341 – Detachment

National Integration Through Thirukkural And Sanskrit


Every individual, in course of his life, is invariably attached to two things.

  • Individuals (kith and kin, friends and relatives)
  • Pursuing objectives (career, public life etc)

When one is bonded to Individuals through love and affection, he gets excited with every good event (marriage, child birth, career advancement) happening to them and becomes very dejected when they go through testing times (health issues, failures and death).

Similarly, when one pursues an objective, people put 100% of their effort, dedication and commitment to the same. The outcomes might not be exactly proportional to the degree of one’s effort. At times, the outcomes might be inverse even. If the outcomes are positive, people get encouraged and it propels them to achieve further. Most of the times, it translates into arrogance. If the outcomes are negative, people get discouraged and despondent. They begin to lose faith in themselves and discontinue their effort.

If the individual has belief in God, he credits himself for his successes and blames God in case of setbacks. If the individual is either an agnostic or an atheist, he attributes his success to his effort and in case of setbacks, unable to comprehend reasons, blames others. In either case, blame is shifted to others.

If one were to deconstruct the reasons for the happening or non-happening of an event, it would be crystal clear that one’s wishes and effort constitutes only a percentage in the overall context of an outcome. There are factors beyond one’s control which also influence the outcomes. If one were to understand that, then, handling the outcomes becomes easier.

The best way to handle the above reality is to get detached with the outcomes. To detach oneself is not to discontinue the effort but to maintain a distance from the outcomes. By detachment, one is able to pursue their effort with the same intensity throughout their life time,  irrespective of the success or failures. Practicing detachment also guards oneself from success going to their head and failures to their heart.

Thiruvalluvar in his couplet 341 advises the same.  Among the several bonds, if a person detached himself even from one, he becomes free from the miseries associated with that one bond. It means that, it is not necessary to forego all bonds in one go. It can be done, one by one.

யாதனின் யாதனின் நீங்கியான் நோதல் 
அதனின் அதனின் இலன் 

Yaadhanin Yaadhanin Neengiyaan Nodhal
Adhanin Adhanin Ilan

பரிமேலழகர் உரை

யாதனின் யாதனின் நீங்கியான் – ஒருவன் யாதொரு பொருளின் யாதொரு பொருளின் நீங்கினான், அதனின் அதனின் நோதல் இலன் – அவன் அப்பொருளால் துன்பம் எய்துதல் இலன். (அடுக்குகள் பன்மை குறித்து நின்றன. நீங்குதல் – துறத்தல். ஈண்டுத்துன்பம் என்றது இம்மைக்கண் அவற்றைத் தேடுதலானும், காத்தலானும், இழத்தலானும் வருவனவும், மறுமைக்கண் பாவத்தான் வருவனவும் ஆய இருவகைத் துன்பங்களையும் ஆம். எல்லாப் பொருளையும் ஒருங்கே விடுதல் தலை, அஃதன்றி ஒரொ ஒன்றாக விடினும் அவற்றான் வரும் துன்பம் இலனாம் என்பது கருத்து.).

Sanskrit Translation by Shri S.N. Srirama Desikan

அஸக்திம் குருதே நைவ யஸ்மின் யஸ்மிம்ஸ்²ச வஸ்துனி |
தஸ்மாத்-தஸ்மாத்-வஸ்துன: ஸ ந து³:க²ம் லப⁴தே நர: ||