Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Maxim # 19: இணக்கமறிந் திணங்கு -- Probe the congeniality before befriending a person.

ஆத்திச்சூடி # 19: ணக்கமறிந் திணங்கு (e-nak-kam aRi-ndhu e-nan-gu)

Translation: Probe the congeniality before befriending a person.

Rumination: The maxim must be read by splitting the words as follows: "இணக்கம் அறிந்து இணங்கு." The terms "இணக்கம் " means "congeniality," "அறிந்து" means "after probing," and "இணங்கு" means "befriend." Therefore one has to befriend a person only after that person's congeniliaty is well probed. My greatest asset lays in the camaraderie I enjoy with my friends. Each friend of mine is a crowning jewel in the diadem of my success. In contemporary language we talk about "matching of wavelengths." That is precisely what Auvaiyar lays down as a criterion to not just friendship, but to any relationship. In retrospect, I know where I had overlooked the wisdom behind this maxim when entering into what should have been a life long relationship as enshrined by our faith and culture of our times. Almost every society -- be it the West or the East -- is rampant with divorces, judicial separations, and annulments primarily because of the absence of congeniality and bonhomie in the persons entering into a relationship. Probing such a quality in each other is quintessential before consummating a relationship. In fact Thiruvalluvar wonderfully puts it in his Kural 510 -- "தேரான் தெளிவும் தெளிந்தான்கண் ஐயுறவும் தீரா இடும்பை தரும்," i.e., "Gaining a person without probing as well as suspecting a person after gaining always result in endless misery." Notice the stress given to "probing" on all these counts, before electing to have the person in a relationship. The secret to success of any relationship involving two people is pretty simple: just be as best friends to each other. And that can happen only when the probity, congeniality, and bonhomie of the other person is thoroughly probed before accepting into one's life.

When you gain a friend, gain him through testing, and do not trust him hastily. A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter. He that has found one has found a treasure. There is nothing so precious as a faithful friend, and no scales can measure his excellence. A faithful friend is an elixir of life. -- Holy Bible, Ecclesiasticus 6:7,14-16 (RSV)

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