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Tiruvalluvar statue LIC.jpg
The Thiruvalluvar statue in Kanyakumari
Born Probably between 4th and 1st centuries BCE; possible date: 31 BCE (as approved by the Government of Tamil Nadu)
Thirunainar Kuruchi, Valluvanad (present-day Kanyakumari district) or Possibly at Thirumailai (present-day Mylapore, Chennai)
Other names Valluvar, Mudharpaavalar, Deivappulavar, Gnanavettiyaan, Maadhaanupangi, Naanmuganaar, Naayanaar, Poyyirpulavar, Dhevar, Perunaavalar[1]
Notable work Tirukkural
Spouse(s) Vaasuki
Era Sangam
Region Present-day Tamil Nadu
Notable ideas
Common ethics and morality

Thiruvalluvar, known commonly as Valluvar, is a celebrated Tamil poet and philosopher whose contribution to Tamil literature is the Thirukkural, a work on ethics.[2] It is believed that he was born either in Thiru Mylai (Mylapore) Chennai in Tamil Nadu or in ThirunainarKuruchi, a village in Kanyakumari District of Tamil Nadu. Thiruvalluvar is thought to have lived sometime between the 4th century BC and the 1st century BC.[3] The Tamil poet Mamulanar of the Sangam period mentioned that Thiruvalluvar was the greatest Tamil scholar and Mamulanar also mentioned the Nanda Dynasty of northern which ruled until the 4th century BC.[4][5] This estimate is based on linguistic analysis of his writings, as there is no historical evidence for when and where he lived.[6]

Traditional accounts[edit]

A temple for Thiruvalluvar in Mylapore

Thirukkuṛal itself does not name its author or authors. The name Thiruvalluvar was first mentioned in the 10th century in a text called Thiruvalluvarmaalai ("Thiruvalluve traditions of Thiruvalluvar" appeared after this text had been written.[7] It is generally believed that the name Thiruvalluvar consists of Thiru

He is said to have been a weaver and the supposed house he lived is now converted to a temple. His wife's name is Vaasuki. There are lots of legends about the pair Thiruvalluvar and Vaasuki. Two of them are: 1) Once Vaasuki Ammaiyar was fetching water from well and Thiruvalluvar called her and she left the water and ran in immediately, but the water pot stayed in mid air. Such was her austerity and dedication towards her husband Thiruvalluvar; 2) Thiruvalluvar used to sit every day for meal with a cup of water and a wooden tooth pick. He did this to pick any grain of rice spilled out from his leaf when Vaasuki Ammaiyar served food. It was said that Thiruvalluvar could not even pick a grain of rice every day. Such was the dedication in serving meal by Vaasuki Ammaiyar. Thiruvalluvar may have spent part of his life in Madurai because it was under the Pandiya rulers that many Tamil poets flourished. There is also the recent claim by Kanyakumari Historical and Cultural Research Centre (KHCRC) that Valluvar was a king who ruled Valluvanadu in the hilly tracts of the Kanyakumari District of Tamil Nadu.[8][9]


Thiruvalluvar Statue

Thirukkural is one of the most revered ancient works in the Tamil language. It is considered a 'common creed',[10] providing a guide for human morals and betterment in life. Thirukkural has been translated into several languages,[11] including a translation into Latin by Constanzo Beschi in 1699 which helped make the work known to European intellectuals.

Other books[edit]

Other than the Thirukkuṛaḷ, Thiruvalluvar is believed to be the author of two Tamil texts on medicine, Gnana Vettiyan and Pancharathnam; although many scholars claim that they were by a later author with the same name,[12] since they appear to have been written in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. These books, 'Pancharathnam' and 'Gnana Vettiyan' , contribute to Tamil science, literature and other ayurvedic medicines. [13]


Thiruvalluvar statue at SOAS, University of London.

A temple-like memorial to Thiruvalluvar, Valluvar Kottam, was built in Chennai in 1976.[14] This monument complex consists of structures usually found in Dravidian temples,[15] including a temple car[16] carved from three blocks of granite, and a shallow, rectangular pond.[14] The auditorium adjoining the memorial is one of the largest in Asia and can seat up to 4000 people.[17]

There is a 133-foot tall statue of Thiruvalluvar erected at Kanyakumari at the southern tip of the Indian subcontinent, where the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal, and the Indian Ocean converge. The 133 feet denote Tirukkuṛaḷ's 133 Chapters or athikarams and the show of three fingers denote the three themes Aram, Porul, and Inbam, i.e. the sections on Morals, Wealth and Love. The statue was designed by V. Ganapati Sthapati, a temple architect from Tamil Nadu.[18] His statue was unveiled in Ulsoor, near Bengaluru, on 9 August 2009, also making it the first of its kind for a poet of a local language to be installed in its near states other than his own home land at India. There is also a statue of Thiruvalluvar outside the School of Oriental and African Studies in Russell Square, London.[19]

The government of Tamil Nadu celebrates the 15th (16th On Leap Years) of January as (as Per Tamil Calendar தை-2) Thiruvalluvar Day as part of the Pongal celebrations in his honour.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Natarajan, P. R. (December 2008). Thirukkural: Aratthuppaal (in Tamil) (First ed.). Chennai: Uma Padhippagam. p. 2. 
  2. ^ "Arts - Literature - Thirukural". 3 April 2013. 
  3. ^ Flowers Of Wisdom by P.C. Babu p. 145
  4. ^ Tamil Wisdom: Traditions Concerning Hindu Sages and Selections from Their Writings Edward Jewitt Robinson p. 24
  5. ^ The Mauryan Polity by V. R. Ramachandra Dikshitar p. 61
  6. ^ Mohan Lal (1 January 2006). The Encyclopaedia Of Indian Literature (Volume Five (Sasay To Zorgot). Sahitya Akademi. pp. 4333–4334. ISBN 978-81-260-1221-3. Retrieved 14 December 2010. 
  7. ^ Blackburn, Cutler (2000). "Corruption and Redemption: The Legend of Valluvar and Tamil Literary History.". Modern Asian Studies. 34: 449–482. doi:10.1017/S0026749X00003632. Retrieved 9 December 2010. 
  8. ^ "Valluvar lived in Kanyakumari district". Yahoo! News. 26 April 2007. Archived from the original on 28 March 2007. Retrieved 22 August 2007. 
  9. ^[dead link]
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ "Translation of the Tamil literary work thirukkuRaL in world languages". K. Kalyanasundaram. Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  12. ^ Ca. Vē Cuppiramaṇiyan̲ (1980). Papers on Tamil studies. International Institute of Tamil Studies. Retrieved 11 December 2010. 
  13. ^ Marion Zimmermann (September 2007). A Short Introduction: The Tamil Siddhas and the Siddha Medicine of Tamil Nadu. GRIN Verlag. pp. 8–. ISBN 978-3-638-77126-9. Retrieved 14 December 2010. 
  14. ^ a b David Abram; Rough Guides (Firm) (2003). South India. Rough Guides. pp. 421–. ISBN 978-1-84353-103-6. Retrieved 12 December 2010. 
  15. ^ Tourist Guide to Tamil Nadu. Sura Books. pp. 20–. ISBN 978-81-7478-177-2. Retrieved 12 December 2010. 
  16. ^ Mary Elizabeth Hancock (8 October 2008). The politics of heritage from Madras to Chennai. Indiana University Press. pp. 113–. ISBN 978-0-253-35223-1. Retrieved 12 December 2010. 
  17. ^ Rina Kamath (2000). Chennai. Orient Blackswan. pp. 34–. ISBN 978-81-250-1378-5. Retrieved 12 December 2010. 
  18. ^ Tiruvaḷḷuvar; Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1 January 2000). Tirukural. Abhinav Publications. pp. 31–32. ISBN 978-81-7017-390-8. Retrieved 12 December 2010. 
  19. ^
  20. ^ Various. Tourist Guide to South India. Sura Books. pp. 13–. ISBN 978-81-7478-175-8. Retrieved 12 December 2010. 

External links[edit]