Diaries Magazine

Love Only Supports Virtue?

Posted on the 10 December 2018 by C. Suresh
Aratthukke Anbu Sarbenba Ariyaar; Maratthukkum akdhe thunai - Tirukkural
The ignorant think love is only a support for virtue; it is also a support for ridding yourself of your vices - Loose Translation
You know what, this chap Tiru really had ALL his marbles. In his time, at least, and for quite a few decades after that, this 'destroyer of vice' thing has been of great use for all the so-called 'bad boys' of the world. Or so, at least, popular literature would have had me believe.
There was this thing, then, about women preferring to love the 'bad boy' because they wanted the high of having their love 'redeem' him. How true it is I would not know, never having been a bad boy OR having had a woman in my life. And, yes, I was also of the 'ignorant' who thought that love would support the virtuous, though my definition of virtue was rather elastic. Alas, even so, it probably did not get into the really interesting territory of being a 'bad boy', perhaps!
If that is true, this idea of women loving bad boys because their love can then be a destroyer of vice, I suppose that the bad boys of the day had strong reason not to be redeemed. I mean, yeah fine, so the love kicked in to destroy their vice but, once the vice was destroyed, could they bank on it to stay on to be a supporter of virtue or not? If not, what was really the point in losing both the vices and the love?
But, yeah, all that in popular literature is probably so much gas...and patriarchal, let me say before others jump on me screaming it. Tiru was not all that much into this sort of exciting speculation, nor does his life history say anything about his wife Vasuki marrying him to 'redeem' him.
So, it is more than likely that what he means is that if YOU love a person, as in really love which means that you really take pleasure in making that person happy rather than in seeing what they will do to make YOU happy (Yeah! Think mothers and their children, if you find it tough to think that of spouses), THAT love will ensure that you not only stay virtuous but will also cause you to rid yourself of your vices. For your virtues and your vices will also reflect, in the eyes of Society, on those you love, even when they do not directly affect them (You know the sort of thing - she is that thief's mother, that drunkard's wife...things like that).
Well, he was living in more ideal times, of course. At least in his mind. It has been ages since your virtues or vices had anything to do with your social standing.
It is all about money, now!

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