About 2200 years ago, deep in the south of bhAratham, there lived a simple and noble young woman by name Vasuki. She was the daughter of an affluent farmer, an ordinary village girl. Some say, they, Vasuki and her family, lived somewhere in the present day Chennai, which was and is actually Mylapore.
She lived near where a young weaver lived. Her Father, the farmer, who sow the weaver grow up; was very much impressed by this young weaver with Divine attributes. Therefore, He, the Father decided to give Vasuki in marriage to this weaver boy. However, the weaver boy was not that easy to be convinced to take Vasuki in marriage before a real test. Probably, un-like these days, this was a prevalent form of choice at that time. Tests were common then; as man testing a woman, his prospective wife; or the woman or her parents testing the would-be bridegroom; to see if compatibility existed between those who were being joined together. It was also common for a Guru to test a candidate for disciple, a politician being tested before getting appointed to be a minister, or a soldier getting tested before appointment. It was also common for an ordinary person to test a prospective friend before opening his heart and home for that friend. So, all were in agreement and the ‘bride-to-be’, to be was tested.
The weaver asked Vasuki to take a handful of sand and boil it into ‘cocked rice meal’ for him. She, without the slightest hesitation took up the challenge picked up the sand, cooked it into a very delicious and flavorful rice meal, and served the young man. The young weaver, satisfied by the divine attributes of Vasuki, married her and they turned out to be the best of ideal couples in the whole world; She the Divine, ideal and devoted wife; who never, disobeyed her husband, not even once. She always carried out His wishes implicitly and He the Divine, loving, caring and noble husband ever could be.
This young operate, the weaver; besides weaving cloths for which our land was famous even then, was also an accomplished intellectual and Divine Personality. He was none other than the Great Yogi, ThiruvalluvaR, who provided us with the Greatest of the ethical code of our ancestry and perhaps of the whole world, The Great ThirukkuRaL. Some say ThiruvalluvaR was the son of one BhagavAn, a Brahmin, and Adi, a Pariah woman whom BhagavAn had married.
One legend says that it was in Madurai, the ancient capital of the kingdom we came to know as “Paandya Kingdom”, where Vasuki and ThiruvalluvaR lived. It may be so, because, Kings were the trustees of art and Culture those days and thus the Great Yogi who was a Poet also might have been or thought to have been associated with that Kingdom in Madhurai. However, really it does not matter much, where they lived. What matters is that they lived and showed us that how great family life can be, if the husband and wife are perfect for each other and also gave us “The ThirukkuRaL”.
Vasuki and ValluvaR had a perfect life. There are quite a few stories, how they complimented each other and how Devine they both were.
One day, Vasuki was drawing water, from the family well just outside the house. (Those days to fetch the water from wells a long wooden pole was setup high above the well. Then a container/bucket lowered into the well with a rope using a wheel on a pole or the pole itself as a pivotal point. Then the water-filled bucket pulled up with hand.) At the exact time, the bucket reached above ground level, and as Vasuki was to take it, ValluvaR called her to come to him. Her dedication was so high that she rushed to him, abandoning the rope. To the astonishment of all, the bucket was in midair, with full of water with no one holding the rope or anyone or anything supporting the bucket. The bucket filled with water, remained suspended in the air defying the law of gravity, until she returned.
On another time, ValluvaR was at breakfast, which consisted of cold rice from the day before (Pazhamchoru or Pazmkanji). The weaver said to his wife, “This rice is too hot to eat. It is burning my fingers!” Vasuki without any hesitation began fanning the rice and steam rose from the rice, a sign of heat, as she cooled it down for him to eat.
Another time, ValluvaR was working with his handloom at midday and dropped a needle to the floor. Even with bright sunlight shining, He called to his wife to bring a lamp so he could look for the lost needle. She immediately lit the oil lamp for her husband without the slightest of hesitation on his demand, which was seemingly unreasonable for the on lookers. Thus was her dedication and love for him, without which, the family life will not be what it should be.
ValluvaR and Vasuki lived a peaceful, loving life for a long time. They had children to delight them and family who offered them support, love and affection in their later life. As it was time for Vasuki to leave the body, which was the Temple of abode for that jeevAtman, ValluvaR asked her, if there was anything, he could do for her. Promptly the answer came, followed by a question. She said, “Yes”, “my Lord, all our life, from the very first day, you asked me to place a small cup of fresh water and a needle beside you at every meal.” “May I know, My Dear Lord, why you asked me to do this?”
ValluvaR said, “I asked for the water and needle to be kept nearby so that; if you ever spilled any food, (mostly rice then) while serving, I wanted to pick it up with the needle and rinse it with the water and eat it to avoid waste. However, my darling, you never dropped a single grain of rice in all these years. There was never an occasion to put the needle and water to use.” With a fully satisfied mind, Vasuki passed on. These stories idealize the perfect couple for a perfect family life.
Vasuki, the wife, the one with the lesser of the intellect and with the lesser knowledge of the two, kept her wifely attitude of never questioning her husband, as He was the one with better knowledge and understanding. She showed the world how a wife should conduct herself perfectly. She, not even once, in all their life, dropped a single grain of rice! Unmistakable was Vasuki and kept her side of the homily affairs perfect. In addition, ValluvaR kept fulfilling His dhaRMam, spreading the words of wisdom, through His words and deeds.
ValluvaR cremated Vasuki according to dedication and returned home. He then wrote: “0’ my beloved, who is sweeter than my daily food, ‘O’ my darling, who has never even once disobeyed me, ‘O’ gentle one, who rubbing my feet, would go to bed after me and rise before me every single day of our life, are You gone? How can slumber ever come again to my un-slumbering eyes?”
In ThirukkuRaL He wrote, “I now realize that her eyes produce two different effects on me. One: the look of her eyes produces pain in me; and the other, the very same eyes act as a healing balm and removes the pain.” On love, He wrote in ThirukkuRaL; “When the eyes of one convey the message of love, which eyes of the other gladly receive; of what use are the words uttered by lips.”
Our Spirituality, which is actually ‘braHMavidya’, is not just a religion but the ‘Science of the Absolute’. NaTarAja Guru called it “The Science of the Absolute”, Swami VivekAnandan, called it “the Science of the soul” and ChinmayAanada Swami called it “The Science of the Self”.
Our Spiritual Masters, in fact has prescribed four legitimate goals of human life. They are dhaRMam, aRdham, kAmam and mOkSham. Though the exact meaning cannot be expressed in the language of the British, you may call these as virtue, wealth, love and liberation. Through ThirukkuRaL, ThiruvalluvaR discuss all the four in depth. He discusses everything human needs to function in the roles of the householder, the monk, the King, the merchant, the soldier, the farmer; how all should conduct their life. He discusses good conduct & the bad, wealth, business, government, politics and the building of the nation. He discusses the most important for the family life, the LOVE and the relationships of men and women. (This author is not referring to the present day term ‘relationship’).
ValluvaR also discussed the final goal of life, the MOkSham from birth & rebirth and renunciation. Through ThirukkuRaL, He carefully explains how to live a life while treading the path to that moksham.
The culture of the land portrayed by ThiruvalluvaR in ThirukkuRaL based on two principles, non-violence and a class/casteless society, as the foundation and structure and its economics.
ThirukkuRaL shows us that two centuries before the Christian era was supposed to have begun, the culture of the land of our ancestors, was based upon the non-violence and equality of all. But some Christian missionaries tried to establish that, their Bible have influenced ThirukkuRaL, and they still try doing so. They have been arguing that the ThirukkuRaL filled with such compassion, which can only be found in their bible. How can ThirukkuRaL written, more than 200 years before even the Christian era reported to have started can contain material from bible, written more than 300 years after the Christian era supposed to have started. That makes it a difference of more than500 years. The possibility is for the other way around, the bible being plagiarized from our Spiritual BOOKS. However, you could find many westerners claiming that the ThirukkuRaL was only written in first, second or even the third century ADE. Even the first mantRam of ThirukkuRaL itself is a proof against this. ThiruvalluvaR is referring to the “Absolute” in that, not as ‘God’ (KadavuL or Divam) but ‘Aadi bhagavAn’, which is the equivalent for parabrHMam.
Over and above there is a claim that ThiruvalluvaR was baptized by so-called St Thomas, of whom there is no historical proof and thus never visited our land. Even there is no historical evidence of a Christ ever living as described in the bible.
The life of Vasuki and ValluvaR gives the world a lesson that everyone has a role in this world and obeying the husband is not slavery for the female, and loving and caring for wife do not bring down the stature of husband either. It also tells us that roles of the two cannot be the same.
Success of every family depends on the relation between its members. Husband and wife being the main-stay; the “husband-wife” relation has to be based on Love and Devotion to each other; if not it must be made so; then only Family can be successful. In such a relation the husband shall be the Devan and wife the Devi. Husband should be the worshiped and the wife the worshiper; the same way the wife should be the worshiped and the husband the worshiper. Never one should be the ruler and the other ruled.
Written by and © Udayabhanu Panickar