984 – Highlighting Others’ Mistakes

National Integration Through Thirukkural And Sanskrit

Highlighting others’ mistakes

A person went to a function and happened to meet his teacher during his primary school days. He immediately prostrated and introduced himself to his teacher.

The teacher said he could not recognize him but still made general enquiries about him, his job and family. The student said that, he is presently working as a primary school teacher and added that, he was inspired by him to take up the noble profession.

The teacher was eager to know how he had been his inspiration. The student narrated an incident during his school days.

“The class had students from different economic and social backgrounds. One day, a student had come to school with a costly and an attractive wrist watch. Seeing this, other students were jealous. One of the students, managed to steal the watch and put it in his pocket. The student who lost the watch complained to the teacher about the loss of his watch. The teacher immediately ordered closure of the class room door.

He asked the student who stole the watch to voluntarily come forward and hand over the watch. None of the students came forward.

He then, asked all of his students to stand in a line. He said, he would himself search the pockets of students and find out the culprit. He asked all of them to close their eyes during the entire search. The teacher did not want to expose the student who stole the watch.

The students stood in a line as ordered, and closed their eyes. The teacher put his hand in each student’s pocket and could find the watch in the pocket of the 10th student standing in the line. However, he continued to search the pockets of remaining students.

After the end of the search, he restored the watch back to the student who owned it. The teacher never narrated this incident to anyone thereafter.”

Āfter recalling the above incident, the student said to the teacher, that his gesture in not exposing the culprit, inspired him to take up the profession. He understood the responsibilities on a teacher in imparting moral values in a student through well thought out gestures.

The student then confessed to the teacher that, it was he, who stole the watch and had been longing to confess this to him.

He then asked the teacher, whether he recognized him at least now after he has recollected the entire incident and whether he would forgive him for his act.

The teacher gently said, “I do recollect the incident now. But to date, I do not know who the student was, as,  I had also closed my eyes during the entire search operation”.

Thiruvalluvar in his Couplet 984 suggests that “All faiths advocate abstinence from killing as a penance and ṭhe best of virtues. Abstention from highlighting others’ mistakes, is similarly, another great virtue”.

கொல்லா நலத்தது நோன்மை பிறர்தீமை
சொல்லா நலத்தது சால்பு.

Kola nalath-tadhu noan-mai pirar-theemai
Solla nalath-tadhu saalbu

பரிமேலழகர் உரை:

நோன்மை கொல்லா நலத்தது – பிற அறங்களும் வேண்டுமாயினும், தவம் ஓர் உயிரையும் கொல்லாத அறத்தின் கண்ணதாம்; சால்பு பிறர் தீமை சொல்லா நலத்தது – அது போலப் பிற குணங்களும் வேண்டுமாயினும் சால்பு பிறர் குற்றத்தைச் சொல்லாத குணத்தின் கண்ணதாம். (நலம் என்னும் ஆகுபெயர்ப் பொருள் இரண்டனையும், தலைமை தோன்ற, இவ்விரண்டற்கும் அதிகாரமாக்கிக் கூறினார். தவத்திற்குக் கொல்லா வரம் சிறந்தாற்போலச் சால்பிற்குப் பிறர் குற்றம் சொல்லாக் குணம் சிறந்தது என்பதாம்.).

Sanskrit Translation by Shri S.N. Srirama Desikan

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