Faith

Vallalar, practical philosopher

How should a rich man save his wealth for the future? Thiruvalluvar had the answer. He said that providing food to the hungry ensured one’s future welfare. That was a rich man’s guarantee for the future. It is easy to discuss Vedanta when our needs on this earth have been met. But when one is starving, it is impossible to think of God, or to indulge in any spiritual seeking. Hunger drives out all other thoughts from our mind. We can think of nothing but food. Everything else has to wait until we have eaten.

Vallalar, whose mission was to spread good values, knew that the need for food must first be met before people would seek spirituality. Vallalar was practical in his philosophical approach to life, said Malayaman in a discourse. He, therefore, established a scheme to provide food free of cost. He established the Satya Dharma Salai, in Vadalur, for this purpose. Here, even today, food is provided to everyone, without caste distinctions. Vallalar said Lord Siva danced in the hearts of those who treated all living things alike. Such a pure heart was a much sought after abode as far as God was concerned. Vallalar advised against a man remarrying upon the death of his wife. Vallalar spoke against the subjugation of women. He said that a woman should not be made to remove her mangalsutra when her husband died.

He was sorry that while many toiled in the fields, the land was owned by a few. He believed that wealth should not be concentrated in the hands of a few. At the same time, he also said that we should never desire what belongs to another. He described the natural wealth of the Tamil region. It had water bodies; it received copious rains; it had fertile lands; and it was equally rich in intelligence and good conduct.


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