuna, does the fire of knowledge reduce all karma to ashes".

(Gita 4, 37)

This is apparently contradictory to what Valluvar says here, but when we consider that the concept projected in the Gita is right action being co-existent with true knowledge, the contradiction is resolved. Valluvar"s reference here is only to superimposed formal learning and not to the acquisition of true knowledge, which will lead to action that can surely overcome even fate.

Story first published: Thursday, April 15, 2010, 11:45 [IST]
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