Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thirukkural: One of the finest products of Indian culture.! The work of Thiruvalluvar has the unique privilege of being praised EVERYWHERE.!!!


Thirukkural - great treatise on right living
Sinnathamby Rasiah

Thirukkural has been acclaimed as one of the finest products of Indian culture. The work of Thiruvalluvar has the unique privilege of being praised through all the ages and in most countries of the world. If the Tamils were to place before the world audience their literary best, they would definitely place the Thirukkural. There cannot be no disagreement on this point. In the words of well-known modern Tamil poet Subramania Bharathi’ Tamilnad gave unto the world Valluva (the author of Kural) and thereby won great renown’. The master piece of Tamil literature is yet a fertile field for scholars to explore and exhibit the lofty wisdom of the Tamils to the world. Thirukkural is said to be the Bible of the Tamilians and it has been translated into many languages.

World classic of morals
The Kural deals with the essentials of human nature. It has universality of appeal. Its observations goes beyond nationality and languages. Indeed the age of Kural was a period in which many cultures and religions were interacting one upon the other in the Tamil part of the Indian sub-continent. He ‘saw life steadily and saw it whole’ like Shakespeare. He was not a mere observer. He participated in life. He must have lived a rich and abundant life.


*The Kural deals with the essentials of human nature

*The Kural is a great treatise on right living

*Thirukkural is a book of life

*Thiruvalluvar was a saint

*Thiruvalluvar was a person who had a deep understanding of human psychology

Poet Thiruvalluwar the author of Thirukkural

The Kural is a great treatise on right living. The Kural seems to stand as a unique classic on morals among the ethical works of the world. It is unique due to the fact that its approach to morality is psychological ie. agreeable to the science of psychology. He was concerned about the right and proper way of living at every stage of human growth and development from childhood to old age and development.

Thirukkural consists of chapters which are classified under three main sections viz virtue, wealth and enjoyment comprising of 1330 couplets. It is a book of life – of the whole life. Chapters on ethics politics, economics and human enjoyment are all actuated by one underlying purpose viz the development of human personality in terms of love and compassion.

On virtue
The chapter on virtue consists of 380 couplets dealing on aspects such as righteousness, household life, life’s partner, children, hospitality, pleasant talk, gratitude, impartiality, good conduct, tolerance, benevolence abstinence from flesh, penance, fate and so on.

The first chapter in praise of God deals in a shuttle way without mentioning any religious faith. The theme on rain exemplifies as to how rain is indispensable to all vegetation and livelihood of man. Touching on the theme joy of children Valluvar says begetting intelligent children is the greatest gift and also describes the duties of parents and children. When the mother comes to know that her son is a learned person, her joy knew no bounds than at the time of delivery. On the theme sweet words he draws a similarity to come out with harsh words, when there are sweet words is like plucking unmatured fruits when there are matured ones.

On theme “ideal Householder” he poses the question of what use of a person who tries to seduce the wife of his neighbour. Interestingly touching on the theme abstinence from flesh he asks how could a person be kind if he eats the flesh of another living creature in order to fatten his body. The other topics too are interesting and thee examples are given at random in order to impel the reader to study Thirukkural.

On wealth
The second section of the Kural consisting of 700 couplets deals with the topic of wealth. Wealth is to be produced as it promotes general welfare. Wealth plays a significant part in society; because it is that which gives importance to persons who are otherwise unimportant. But if care is taken to acquire wealth in the proper way, it can become a source of virtue and happiness.

Firstly the chapter on politics deals with the strategies, qualities, duties and statesmanship of a king or ruler. The next chapter on learning is of great interest. What Thiruvalluvar says to learning is of interest not only to rulers but to the ruled also. The following couplet is a striking example on learning.

”Learn without faults, what needs to be learnt; Thereafter conduct yourself in a manner worthy of your learning ‘(Kural-301) While mentioning about perseverance he says” those who strive ceaselessly and undismayed by failure can defeat even fate (KURAL-620)

It is quite interesting that Thiruvalluvar in this section practically deals on all aspects of life which are of utmost importance in the day-to-day life. The importance of acting sensibly is stressed in Kural 423. To whatever one may listen from others it is the intellect that determines the truth. Kural 422 says that in order to encounter difficulties one has to seek the association of great men. Couplet 467, is a striking example on discrimination of things. One should embark on action after careful thought; it is a blunder to think that the mater can be addressed after starting on it.

The requisites for an ideal country are plenty of products, learned men and never decreasing wealth-Kural-731.

The third section of the Thirukkural deals with enjoyment (Inpam) it relates to love human and love divine. Love is distinguished from lust while love is constant lust is variable. Thiruvalluvar says that the natural beauty of a woman is her excellence of character, her ornaments are her good children she bears.

In married life high moral responsibility is emphasised for raising on a good family. In dealing with the subject on love it underlines the possibility even the necessity to move from sexual life to spiritual life.

After a period of romance and after a period of wedded life, the hero and the heroine having performed all the duties required of them in domestic state, having enjoyed all worldly pleasures are in a state of mind to give their undivided attention to the attainment of bliss, for which their life so far has been a preparation. Once they establish communion with the supreme self they find their sweetness not only in their wife and children but in all things.

Spirituality has a personal as well as a social aspect. It is refreshing to notice that that the spiritual life is described as a joint venture by the hero and the heroine with their relatives around them. The love between the lover and the beloved is compared with the soul and the body. The mystics speak of God as the soul. In Kural 1122 he compares the intimation between the lover and the loved to body and soul.

Thruvalluvar was a person who actually lived his life and also had a deep understanding of human psychology and this is exemplified by Kural 1094.

‘When I look at her, her eyes are turned towards the ground; when I look away she looks on with a timid smile’.

It is not surprising, the author of Kural takes a natural attitude towards sex and life. Thiruvalluvar was a saint. He is said to have lived in the first century of the Christian era. He gave us the famous Thirukkural holy maxims as the Tamil Veda. Whatever its date of its composition Thirukkural has been a source of inspiration for many centuries now.

It is generally listed among the ethical works in Tamil and is considered to be the greatest of them. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi Thirukkural is ‘one of the greatest and purest expressions of human thought’.


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