Monday, April 1, 2024

Worthy Success?

Whatever it is that you want out of life, the philosophers will tie it right back to your character. Irritating though it is to discover that they have no convenient instruction manual that helps you achieve success, say, in six easy steps, it is difficult to fault them for it. I mean, even if you DID have those six easy steps to success, it IS your character that will help you DO what is needed in those six steps. So, yeah, sad though it is to acknowledge, character sort of matters.

Tiru has his own list of characteristics that are required. In this Kural, it is not so much about what is needed to get success but what is needed to make it worthy.

Serukkunj Sinamum sirumaiyum illaar perukkam perumidha neertthu - Tirukkural

The success of only he, who lacks arrogance, anger and low desire, is considered of great worth - Loose Translation.

Well, well, well! I mean, really, what is the use of success then? Do you not chase success so that you can lord it over others? So that you have no need to rein in your temper now that the other guy cannot cause you harm? Because you can satisfy your every desire? Or does Tiru define success like these sages do...the only worthwhile success is in realizing the Almighty or some such?

Or, perhaps, it is just that he is worried about whether other people will consider you are worthy of respect. If you throw your weight around and indulge in all your desires, you will lose the respect of those around you and, thus, your success will be hollow. THAT, perhaps, though it is also a fact that the very fact of your being successful will cause people to start questioning your worth. Which is why, from the day after someone is declared an idol, people start hunting for clay in his feet.

All that, really, is twisting and turning to avoid the need to change your character! Yes, it is true that there WILL be people who will hate your success...but it is not for them that you need to not let success go to your head. It is for those who you care for and those who care for is THEY who you can alienate, lose and never find again if you allow your success to make you arrogant, intemperate and hedonistic.

AND then, there IS this problem. For, as long as you keep throwing your weight around, you are also aware that, given a chance, those around you would want to turn the tables on you. Success, then, seems more like riding a tiger. You live in fear of being thrown off and getting mauled. Does that seem of great worth, then?

You know, these guys like Tiru...they make everything seem so difficult. Difficult to succeed, difficult to keep your success, need to control behavior no matter what your status...yuck! Hardly worth being alive, I tell you!

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