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The Kural in Tamil, its original language
Original titleதிருக்குறள்
Working titleKural
LanguageOld Tamil
SeriesEighteen Lesser Texts
Set inProbably after the Sangam era (c. 500 CE or earlier)
Publication date
1812 (first known printed edition, older palm-leaf manuscripts exist)[3]
Published in English
Original text
திருக்குறள் at Tamil Wikisource
TranslationTirukkuṟaḷ at Wikisource

The Tirukkuṟaḷ (Tamil: திருக்குறள், lit.'sacred verses'), or shortly the Kural (Tamil: குறள்), is a classic Tamil language text. It has 1,330 short couplets (two-line poem parts), or kurals, of seven words each.[4]

The text is divided into three books with aphorisms (sayings) on virtue (aram), wealth (porul) and love (inbam).[1][5][6] It is thought as one of the greatest works ever written on ethics and morality. It is also known for its all-inclusiveness and secular nature.[7][8]

History[change | change source]

People say Valluvar (full name Thiruvalluvar) wrote the work. The text has been dated from 300 BCE to the 5th century CE. The usual accounts describe it as the last work of the third Sangam (before 300 CE). Although language-based analysis suggests a later date of 450 to 500 CE and that it was composed after the Sangam period.[9]

The Kural text is among the earliest systems of Indian epistemology (way of thinking of knowledge) and metaphysics (way of thinking of reality and being). The Kural is traditionally praised with epithets such as "the Tamil Veda" and "the Divine Book".[10][11]

Contents[change | change source]

Written on the ideas of ahimsa (non-violence),[12][13][14][15][16] it draws attention to non-violence and moral vegetarianism as good things for a person to do.[17][18][19][20][21][a] Also, it highlights truthfulness, controlling your emotions and reactions, thankfulness, hospitality, kindness, goodness of one's wife, duty, giving, and so forth,[22] besides covering a wide range of social and political topics such as kings, ministers, taxes, justice, forts, war, greatness of armies and soldier's honor, death sentence for the wicked, agriculture, education, not drinking alcohol and things that make people drunk or high.[23][24][25] It also includes chapters on friendship, love, sexual unions, and home life.[22][26] The text permanently redefined the cultural values of the Tamil land.[27]

Reputation[change | change source]

The Kural has been liked and respected by experts from ethical, social, political, economic, religious, philosophical, and spiritual fields.[28] These include Ilango Adigal, Kambar, Leo Tolstoy, Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Schweitzer, Ramalinga Swamigal, V. O. Chidambaram Pillai, Karl Graul, George Uglow Pope, Alexander Piatigorsky, and Yu Hsi. The work remains the most translated, the most referred-to, and the most cited of Tamil literary works.[29]

The text has been translated into at least 40 languages. This made it one of the most translated ancient works. Ever since it came to print for the first time in 1812, the Kural text has never been out of print.[30] Its author is praised for selecting the best virtues found in the known books and showing them in an manner that most people understand.[31] The Tamil people and the government of Tamil Nadu have long revered and celebrated the text.[19]

Citations[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Sundaram 1990, pp. 7–16.
  2. Zvelebil 1973, pp. 156–168.
  3. Kovaimani and Nagarajan, 2013, p. 115.
  4. Pillai, 1994.
  5. Blackburn 2000, pp. 449–482.
  6. Zvelebil 1973, pp. 157–158.
  7. Lal 1992, pp. 4333–4334, 4341.
  8. Holmström, Krishnaswamy, and Srilata, 2009, p. 5.
  9. Zvelebil 1975, p. 124.
  10. Zvelebil 1973, p. 156.
  11. Cutler, 1992.
  12. Chakravarthy Nainar, 1953.
  13. Krishna, 2017.
  14. Thani Nayagam, 1971, p. 252.
  15. Sanjeevi, 2006, p. 84.
  16. Krishnamoorthy, 2004, pp. 206–208.
  17. Dharani 2018, p. 101.
  18. Das 1997, pp. 11–12.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Zvelebil 1973, pp. 156–171.
  20. Sundaram 1990, p. 13.
  21. Manavalan, 2009, pp. 127–129.
  22. 22.0 22.1 Zvelebil 1973, pp. 160–163.
  23. Hikosaka & Samuel 1990, p. 200.
  24. Ananthanathan, 1994, pp. 151–154.
  25. Kaushik Roy 2012, pp. 151–154.
  26. Lal 1992, pp. 4333–4334.
  27. Thamizhannal, 2004, p. 146.
  28. Sundaramurthi, 2000, p. 624.
  29. Maharajan, 2017, p. 19.
  30. Kovaimani and Nagarajan, 2013, p. 29.
  31. Chellammal, 2015, p. 119.

References[change | change source]

Classical primary sources[change | change source]

  • Alathur Kilar. Kḻuvāi Illai!, புறநானூறு [Puranānuru] (Verse 34), See original text in Tamil Virtual University.
  • Avvaiyar. Wikisource link to ta:திருவள்ளுவமாலை. Tirutthanigai Saravanaperumal Aiyar (commentator). Wikisource. 
  • Ilango Adigal, சிலப்பதிகாரம் [Silappathigāram], See original text in Tamil Virtual University.
  • Kambar, கம்பராமாயணம் [Kambarāmāyanam], See original text in Tamil Virtual University.
  • Manakkudavar (1917). திருவள்ளுவர் திருக்குறள் மணக்குடவருரை—அறத்துப்பால் [Tiruvalluvar Tirukkural Manakkudavar Commentary—Book of Aram]. V. O. C. Pillai (Ed.) (1 ed.). Chennai: V. O. Chidambaram Pillai. 152 pp.
  • Manakkudavar (2003). திருக்குறள் மணக்குடவர் உரை [Tirukkural Manakkudavar Commentary]. C. Meiyyappan (Ed.). Chennai: Manivasagar Padhippagam. 370 pp.
  • Parimelalhagar (2009). திருக்குறள் மூலமும் பரிமேலழகர் உரையும் [Tirukkural Original Text and Parimelalhagar Commentary]. Compiled by V. M. Gopalakrishnamachariyar. Chennai: Uma Padhippagam. 1456 pp.
  • Seethalai Sāthanār, மணிமேகலை [Manimekalai], See original text in Tamil Virtual University.
  • Sekkiḻar, பெரிய‌ புராண‌ம் [Periya Puranam], See original text in Tamil Virtual University.
  • Valluvar. Wikisource link to ta:திருக்குறள். Wikisource.  See original text in Project Madurai.

Modern secondary sources[change | change source]

Books[change | change source]

  • Flood, Gavin (2004). The Ascetic Self: Subjectivity, Memory and Tradition. Cambridge University Press. pp. 85–89 with notes. ISBN 978-0521604017.
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  • Adinarayanan, V.; Rekha, V. Smrithi; Sooryanarayan, D. G. (2016). "A Multidimensional View of Leadership from an Indian Perspective". Ethical Leadership. Palgrave Macmillan UK. doi:10.1057/978-1-137-60194-0_5. ISBN 978-1137601933.
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  • S. N. Kandasamy (2017). திருக்குறள்: ஆய்வுத் தெளிவுரை (அறத்துப்பால்) [Tirukkural: Research commentary: Book of Aram]. Chennai: Manivasagar Padhippagam.
  • Kandasamy, S. N. (2020). திருக்குறள்: ஆய்வுத் தெளிவுரை (பெருட்பால், பகுதி 1) [Tirukkural: Research commentary: Book of Porul, Part 1]. Chennai: Manivasagar Padhippagam.
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  • K. V. Balasubramanian (2016). திருக்குறள் பேரொளி [Tirukkural Beacon] (1 ed.). Chennai: New Century Book House. ISBN 978-8123430614.
  • Roma Chatterjee, ed. (2021). India: Society, Religion and Literature in Ancient and Medieval Periods (1st ed.). New Delhi: Government of India, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. ISBN 978-9354091223.
  • A. Gopalakrishnan (2012). Tirukkural: Tiruvalluvar Karutthurai. Chidambaram: Meiyappan Padhippagam.
  • Chakravarthy, A. (1953). Tirukkural. Madras: The Diocesan Press.
  • Blackburn, Stuart (2006). Print, folklore, and nationalism in colonial South India. Orient Blackswan. ISBN 978-8178241494.
  • C. Dhandapani Desikar (1975). வள்ளுவரும் கம்பரும் [Valluvar and Kambar]. Annamalai Nagar: Annamalai University Press.
  • W. J. Johnson (2009). A dictionary of Hinduism. Oxford Reference. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0198610250. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  • Takahashi, Takanobu (1999), "The Treatment of King and State in the Tirukkural", Kingship in Indian History, New Delhi: Manohar, pp. 53–54
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  • William Henry Drew (1840). The Cural of Tiruvalluvar (1 ed.). Madurai: American Mission Press.
  • Polilan; K. Gunathogai; Lena Kumar; Tagadur Sampath; Mutthamizh; G. Picchai Vallinayagam; D. Anbunidhi; K. V. Neduncheraladhan, eds. (2019). Tiruvalluvar 2050 (in Tamil) (1 ed.). Chennai: Periyar Enthusiasts Group.
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Journals and magazines[change | change source]

Newspapers[change | change source]

Online[change | change source]