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The value of a cereal grain – A short story from saint’s Thiruvalluvar Thirukkural



To write an epic like Ramayana , Bhagavad Gita , Thirukkural  etc is a predominant task.  Epics not only introduce us to spiritual values, but also teaches rules of life and make man realize them. It is only possible for great wise people to create such epics. In this world many epic stories have stood and followed as culture by many communities. Among them Thirukkural is one of the famous epic written by great Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar. Just like a painter takes care of minute aspects while creating a canvas image , these poets consolidate their experience and incidents around them and make those reach the people which serve as valuable treasure of teachings. One such incident in Maha kavi Thiruvalluvar life , teaches us a valuable lesson and makes us to think deeper.

Vasuki , Thiruvalluvar’s wife was very much devoted to him ( Pathivrathe) , she used to support him in all his spiritual acts and deeds. When she was aged and old , she succumbed with some disease. Slowly she came to knew this disease was reducing her life and she may die soon.  Once she called Thiruvalluvar , made him to sit beside her and asked – “Swamy , I am very lucky to be wife of you. I am not sure how I have been useful to you or contributed to achieve your goals success. But I am satisfied with my efforts. I may not live for more time now. I have learnt from you not to fear death and get depressed. I am not worried about death. But my mind always had one doubt , I cannot withstand keeping it further with me . Can I ask that doubt ?” . Thiruvalluvar was surprised and asked her doubt. She replied – “Since marriage, when I joined your family , you had given me an order to keep one pin and one Shanka (conch shell) beside the food served on banana leaf without fail. I had not asked the reason for this and kept following for 20 years. But you never used them. Many times I had thought of asking about its secret , but was fearing you. Can I know the reason behind this? “

Thiruvalluvar consoled his wife and replied “Vasuki , I am very lucky to have you as my wife. You are  so devoted towards me. I am very thankful to you in this regard. The answer to your doubt is very simple. In our food, the cereal grain is a tool for our growth and life. We should treat it with respect. While having food If any one cereal grain goes out of my banana leaf and falls on the ground , my intention was to use a pin to slowly pick the cereal from the ground , clean it with the water present in conch shell and put it back on the banana leaf so that I can eat it. The reason why I did not use this is, till now not even once you have spilled cereals on floor while serving food, you had taken such proper care. You had served me with great care and responsibility”. By saying this Thiruvalluvar is not only consoling his wife but also teaches a lesson for us.

The above story makes one realize, If we know the efforts put by our farmers behind the production of one cereal grain till it reaches our meal plate, then we know its value and may not waste food during serving or leave behind after our course of meal. Leaving behind or wasting a cereal grain is like not paying /respecting dues to the farmer’s sweat efforts.

Hope you have enjoyed this story. Remember to share this wise story and educate others not to waste even single grain of food and make good use of it to the needed. 

Click here for more such moral values short stories

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