Thirukkural in English
Division 1: Virtue (அறத்துப்பால்) - From chapters 001 to 010
001 Praise of God
0001 With alpha begins all alphabets;
And the world with the first Bagavan.
0002 Of what avail is learning if one worships not
The holy feet of Pure Intelligence?
0003 Long life on earth is theirs who reach
The glorious feet of Him who walked on flowers.
0004 No evil will befall those who reach the feet
Of the One beyond likes and dislikes.
0005 The twin deeds of dark illusion do not affect those
Who delight meaningfully in Lord's praise.
0006 Long life is theirs who tread the path of Him
Who conquered the five senses.
0007 They alone escape from sorrows who take refuge
In the feet of Him beyond compare.
0008 None can swim the sea of births, but those united
To the feet of that Being, a sea of virtue.
0009 Depraved, senseless and worthless is the head
Unbowed at the feet of Him with eight qualities.
0010 The ocean of births can be crossed by none other than
Those who reach the feet of the Lord.
003 Greatness of ascetics
0021 Scriptures ought to exalt with firmness
The greatness of disciplined ascetics.
0022 To recount an ascetic's greatness
Is to count the world's dead.
0023 The world shines on the greatness of those who,
Knowing both, choose renunciation.
0024 The restraint of senses five by the ankush of firmness
Is the seed for the bliss of heaven.
0025 Even the celestial king Indra will vouch the strength
Of one who rules his senses five.
0026 Great people take on difficult tasks;
Small people avoid them.
0027 This world is his who knows for what these five are:
Taste, sight, touch, sound and smell.
0028 The scriptures of the world proclaim
The potent utterance of the great.
0029 The wrath of those who have scaled the heights of character
Can't be endured even for a moment.
0030 Ascetics are called men of virtue
For they assume the role of mercy for all that live.
004 Emphasizing virtue
0031 What gain greater than virtue can a living man obtain,
Which yields fame and fortune?
0032 There is no greater gain than virtue.
No surer path to ruin than its neglect.
0033 The right thing to do is to be righteous
At all places and all times.
0034 A blemishless mind is the basis of all virtue.
Everything else is empty show.
0035 Envy, greed, wrath and harsh words:
These four avoided is virtue.
0036 Defer not virtue but practice now.
At the dying hour she will be your undying friend.
0037 Inquiring about virtues' benefits? See that between
The rider and bearer of a palanquin.
0038 The good you do without wasting a day
Is the stone that blocks the way to rebirth.
0039 Virtue alone brings happiness;
All else is naught, and without praise.
0040 Virtue is that which should be done.
And vice is that which should be shun.
005 Domestic life
0041 A householder is a steadfast friend
To the other three orders in their virtuous paths.
0042 The householder supports the needs of
Renunciates, ancestors and the poor.
0043 A householder's main duty is to serve these five:
God, guests, kindred, ancestors and himself.
0044 His life and lineage will never end
who shuns blame and shares his food.
0045 Family life actuated by love and virtue,
Endows it with character and happiness
0046 What gains are there in other paths
When one leads the virtuous path of householder?
0047 Foremost among those who strive for release,
Are the householders leading a righteous life.
0048 A virtuous householder endures
More than the penance of the penance doer.
0049 Domestic life is proclaimed virtuous
And it is praiseworthy if free from blame.
0050 He who lives his life in this world as he should,
Ranks with the gods in the heaven.
006 Good life partner
0051 An ideal wife is a virtuous life partner
Living within her husband's means.
0052 If the wife lacks household excellence,
All other excellence in life comes to nil.
0053 With a good wife, what is lacking?
And when she is lacking, what is good?
0054 What more grandeur does a woman need
Than possessing the strength of chastity?
0055 Even rains fall at the command of the wife
Who upon rising worships not God, but her husband.
0056 A tireless woman guards herself,
Cares for her spouse and upholds family name.
0057 What use is physical restraint to a woman
When her moral restraint is the best?
0058 The woman who gains her husband's love
Gains great glory in the heaven.
0059 He whose wife is not praiseworthy
Cannot walk with leonine gait before his critics.
0060 A good wife is called boon to a house;
Besides that, good children its jewels.
007 Begetting children
0061 Of all blessings we know,
Nothing worth than begetting intelligent children.
0062 No harm will befall in all seven births
If one begets blameless children.
0063 Children are called one's fortune;
And their fortune the result of their own deeds.
0064 Sweeter than nectar is the porridge messed up
By the tiny hands of one’s children.
0065 To be touched by children is a delight to the body,
And to hear their speech a joy to the ear.
0066 "The flute is sweet", "The lute is sweet",
Say those who never heard their children lisp.
0067 The good a father can do to his child
Is to make him excel in the midst of the learned.
0068 The wisdom of one's own children
Brings joy to all life on the earth.
0069 A woman rejoices at the birth of a son,
But even more when he is praised.
0070 The son's duty to his father is to make world ask,
"By what austerities did he merit such a son!
008 Possession of love
0071 Can love be latched and hidden?
A trickling tear will proclaim it loud.
0072 The unloving belong only to themselves,
But the loving belong to others to their very bones.
0073 They say it is to know the union with love
That the soul takes union with the body.
0074 Love begets desire: and that begets
The priceless excellence called friendship.
0075 The excellence of worldly happiness, they say,
Is attained by those leading a loving life.
0076 "Love supports virtue alone", say the fools.
It supports vice as well.
0077 As the blazing sun dries up a boneless worm,
So does virtue scorch a loveless being.
0078 The life of a loveless soul is a sapless tree
In a barren desert failing to shoot.
0079 Of what avail is body frame - the external,
To those who lack love - the internal?
0080 The throb of life is love. Without it,
Humans are bodies of bones clad with skin.
0081 It is to exercise the benevolence of hospitality
That people earn a living and establish homes.
0082 With a guest outside, it is wrong to eat alone,
Even the nectar of immortality.
0083 His life won’t suffer from want,
Who always cherishes his flowing guests.
0084 The goddess of fortune will dwell in the house of one
Who plays host with a smile.
0085 Should his field be sown,
Who first feeds the guests and eats the rest?
0086 Who hosts the passing guests and waits for hosting more
Will be hosted by the gods.
0087 The gains of hospitality cannot be reckoned.
Their worth depends on the guest.
0088 "We toiled, stored and lost", lament those
Who never sacrificed for hospitality.
0089 To have no guests is to want amidst plenty:
Such poverty belongs to fools.
0090 Flower aniccham withers when merely smelt.
An unwelcome look is enough to wither a guest.
010 Pleasant speech
0091 The speech of the enlightened is sweet words
Soaked in love, free from pretence.
0092 More pleasing than a gracious gift
Are sweet words with a smiling face.
0093 This is virtue: A welcome face, smiling look,
And sweet words from the heart.
0094 Want and sorrow shall never be theirs
Who have a pleasant word for all.
0095 Humility and pleasant speech constitute one's ornaments.
Other things do not count.
0096 Virtues will wax and vices wane
If one seeks the good and speaks sweet.
0097 Helpful words yoked with courtesy
Breed justice and strengthen virtue.
0098 Sweet words free of meanness yield joy,
Both here and hereafter.
0099 How can anyone speak harsh words,
Having seen what kind words do?
0100 To use harsh words, when sweet ones are at hand,
Is to prefer raw fruit to ripe.