Tkl 2 2 05

Created by Jijith Nadumuri at 11 Oct 2011 10:51 and updated at 11 Oct 2011 10:51

TIRUKKURAL of Tiruvalluvar, the Tamil poet




2.2 Ministers of State


2.2.5. The Envoy

Benevolence high birth, the courtesy Kings Love:
These qualities the envoy of a King approve.
The qualification of an ambassador are affection (for his relations) a fitting birth, and the possession of attributes pleasing to Royalty.

Love, Knowledge, Power of chosen words, Three things,
Should he possess who speaks the words of Kings.
Love (to his Sovereign), Knowledge (of his affairs), and a discriminating Power of Speech (before other Sovereigns) are the Three sine qua non qualifications of an Ambassador.

Mighty in lore amongst the learned must he be,
Midst jav lin bearing Kings who speaks the words of Victory.
To be powerful in politics among those who are learned (in ethics) is the character of him who speaks to lance bearing kings on matters of triumph (to his own Sovereign).

Sense, goodly Grace, and Knowledge exquisite.
Who hath these Three for envoy s task is fit.
He may go on a mission (to foreign rulers) who has combined in him all these Three. viz., (natural) sense, an attractive bearing and well tried learning.

In terms concise, avoiding wrathful Speech, who utters pleasant word,
An envoy he who gains advantage for his lord.
He is an Ambassador who (in the presence of foreign rulers) speaks briefly, avoids harshness, talks so as to make them smile, and thus brings good (to his own Sovereign).

An envoy meet is he, well learned, of fearless eye
Who speaks right home, prepared for each emergency.
He is an Ambassador who having studied (politics) talks impressively, is not afraid of angry looks, and knows (to employ) the art suited to the time.

He is the best who knows what s due, the time considered well,
The place selects, then ponders long ere he his errand tell.
He is chief (among Ambassadors) who understands the proper decorum (before foreign Princes), seeks the (proper) occasion, knows the (most suitable) place, and delivers his message after (due) consideration.

Integrity, resources, Soul determined, truthfulness.
Who rightly speaks his message must these marks possess.
The qualifications of him who faithfully delivers his Sovereign( s) message are purity, the support (of foreign Ministers), and boldness, with truthfulness in addition to the (aforesaid) Three.

His faltering Lips must utter no unworthy thing,
Who stands, with steady eye, to speak the mandates of his King.
He alone is fit to communicate (his Sovereign s) reply, who possesses the firmness not to utter even inadvertently what may reflect discredit (on the latter).

Death to the faithful one his embassy may bring;
To envoy gains assured advantage for his King.
He is the Ambassador who fearlessly seeks his Sovereign s good though it should cost him his life (to deliver his message).

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