Aram (Kural book)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Book of Aṟam, in full Aṟattuppāl (Tamil: அறத்துப்பால், literally, “division of virtue”), also known as the Book of Virtue or Book One in translated versions, is the first of the three books or parts of the Kural literature, a didactic work authored by the ancient Indian philosopher Valluvar. Written in High Tamil distich form, it has 38 chapters each containing 10 kurals or couplets, making a total of 380 couplets, all dealing with the fundamental virtues of an individual. Aṟam, the Tamil term that loosely corresponds to the English term 'virtue', correlates with the first of the four ancient Indian values of dharma, artha, kama and moksha. The Book of Aṟam exclusively deals with virtues independent of the surroundings, including the vital principles of non-violence, moral vegetarianism or veganism,[a] veracity, and righteousness.[1][2]

The Book of Aṟam is the most important and the most fundamental book of the Kural.[3] This is revealed in the very order of the book within the Kural literature. The public life of a person as described by the Book of Poruḷ and the love life of a person as described by the Book of Inbam are presented to him or her only after the person secures his or her inner, moral growth described by the Book of Aṟam. In other words, only a morally and spiritually ripe person, who is considered cultured and civilized as dictated by the Book of Aṟam, is fit to enter public or political life, and the subsequent life of love.[4]

Etymology[edit]

Aṟam is the Tamil word for what is known in Sanskrit as 'Dharma', and pāl means 'division'. The concept of aṟam or dharma is of pivotal importance in Indian philosophy and religion.[5] It has multiple meanings and is a term common to Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism.[6] In Hinduism, the word signifies duties, rights, laws, conduct, virtues and "right way of living."[7][8] In Buddhism, the word refers to "cosmic law and order," but is also applied to the teachings of the Buddha.[9] In Jainism, the word refers to the teachings of tirthankara (Jina)[9] and the body of doctrine pertaining to the purification and moral transformation of human beings. In Sikhism, the word means the path of righteousness and proper religious practice.[10] With a long and varied history, the word straddles a complex set of meanings and interpretations, rendering it impossible to provide a single concise definition.[11] Thus, there is no equivalent single-word translation for aṟam or dharma in western languages.[12][13] Conversely, the term dharma is common to all languages within the Indian subcontinent.

The book and its chapters[edit]

The Book of Aṟam is the most important of all the books of the Tirukkural and is considered the most fundamental.[3] The book exclusively deals with dharma, which is common to the entire work of the Tirukkural, thus providing the essence of the work as a whole.[14] An exemplification for this is found in verse 34 of Purananuru,[15] where its author Alathur Kilar refers to the entire work of the Tirukkural by simply calling it as 'Aṟam'.[16][17] In a practical sense, Book One deals with the essentials of the Yoga philosophy by expounding the household life that begins with compassion and ahimsa,[18][19] ultimately leading to the path to renunciation.[2][20]

The Book of Aṟam contains the first 38 chapters of the Kural text, all dealing with fundamental virtue. The first four chapters, known as the introductory chapters, include 40 couplets on God, rain, characteristics of a righteous person, and assertion of virtue. The remaining chapters with 340 couplets are addressed to the common man or a householder, which includes 200 couplets on domestic virtue and 140 couplets on higher yet most fundamental virtue based on grace, benevolence and compassion.[2][21] All the couplets in the book essentially mandate the ethics of ahimsa (non-violence), meatless diet, casteless human brotherhood, absence of desires, path of righteousness and truth, and so forth.[2]

Outline of the Book of Aṟam
Book One—Virtue (அறத்துப்பால் Aṟattuppāl)
  • Chapter 1. The Praise of God (கடவுள் வாழ்த்து kaṭavuḷ vāḻttu): Couplets 1–10
  • Chapter 2. The Excellence of Rain (வான் சிறப்பு vāṉ ciṟappu): 11–20
  • Chapter 3. The Greatness of Ascetics (நீத்தார் பெருமை nīttār perumai): 21–30
  • Chapter 4. Assertion of the Strength of Virtue (அறன் வலியுறுத்தல் aṟaṉ valiyuṟuttal): 31–40
  • Chapter 5. Domestic Life (இல்வாழ்க்கை ilvāḻkkai): 41–50
  • Chapter 6. The Goodness of the Help to Domestic Life (வாழ்க்கைத்துணை நலம் vāḻkkaittuṇai nalam): 51–60
  • Chapter 7. The Obtaining of Sons (புதல்வரைப் பெறுதல் putalvaraip peṟutal): 61–70
  • Chapter 8. The Possession of Love (அன்புடைமை aṉpuṭaimai): 71–80
  • Chapter 9. Cherishing Guests (விருந்தோம்பல் viruntōmpal): 81–90
  • Chapter 10. The Utterance of Pleasant Words (இனியவை கூறல் iṉiyavai kūṟal): 91–100
  • Chapter 11. The Knowledge of Benefits Conferred: Gratitude (செய்ந்நன்றி அறிதல் ceynnaṉṟi aṟital): 101–110
  • Chapter 12. Impartiality (நடுவு நிலைமை naṭuvu nilaimai): 111–120
  • Chapter 13. The Possession of Self-restraint (அடக்கமுடைமை aṭakkamuṭaimai): 121–130
  • Chapter 14. The Possession of Decorum (ஒழுக்கமுடைமை oḻukkamuṭaimai): 131–140
  • Chapter 15. Not Coveting Another's Wife (பிறனில் விழையாமை piṟaṉil viḻaiyāmai): 141–150
  • Chapter 16. The Possession of Patience, Forbearance (பொறையுடைமை poṟaiyuṭaimai): 151–160
  • Chapter 17. Not Envying (அழுக்காறாமை aḻukkāṟāmai): 161–170
  • Chapter 18. Not Coveting (வெஃகாமை veḵkāmai): 171–180
  • Chapter 19. Not Backbiting (புறங்கூறாமை puṟaṅkūṟāmai): 181–190
  • Chapter 20. The Not Speaking Profitless Words (பயனில சொல்லாமை payaṉila collāmai): 191–200
  • Chapter 21. Dread of Evil Deeds (தீவினையச்சம் tīviṉaiyaccam): 201–210
  • Chapter 22. The Knowledge of What Is Befitting a Man's Position (ஒப்புரவறிதல் oppuravaṟital): 211–220
  • Chapter 23. Giving (ஈகை īkai): 221–230
  • Chapter 24. Renown (புகழ் pukaḻ): 231–240
  • Chapter 25. The Possession of Benevolence (அருளுடைமை aruḷuṭaimai): 241–250
  • Chapter 26. The Renunciation of Flesh-Eating (புலான் மறுத்தல் pulāṉmaṟuttal): 251–260
  • Chapter 27. Penance (தவம் tavam): 261–270
  • Chapter 28. Inconsistent Conduct (கூடாவொழுக்கம் kūṭāvoḻukkam): 271–280
  • Chapter 29. The Absence of Fraud (கள்ளாமை kaḷḷāmai): 281–290
  • Chapter 30. Veracity (வாய்மை vāymai): 291–300
  • Chapter 31. The Not Being Angry (வெகுளாமை vekuḷāmai): 301–310
  • Chapter 32. Not Doing Evil (இன்னா செய்யாமை iṉṉāceyyāmai): 311–320
  • Chapter 33. Not Killing (கொல்லாமை kollāmai): 321–330
  • Chapter 34. Instability (நிலையாமை nilaiyāmai): 331–340
  • Chapter 35. Renunciation (துறவு tuṟavu): 341–350
  • Chapter 36. Knowledge of the True (மெய்யுணர்தல் meyyuṇartal): 351–360
  • Chapter 37. The Extirpation of Desire (அவாவறுத்தல் avāvaṟuttal): 361–370
  • Chapter 38. Fate (ஊழ் ūḻ): 371–380

Grouping of chapters[edit]

The Book of Aram has been subdivided variously by different scholars.[22] In fact, the chapters in this book have been categorized in more varied order than the other two books of the Kural text.[22] Although the author did not group the chapters under any subdivisions as with the other two books of the Kural text,[23][24] the Sangam poet Sirumedhaviyar first suggested grouping of the chapters under subdivisions in verse 20 of the Tiruvalluva Maalai.[25] Accordingly, he divided the Book of Aṟam into three Iyals, or divisions, namely, pāyiram (the first 4 chapters), aṟam (the next 33 chapters), and ūḻ (the final chapter).[26] Following this, the ten medieval commentators, who were the first to write commentaries about the Tirukkural, divided the Book of Aṟam variously between two and four portions, grouping the original chapters diversely under these divisions and thus changing the order of the chapters widely.[14][27] For example, while Parimelalhagar divided Book One into two parts, namely, domestic virtue and ascetic virtue, besides keeping the first four chapters under "Introduction," other medieval commentators have divided Book One into four portions, namely, introduction, domestic virtue, ascetic virtue, and fate.[24] Modern commentators such as V. O. Chidambaram Pillai have even gone up to six divisions.[14]

The original grouping and numbering of the chapters, too, were changed considerably by the medieval commentators.[14] For instance, chapters 10, 13, 17, 18, and 19 in the present-day ordering (which follows Parimelalhagar's ordering) under subsection "domestic virtue" are numbered chapters 26, 27, 30, 31, and 32, respectively, under subsection "ascetic virtue" in Manakkudavar's ordering. Similarly, the modern chapters 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, and 33, appearing under subsection "ascetic virtue" appear as chapters 19, 20, 10, 16, 17, and 18, respectively, under subsection "domestic virtue" in Manakkudavar's ordering. However, being the earliest of all the available commentaries on the Tirukkural, Manakkudavar's commentary is believed to be the closest to the original Kural text as written by Valluvar.[28][29]

Valluvar's position on aṟam or virtue[edit]

While religious scriptures generally consider aṟam as a divine virtue, Valluvar describes it as a way of life rather than any spiritual observance, a way of harmonious living that leads to universal happiness.[30] Unlike in Manusmriti, Valluvar holds that aṟam is common for all, irrespective of whether the person is a bearer of palanquin or the rider in it.[31][32] For this reason, Valluvar keeps aṟam as the cornerstone throughout the writing of the Kural literature.[16]

Valluvar considered justice as a facet of aṟam. While ancient Greek philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, and their descendants opined that justice cannot be defined and that it was a divine mystery, Valluvar positively suggested that a divine origin is not required to define the concept of justice. In the words of V. R. Nedunchezhiyan, justice according to Valluvar "dwells in the minds of those who have knowledge of the standard of right and wrong; so too deceit dwells in the minds which breed fraud."[30]

The greatest of virtues or aṟam according to Valluvar is non-killing,[33] followed by veracity,[34] both of which are indicated in the same couplet (Kural 323),[35] and the greatest sins that Valluvar feels very strongly are ingratitude and meat-eating.[34][36] In the words of P. S. Sundaram, while "all other sins may be redeemed, but never ingratitude," Valluvar couldn't understand "how anyone could wish to fatten himself by feeding on the fat of others."[36]

Influence[edit]

Of the three books of the Kural text, the Book of Aṟam remains the most translated one by scholars and writers.[37] Serving as a manual of precepts to exclusively teach dharma for millennia,[2] the Book of Aṟam has influenced many of its readers to pursue the path of non-violence. This became more evident after the translation of the Kural into several European languages beginning in the early 18th century. For instance, Russian pacifist Leo Tolstoy was inspired by the concept of ahimsa and non-killing found in the Book of Aṟam after reading a German translation of the Kural, which bolstered his thoughts on pacifism.[38] Tolstoy, in turn, instilled the virtue of non-violence in Mohandas Gandhi through his A Letter to a Hindu when young Gandhi sought his advice on the struggle for Indian Independence.[39] Tolstoy referred to the Kural as 'the Hindu Kural' in his correspondence, citing six couplets from the chapter on non-violence.[40] Taking this advice, Gandhi then took to studying the Kural while in prison,[2] later employing various non-violent movements to liberate the nation.[38][41] The South Indian saint Ramalinga Swamigal was inspired by the Kural at a young age and spent his whole life promoting compassion and non-violence, emphasizing on a meatless way of life.[42][43]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

a. ^ The Kural insists on "moral vegetarianism", the doctrine that humans are morally obligated to refrain from eating meat or harming sentient beings,[44] known as "veganism" since the 20th century, as described by Mylan Engel in his work "The Immorality of Eating Meat" (2000).[45] The concept of ahimsa or இன்னா செய்யாமை, which remains the moral foundation of veganism,[46] is described in the chapter on non-violence (Chapter 32).[47]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Natarajan, 2008, pp. 1–6.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Lal, 1992, pp. 4333–4334.
  3. ^ a b Desigar, 1969, p. 47.
  4. ^ Zvelebil, 1973, p. 165.
  5. ^ Dhand, 2002, p. 351.
  6. ^ Encyclopaedia Britannica, n.d.
  7. ^ Columbia University Press, 2013.
  8. ^ Rosen, 2006.
  9. ^ a b The Oxford University, n.d.
  10. ^ Singh, Fenech, and Rinehart, 2014, pp. 138–139.
  11. ^ Van Buitenen, 1957, p. 36.
  12. ^ Widgery, 1930, pp. 232–245.
  13. ^ Flood and Rocher, 2003.
  14. ^ a b c d Kumaravelan, 2008, pp. 4–17.
  15. ^ Alathur Kilar, pp. Verse 34.
  16. ^ a b Velusamy and Faraday, 2017, p. 55.
  17. ^ Kowmareeshwari, 2012, pp. 46–47.
  18. ^ Bharti, 2001, pp. 672–691.
  19. ^ Varenne and Derek, 1977, pp. 197–202.
  20. ^ Mukherjee, 1999, pp. 392–393.
  21. ^ SSP, 2012, pp. vii–xvi.
  22. ^ a b Pillai, 1972, p. 12–16.
  23. ^ Pillai, 1972, p. 12.
  24. ^ a b Zvelebil, 1973, p. 158.
  25. ^ Sirumedhaviyar, pp. Verse 20.
  26. ^ Jagannathan, 1963, pp. 32–33.
  27. ^ Aravindan, 1968, p. 105.
  28. ^ Aravindan, 1968, pp. 346–347.
  29. ^ Raja, 2017, pp. 5–10.
  30. ^ a b Sanjeevi, 1973, pp. xxiii–xxvii.
  31. ^ Valluvar, pp. Verse 37.
  32. ^ Visveswaran, 2016, pp. ix–xi.
  33. ^ Lal, 1992, pp. 4341–4342.
  34. ^ a b Sethupillai, 1956, pp. 34–36.
  35. ^ Valluvar, pp. Verse 323.
  36. ^ a b Sundaram, 1990, pp. 7–16.
  37. ^ Sanjeevi, 1973.
  38. ^ a b Rajaram, 2009, pp. xviii–xxi.
  39. ^ Parel, 2002, pp. 96–112.
  40. ^ Tolstoy, 1908.
  41. ^ Velusamy and Faraday, 2017, p. 61.
  42. ^ Subbaraman, 2015, pp. 39–42.
  43. ^ Sivagnanam, 1974, p. 96.
  44. ^ Parimelalhagar, 2009, pp. 256–266, 314–336.
  45. ^ Engel, 2000, pp. 856–889.
  46. ^ Dinshah, 2010.
  47. ^ Parimelalhagar, 2009, pp. 314–324.

References[edit]

Primary sources (Tamil)[edit]

  • Alathur Kilar, Kḻuvāi Illai!, புறநானூறு [Puranānuru] (Verse 34), See original text in Tamil Virtual University.
  • Avvaiyar. Wikisource link to ta:திருவள்ளுவமாலை. Tirutthanigai Saravana Perumal Iyer (commentator). Wikisource. 
  • Ilango Adigal, சிலப்பதிகாரம் [Silappathigāram], See original text in Tamil Virtual University.
  • Kambar, கம்பராமாயணம் [Kambarāmāyanam], See original text in Tamil Virtual University.
  • Manakkudavar (2003). திருக்குறள் மணக்குடவர் உரை. C. Meiyyappan (Ed.). Chennai: Manivasagar Padhippagam. 370 pp.
  • Parimelalhagar (2009). திருக்குறள் மூலமும் பரிமேலழகர் உரையும். Compiled by V. M. Gopalakrishnamachariyar. Chennai: Uma Padhippagam. 1456 pp.
  • Seethalai Sāthanār, மணிமேகலை [Manimekalai], See original text in Tamil Virtual University.
  • Sekkiḻar, பெரிய‌ புராண‌ம் [Periya Puranam], See original text in Tamil Virtual University.
  • Valluvar. Wikisource link to ta:திருக்குறள். George Uglow Pope (translator). Wikisource.  See original text in Project Madurai.

Secondary sources[edit]

  • M. V. Aravindan (1968). உரையாசிரியர்கள் [Commentators]. Chennai: Manivasagar Padhippagam.
  • Dinshah, Freya (2010). "American Vegan Society: 50 Years" (PDF). American Vegan. 2. Vol. 10 no. 1 (Summer 2010). Vineland, NJ: American Vegan Society. p. 31. ISSN 1536-3767. Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 March 2018. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  • Mylan Engel, Jr. (2000). "The Immorality of Eating Meat," in The Moral Life: An Introductory Reader in Ethics and Literature, (Louis P. Pojman, ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. p. 856–889.
  • S. V. Bharti (2001). ”Yoga Sutras of Patanjali”: With the Exposition of Vyasa. New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidas. ISBN 978-81-20818-25-5.
  • Columbia University Press (2013). Dharma, The Columbia Encyclopedia (6th ed.). Gale. ISBN 978-07-87650-15-5.
  • Dhand, Arti (17 December 2002). "The Dharma of Ethics, the Ethics of Dharma: Quizzing the Ideals of Hinduism". Journal of Religious Ethics. 30 (3): 351. doi:10.1111/1467-9795.00113. ISSN 1467-9795.
  • C. Dhandapani Desigar (1969). திருக்குறள் அழகும் அமைப்பும் [Tirukkural: Beauty and Structure] (in Tamil). Chennai: Tamil Valarcchi Iyakkam.
  • "Dharma". ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA. n.d. Retrieved 2016-08-18.
  • Gavin Flood (Ed.), Ludo Rocher (2003). Chapter 4: The Dharmasastra. In: The Blackwell Companion to Hinduism. Blackwell. ISBN 978-06-31215-35-6.
  • Ki. Vaa. Jagannathan (1963). திருக்குறள், ஆராய்ச்சிப் பதிப்பு [Tirukkural, Research Edition] (3rd ed.). Coimbatore: Ramakrishna Mission Vidhyalayam.
  • Kowmareeshwari (Ed.) (2012). Aganaanooru, Puranaanooru. Sanga Ilakkiyam (in Tamil). 3 (1st ed.). Chennai: Saradha Pathippagam.
  • R. Kumaravelan (Ed.) (2008). திருக்குறள் வ.உ.சிதம்பரனார் உரை [Tirukkural: V. O. Chidhambaram Commentary] (in Tamil) (1st ed.). Chennai: Pari Nilayam.
  • Mohan Lal (1992). Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature: Sasay to Zorgot. New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi. ISBN 978-81-260-1221-3. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  • Sujit Mukherjee (1999). A Dictionary of Indian Literature: One: Beginnings–1850. 1 (1st ed.). Hyderabad: Orient Longman. ISBN 81-250-1453-5. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  • P. R. Natarajan (2008). Thirukkural: Aratthuppaal (in Tamil) (1st ed.). Chennai: Uma Padhippagam.
  • The Oxford University (n.d.). The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, "Dharma". Oxford: Oxford University Press. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  • Parel, Anthony J. (2002), "Gandhi and Tolstoy", in M. P. Mathai, M. S. John, Siby K. Joseph, Meditations on Gandhi: a Ravindra Varma festschrift, New Delhi: Concept, pp. 96–112, retrieved 2012-09-08
  • Pashaura Singh, Louis E. Fenech (Eds.), Robin Rinehart (2014). The Oxford Handbook of Sikh Studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-01-99699-30-8.
  • Rajaram, M. (2009). Thirukkural: Pearls of Inspiration. New Delhi: Rupa Publications. pp. xviii–xxi.
  • M. N. Ramasubramania Raja (Ed.) (2017). திருக்குறள் உரைக்களஞ்சிம் [Compendium of Thirukkural Commentaries] (in Tamil) (1st ed.). Chennai: Kottravai.
  • N. Sanjeevi (1973). First All India Tirukkural Seminar Papers (2nd ed.). Chennai: University of Madras.
  • R. P. Sethupillai (1956). திருவள்ளுவர் நூல்நயம் [Beauty of Thiruvalluvar's work] (in Tamil) (10th ed.). Chennai: Kazhaga Veliyeedu.
  • M. Shanmukham Pillai (1972). திருக்குறள் அமைப்பும் முறையும் [The structure and method of Tirukkural] (1 ed.). Chennai: University of Madras.
  • Thirukkural: Couplets with English Transliteration and Meaning (1 ed.). Chennai: Shree Shenbaga Pathippagam. 2012. pp. vii–xvi.
  • Steven Rosen (2006). Essential Hinduism (Chapter 3). Praeger. ISBN 0-275-99006-0.
  • N. V. Subbaraman (2015). வள்ளுவம் வாழ்ந்த வள்ளலார் [Vallalar: Living the Valluvam Way]. Chennai: Unique Media Integrators. ISBN 978-93-83051-95-3.
  • M. P. Sivagnanam (1974). திருக்குறளிலே கலைபற்றிக் கூறாததேன்? [Why the Kural did not mention art?]. Chennai: Poonkodi Padhippagam.
  • P. S. Sundaram (1990). Tiruvalluvar Kural (1st ed.). Gurgaon: Penguin Books. ISBN 978-01-44000-09-8.
  • Tolstoy, Leo (14 December 1908). "A Letter to A Hindu: The Subjection of India-Its Cause and Cure". The Literature Network. The Literature Network. Retrieved 12 February 2012. THE HINDU KURAL
  • Van Buitenen, J. A. B. (1957). "Dharma and Moksa". Philosophy East and West. 7 (1/2 (April–July)): 36.
  • Jean Varenne and Coltman Derek (1977). Yoga and the Hindu Tradition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-85116-7.
  • N. Velusamy and Moses Michael Faraday (Eds.) (February 2017). Why Should Thirukkural Be Declared the National Book of India?. Unique Media Integrators. p. 152. ISBN 978-93-85471-70-4.
  • H. V. Visveswaran (2016). தமிழனின் தத்துவம் திருக்குறள் அறம் [Tamilan's Philosophy is Tirukkural Virtue] (1 ed.). Chennai: Notion Press. ISBN 978-93-86073-74-7.
  • Widgery, Alban G. (January 1930). "The Principles of Hindu Ethics". International Journal of Ethics. 40 (2): 232–245.
  • Kamil Zvelebil (1973). The Smile of Murugan: On Tamil Literature of South India. Leiden: E. J. Brill. ISBN 90-04-03591-5. Retrieved 7 March 2018.