Thirukkural, on the other hand, is a collection of meaningful maxims that attempts to make us think, reason, and understand
The ability to think, reason, and understand protects one, like the fortress to a garrison, from surprises. (Kural 421)
People who clear their doubts by seeking out facts will find the sky less mysterious than the earth. (KJural 353)
Do not be distracted by the notion of fate; if you persevere with the right effort you will succeed. (Kural 619)
Bhagavad Gita is a collection of soothing songs that attempts to make us perform Knowledge Sacrifice
The knowledge Sacrifice is superior to any material sacrifice, O Arjuna, because all actions in their entirety culminate in knowledge .(Ch 4.33)
O Arjuna, those who hae no faith in this knowledge (Bhagavad Gita) follow the cycle of birth and death without attaining me. (Ch. 9.03)
O Arjuna, you will go to heaven if killed, or you will enjoy the earth if victorious. Therefore, get up with determination to fight. (Ch. 2.37)
Arjuna led the Pandavas and Duriyodhana the Kauravas. The war, fought mainly with bows and arrows, lasted eighteen days and took away more than six hundred and forty million lives. Krishna, the Supreme Controller, was the charioteer and mentor of Arjuna.
Arjuna, at the start of the war, on seeing his teachers, friends, and relations in the opposite side of the battlefield felt an instinctive repugnance for killing. Arjuna was able to rationalize the war as evil act and, hence, wanted to back off. He, however, confided his inner feeling of compassion in Krishna.
I do not wish to kill them, even in exchange for all three worlds, let alone the earthly kingdom, O Krishna. (1.35)
O Lord Krishna, what pleasure shall we find in killing the sons of Dhritaraashtra. Upon killing these felons we shall incur sin only. ( 1.36)
Although they, overwhelmed by greed, see no evil in the destruction of a family or fighting with friends - why should we, with conscience, engage in the act of killing? ( 1.38)
O Krishna! Why should not we turn away from this sin? (1.39)
Arjuna, having confided in Krishna, had cast aside his weapons (bow and arrows), and sat down on the chariot, his mind was overwhelmed with guilt conscience.
Arjuna decided to fight (kill) because he was made to believe: a) people were born under different castes in order to do their caste duties as prescribed by the Vedic Scriptures; b) they must focus on achieving their targets as specified in the Scriptures without regard to whether the means are justifiable (ethically, morally, and legally); c) the caste duties specified in the scriptures were not interchangeable among the castes; and d) he would go to heaven if he died in the fight or he would rule the earth if he killed his teachers, relations, friends and others who happened to be on the side of the Kauravas.
Thirukkural, on the other hand, disapproves killing.
While refraining from killing is an act of kindness, killing is an act of wickedness. (Kural 321)
Non-killing is the ultimate in morals - truthfulness comes second. (Kural 323)
Do not kill even to save your own life. (Kural 327)
1. It is unimaginable that the war, fought mainly with bows and arrows, claimed more than six hundred and forty million lives in eighteen days. Further, Kurukshetra, a holy place in India, couldn’t have accommodated six hundred and forty million living beings and the chariots. The war couldn’t have taken place (3).
2. Bhagavad Gita creates fear in people in order to make them accept caste system.
One can never achieve freedom from Karma without first performing the caste duties as prescribed by the Vedic Scriptures; neither can perfection be attained by renouncing them as well. (Ch 3.04)
Krishna, the creator of the caste system, should not be honored as the Supreme Lord. The Vedic Scriptures that condone caste based degradation of Humans should not be honored as prescribing morals. Anyone who calls us Sudras or asks us do manual labor to serve the Brahmins and other higher castes is, certainly, a scoundrel and an oppressor.
Tirukkural, on the other hand, is inspirational.
A pleasant demeanor, generosity, humility and respect for others are characteristics well-nurtured individuals. (Kural 953)
The status of one who submits to oppressors in order to gain personal glory is undignified; he will neither be honoured when he is alive nor be remembered when he is dead. (Kural 966).
It will be honorable to stand up to oppression and face the deadly consequences rather than submit to it in order to gain personal glory. (Kural 967)
3. Bhagavad Gita instills fear in order to make people to accept that caste duties are not interchangeable.
Performing your prescribed caste duties is better than renouncing them. One cannot even maintain his physical body without performing his prescribed duties. (Ch 3 .8 )
Performing one’s caste duty, as prescribed in the Vedic Scriptures, with faults is far better than performing another’s prescribed duty perfectly. Destruction in the course of performing one’s prescribed duty is better than engaging in another’s prescribed duty. Following another’s prescribed duty is dangerous. (Ch 3 . 35)
Tirukkural, on the other hand, encourages the duties of a householder.
One who does his duties well as a householder is a greater person than one who strives hard to become an ascetic. (Kural 47)
The duties of householders not only benefit the less fortunate but also propagate the practice of doing good deeds. They are more meaningful than the duties of the ascetics. (Kural 48)
4. Knowledge sacrifice is the core of Bhagavad Gita. It is stupid to obey, in the name of caste duty, the controller’s command and do wrong. Only the religious extremists will sacrifice their knowledge and kill innocent people. The person who killed Gandhi, for example, was a religious extremist (3).
Even if the most sinful person resolves to worship Me with single-minded loving devotion, such a person must be regarded as a saint. (Ch 9 .30)
Various kinds of sacrifices are prescribed by the Vedas. Understand that all manifest from Karma; Knowing this, you shall attain nirvana. (Ch 4 . 32)
The Knowledge Sacrifice is superior to any material sacrifice, O Arjuna, because all actions in their entirety culminate in knowledge. (Ch 4 . 33)
O Arjuna, those who have no faith in this knowledge (Bhagavad Gita) follow the cycle of birth and death without attaining Me. (Ch 9 . 03)
Tirukkural, on the other hand, stimulates one’s ability to think.
The ability to think, reason, and understand protects one, like the fortress to a garrison, from surprises. (Kural 421).
Your ability to think, reason, and understand helps you to progress with the world . (Kural 426)
5. Bhagavad Gita condones war and, hence, killing. It is wrong to become focused on achieving the delegated targets (the controller’s commands) without caring whether the means to achieve those targets are justifiable (morally, ethically and legally).
Considering your specific duty as a Kshatriya (warrior), you should know that there is nothing more auspicious than fighting this holy war. (Ch 2 . 31)
O Arjuna, you will go to heaven if killed, or you will enjoy the earth if victorious. Therefore, get up with determination to fight. (Ch 2 . 37 )
Tirukkural, on the other hand, encourages thinking before doing.
Act, only after knowing the benefits and costs of your action. (Kural 461)
Doing the wrong things is ruinous; failing to do the right things is also ruinous. (Kural 466)
Think before you act; it is wrong to act and then think about it. (Kural 467)
6. Bhagavad Gita is for people who are prepared to perform Knowledge sactifice.
This paramount of confidential secrets (Bhagavad Gita) should never be spoken by you to one who is devoid of austerity, who is without devotion, who does not desire to listen, or who speaks ill of Me. (Ch 18 . 67)
And I declare that he who studies this secret conversation (Bhagavad Gita) worships Me with Gnana-Yagna (knowledge sactifice. ( Ch 18 . 70)
The one who propagates this supreme secret philosophy (the transcendental knowledge of the Gita) amongst My devotees will be performing the highest devotional service to Me. He, therefore, shall certainly attain (come to ) Me. (Ch 18 . 68)
Whoever hears Gita with faith and without being critical becomes free from sinful reactions, and attains heaven. (Ch 18 . 71)
Thirukkural, on the other hand, is for everyone.
There is nothing more honorable than communicating the facts about “Aram” (doing things, with honor, for the good of the less fortunate) and “Porul” (realities of life) to others. (Kural 644)
While there is nothing greater than doing things for the good of the less fortunate, there is nothing worse than being oblivious to it. (Kural 32)
7. Bhagavad Gita contains meaningless statements and, hence, the more critically one analyses it the more confused he becomes.
In the unreal there is no duration and in the eternal there is no cessation; Seers have concluded this by studying the nature of both. (Ch 2.16)
The one who thinks that Atma is the slayer and the one who thinks that Atma is slain, both are ignorant, because Atma neither slays nor is slain. (Ch 2.19)
The Atma is neither born nor does it die at any time, nor having been it will cease to exist again. It is unborn, eternal, permanent, and primeval. The Atma is not destroyed when the body is destroyed. (Ch 2.20)
The endeavoring transcendentalist, in self-realization, can see Atma situated within the body clearly; but the ignorant, whose intellect is not pure, do not see the Atma even with great endeavour. (Ch 15.11)
The day of Brahma lasts one thousand Yugas (4.32 billion years) and that his night also lasts one thousand Yugas. (Ch 8.17)
In the day of Brahma, all living entities come into being, and when the night falls, all is annihilated. (Ch 18.18)
The living beings are born from food, food is produced by rain, rain comes from performance of sacrifice, and sacrifice is the result of Karma. (Ch 3. 14)
Thirukkural, on the other hand, encourages one to seek out facts.
One who propagates meaningless statements is a useless person; he is like a weed in the garden. (Kural 196)
People who clear their doubts by seeking out facts will find the sky less mysterious than the earth. (Kural 353)
If one can establish realities by seeking out facts, the notion of rebirth will not trouble him. (Kural 357)
The knowledge of facts will reveal that notion of rebirth is a fallacy. (Kural 358)
Only those who are aware that their lives are impermanent will appreciate that each day passes they have one day less to live. (Kural 334)
Life is impermanent and, ends when the body that shelters it ceases to function. (Kural 340)
Do not be distracted by the notion of fate; if you persevere with the right effort you will succeed. (Kural 619)
8. Bhagavad Gita and Compassion are antithetical.
When Arjuna confided his feelings of compassion and guilt conscience in Krishna, Krishna refused to pay heed. Caste duty takes precedence over compassion.
Thirukkural, on the other hand, propagates compassion.
When a warrior fights with an enemy he demonstrates his bravery, when he shows compassion towards a wounded enemy he demonstrates his valor. (Kural 773)
Compassion is the ultimate in wealth; other valuable material possessions do not count as even a degenerate may own them. (Kural 241)
Compassion drives one to do things for the good of the less fortunate and hence, supports progress; be a compassionate person. (Kural 242)
There is no greater honor than doing things for the good of the less fortunate - it is one of the best ways to generate wealth. (Kural 31)
9. Bhagavad Gita is a means to oppress us as Sudras.
The duties of Sudras are to do manual work and to serve Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas. (Ch 18.44)
As the ignorant perform their duties with the attachment to the results, similarly the wise may also act, but without attachment, for the sake of leading people on the right path. (3/25)
Let not the wise create discord in the minds of the ignorant people who are attached to results. They should not be encouraged to refrain from doing their prescribed duties. (Ch 3.26)
Thirukkural, on the other hand, is inspirational.
People who compromise themselves by submitting to oppression rather than safeguarding the dignity of the human race are as good as dead (Kural 968)
Honorable people will be prepared to give up anything to safeguard the dignity of the human race - they will even die for it. (Kural 969)
There is no greater honor than to persevere with doing something for the good of the community. (Kural 1021)
10. Bhagavad Gita enforces that one must achieve his delegated targets (caste duties) without regards to whether the means are justifiable (morally, ethically, or legally).
Give up all ideas of righteousness, and just surrender unto Me; and in return I shall protect you from all sinful reactions. Therefore, you have nothing to fear. (Ch 18.66)
Do thou fight for the sake of fighting, without considering happiness or distress, loss or gain, victory or defat - and, by so doing, you shall never incur sin. (Ch 2.38)
You have the right to perform your prescribed duty, but no control or claim over the results. You are not the course of action. You should not have any attachment that prevents you from doing your prescribed duty. (Ch 2.47)
Thirukkural, on the other hand, encourages effectiveness
One who is compassionate, principled, pleasant and courageous will be a responsible executive. (Kural 501)
To select an ignorant person as an executive solely on your personal relationship with him is not only foolish but will also cause problems. (Kural 507)
Only people who have the ability to tell right from wrong should be delegated with authority. (Kural 511)
Delegate the authority only if the subordinate will accept accountability. (Kural 518)
11. Bhagavad Gita ignores the importance of social responsibility, accountability, reasoning, and team work. As such an executive who runs his office on the basis of Bhagavad Gita will be ineffective. It will be disastrous, if the executive is also indoctrinated with Bhagavad Gita.
Practicing Thirukkural, on the other hand, enhances personal integrity, effectiveness and leadership qualities. It stimulates a person’s mind and provokes him to think, reason, and understand instead of simply performing in ignorance.
Learn, until you get rid of your ignorance and then having obtained the required knowledge and skill, put them into practice. (Kural 391)
Do your deed with honor for the good of the less fortunate; there is no greater reward than that. (Kural 231)
Those who do penance by fasting are great people but come second to those who show forbearance. (Kural 160)
While the ability to think, reason, and understand is one’s success factor, the lack of it is his Achilles heel. (Kural 430)
The more critically a person analyses the Thirukkural the more mature he will become