An Index of Spiritual Development:




            You have been attending our Training sessions for quite some time now; and you should, as of right, have some means to ascertain for yourselves the extent to which you have progressed spiritually.


            I have told you before that the very first index of development, which others around you would notice in you, even before you do, would be the subsidence of mental agitation and perturbation. Another measure on the scale is that in your interaction with others, the element of Friction would become less and less, and finally abate totally. Friction-free interaction with the environment is a definite stage of advancement for you.


            Look at the number of persons you have to meet and deal with from morning to evening — vegetable-vendor, bus-conductor, co-passengers or other road-users, colleagues in the office, and relatives and friends who drop in and drop out without notice. Not all of them could be expected to be pleasant and congenial in their behaviour, but they have their place in the sun and cannot be wished off the face of the Earth just because you do not like their demeanour. The first Prime Minister of India once said in the Parliament that he did not prefer to visit Calcutta (now Kolkata) because it was “a city of processions.” Stung to the quick by the gratuitous insult, an irrepressible and scholarly MP from West Bengal, by name Bhupesh Gupta, retorted, “When common people are burdened with unending problems, they have to do something to ventilate their grievances. They cannot refrain from taking out rallies and processions just because a great man feels annoyed about them” ! Tolerant co-existence is the essence of the democratic way of life, which even an erudite Prime Minister had to be reminded about.


            At the place of work, there is often much purposeless talk on matters political and social. Sometimes such a discussion between two persons would turn acrimonious leading to a hot exchange of words and even fisticuffs. In my Trade Union days I once had to handle a case of two colleagues who had both been served with suspension-orders on the ground that one pushed the other to the floor by way of settling an argument on a political topic. The charge-sheeted were in their fifties and it was quite a task to draft a reply that would get them off the hook. At the end of it all, I counselled them, “Office is the place where you come to earn a living. Why do you indulge there in extraneous activities?” I am relating this case-study so that when you face a similar situation, you may correct yourself through introspection. Remember what Gautama the Buddha advised his disciples, “O monks, when two or more of you gather, talk about the Dhamma (Philosophy); or maintain a noble silence.”


            According to Sage Tiruvalluvar the hallmark of learning is only friction-free interaction. When you visit a factory or a newspaper establishment, have a look at the rear-side of a giant machine there. You would find innumerable toothed-wheels, all of them in rotation in clockwise and anti-clockwise directions. Each toothed-wheel would be fitting into the next, but you would hear no screeching sound. That is because the wheels are fine-ground and also lubricated. In like manner should you organise your dealings with the persons and objects in the phenomenal world. If a screeching sound emanates, it means that the lubricant has dried up. The lubricant in this case is jnaanam (wisdom). Apply it forthwith or the entire machinery would come to a stop and call for major overhauling and repairs.


Valluvar says in Verse 140 of Tirukural : “They who have not learnt (the art of) friction-free interaction are to be reckoned as ignoramuses only, however learned they may otherwise be (in a variety of subjects). I am giving below the transliteration of the couplet :

            Ulagathodu otta ozhugal pala katrum

            Kallar arivu ilathaar.”

The phrase otta ozhugal in line 1 does not mean “conforming to” as stated by traditional commentators; it actually connotes “interacting without friction”. As always, Sage Tiruvalluvar has the last word in any subject under Management Science.


— Excerpt from a Talk by Sage TGN on

Way of Life charted by Valluvar



Await Message : J.Krishnamurti on Maturity


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