TAMIL POET VALLUVAR AND VOLTAIRE (Post No.4619)

Written by London Swaminathan 

 

Date: 15 JANUARY 2018

 

Time uploaded in London  7-31 am

 

 

 

Post No. 4619

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Tiru Valluvar is the most famous didactic poet of India. Though he wrote in Tamil, his work Tirukkural consisting of 1330 couplets on moral values was translated into many of the old (Sanskrit and Latin) and modern languages.

Voltaire was a French philosopher and historian who lived 300 years ago.

 

There are some interesting and striking similarities between some western authors and Tiru Valluvar.

 

Valluvar says,

‘All men are born equal, but distinctions arise only on the basis of performance,

In the respective occupations they take on’- Kural 972

 

Another translation of the same couplet (972) runs as follows

‘Alike is birth to all; but in their greatness they are not alike owing to the divergence of their actions’.

 

French philosopher Voltaire said,

‘Men are equal; it is not the birth but virtues that make the difference’.

 

In the Bhagavad Gita (4-13) Lord Krishna says,

‘The four fold order was created by Me according to the divisions of the quality and work. Though I am its creator, know Me to be incapable of action or change’.

 

Dr S Radhakrishnan comments on this Gita sloka/ couplet (4-13) as follows,

‘The emphasis is on Guna (aptitude) and karma (action) and not Jati (birth). The varna or the order to which we belong is independent of sex, birth or breeding. A class determined by temperament and vocation is not a caste determined by birth or heredity.

 

It is very interesting that Thomas Jefferson also used the phrase in the U S Declaration of Independence:

“All men are created equal”

Later Vietnamese also used the phrase.

J J Rousseau, French philosopher of the 18th century also believed in this principle.

 

Later day politicians and leaders freely used this phrase in their political speeches.

 

Tamil poet Kamban also says that one’s greatness or meanness comes from one’s action; otherwise everyone is equal.

xxx

 

VALLUVAR AND CICERO: Face is the Index of the Mind

Cicero was a Roman politician and lawyer who lived 2000 years ago. He was one of the great orators. He said,

“The countenance is the portrait of the soul”

He also said,

“All action is of the mind and the mirror of the mind is face, its index the eyes”.

 

Tiru Valluvar said,

The mirror reflects nearby objects. even so the face indicates the emotions throbbing in the mind—Kural 706

Another translation runs like this:

‘Even as a crystal reflects what comes near, within its line of sight

The face reflects the offending thoughts of the heart’.

 

‘Face is the index of the Mind’- is an English proverb known to everyone.

 

Great English playwright Shakespeare also uses facial expressions in several of his plays:

“there is a kind of confession in your looks which your modesties have not craft enough to colour” – Hamlet , Act 2, Scene 2

 

In the Srimad Bhagavatam commentary, Srila Prabhupada, use this facial features to illustrate another point:

 

SB 4.21.15, Translation and Purport: King Pṛthu’s body was tall and sturdy, and his complexion was fair. His arms were full and broad and his eyes as bright as the rising sun. His nose was straight, his face very beautiful and his personality grave. His teeth were set beautifully in his smiling face.

 

Amongst the four social orders (brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas, vaiśyas and śūdras), the kṣatriyas, both men and women, are generally very beautiful. As will be apparent from the following verses, it is to be concluded that not only were Mahārāja Pṛthu’s bodily features attractive, as described here, but he had specific all-auspicious signs in his bodily construction.

 

As it is said, “The face is the index of the mind.” One’s mental constitution is exhibited by his facial features. The bodily features of a particular person are exhibited in accordance with his past deeds, for according to one’s past deeds, his next bodily features—whether in human society, animal society or demigod society—are determined. This is proof of the transmigration of the soul through different types of bodies.

 

–SUBHAM–

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