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Thirukkural-On Wealth-Avoidance Of Faults-Kural-440

Kaadhala kaadhal ariyaamai uykkiripin

Aethila Aeilaar nool.


If the king is resourceful enough to enjoy his delights in secret,

His enemies" machinations will be of no avail.

This translation is based on V V S Iyer"s

It is an advice definitely intended for the king, particularly in those specious days, when the king"s foibles in respect of women were tolerated and even remotely approved. This is an indication that Valluvar himself has countenanced relaxation in the Porutpal, of some of the standards he had prescribed in Arathupal.

'If the king can enjoy objects of his desire like women, without the knowledge of his enemies, he is safe", says Kaviraja Pandithar in his commentary. It is a pity that the learned commentator classes 'women" among 'objects". It is no reflection on Kaviraja Pandithar himself, but on the value system as prevalent in the society of his times. It is not also consistent with Valluvar"s standards on the treatment of women.


Parimel Azhagar himself indicates that one known channel, through which his enemies can destroy a king, is that of his women. If that channel is effectively closed, he would say, the chances of his being so beaten are remote.

He would go farther and add also that, as a king"s desire for women could be characterized as the principal one among the lesser categories of tolerable weaknesses in a ruler, this was focused on by Valluvar in this Kural, to include also the other possible minor weaknesses.

Apparently the use of women as enemy agents to defeat a king was widely used in those days, as in more recent times too with Mata Hari, and hence, the injunction in the present Kural.

Story first published: Thursday, August 5, 2010, 14:37 [IST]
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