Lord Muruga asks, What is hard?
Auvaiyar answers (in a poetic verse), “Poverty is hard, harder still is poverty in young age, harder is a faithless spouse, and the hardest is to take food from a spouse who does not love you.”
Auvaiyar takes the notion of survival in explaining the concept of hard. She says, in one’s life Poverty is hard. The basic goal of all living beings is to survive. If the survival itself a struggle then life becomes hard. The guise of poverty spoils the life today and the expectations of tomorrow. Moreover, if one experience the poverty at the young age, it is still hard. Because youth is the phase to earn wealth and also one has the strength to work hard. This also signifies the nation’s economic status, even a youth cannot find the opportunity to earn wealth, living in such nation is miserable. Even the fire kept outside (fire kept to the dead body) can envelope one to eternal sleep, but the inside fire, hunger, does not permits a blinking of the eye. Such a hard is poverty.
Harder still is incurable disease. What is the use of having an unlimited wealth with an incurable disease? Again one suffers for the entire life due to pain caused by the disease. It is more important to keep one-self healthy. The body is the temple. Here Auvaiyar insist the good deeds of one’s life time, because a person suffers due to incurable disease by the results of past actions.
Now Auvaiyar take the concept of hard from physical to mental level. A person chooses two paths for liberation – one is Sannyasin and other is Householder. For both of this path, faith and love is the base to reach the goal. The Sannyasin trusts the God and remains non-attached to this world. It is a difficult path, because one has to have enough patience to travel in this path. But, still difficult is the path of Householder. The duties of a householder are two fold, one is to perform the duties to the family and then to the society. Man work tirelessly to run his family. Woman manages the home and service the husband. (Now days, women also started working and role is shared). Thus trusting each other forming a symbiotic relationship, they render the service to the family and then carry forward to the society, marching towards the life goal. But, it is exceedingly hard for the person to spend the life with a faithless spouse. It collapses the path of liberation as if one got lost in the middle of the way.
Even then one has the option of switching the path from Householder to Sannyasin and surrender to God or render selfless service to the society. If one has got no option except to live with the same life and the survival depends on that person, then it is a hardest one. Thus Auvaiyar concludes that it is hardest to take food from him/her who does not have love for you.