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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). The book is considered to precede Manimekalai and Silapathikaram since they both acknowledge the Kural text.
- (Tamil: அறத்துப்பால், arathupaal ?) righteousness
- (Tamil: பொருட்பால், porutpaal ?) wealth
- (Tamil: காமத்துப்பால், 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.
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.
Thirukural is known by many names such as:
- உத்தரவேதம் / Uttaravedam - later Veda
- பொய்யாமொழி / Poyyamozhi - statements devoid of untruth
- வாயூரை வாழ்த்து / Vayurai vazhthu - truthful utterances
- தெய்வநூல் / Deyvanool - Holy book
- பொதுமறை / Pothumarai - Veda for all
- முப்பால் / Muppal - three chaptered
- 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. 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.
- 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)
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- 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. ISBN 81-206-0999-9.
- Ravindra Kumar (1 January 1999). Morality and Ethics in Public Life. Mittal Publications. pp. 92–. ISBN 978-81-7099-715-3. Retrieved 13 December 2010.
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- Kamil Zvelebil (1973). The smile of Murugan on Tamil literature of South India. BRILL. pp. 156–. ISBN 978-90-04-03591-1. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
- GU Pope (1886). Tirukkural English Translation and Commentary. W.H. Allen, & Co. p. 160.