Tirukkuṛaḷ (Tamil: திருக்குறள் also known as the Kural), sometimes spelt 'Thirukkural, is a classic of couplets or Kurals (1330 rhyming Tamil couplets) or aphorisms celebrated by Tamils. It was authored by Thiruvalluvar, and is considered to be the first work to focus on ethics in Dravidian literature. Although the exact period of its composition is still disputed, scholars agree that was produced in the late Tamil Sangam period. The Thirukkural expounds on various aspects of life and is one of the most important works in the Tamil language. This is reflected in some of the other names by which the text is known: Tamil marai (Tamil Vedas); poyyamozhi (words that never fail); and Daiva nool (divine text). The book is considered to precede Manimekalai and Silapathikaram since they both acknowledge the Kural text.
Thirukkural (or the Kural) is a collection of 1330 Tamil couplets organised into 133 chapters. Each chapter has a specific subject ranging from "ploughing a piece of land" to "ruling a country". According to the LIFCO Tamil-Tamil-English dictionary, the Tamil word Kural literally means "short verse", and is typified by the Venpa metre that consists of two lines. In the aspect of metre & brevity, and the profoundity of expression, it can be compared with the Sutra style of Sanskrit poetry. Thirukkural comes under one of the four categories of Venpas (Tamil verses) called Kural Venpa. The 1330 couplets are arranged into 3 main sections and 133 chapters. Each chapter contains 10 couplets. A couplet consists of seven cirs, with four cirs on the first line and three on the second. A cir is a single or a combination of more than one Tamil word. For example, Thirukkural is a cir formed by combining the two words Thiru and Kural, i.e. Thiru + Kural = Thirukkural. It has been translated to various other languages.
There are claims and counter claims as to the authorship of the book and to the exact number of couplets written by Thiruvalluvar. The first instance of the author's name mentioned as Thiruvalluvar is found to be several centuries later in a song of praise called Garland of Thiruvalluvar in Thiruvalluva Malai.
Most of the Researchers and great Tamil Scholars like George Uglow Pope or G.U. Pope who had spent many years in Tamil Nadu and translated many Tamil texts into English, which includes Thirukkural.
Thirukural is praised with many names such as:
1. Uttravedam - the ultimate Veda or Creed
2. Poyyamozhi - falseless word
3. Vayurai vazhthu - truthful praise
4. Teyvanul - the divine book
5. Pothumarai - the common Veda or Creed
6. Muppal - three fold path
7. Tamil marai - Tamil Veda
Thirukkural is structured into 133 chapters, each containing 10 couplets, thus a total of 1330 couplets. The 133 chapters are grouped into three sections:
• Aram - righteousness
• Porul - wealth and
• Inbam or Kamam - pleasure
Aram containes 380 verses, Porul with 700 and Inbam with 250. While Aram and Inbam discuss about ethical living in private life, Porul deals with public matters
Upon completion, Thiruvalluvar took the work (Thirukkural) to Madurai (Tamil Nadu, India) as per the prevailing practice of reading out new compositions in a public forum where critics and scholars would be present. The conceited scholars at Madurai, insisted on measuring the greatness of the work through a test where the manuscript would be placed with other works on a plank kept afloat in the tank of the Meenakshi temple and it was to be seen if the plank remained afloat. The significance of this is that the greatness of a work is realized on the basis of not the weight of its manuscript (written on Palm leaves) but the divine qualities of the work which forced the plank to stay afloat. It is said that to the amazement of the critics, the Sangam Plank shrunk itself in size to hold only the Kural manuscript and in the process throwing out the rest.
According to the first Kural of Thirukkural, the terminology of God is stated as Adibaghavan. This exact terminology is used in Jainism for the very first Thirthakar Rishabnath or Adibhagavan. It has been accepted by the by Government of Tamil Nadu and the Archaeology Survey of India that this text was written by a Jain. This fact can be verified from the Director of Archaeology, Dr. Santhaligam who has dedicated this research for over 2 decades to conclude that the Thirukkural was written by a Jain.
FAMOUS QUOTES OF KURAL (English Translation)
• The stalks of water-flowers are proportionate to the depth of water; so is men's greatness proportionate to their minds (Knowledge).
• Defer not virtue to another day; receive her now; and at the dying hour she will be your undying friend.
• Avoid an act which you may repent later; If done by mistake, better not to repeat it.
• Whatever is thought to be done will be achieved as planned, if the planners possess firmness in execution.
• Friendship is not just a smile on the face; It is what is felt deep within a smiling heart.
• True friends guard you from evil, make you walk in right path and share your sorrow in difficult times.
• Excessive or deficient food or activity causes disorders in mobility, breathing and digestion.
• Though the world goes round with many activities, it is dependent on agriculture. Hence, though laborious, farming is the foremost activity.
• Agriculturists are the linchpin of the mankind since they support all others who cannot till the soil.
• The learned teacher makes you enjoy learning; On leaving, makes you to keep thinking of his teaching.
• Think and then undertake the work; to think after commencement will bring disgrace.
• Determined efforts result in prosperity; Idleness will bring nothing.
• Water will flow from a well in the sand in proportion to the depth to which it is dug, and knowledge will flow from a man in proportion to his learning.
• As water changes (its nature), from the nature of the soil (in which it flows), so will the character of men resemble that of their