Hermeneutics Of Iniyavai Naarpadhu And Inna Naarpadhu

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Guru Prapanna Sri. A. S , Jayapriya. J , Poornima. T , Dr. KP Naachimuthu


The present state of affairs in the society reveals a striking trend of disaccord within- an individual, the close circle of family/ friends and the broader nation. Researches are increasingly probing into the various causes and solutions for the phenomenon of moral degradation especially among the youth of the nation (Bhakta & Dutta, 2017; Boruah, 2017; Parihar et al, 2018). One way to remedy the situation would be to reconnect with the morals of the past. Therefore, a need was identified to dig into the ancient texts of timeless wisdom and systematically bring it to the forefront, from which the society can re-imbibe the values. Previous research literatures on such ancient Indian texts have majorly focused on great epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata. Yet, deriving moral lessons from a text written by a common man, based on his experiences is far simpler for a common man to identify with, and replicate than from a text about the Supreme. The Sangam literature that flourished in the ancient South India is widely known for its eloquent texts on matters relating to both romance and didacticism, written by commoners. In the present study, the two post Sangam didactic texts of Iniyavai Narpadhu (describing the most fruitful things in life, in 40 stanzas) and Inna Naarpadhu (describing the most fruitless things in life, in 40 stanzas) was studied using a hermeneutic approach. The different translations and commentaries along with the interaction with Tamil scholars and Psychology professors were used to gain a thorough understanding of the possible intended message of the texts. After analyzing the texts, it was observed that the two texts have touched upon certain specific aspects of human life in common. The stanzas were categorized into various clusters based on the commonalities in order to facilitate a deeper grasp of each cluster. The 9 core themes identified from the clusters were - Wisdom, Integrity and Honour, Giving and Accountability, Self-concept and Incongruence, Competence, Self-management, Close relationships and Affiliation, Social support and Community Well-being, Justice and Governance. The various lessons covered under these core themes have been discussed. It was observed that the core theme of ‘Accountability and Giving’ is stressed the most in both the texts of Iniyavai and Inna Naarpadhu. This theme brings out an individual’s responsibilities towards himself and to those around him. The study may have implications in a person’s subjective happiness; his interaction with his friends and colleagues as well as serve as a guide for himself, as a citizen.

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