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Master Valluvan, the long-misunderstood Tamil Mentor - Part Three

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Master Valluvan, the long-misunderstood Tamil Mentor - Part Three

                                Part Three

Whether or not relations with the uncultured enamour
Do not seek to succour what should sour

What does it matter if you gain or lose inferiors
Who feather their own nests and leave you in a mess

Those who look to the benefit that accrues from friendship
And those who covet largesse are thick as thieves

Better be content to walk alone than surround yourself
With friends who’d ditch you like wild stallions in battle

It’s better to sever than solder vile ties
With the petty-minded who’d fail you in need

By far it’d serve you better to be snubbed by the wise
Than be warmed by the company of narrow-minded fools

It’s infinitely more useful to bear your enemies’ scorn
Than court raucous revellers who’d warm you up with guffaws

Friends who’d proffer help remonstrate and find fault
Might as well shun them with scarcely a farewell

Friends who please by word and yet act otherwise
Crop up as a rude shock even in dreams

Turn away from the friend who snuggles up in private
While he seeks to denounce you in a public place
                     [Tirukkural, Chapter 82: “Evil Friendship”]

No-one contests your calligraphic diamond cutter’s skills
Nor your codifier rôle of existing customs beliefs
      of kingly comportment
             of the wife’s place
                  of manner of securing friendships
                        of the obtention and dispensation of education
      of the seductions in the dainty maiden’s coyness

Nor of your infinite wisdom of the times
Nor of your observation of the passing of life about you
Nor alas! of your inveterate nay obsessive need to pontificate
      in what is evident to the even half-baked


What mattered was to get the lesson through
    even one in ten was well worth the while
if remembered by the unfortunate by birth
Who never traversed the threshold of class and caste
   Who never even buckled exceeding numbers on their toes

To you the ten-by-tens by one-hundred-and-thirty
   perhaps you planned a florilège
                                                  in old age
by weeding out for posterity’s privileged classes
the few quoted over and over

       katka kasatara karka karrapin
                 nitka atatkut take

           vilampu suttapun arum arate
                     navinal sutta vatu 

(Continued in Part Four)

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  1. Date: 6/3/2012 5:00:00 AM
    a lot of wisdom in this part. Enjoyed. hugs, Catie :)