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Thirukkural-On Wise Friendship-Kural-445

Soolvaar kanaaka olukalaan mannavan

Soolvaaraichch soolindhu kolal

As the king"s counselors are effectively his own eyes,

He should choose them wisely

K M Balasubramaniam quotes from Diogenes to say that “Wise kings generally have wise counselors, and he must be wise man himself, who is capable of distinguishing one".

One would naturally agree. It certainly needs wisdom of discernment in oneself to identify wisdom of discernment in oneself to identify wisdom in others and to utilize them for one"s own benefit and the benefit of the kingdom. Akbar was not a conventionally learned man, but he was innately wise (Padikaadha maedhai) who could identify wise and great men and gather them around him.

These renderings follow the interpretation of Parimel Azhagar. But Manakudavar and other commentators differ in their interpretations. They would have it that the king should be capable of over-coming by his own 'scheming" (Soolchi) those enemies of his, who 'scheme" against him, physically by force, or otherwise. Obviously valluvar has not intended this.

Pazhamozhi describes an ill-advised king as follows:

“Katraar palaraikk kanaaha illaadhaan" (Palamozhi, 228)

Story first published: Thursday, August 12, 2010, 12:58 [IST]
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