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Title: Tirukkuṛaḷ  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Tamil literature, Religion in ancient Tamil country, Perennial philosophy, Tamil books of Law, A Letter to a Hindu
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Author Thiruvalluvar
Country India
Language Tamil
Genre Poetry

Tirukkural (Tamil: திருக்குறள் also known as the Kural) is a classic Tamil sangam literature consisting of 1330 couplets or Kurals.[1][2] It was authored by Thiruvalluvar.

The Thirukkural 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 given by such as Tamil marai (Tamil Vedas); poyyamozhi (words that never fail); and Deiva nool (divine text).[3] The book is considered to precede Manimekalai and Silapathikaram since they both acknowledge the Kural text.[4]


Thirukkural is structured into 133 chapters, each containing 10 couplets, for a total of 1330 couplets.[5] The 133 chapters are grouped into three sections:[5][6]

  • (Tamilஅறத்துப்பால், arathupaal ) righteousness
  • (Tamilபொருட்பால், porutpaal ) wealth
  • (Tamilகாமத்துப்பால், kamathupaal ) love

A couplet or Kural 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. Aram contains 380 verses, Porul with 700 and Inbam with 250.[5]


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.[7]

Other names

Thirukural is known by many names such as:[8]

  1. உத்தரவேதம் / Uttaravedam - later Veda
  2. பொய்யாமொழி / Poyyamozhi - statements devoid of untruth
  3. வாயூரை வாழ்த்து / Vayurai vazhthu - truthful utterances
  4. தெய்வநூல் / Deyvanool - Holy book
  5. பொதுமறை / Pothumarai - Veda for all
  6. முப்பால் / Muppal - three chaptered
  7. தமிழ் மறை / Tamil marai - Tamil Veda

Commentaries and translations

There have been several commentaries written on Thirukkural over the centuries. One of the earliest commentaries on the Thirukkural was by Manakkudavar, Parimelazhagar. In 1935, V. O. Chidambaranar had written commentaries on Tirukkural - "Arappaal" and was published with the different title. In 2008, complete work of commentaries on Tirukkural was published, as manuscript of V. O. C. was provided by his son Subramaniyam. The Latin translation of Thirukkural was made by Constanzo Beschi in 1730. An English Translation of Tirukural by GU Pope brought the Tirukkural to the western world in 1886.[9] This work is the first translation to the English language. Thirukkural has been translated to more than 35 languages across the world by various authors.

See also

  • A Letter to a Hindu by Leo Tolstoy
  • Subramaniyam, Ka Naa, Tiruvalluvar and his Tirukkural. Bharatiya Jnanpith: New Delhi 1987.
  • P. S. Sundaram, The Kural. Penguin Books: London, 1990.
  • Blackburn, Stuart. (2000). Corruption and Redemption: The Legend of Valluvar and Tamil Literary History. Modern Asian Studies, vol. 34, no. 2, pp. 449–82, May 2000.
  • Yogi Shuddhananda Bharati (1897), Thirukkural with English Couplets - Tamil Chandror Peravai: Chennai.(15 May 1995)
  • Thirukkural with English Couplets by Tamil Chandror Peravai (Translated by Yogi Shuddhananda Bharati [1897]), Tamil Chandror Peravai, 26 Sardar Patel Road, Adyar, Chennai - 600 020
  • Drew, W.H, Translated by John Lazarus, Thirukkural (Original in Tamil with English Translation), ISBN 81-206-0400-8
  • Thirukkural with English Couplets by Editions ASSA, L'Auberson, ISBN 978-2-940393-17-6


  1. ^ Blackburn, Cutler (2000). "Corruption and Redemption: The Legend of Valluvar and Tamil Literary History". Modern Aian Studies 34 (2): 449–482.  
  2. ^ Pillai, MS (1994). Tamil literature. Asian Education Service.  
  3. ^ Cutler, Norman (1992). "Interpreting Thirukkural: the role of commentary in the creation of a text". The Journal of the American Oriental Society 122. Retrieved 20 August 2007. 
  4. ^ Aiyangar Thirukkural cannot be compared with Arthashastra as it not only deals with Kingship or Statesmanship as in Arthashastra but also deals with various other aspects of life., SK (1995). Some Contributions of South India to Indian Culture. Asian Educational Services. p. 125.  
  5. ^ a b c Ravindra Kumar (1 January 1999). Morality and Ethics in Public Life. Mittal Publications. pp. 92–.  
  6. ^ Sujit Mukherjee (1 January 1999). A dictionary of Indian literature. Orient Blackswan. pp. 393–.  
  7. ^ "Tirukkural". Retrieved 8 October 2007. 
  8. ^ Kamil Zvelebil (1973). The smile of Murugan on Tamil literature of South India. BRILL. pp. 156–.  
  9. ^  

External links

  • திருக்குறள் (அதிகார வரிசைப்படி)
  • Online Thirukural Community
  • List of Thirukkural translations
  • Commentaries on Tirukkural
  • Thirukkural with English translation
  • Thirukkural with English Translation
  • Thirukkural in Tamil & English with Explanation
  • Tirukkural online video lessons
  • Mobile Application For Thirukkural
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