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Thirukural-On Choice Of Right Time-Kural-490

Kokkuokka koompum paruvaththu matrathan
Kuthuoakka seertha idaththu.

Bide your time in the manner of the stork waiting for its suitable prey,
But when the prey is spotted, act with swift and sure aim

This translation, to some extent, follows Rajaji"s

In kurals 487 and 488, the poet"s advice is to be patient and bide your time till the right opportunity occurs. And when it does, it must be seized and exploited with alacrity. It is in such a context, that the present comparison with the stork should be understood and appreciated.

It takes its position and appears to wait in a disinterested fashion for the suitable prey, and when it spots one, it does not hesitate. It pounces on it with swift and sure aim.

The following relevant passage from Vakkundam is familiar to most of us.

“Oadu meen oada urumeen varumalavum
vaadiyirukkumaam kokku"


Thirukural is an ethical treatise belonging to Tamil classical literature, written by Thiruvalluvar. In Kural 489, Thiruvalluvar points out to wait till the right time for the right opportunity and to act immediately when it arises. Ramanandha Adigalar Foundation with the English translation of Thirukural has made it available for a larger reading mass.

Story first published: Wednesday, November 24, 2010, 15:51 [IST]