Tirukural, Chapter 5-6, Synopsis

Bodhinatha continues with his series of synopsis of the Tirukural, Chapters 5-6, Family Life. He uses modern prose form to introduce and focus on the essence of the chapters. This is done to help youth in the study of the ancient treatise where poetic form may be difficult for them to grasp.

Unedited Transcript:

Good Morning Everyone. It's seems so quiet after Mahasivaratri.

A very short talk this morning. In our Tirukural synopsis series, we're writing a synopsis of each of the first 38 Chapters of the Tirukural, part of a youth course. Continuing on wer're up to Chapter 5, Family Life.

Chapter Five

Family Life

In Family Life, Tiruvalluvar begins by describing the duties of the householder toward others. Life is divided into four stages based on age. These are called the four ashramas andyacute; student, householder, elder and renunciate. As the householder is employed and earning an income, he is responsible for supporting those in the other three ashramas of life who are yet to be or are no longer employed. Two other classes of people are clearly in need of his support andyacute; the renunciates and the poor. Valluvar also adds one's departed ancestors as a third. In the final verse focused on duties, the poet lists the five-fold classic Hindu duty to serve God, guests, kindred, ancestors and oneself.

Tiruvalluvar then continues by stating the ideal that wealth should be gathered without misdeeds and shared without miserliness. He states that the practical benefit that this ensures is that one's posterity will never perish. The poet then expresses the ideal that a family should not only follow virtue but should also be filled with love. He emphasizes the importance of love and virtue, anbum aranum, by exalting them as the essence and fruition of family life.

Tiruvalluvar then devotes four verses to glorifying those who truly live a dutiful, virtuous and loving family life. They are described as foremost, virtue itself, and equal to those who pursue the path of asceticism. The poet ends by stating the religious benefit that such a family life lived here on Earth, places one there in heaven among the Gods.

Chapter Six

The Good Wife

In The Good Wife Tiruvalluvar begins by focusing on two central qualities of a wife andyacute; possessing the fullness of domestic virtues and spending within her husbands means. He further stresses the importance of the wife knowing and living the traditional culture of the Hindu home by saying a home no matter what else it possesses is empty if the wife lacks the lofty culture of the home. Valluvar then makes a similar statement that no matter what else exists in the home, worthiness is only present in it when the wife is worthy.

The poet devotes a number of verses to the importance of chastity. He states it is best maintained by the wife being resolute and vigilantly guarding herself. The poet describes the wife's sexual purity as a truly majestic quality that enables her husband to be rightly proud of his marriage.

The spiritual power achieved by a pure wife who is devoted to and supportive of her husband is described by Valluvar by stating that even the rains will fall at her command. The religious benefit of her purity and devotion are described as bringing great rewards in the world of the Gods. And finally the poet concludes by stating that a worthy wife is a home's blessing and good children are it's precious ornaments.

Aum Namah Sivaya.