Tkl 2 1 12

Created by Jijith Nadumuri at 11 Oct 2011 10:42 and updated at 11 Oct 2011 10:42

TIRUKKURAL of Tiruvalluvar, the Tamil poet




2.1 Royalty


2.1.12. Knowing the Place

Begin no work of war, depise no Foe,
Till place where you can wholly circumvent you know.
Let not (a King) despise (an Enemy), nor undertake any thing (against him), until he has obtained (a suitable) place for besieging him.

Though skill in War combine with courage tried on Battle field,
The added gain of Fort doth great advantage yield.
Even to those who are men of power and expedients, an attack in connection with a Fortification will yield many advantages.

Even weak ones mightily prevail, if place of strong defence,
They find, protect themselves, and work their Foes offence.
Even the powerless will become powerful and conquer, if they select a proper field (of action), and guard themselves, while they make War on their Enemies.

The Foes who thought to triumph, find their thoughts were vain,
If hosts advance, seize vantage ground, and thence the fight maintain.
If they who draw near (to fight) choose a suitable place to approach (their Enemy), the latter, will have to relinquish the thought which they once entertained, of conquering them.

The Crocodile prevails in its own flow of Water wide,
If this it leaves, tis slain by anything beside.
In deep Water, a Crocodile will conquer (all other Animals); but if it leave the Water, other Animals will conquer it.

The lofty Car, with mighty Wheel, sails not over Watery main,
The Boat that skims the Sea, runs not on Earth s hard plain.
Wide Chariots, with mighty Wheels, will not run on the ocean; neither will ships that the traverse ocean, move on the Earth.

Save their own fearless might they need no other aid,
If in right place they fight, all due provision made.
You will need no other aid than fearlessness, if you thoroughly reflect (on what you are to do), and select (a suitable) place for your operations.

If lord of Army vast the safe retreat assail
Of him whose host is small, his mightiest efforts fail.
The power of one who has a large Army will perish, if he goes into ground where only a small Army can act.

Though Fort be none, and store of Wealth they lack,
Tis hard a people s Homesteads to attack!
It is a hazardous thing to attack men in their own country, although they may neither have power nor a good Fortress.

The Jackal slays, in miry paths of foot betraying fen,
The Elephant of fearless eye and tusks transfixing armed men.
A fox can kill a fearless, Warrior faced Elephant, if it go into mud in which its legs sink down.

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