Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Let us Start with the First Verse of Aathi Choodi, the Code of Conduct
designed for all mankind by the immortal Tamil Poetess Avvayar,
in just 108 short one-line verses.

"Aram Cheya Virumbu" .. Desire to do the virtuous.

Just Three simple words, but when we dwell on the purport of what is said, we find that we, Thamizh People, are shown a way to lead our lives in this mortal world, by the Poetess.

The word ARAM connotes all that is virtuous. It is rather difficult to find an equivalent for the exact meaning of this word in English. Righteousness in thoughts, words and deeds is intended by the word. Possibly, in Sanskrit, you have a word DHARMA.
According to the poem compiled by Munaipaadiyar in ARA NERI CHARAM, virtue consists of ten elements:
They are:
Truth, Patience, magnanimity, penance, humility, unskewed look and judgment, not to keep anything for self interest, detachment , being good , as well as a positive will to be disciplined in life.
If one feels this list is too long and cumbersome, the Tamil Sage Thiruvalluvar comes to our rescue.
An indisputable interpretation to the word ARAM, one finds in Chapter 4 of Thirukkural ARAN VALIYURUTHAL (Emphasizing On Virtue) authored by the Greatest Poet of All Mankind THIRUVALLUVAR.

"Azhukkaru Avaa Vehuli Innachchol Nangum
Izhukka Iyandrathu Aram."

Aram is that which is fully rid of Greed & Jealousy, Desire, Anger, Unkind Words."

So, the spectrum of ARAM envelopes thoughts, speech as well as deeds flowing therefrom. For anyone to be virtuous (and perceived to be so by others) one must indeed jettison such thoughts which could be sources of greed, jealousy and anger and bad or unkind words.

In another verse, Thiruvalluvar emphasizes:

"Manathukkan Masu ilan aathal..Anaithu Aran, Ahula Neera Pira" (to be possessing a mind rid of impurities is all that is VIRTUE. The rest (of all illustrations) would be diluting (the concept itself).

So, first let our minds get cleansed of impurities. Undue desire is one such impurity. It is necessary to get our minds away from such desire, which is the source of all negative emotions such as greed, jealousy, anger, or unkind words.

Let us desire only such things that society will approve of as good and appropriate to a normal way of life. Any desire in excess of what one needs to live in this world in a dignified and self-respecting way would only lead to other evils such as greed, jealousy, anger or unkind words. So what is advised is that one should lead a life of simplicity and austerity.

This requires, no doubt, a firm will. And that is what Avvayar says:
Desire to have that Will that will lead one to live a life of virtue.

The question invariably arises: What results therefor? Why should I be living so?

Thiruvalluvar has a ready answer in the same Chapter which conveys in unequivocal terms what is HAPPINESS.

"Arathan Varuvathe Inbam. Matrellam
Puratha. Pughazhum Ila."

Happiness is what results from Virtue. All the rest (of what one does) is unreal. Nor brings fame (to the doer).

There is then the First of the 108 Codes of Conduct, specified by Avvaiyar, in her Aathichoodi.

Desire to do what is Virtuous. And let us firmly believe that this alone will lead us into the realm of HAPPINESS.

Let me conclude this First Post, with a quote from Vedhas:

" Dharmo Rakshathi, Rakshithaha" (Dharma Protects those who protect Dharma).

All the Best.