Tirukkural – on good conduct

Tiruvalluvar – the composer of the Tirukkural

மறப்பினும் ஓத்துக் கொளலாகும் பார்ப்பான்
பிறப்பொழுக்கங் குன்றக் கெடும். 

Marappinum Oththuk Kolalaakum Paarppaan
Pirappozhukkang Kundrak Ketum (134)

If a learned man forgets the scriptureshe can relearn them. But if he forgets right conduct, there is no redemption.

अधीतविस्मृतं वेदं प्राप्नोति पठनात् पुन: ।
विप्रो नषकुलाचार: पुनर्नाप्नोति विप्रताम् ॥ (१३४)

संभव है फिर अध्ययन, भूल गया यदि वेद ।
आचारच्युत विप्र के, होगा कुल का छेद ॥ (१३४)

ರಾಹ್ಮಣನಾದವನು ಕಲಿತ ವೇದಗಳನ್ನು ಮುರೆತರೆ ಮತ್ತೆ ಓದಿ ಕಲಿತುಕೊಳ್ಳಬಹುದು. ಆದರೆ ಕುಲ ಭೂಷಣವಾದ ನಡತೆ ಕಿಟ್ಟಲ್ಲಿ ಅವನ ಹುಟ್ಟು ಕೆಡುತ್ತದೆ. (೧೩೪)

ദ്വിജനോത്ത് മറന്നെങ്കിൽ വീണ്ടുമോതിപ്പഠിക്കലാം; ആചാരദോഷമേർപ്പെട്ടാൽ കുലമേന്മ നശിച്ചിടും  (൱൩൰൪)

Vergißt ein Brahmane seine Texte, kann er sie wieder lernen – büßt er sein gutes Benehmen ein, ist er verloren.

உலகத்தோடு ஒட்ட ஒழுகல் பலகற்றும்
கல்லார் அறிவிலா தார்.  

Ulakaththotu Otta Ozhukal Palakatrum
Kallaar Arivilaa Thaar (140)

Those who cannot live in harmony with the world, though they have learned many things, are still considered ignorant.

ये तु नैव प्रवर्तन्ते कालदेशानुसारत्: ।
अधीतेष्वपि शास्त्रेषु ज्ञानिनो न भवन्ति ते ॥ (१४०)

जिनको लोकाचार की, अनुगति का नहिं ज्ञान ।
ज्ञाता हों सब शास्त्र के, जानों उन्हें अजान ॥ (१४०)

ಲೋಕದೊಂದಿಗೆ ಸಮರಸವಾಗಿ ಬಾಳದವರು, ಹಲವನ್ನು ಕಲಿತೂ ಅಜ್ಞಾನಿಗಳಂತೆ ಇರುತ್ತಾರೆ (೧೪೦)

ലോകനീതിക്ക് യോജിപ്പായ് പഴകാൻ പഠിയാതവർ  ഗ്രന്ഥമേറെപ്പഠിച്ചാലുമജ്ഞരെന്നുര ചെയ്യണം  (൱൪൰)

Wer nicht mit der Weh in Hantiunie zu leben weiß, ist unwissend, mag er auch noch so viel gelernt haben.

While going through the ten couplets on right conduct, I found a few couplets that appealed to me. However, since I have (from the last few posts) attempted to select only two out of the set of ten, these are the two that I found had the same message, put in slightly different ways.

I’ve written a lot about the previous verses in my earlier posts. Today, let’s try something different.

Let’s try to meditate on the meaning of these couplets. You can choose a language – English, Hindi, Sanskrit, Kannada…any language above. The key is in trying to reflect on the meaning, and not merely repeat it in your head. Here are a few steps to help you…

  1. Sit in a comfortable position. Ideally in Sukhasana or Vajrasana. Avoid sitting on a chair. Keep your back straight. If you find this difficult, try the Vajrasana posture since the back is naturally straight in this āsana. Your hands can be kept loosely on your thighs, palms facing down, or if you know how to do it, in jnana mudraClose your eyes. Breathe normally. 
  2. Turn your eyes slightly downward and close them gently. During meditation your eyes may move upward and downward naturally – don’t try to control this movement. 
  3. Be aware of your natural breath flowing in and out. Breathe through your nose, keep your jaw muscles relaxed, so that your teeth are not clenched or tensed. 
  4. Once you feel relaxed, think of the first couplet. Repeat it slowly in your head, and then reflect on it’s meaning. Break it down, sentence by sentence, word by word…think of a situation where you may have faced this in reality, where you may have acted harsh because of your arrogance on being more educated than the other person…reflect on how the other person may have felt, or you may have felt, if you were in his place. Feel the emotion inside you, and then let it go through your breath. Forgive yourself, or the person who wronged you, and think of the statement again one more time.
  5. Repeat this exercise for the second couplet.
  6. Once completed, join your hands in Anjali mudra, say a small prayer, and open your eyes.

This exercise is not for these couplets alone. You can try it with any of the other couplets in Tirukkural – in fact, you can try it with any statement that you may have heard or said, to reflect on it’s meaning.

We go though the day hearing and speaking a lot of things, but when you slow down and reflect, some meanings come to you in ways that you may not have imagined or experienced before.

And the more you reflect on what you say, the more you become aware of your speech, your thoughts, and in time, your self – what you truly are. This too is a step in your quest for liberation, for eternal happiness…