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The Tirukkuṛaḷ 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 Tamiḻ Maṟai (Tamil Veda); Poyyāmoḻi (words that never fail); and Daiva nūl (divine text). The work is dated to sometime between the third and first centuries BCE and is considered to precede Manimekalai and Silappatikaram, since they both acknowledge the Kural text.
- (Tamil: அறத்துப்பால், Aṟattuppāl ?) Aṟam (Dharma) (1-38)
- (Tamil: பொருட்பால், Poruṭpāl ?) Poruḷ (Artha) (39-108)
- (Tamil: காமத்துப்பால், Kāmattuppāl ?) Inbam (Kama) (109-133)
A couplet or kuṛaḷ 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, Tirukkural is a cir formed by combining the two words tiru and ‘’kuṛaḷ. 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 the Garland of Thiruvalluvar in Thiruvalluva Malai.
Thirukural is known by many names such as:
- பொய்யாமொழி / Poyyāmoḻi - "Statements Devoid of Untruth"
- வாயுரை வாழ்த்து / Vāyurai Vāḻttu - "Truthful Utterances"
- தெய்வநூல் / Teyvanūl - "Holy Book"
- பொதுமறை / Potumaṟai - "Book for All"
- முப்பால் / Muppāl - "Three-chaptered"
- தமிழ் மறை / Tamiḻ Maṟai - "Tamil Veda"
- முப்பானூல் / Muppāṉūl - "Three-Chaptered Book"
- திருவள்ளுவம் / Thiruvalluvam - the work of Thiruvalluvar
Commentaries and translations
There have been several commentaries written on the Tirukkuṛaḷ over the centuries. The pioneer commentator is Manakkudavur. The earliest commentaries on the Tirukkuṛaḷ were by Manakkudavar and Pari Perumal belong to the 11th century, Kaalingar belongs to the 12th century, Parimelazhagar belongs to the 13th century. In 1935, V. O. Chidambaranar had written commentary on the First Part of the Tirukkuṛaḷ - Virtue and was published in the different title. In 2008, complete work of Commentary on the Tirukkuṛaḷ was published, as manuscript of V. O. C. was provided by his son AmarJothi. V. O. C. was scholared in Tolkappiyam, the Tirukkuṛaḷ and many other Tamil literature and had done deep and wide research in the Tirukkuṛaḷ and has done the excellent job of comparative study of all the preceding Commentaries and has provided a proven new unequalled version. His commentary is helpful to all and precious to who doing research in the Tirukkuṛaḷ and Tamil literature. The Latin translation of the Tirukkuṛaḷ was made by Constanzo Beschi in 1730. An English Translation of Thirukural by George Uglow Pope brought the Tirukkuṛaḷ to the western world in 1886. This work is the first translation to the English language. The Tirukkuṛaḷ has been translated to more than 37 languages across the world by various authors. Thirukural does not refer to any religion.
- Blackburn, Cutler (2000). "Corruption and Redemption: The Legend of Valluvar and Tamil Literary History" (PDF). Modern Aian Studies 34 (2): 449–482. doi:10.1017/S0026749X00003632. Retrieved 20 August 2007.
- Pillai, MS (1994). Tamil literature. Asian Education Service. ISBN 81-206-0955-7.
- 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.
- 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.
- Sujit Mukherjee (1 January 1999). A dictionary of Indian literature. Orient Blackswan. pp. 393–. ISBN 978-81-250-1453-9. Retrieved 13 December 2010.
- "Tirukkural". Retrieved 8 October 2007.
- 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). Thirukkural English Translation and Commentary (PDF). W.H. Allen, & Co. p. 160.
- 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 ), 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