Sunday, January 23, 2005

Maxim # 10: ஒப்புரவு ஒழுகு - Be a cosmopolite.

ஆத்திச்சூடி # 10: ப்புரவு ஒழுகு (op-pur-avu ozhu-gu)

Translation: Be a cosmopolite.

Intended Translation: When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

Rumination: The term "ஒப்புரவு" refers to "worldly practices du jour" and "ஒழுகு" to "follow." So, this maxim exhorts one to adapt and acclimate to the worldly practices that are prevalent in one's own locale for the maintenance of social order. The English idiom of, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do," succinctly captures this idea. We are 'programmed' human-beings. We tend to see things in our own ways. When placed in a new situation, culture, or a country, a few of us get antsy by being judgmental and carping about it saying that our status quo ante seemed to be much better. Apart from causing physical and mental anguish, such an embitterment also robs the opportunity to learn and benefit from the new situation, culture, or whatever it may be. Auvaiyar stresses the need for raising up a child as a cosmopolite -- one who is at home in every place. In Socrates' words, "a citizen of the world," to be precise.


  • "I am neither an Athenian nor a Greek; I am a citizen of the world." -- Socrates, circa 469 B.C - 399 B.C.

  • "I am a Hindu, a Muslim, a Christian and a Jew; for, either I am all of these or I am none of these". -- Mahatma Gandhi.

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