|When you have wealth, cultivate humility; when your means are
straitened, then it is that you should hold your head high.
I.e., when your means are straitened you should so conduct yourself that your
true nobility and pride of high endeavor may be felt by others unaffected by your poverty.
The hair on the head is a thing of beauty. Removed from its
place, it becomes filth. The same is the fate of men who descend from their own level of
honourable conduct and demean themselves.
Many verses in the Kural
are devoted to describe the wretchedness of a life of dependence on the wealthy with the
consequent loss of self-respect.
Death by starvation is preferable to the maintenance of
comfort and show of respectability by dependence on those who look down upon you and do
not take you as one of themselves but only render help as to one inferior.
The world will admire and worship the glory of men who give
up life when overtaken by dishonor.