A while ago, I came across a great profile in Twitter - OldTamilPoetry which brings a lot of classical Tamil poetry back into light with soulful translations. Many of them blew my mind, one of which was Aasarakovai. Little did I know about this literature, let alone the poem.

Talk about timing - just when I am discovering more about personalities and social behavior (growing up in short. But who would miss the chance to show off some book reading skills :P), this poem was such an eye opener. Not that the thought is unique today. But to think of this being ever relevant - since more than a millennium ago is so profound. To find what would typically be told by the likes of Steve Pinker and Jordan Peterson in a Sangam Literature Tamil poem is “deep” to say the least - for the lack of a better word. Made me realize Wisdom and Sapience are never restrained by the illusion of superiority in language or race.

All the while, it is equally comical to see that our species hasn’t evolved philosophically for ages. Is this an assertion of us being genetically good at bullshitting? You tell me!

விரைந்து உரையார்; மேன்மேல் உரையார்; பொய் ஆய
பரந்து உரையார்; பாரித்து உரையார்;ஒருங்கு எனைத்தும்
சில் எழுத்தினானே, பொருள் அடங்க, காலத்தால்
சொல்லுப செவ்வி அறிந்து!

Translation

Don’t talk fast; don’t talk often; don’t embellish with lies; don’t be verbose – but cover the subject with clarity, use few words and speak at the right moment.

One must not talk fast; should not repeat his sentences; should not exaggerate and lie; and must not use too many words. On the other hand, cover the subject completely and with clarity, use only few words to explain oneself and wait for the right time to put forward his thoughts.