The Tamil word ‘aram’ is not easy to translate. Some translate it as dharma. Qualities like envy, anger and greed predominate in most of us. Overcoming such qualities can be called ‘aram,’ said Malayaman, in a discourse.
Many Tamil poets have written about ‘aram’. Vilambi Naganar says love towards all leads to empathy and kindness, and these may be taken to be the foundation of ‘aram’. Munaippaadiyar wrote a work called Aranericchaaram . It talks of worldly attachments and of being freed from attachments, which eventually leads to liberation from the cycle of births and deaths. It says that to live without malice towards anyone, to have love for all mankind, is the proper way to live. Deceiving others and turning away from those who need help are traits to despised. This poet lists ten qualities as desirable: honesty, patience, lofty thoughts, penance, humility, impartiality, selflessness, saintliness, desire to do good to others and adherence to ‘vratas’.
Kanimedhaviyar says honesty, spurning alcohol, not befriending wicked people, not abusing others are the qualities one must have, and a person who has such qualities does not need to read works that preach dharma, for he already knows the dharmic way of living. Poet Avvaiyar said we should have the urge to do good things. She said there is nothing better than domestic life. The Tamil work Pinkalandai says a person who has no gratitude towards those who helped him deserves to be punished. Thiruvalluvar says he who has a pure heart is a good man. This might seem easy, but having good thoughts is difficult. We may pretend to be good, but our hearts are filled with envy and ill-will towards others. If we can get rid of such negative thoughts, we will qualify to be called good human beings.