883 – Rebellion

National Integration Through Thirukkural And Sanskrit


The following narrative is from Mahabharata. Yudishtra after accession as the King of Hastinapuram, seeks advice from Bhisma, on the nuances of practice of Dharma, both as an Individual and as a King.  One of his questions to Bhisma, is on how a King should discern the advice of his advisors and treat them. To that, Bhisma offers the following advice.

Every king is surrounded by four types of people.

  • People who are committed to the kingdom
  • People who have alternate ideologies and approaches and are potential aspirants to the throne
  • People who are beneficiaries of King’s benevolence
  • Relatives

Bhimsa advises King Yudishtra that, he should only believe in the people who are committed to the Kingdom as they would be and honest in their reporting of the happenings in the Kingdom. Their advice on handling adversities would be sincere.

The other three categories of people always look for opportunities to destabilize the King and the Kingdom. Unfortunately, they cannot be totally avoided and will be  very much part of the system. They will constantly be creating a situation of unrest and involving themselves in a negative campaign about the King and the Kingdom.

It is neither advisable nor possible to punish them, as they never openly challenge the King or Kingdom but adopt a very diplomatic and a dignified facade to their efforts. A King has to learn to periodically take them into confidence about his various initiatives and convince them to agree with those initiatives, even though, it is highly unlikely, they will agree with them. He has to try to keep them in check with small compromises, to ensure that, they do not succeed in their designs to destabilize the Kingdom.

Contemporary history is replete with instances where the above three categories of people have either destabilized countries or tirelessly persist with their efforts on a continuous basis.

  • Coups in some countries by people with alternative ideologies and approaches.
  • Influence of the relatives of Rulers severely undermining the quality of governance.
  • Unqualified people, who are benefited by the Government’s largesse, misuse the credibility so acquired, to propagate negative opinions about the happenings in a country.

Thiruvalluvar in his couplet 883 warns a King to be careful about such people. He likens them to silent assassins who, if not closely watched, will destroy the king and his kingdom in an opportune moment, similar to the tool which cuts the potter’s clay.

உட்பகை அஞ்சித்தற் காக்க உலைவிடத்து 
மட்பகையின் மாணத் தெறும்.

Utpagai Anjith thar-Kaakka Ulai-vidaththu
Matpagaiyin Maanath Therum

பரிமேலழகர் உரை: 

உட்பகை அஞ்சித் தற்காக்க – உட்பகையாயினாரை அஞ்சித் தன்னைக் காத்துக்கொண் டொழுகுக; உலைவிடத்து மட்பகையின் மாணத்தெறும் – அங்ஙனம் ஒழுகாதவழித் தனக்கோர் தளர்ச்சி வந்தவிடத்துக் குயவன் மட்கலத்தை அறுக்கும் கருவி போல, அவர் தப்பாமற் கெடுப்பர். (‘காத்தல்’ அவர் அணையாமலும் அவர்க்கு உடம்படாமலும் பரிகரித்தல். மண்ணைப் பகுக்கும் கருவி ‘மட்பகை’ எனப்பட்டது. பகைமை தோன்றாமல் உள்ளாயிருந்தே கீழறுத்தலின்,கெடுதல் தப்பாது என்பதாம்.)

Sanskrit Translation by Shri S.N. Srirama Desikan

கூ³ட⁴ஸ²த்ரு ப⁴யாதா³த்மரக்ஷணம் யுஜ்யதே ஸதா³ |
அன்யதா² நாஸ²மாப்னோதி ஸூசீச்சி²ன்ன க⁴டோ யதா² ||