What is the greatest of these?

Sri Suki Sivam is not only an orator and powerful speaker but also a radical person who challenges several conventions and brings forth things useful in practical life. In the Pattimandram held in Mega T.V. on 21-10-2015 evening, he gave two thoughts worth sharing.

The first is the most striking one. In Tamil non-sentient things are called ‘Ahirinai’ whereas humans are called ‘Uarthinai’. But the correct negative word for ‘Uarthinai’ should be ‘Thaazthinai’ or ‘keezh thinai’. But that word is never used in Tamil for non-human beings and things like animals and materials. The reason is that in nature all humans are equal and great. But those who strive to achieve great things stand greater than others.

The second point is more important for me. The greatness of humans is proved by how we handle the non-sentient things. For example those who are upset with others will slam the door. Since she cannot show her anger with others, she expresses it by slamming the door. Similarly the way we keep our tables, almera and others things shows what kind of people we are. The main context is that in this Pattimandram (debate), the topic was which one among the three: stone, throne or bow, all non-sentient (ahirinai) things taught good lesson to us who are sentient (uyarthinai).

Of course Sri Sivam didn’t mentioned that the word ‘Uyarthinai’ should be translated actually as ‘great or noble’ but that is not the sense in which we use this Tamil word. The general meaning is that having a sixth sense we humans are ‘uyarthinai’ and all other non-sentient beings are ‘ahirinai’ as they don’t have the sixth sense.

In giving his verdict, Sivam proved that he is not only a good judge but a different one. Going away from convention, he called the Organizer of Kamban Kazhagam to the stage to ask the reason for selecting these three things and not others. The Organizer gave an excellent reason, but after listening to him, Sivam said that he found that the ‘Paduka’ (wood chapel) of Rama taught more than the other things in the Ramayana. The bow never departed from Raman’s hand and the throne was always waiting for him, but when Bharata took back Raman’s Paduka to keep on the throne to rule representing him, no wrong was done to anyone in the kingdom. In fact when Rama returned back to Ayodyaya and ruled, injustice was done to Sita by banishing her to the forest. But when the Paduka was ruling there, dharma prevailed.

I find that we can learn good things by listening to such speakers rather than reading a lot. That is why Valluvar also endorsed this by saying:

கற்றிலன் ஆயினும் கேட்க அஃதொருவற்கு

ஒற்கத்தின் ஊற்றாம் துணை.–குறள், 414


Though unlettered, one should heed

It is a prop in hours of need.—Kural, 414, M. Rajaram, tr. Thirukkural, New Delhi, Rupa & Co. 2009, p. 86