752 – Celebrating the Rich

National Integration Through Thirukkural And Sanskrit

Celebrating the Rich

Wealth commands respect. Money talks and people listen. When a rich man speaks, even if it is foolishness, the media, the government, people, everybody gives attention.  When one is poor, nobody listens to them nor takes their word seriously, regardless of how good the idea is to bring change and save lives. Every day, we see how media offers celebrities a platform to air their views, on areas which are outside their core competence, no matter how nonsensical or shallow they are.

Every society suffers from substantial inequalities in education, employment, health care etc., which is based on wealth. It is widely observed that inequality starts in the crib. Children in their formative years observe the above discrimination and are also taught that wealth and poverty tend to perpetuate themselves. They firmly decide that wealth alone can alleviate the inequality and starts looking to the rich for inspiration.  They consciously begin to emulate them. Knowledge acquisition is considered a lesser priority.

Wealth obliterates the lack of dharmic values in an individual. In fact, the society starts celebrating the adharmic values practiced by such individual and try to emulate them.

Thiruvalluvar in his Couplet 752 confirms the above human psychology through his following statement. “In spite of being a person of good character and qualities, a poor man will be despised by one and all. On the other hand, a rich person with bad character and without any good values will always be exalted to a high place by placing themselves at a lower status”.

இல்லாரை எல்லாரும் எள்ளுவர் செல்வரை
எல்லாரும் செய்வர் சிறப்பு

Illaarai Ellaarum Elluvar Selvarai
Ellaarum Seyvar Sirappu

பரிமேலழகர் உரை: 

இல்லாரை எல்லாரும் எள்ளுவர் – எல்லா நன்மையும் உடையராயினும் பொருளில்லாரை யாவரும் இகழ்வர்; செல்வரை எல்லாரும் சிறப்புச் செய்வர் – எல்லாத்தீமையும் உடையராயினும் அஃது உடையாரை யாவரும் உயரச் செய்வர். (உயரச் செய்தல் – தாம் தாழ்ந்து நிற்றல். இகழ்தற்கண்ணும் தாழ்தற்கண்ணும் பகைவர், நட்டார், நொதுமலர் என்னும் மூவகையாரும் ஒத்தலின், ‘யாவரும்’ என்றார். பின்னும் கூறியது அதனை வலியுறுத்தற்பொருட்டு.)

Bagavadha Purnam, has two similar quotes.

वित्तमेव कलौ नॄणां जन्माचारगुणोदयः  (12.2.2)

In Kali-yuga, wealth alone will be considered the sign of a man’s good birth, proper behavior and fine qualities.

अनाढ्यतैव असाधुत्वे  (12.2.5)

A person will be judged unholy if he does not have money.

Sanskrit Translation by Shri S. N. Srirama Desikan

கு₃ணினம் சாப்யர்த₂  ஹீனம் தூ₃ஷயந்தி நரா பு₄வி |
நிர்கு₃ணம் சாப்யர்த₂  வந்தம் மானயந்தி ஜனா: ஸதா₃ ||