One Percent
One Percent / Blog / 6 yrs ago /

Complying to the request of DMR SEKHAR I have collated information on Thiruvalluvar I hope that those who are keen to know more about him will enjoy reading this.

Even today all children in Tamil Nadu learn the Kural as part of their syllabus. Public transports carry these messages prominently and most literate persons can quote them.

My blog carries translations selected and simplified from an autographed book written by G. Vanmikinathan and published by the Tirukural Prachar Sangh, Chennai in 1969. The late author was a friend of my family and I am sure he would not mind that I have adapted from his translation. His idea was that the Kural should reach as many people as possible.

The book has a list of writers who have translated the Kural from Kindersley in 1794 to Yogi Suddhananda Bharati in 1968. It also has an impressive quote by Albert Schweitzer from his book ‘Indian Thought And Its Development. 1951 .’

“With sure strokes the Kural draws the ideal of simple ethical humanity. On the most varied questions concerning the conduct of man to himself and to the world its utterances are characterized by nobility and good sense. There hardly exists in the literature of the world a collection of maxims in which we find so much lofty wisdom”

Thiruvalluvar (4th or 5th c AD) was a householder who probably worked under a king. According to some legends he was a weaver. A shrine at Mylapore in Chennai sems to suggest he lived there sometime. His wife’s name is Vasuki. He wrote the kural in 1320 verses. The kural verses have seven feet. The verses sometimes have no subject, predicate or case-endings. ‘Quite a lot is left unsaid or referred to cryptically.’ They are moral aphorisms and a guide to man for leading a righteous life. The most authentic commentary on the kural is by Parimel azagar (13th C approx).

If man leads his life according to the thoughts expressed here he will be following a true religion. Anyone can follow this religion.  The kural is considered the Tamil Veda. ‘The kural has to be interpreted strictly in accordance with the social economic political and religious conditions of the time it was written.’


Hindu Dharma- The Universal Way of Life –Voice of the Guru Pujya sri Chandrasekharendra Sarasvati Svami Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan translated by RGK


In another book from my library written by my beloved friend and mentor late RGK, I found this reference to Valluvar.

“After composing his kural, Tiruvalluvar went to Madurai for its arangetram (or first public presentation). There in the city was the pond of the golden lotuses and the seat of the learned –Samgapalagai. The poet placed his work on this seat. At once all the learned men seated on the Samgapalagai fell into the pond but the book remained on it. It was thus that the kural was presented to the public. In Tiruvalluvar –Malai which contains praises , one poet says “ I thought about the question which is superior Sanskrit or Tamil . Both are equal in their greatness. If there was nothing equal to the Vedas in Tamil Sanskrit should have been said to be superior. Now the kural is present in Tamil as the equal of the Vedas. Both the languages are now equally great. “

The government of Tamilnadu has a website on this subject.  Here is what I found there.

  Tirukkural is a work of 1330 couplets each of which conforms to the structure of "Kural Venba", a grammatical construction with two lines of four and three words respectively. The work is arranged in 133 Adhikarams, each with 10 couplets. The 133 Adhikarams are divided into three major groups known as "Aram", "Porul" and "Inbam". Aram represents Virtue, Porul defines the principles of Life for common people as well as the State. The last section deals with aspects of Love. The overall organization of Tirukkural is as follows, based on seven ideals prescribed for people followed by observations on Love.

40 couplets on God, Rain, Virtue and Ascetics
200 couplets on Domestic Virtue 
140 couplets on Higher Virtue based on Grace
250 couplets on Royalty
100 couplets on Ministers of State
220 couplets on the Essential requirements of Administration
130 couples on Morality, both positive and negative
250 couplets on Human Love and Passion

The statue of Saint Tiruvalluvar greets visitors at Kanyakumari, the southernmost tip of India. The 133 feet tall statue stands next to Vivekananda Memorial, a temple for meditation. The height of 133 feet signifies the 133 "Adhikarams". The pedestal measures 38 feet in height, representing the 38 "Adhikarams" of the first part of Kural "Aram".


One Percent / / 5 yrs ago
One Percent

Thank you DMR. How interesting! I shall certainly do some research on this.

dmrsekhar / / 5 yrs ago

Dear onepercent,

I am sorry for the delayed comment. Tamil is the oldest language of India whereas Sanskrit is an Indo European language developed probably during the last phase or after the destruction of culture of Harappa. It is important to note that Harappan culture is essentially Dravidian. I am really interested to know if original Vedic hymns are in Tamil or some such Dravidian [eg Brahui spoken even today by some people in Baluchisthan] language.


DMR Sekhar.

Raj Arumugam / / 6 yrs ago
Raj Arumugam

an informative and invaluable blog....