211 – Benevolence

National Integration Through Thirukkural And Sanskrit


Every individual throughout their life is a beneficiary of acts of benevolence from both known and unknown people. The people who undertake such efforts (benefactor), never discriminate between the beneficiaries. It is similar to rain water falling on plain surface, sea and desert.

It is not possible for a beneficiary of such benevolence, to pay back the benefactor in equal measure vis-à-vis the benefit received. The benefactors neither seek an acknowledgement from the beneficiary for the services rendered nor  expect anything in return as gratitude.  They just discharge their act as part of their responsibility.

Examples of such benefactors whom everybody comes across in one’s day to day life are:

  • The five elements of nature being earth, water, fire, air and sky.
  • Parents who shower their love and affection on their children
  • Teachers who educate their students
  • Ancestors who have left behind a treasure of knowledge in the form of spiritual scriptures.
  • Leaders who practice moral and ethical values during their life time, and become a source of inspiration to their current and future generations.
  • Soldiers who guard their country
  • Individuals who engage in social and charitable activities

Practices which are exactly the opposite of the above are: Withholding and selective use of resources (goods, money, knowledge, strength etc.,) with an intent to monetize and generate disproportionate income and adopting unethical practices towards achieving the income maximization objective.

In India, over the last 5 decades, many people have largely moved away from the values prescribed by our scriptures. One such Index which suggests the fall, is the amount of black money generated in our Country, which is estimated  around Rupees 70 lakh crores or more easily understood as Rupees 20 lakh per Indian citizen. This suggests the extent of downfall in benevolent thoughts and actions.

Thiruvalluvar in his couplet 211 defines the virtues of a benefactor.

கைம்மாறு வேண்டா கடப்பாடு மாரிமாட்டு 
என்ஆற்றும் கொல்லோ உலகு

Kaimmaaru Vendaa Kadappaadu Maari-maattu
En Aatrum Kollo Ulagu

பரிமேலழகர் உரை:

மாரிமாட்டு உலகு என் ஆற்றும் – தமக்கு நீர் உதவுகின்ற மேகங்களினிடத்து உயிர்கள் என்ன கைம்மாறு செய்யா நின்றன, கடப்பாடு கைம்மாறு வேண்டா – ஆகலான், அம்மேகங்கள் போல்வார் செய்யும் ஒப்புரவுகளும் கைம்மாறு நோக்குவன அல்ல. (‘என் ஆற்றும்?’ என்ற வினா, ‘யாதும் ஆற்றா’ என்பது தோன்ற நிற்றலின், அது வருவித்துரைக்கப்படும். தவிரும் தன்மைய அல்ல என்பது ‘கடப்பாடு’ என்னும் பெயரானே பெறப்பட்டது. செய்வாராது வேண்டாமையைச் செய்யப்படுவனமேல் ஏற்றினார்.). கடப்பாடு-ஒப்புரவு-கைம்மாறு வேண்டாத கொடை.

It is inconceivable that the dark rain clouds, which gift water to living beings, expect an expression of gratitude from those beneficiaries. In the same manner, noble souls doing good deeds to the society do not expect anything in return.

Sanskrit Translation by Shri S.N. Srirama Desikan

மேகா⁴னாம் வர்ஷதாம் நித்யம் கிம் ஸாஹ்யம் குர்வதே ஜனா: |
மேக⁴துல்யா மஹாந்தோ(அ)பி நிஷ்காமமுபகுர்வதே ||