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Thirukkural-On Wealth-On Kingship-Kural 387

Insolaal Eethalikka vallaarkkuth thansolaal

Thaan kandanaithu ivvulahu

The world will, of its own standards, fall in with the wishes of a king,

Who is a good giver, with kind and considerate speech.

A generous king, who protects his people and looks after their welfare, with kindly speech, does not have to go in for any publicity programmes to earn popularity. The world will, automatically and in its own interests, respect and conform to the wishes of such a king.

One is reminded in this context of a story that used to be said about the style of giving of the famous English authors, Samuel Johnson and Oliver Goldsmith, who were both acknowledgedly charitable men. But when a mendicant approached the well-to-do Johnson and said he was hungry, Johnson gave him a mouthful about his laziness, but threw a silver coin at him all the same. The beggar took the coin but cursed Johnson.

On the other hand, when the same mendicant went to poor Goldsmith and said he was hungry, Goldsmith put his arm around the man"s shoulders with a smile, and took him home to share his own meal of boiled potatoes with the poor man. In those spacious days, Johnson"s silver coin could have purchased a hundred such meals of boiled potatoes, but the beggar blessed Goldsmith and cursed Johnson. The difference between the charity of the two men was in the approach, which bears out the essence of the present Kural.

K V Jaganathan in his Thirukkural Research edition quotes a parallel from Kambaramayanam

“......... Iniya Kooral

Meisolal valangal" (Kamban, Arasiyal 31)

Story first published: Thursday, May 6, 2010, 12:17 [IST]
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