Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Maxim # 20: தந்தை தாய்ப் பேண் -- Safeguard your Father and Mother.

ஆத்திச்சூடி # 20: ந்தை தாய்ப் பேண் (thun-thai thAAi pAyn)

Translation: Safeguard your Father and Mother.

Rumination: This one is pretty self explanatory. "தந்தை" refers to Dad, "தாய்" to Mom, and "பேண்" to "protect" or "safeguard." The Book of Tora common to three major faiths of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity has its fifth commandment as, "Thou shalt honor thy father and mother." Indian culture celebrates the ladder of perfection as a route that starts with one's mother, father, teacher and finally to the Eternal One who encompasses all the rest. However, the journey starts with one's mother and father. It amazes me that Auvaiyar is not exhorting subservience in a child to its parents. Rather, she shoulders a responsibility on the kid to "safeguard" or "protect" its parents. It is obvious that she is talking in clairvoyant terms with lots of hope in the young kids. These days, the value, honor, and respect to human life is being undermined in every way. Geriatric parents are considered to be an abominal excess awaiting good riddance. Career and personal ambitions allow no wiggling room to even consider the welfare of one's parents in any decision-making. I have noticed with pain as to how the geriatrics are lampooned, cursed, abused and even physically assaulted in India. Sudden spurt in hospices and homes for the aged are a fitting denouement to the crass indifference of modern day youths. Many tend to compare old-aged parents to that of kids. Sure, the former signifies the crepuscular twilight of the dusk and the latter the refreshing rays of dawn in the wonderful horizon of humanity. He who loves his kids, yet not his parents, seems to deceive himself. Because every morning ends with an evening. As my favorite lines of John Donne goes, "Never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."


  • "I once picked up a woman from a garbage dump and she was burning with fever; she was in her last days and her only lament was: ‘My son did this to me.’ I begged her: You must forgive your son. In a moment of madness, when he was not himself, he did a thing he regrets. Be a mother to him, forgive him. It took me a long time to make her say: ‘I forgive my son.’ Just before she died in my arms, she was able to say that with a real forgiveness. She was not concerned that she was dying. The breaking of the heart was that her son did not want her. This is something you and I can understand."-- Blessed Mother Teresa.
  • "It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start. " -- Blessed Mother Teresa.

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