Saturday, June 27, 2009

Thirukkural on Emotional Intelligence - Part 1

While going through Thirukkural, one key message that I get is the importance of being emotionally intelligent similar to what being pointed out by Daniel Goleman in his "Emotional Intelligence - Why it can matter more than IQ" book. I thought of doing everybody a favour by listing the Kurals that I think talks about or touches on emotional intelligence.

It is actually interesting to note that Thiruvalluvar, who authored Thirukkural some 2000 years ago, gave quite considerable focus on the need for human-kind to be emotionally intelligent. He wrote about the importance of managing one's senses and emotions as well as the consequences that we must face for our failure to manage our emotions and senses.

I have listed down the Kurals with the translation (copied from either Acharya , Dinamalar and Trix Apps) and my own explanation. I referred to a few websites to better understand the meanings. They are Acharya , Dinamalar and Trix Apps. Trix Apps also provides a cool javascript widget that we can put on our blogs and websites. Check it out at the of my blog main page.


Couplet 7

அதிகாரம் : கடவுள் வாழ்த்து
குறள் : 7
தனக்குவமை இல்லாதான் தாள்சேர்ந்தார்க் கல்லால்
மனக்கவலை மாற்றல் அரிது.

Anxiety of mind cannot be removed, except for those who are united to the feet of Him who is incomparable.

In my own words: In order to reduce our anxiety and worries, we should meditate or continuously think of or be with GOD. Meditation will help us to be calm and get rid of unnecessary worries.


Couplet 27, 126, 174

அதிகாரம் : நீத்தார் பெருமை
குறள் : 27
சுவைஒளி ஊறுஓசை நாற்றமென ஐந்தின்
வகைதெரிவான் கட்டே உலகு.

Translation: The world is within the knowledge of him who knows the properties of taste, sight, touch, hearing and smell

In my own words: We need to be aware of ourselves and what is happening around us. Be always be sensitive or on alert to what is happening around us and know how to respond (or not to respond) to those events . In other words, be emotionally literate so that we are in control of ourselves , our emotions and our relationship with those around us.

அதிகாரம் : அடக்கமுடைமை
குறள் : 126
ஒருநம்யுள் ஆமைபோல் ஐந்தடக்கல் ஆற்றின்
எழுநம்யும் ஏமாப் புடைத்து.

Translation: Should one throughout a single birth, like a tortoise keep in his five senses, the fruit of it will prove a safe-guard to him throughout the seven-fold births.

In my own words: If we are able to control our five senses, basically how we act or react, we will have a smoother journey in life and our future. I guess this is similar to the message in couplet 27 above.

அதிகாரம் : வெஃகாமை
குறள் : 174
இலமென்று வெஃகுதல் செய்யார் புலம்வென்ற
புன்மையில் காட்சி யவர்.

Translation: The wise who have conquered their senses and are free from crime, will not covet (the things of others), with the thought “we are destitute.”

In my own words: If we are able to control our five senses, we will not take others' possessions even though we are really destitute or poor. Again there is some emphasis to control our five senses as mentioned in couplets 27 & 126.


Couplet 29

அதிகாரம் : நீத்தார் பெருமை
குறள் : 29
குணமென்னும் குன்றேறி நின்றார் வெகுளி
கணமேயும் காத்தல் அரிது.

Translation: The anger of those who have ascended the mountain of good though it continue but for a moment, cannot be resisted

In my own words: Anger, can't be avoided altogether but it can be controlled and overcome. An emotionally intelligent person will be able to handle his or her anger properly. So can all of us. After all, emotional intelligence can be learned and practiced. As human, we can't run away from being angry. But we surely can learn to respond more appropriately.


Couplet 121, 122, 123 & 124

அதிகாரம் : அடக்கமுடைமை
குறள் : 121
அடக்கம் அமரருள் உய்க்கும் அடங்காமை
ஆரிருள் உய்த்து விடும்.

Translation: Self-control will place (a man) among the Gods; the want of it will drive (him) into the thickest darkness (of hell)

அதிகாரம் : அடக்கமுடைமை
குறள் : 122
காக்க பொருளா அடக்கத்தை ஆக்கம்
அதனினூஉங் கில்லை உயிர்க்கு.

Translation: Let self-control be guarded as a treasure; there is no greater source of good for man than that.

அதிகாரம் : அடக்கமுடைமை
குறள் : 123
செறிவறிந்து சீர்மை பயக்கும் அறிவறிந்து
ஆற்றின் அடங்கப் பெறின்.

Translation: Knowing that self-control is knowledge, if a man should control himself, in the prescribed course, such self-control will bring him distinction among the wise.

அதிகாரம் : அடக்கமுடைமை
குறள் : 124
நிலையின் திரியாது அடங்கியான் தோற்றம்
மலையினும் மாணப் பெரிது.

Translation: More lofty than a mountain will be the greatness of that man who without swerving from his domestic state, controls himself.

In my own words: Self-control (the ability to decide how we want to act or react) will alleviate us to a higher status including and especially on moral terms. Without any self-control, we will face continuous difficulty in our life. Self-control is one of the greatest treasure (skill) that we must continuously be aware of and practice. In fact, self-control is actually a knowledge and will help us to be a person of high emotional intelligence. And guess what ?? People will l00vvveeee you !! And we continue in this path of practicing great self-control, we will be able reach even greater heights.


Couplet 127, 128, & 129

அதிகாரம் : அடக்கமுடைமை
குறள் : 127
யாகாவா ராயினும் நாகாக்க காவாக்கால்
சோகாப்பர் சொல்லிழுக்குப் பட்டு.

Translation: Whatever besides you leave unguarded, guard your tongue; otherwise errors of speech and the consequent misery will ensue.

அதிகாரம் : அடக்கமுடைமை
குறள் : 128
ஒன்றானுந் தீச்சொல் பொருட்பயன் உண்டாயின்
நன்றாகா தாகி விடும்.

Translation: If a man’s speech be productive of a single evil, all the good by him will be turned into evil.

அதிகாரம் : அடக்கமுடைமை
குறள் : 129
தீயினாற் சுட்டபுண் உள்ளாறும் ஆறாதே
நாவினாற் சுட்ட வடு.

Translation: The wound which has been burnt in by fire may heal, but a wound burnt in by the tongue will never heal.

In my own words: If we are not able to control all of our five senses, then the least we should do is to control what we speak, otherwise we will face misery or bad consequences for saying bad things. It is simply because, if our message contains even a single 'bad' word, the whole message will be seen as bad thus giving bad impression to others. People who are hurt by our 'bad' word may remember it for a long time or will never forget it. Hmm.. sounds very familiar ??


Couplet 130

அதிகாரம் : அடக்கமுடைமை
குறள் : 130
கதங்காத்துக் கற்றடங்கல் ஆற்றுவான் செவ்வி
அறம்பார்க்கும் ஆற்றின் நுழைந்து.

Translation: Virtue, seeking for an opportunity, will come into the path of that man who, possessed of learning and self-control, guards himself against anger.

In my own words: If we have a continuously learning attitude and at the same time able to control & manage our anger, we will be able to reach moral excellence. Sounds tough but do-able right ??


Couplet 273

அதிகாரம் : கூடாவொழுக்கம்
குறள் : 273
வலியில் நிலைமையான் வல்லுருவம் பெற்றம்
புலியின்தோல் போர்த்துமேய்ந் தற்று.

Translation: The assumed appearance of power, by a man who has no power (to restrain his senses and perform austerity), is like a cow feeding on grass covered with a tiger’s skin.

In my own words: Although we try to portray our strengths and power, our inability to control our five senses or emotions will actually show/display our weaknesses. So for example, if we want to protect or guard ourselves from our enemy, we need to be emotionally strong (intelligent) as well apart from being physically strong or knowing martial arts !!


Couplet 301, 302

அதிகாரம் : வெகுளாமை
குறள் : 301
செல்லிடத்துக் காப்பான் சினங்காப்பான் அல்லிடத்துக்
காக்கின்என் காவாக்கால் என்?

Translation: Anger against the weak is wrong; It is futile against the strong.

அதிகாரம் : வெகுளாமை
குறள் : 302
செல்லா இடத்துச் சினந்தீது செல்லிடத்தும்
இல்அதனின் தீய பிற.

Translation: Anger is bad, even when it cannot injure; when it can injure; there is no greater evil.

In my own words: Well, it is wrong to be angry over weaker people than us (we may make them afraid of or hate us) and it is plain stupid to show anger on those who are much stronger than us (we may invite their wrath and possible negative reaction on us). It is worst still, if our anger turned into endangering others. That is considered evil !! So what is the point of being angry or showing our anger at all. There is probably a better way to handle or manage our anger. If someone is making us angry, we need to face them and be assertive (talk about it to them in a calm manner) but not aggressive (show anger). This is easier said than done but we must try our best.


Couplet 303, 304, 305

அதிகாரம் : வெகுளாமை
குறள் : 303
மறத்தல் வெகுளியை யார்மாட்டும் தீய
பிறத்தல் அதனான் வரும்.

Translation: Off with wrath with any one. It is the source of sin and pain.

அதிகாரம் : வெகுளாமை
குறள் : 304
நகையும் உவகையும் கொல்லும் சினத்தின்
பகையும் உளவோ பிற.

Translation: Is there a greater enemy than anger, which kills both laughter and joy ?

அதிகாரம் : வெகுளாமை
குறள் : 305
தன்னைத்தான் காக்கின் சினங்காக்க காவாக்கால்
தன்னையே கொல்லுஞ் சினம்.

Translation: If a man would guard himself, let him guard against anger; if he do not guard it, anger will kill him.

In my own words: There is no point of being angry because it is us who will suffer (by feeling the pain of being angry). It is us who are are going to be unhappy by being angry. Additionally, anger may turn us to be aggressive and harm others as well as us and invite more sufferings including getting us to risk our future or even loose our life literally. Therefore, it is very important to control and manage our anger.


Couplet 306

அதிகாரம் : வெகுளாமை
குறள் : 306
சினமென்னும் சேர்ந்தாரைக் கொல்லி இனமென்னும்
ஏமப் புணையைச் சுடும்.

Translation: The fire of anger will burn up even the pleasant raft of friendship.

In my own words: Our anger will also make us loose our friends. How bad!!


Couplet 307

அதிகாரம் : வெகுளாமை
குறள் : 307
சினத்தைப் பொருளென்று கொண்டவன் கேடு
நிலத்தறைந்தான் கைபிழையா தற்று.

Translation: Destruction will come upon him who regards anger as a good thing, as surely as the hand of him who strikes the ground will not fail.

In my own words: If we have the habit of being angry, we are going suffer and continuously feel the pain


Couplet 308

அதிகாரம் : வெகுளாமை
குறள் : 308
இணர்எரி தோய்வன்ன இன்னா செயினும்
புணரின் வெகுளாமை நன்று.

Translation: Though one commit things against you as painful (to bear) as if a bundle of fire had been thrust upon you, it will be well, to refrain, if possible, from anger.

In my own words: It seems to be a wise move not to be angry over someone who have or are causing sufferings to us. Wow! this seems to be a really tough one to follow and practice but I guess the intent is to protect us from more sufferings due to our anger.


Couplet 309

அதிகாரம் : வெகுளாமை
குறள் : 309
உள்ளிய தெல்லாம் உடனெய்தும் உள்ளத்தால்
உள்ளான் வெகுளி எனின்.

Translation: If a man never indulges anger in his heart, he will at once obtain whatever he has thought of.

In my own words: If we are able to refrain from being angry, we will be able to fully focus on our thoughts and energy to achieve what we originally planned or intended.


Couplet 310

அதிகாரம் : வெகுளாமை
குறள் : 310
இறந்தார் இறந்தார் அனையர் சினத்தைத்
துறந்தார் துறந்தார் துணை.

Translation: Those, who give way to excessive anger, are no better than dead men; but those, who are freed from it, are equal to those who are freed (from death).

In my own words: If we are not able to manage our anger properly, we are as as good as dead !! . no use to anybody. And we are able to manage it properly, we will be free from sufferings and can be useful to others especially to ourselves.


Couplet 360

அதிகாரம் : மெய்யுணர்தல்
குறள் : 360
காமம் வெகுளி மயக்கம் இவ்முன்றன்
நாமம் கெடக்கெடும் நோய்.

Translation: If the very names of these three things, desire, anger, and confusion of mind, be destroyed, then will also perish evils (which flow from them).

In my own words: If we are able to clear our mind from being confused and angry as well as able to delay gratification, then we will be free from sorrowand difficulties.


I believe there are many more Kural on emotional intelligence. Will post a second part of this blog post later when I have the chance ...

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