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Tiruvalluvar's Tirukural Ch 13-14, synopsis written in prose

Bodhinatha continues with a short talk today on Chapter 13-14 of Tiruvalluvar's Tirukural. He has written a synopsis in prose form to help with the understanding of these beautiful verses. They can also be used as a teaching tool for youth.

Unedited Transcript:

Two Tirukural synopsis this morning.

Chapter Thirteen, Possession of Self-Control

In andquot;Possession of Self-Controlandquot; Tiruvalluvar compares the restraint of the five senses to a tortoise withdrawing five limbs into its shell and says that the gains of doing this for one life will last for seven. He describes self-control as the greatest wealth in life, truly a precious treasure.

Among the many forms of self-control, Valluvar gives particular emphasis to controlling speech. The poet tells us that guard well the tongue, for flawed speech unfailing creates problems. All it takes is a single word of injury, he says, to lose the goodness of all one's virtues. His third verse on speech points out that a wound caused by fire heals in time, but one caused by fiery speech never heals. One verse is devoted to praising the self-control of humility, particularly when it is found among the rich.

What are the benefits of such self-control? Tiruvalluvar lists them as placing one among the Gods and conferring the esteem of wise men. He adds that when self-control is mastered by one who is in family life, his greatness is more than a mountain and that Virtue will wait in the streets to meet one who has subdued anger. He also mentions that the lack of self-control will certainly lead to deepest darkness.

Chapter Fourteen, Possession of Virtuous Conduct

For andquot;Possession of Virtuous Conductandquot; Tiruvalluvar chooses the Tamil word Olukkam for virtuous conduct. Olukkam includes good conduct, morality, virtue, decorum, and behaving in conformity with the canons of right conduct laid down for observance. Valluvar describes a man of virtuous conduct as incapable of voicing harmful words, even forgetfully. He states that our actions should carefully uphold it and our thoughts should realize it is our staunchest ally.

The poet devotes seven verses to describing the good that results from virtuous conduct and the harm that comes from neglecting it. The benefits are that it yields other virtues, leads a man to greatness and renown and thus needs to be guarded as more precious than life itself. Neglecting virtuous conduct yields never-ending sorrow, an inability to attain greatness, miseries, low birth, and blame.

Tiruvalluvar compares a priest's forgetting the Vedas to his falling from virtue. While he can relearn the Vedas, he can never reclaim his high birth which is lost forever. The poets final thought is that no matter how much knowledge is acquired, if one cannot live in harmony with the world, he is still ignorant.

Simple chapters, we are focusing on getting ready for Guru Purnima and our open house big event.

We had a nice article in the andquot;Garden Islandandquot; (newspaper), we sent him a press release but he put it in his own style. We're the only religious group on Kauai I'm sure every time there's an article about us in the Garden Island it's written by the business editor, we never get the religious editor we always get the business editor. Anyway he said andquot;Kauai's Hindu Monastery has no beef with McDonalds.andquot; That's the first line, had a nice double meaning there. That was a nice boon we were waiting for for about three years so it finally came in on the right day.

Have a wonderful phase.

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Always worship this great God. Never fear Him. He is the Self of your self. He is closer than your own breath. His nature is love, and if you worship Him with devotion you will know love and be loving toward others.