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Thirukkural-On Wise Friendship-Kural-443

Ariyavatru lellaam aridhe periyaaraip

Paenith thamaraak kolal

It is the rarest of all rare privileges for a good king,

To have the wise and great as his true friends.

A good king is one, who is wise enough to count as his own friends, the great men of learning and of administrative wisdom of his own kingdom, and even from outside. Talking of advisers from outside, it is said that Kautilya, the Prime Minister of Chandragupta Maurya and author of Arthasashtra, was from Kanchipuram in the Tamil country. If this sort of thing is successfully done, the king will not be caught napping by any situation that may develop in his own realm, or from outside.

The ancient kings of the Tamil country knew and practiced this art very well. They did what pleased those wise and great men and kept them steadfastly on their side.

One is struck by Parithi"s explanation of the 'rarest of rare" acts. He would say taking a hill and placing it on another would be one such. But he would also hasten to add that introducing the seven seas into a tiny mustard would be even rarer. Incidentally, the Kural of Valluvar was itself described, for its two-line effectiveness, as a mustard in which ideas equivalent to the seven seas were compressed.

In this context, one recollects also the use of the phrase 'rarest of rare" by the Supreme Court of India to identify the particular offences, which alone would warrant the imposition of the Death penalty, in the modern context of world – wide adoption of the correctional philosophy in punishment.

A biblical parellel is from the Proverbs:

“A man of understanding shall attain unto wise counself"

(Proverbs: 1 10, 5)

Story first published: Tuesday, August 10, 2010, 12:21 [IST]
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