Tkl 2 2 06

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


2.2.6. Conduct in the Presence of the King

Who warm them at the fire draw not too near, nor keep too much aloof;
Thus let them act who dwell beneath of warlike Kings the palace roof.
Ministers who serve under fickle minded Monarchs should, like those who warm themselves at the fire, be neither (too) far, nor (too) near.

To those who prize not state that Kings are wont to prize,
The King himself abundant Wealth supplies.
For Ministers not to cover the things Desired by their Kings will through the Kings themselves yield them everlasting Wealth.

Who would walk warily, let him of greater faults beware;
To clear suspicions once aroused is an achievement rare.
Ministers who would save themselves should avoid (the commission of) serious errors for if the King s suspicion is once roused, no one can remove it.

All whispered words and interchange of smiles repress,
In presence of the men who Kingly power possess.
While in the presence of the Sovereign, Ministers should neither whisper to nor smile at others.

Seek not, ask not, the secret of the King to hear;
But if he lets the matter forth, give ear!
(When the King is engaged) in secret counsel (with others), Ministers should neither over hear anything whatever nor pry into it with inquisitive questions, but (wait to) listen when it is divulged (by the King himself).

Knowing the signs, waiting for fitting time, with courteous care,
Things not displeasing, needful things, declare.
Knowing the (king s disposition and seeking the right time, (the Minister) should in a pleasing manner suggest things such as are desirable and not disagreeable.

Speak pleasant things, but never utter idle word;
Not though by Monarch s Earse with Pleasure heard.
Ministers should (always) give agreeable Advice but on no occasion recommend useless actions, though requested (to do so).

Say not, He s young, my kinsman, despising thus your King;
But reverence the glory Kingly state doth bring.
Ministers should behave in accordance with the (Divine) light in the person of Kings and not despise them saying, "He is our junior (in age) and connected with our family!".

We ve gained his grace, boots nought what graceless acts we do
So deem not Sages who the changeless vision view.
Those whose judgement is firm will not do what is disagreeable (to the Sovereign) saying (within themselves) "We are esteemed by the King".

Who think We re ancient Friends and do unseemly things;
To these familiarity sure ruin brings.
The (foolish) claim with which a Minister does unbecoming acts because of his (long) familiarity (with the King) will ensure his ruin.

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