Updated: Jun 28, 2020
The Thirukkural was written by the great saint Thiruvalluvar more than 2000 years ago. It is one of the finest and greatest works of Tamil Literature of the Sangam period (300 BC to 200 AD). The Thirukkural has been translated into many languages and continues to be read and enjoyed by people from around the world. Through his kurals, Thiruvalluvar provides simple, yet deep insights into how one should live one’s life.
The Thirukkural follows a meter called the kural venpa, which is one of the four types of verses or venpas in Tamil literature. The word ‘thiru’ means sacred, while kural is a couplet or an aphorism consisting of seven words presented in two lines, with four words in the first line and three words in the second. The Thirukkural has a total of 1330 kurals or couplets, which are divided into 133 sections of 10 kurals each.
The Thirukkural is divided into three main sections – Section 1, comprising Chapters 1 to 38 deals with Aram or virtue and is called Arathupaal, Section 2, comprising Chapters 39 to 108 deals with Porul or wealth, and is called Porutpaal, while Section 3, comprising Chapters 109 to 133 deals with Kamam or love, and is called Kamaththupal.
Aram or virtue deals with illaram (family life) and turavaram (ascetic life). Porul or wealth deals with government, society, rulers and citizens, and various aspects relevant to them. Kamam or love deals with both marital and clandestine love.
The Thirukkural is known by various other names such as Tamil marai (Tamil Veda), poyyamozhi (words that never fail) and deiva nool (divine text). The Thirukkural was first introduced to the western world in 1886 by G.U. Pope through his English translation of this literary masterpiece. The Thirukkural was also translated into Latin by Constanto Beschi in 1730.
The Thirukkural expounds values that are relevant to this day, and is a must-read for each one of us to elevate ourselves and lead better lives!
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