"Kural" redirects here. For other uses, see Kural (disambiguation).
The Tirukkural or Thirukkural (Tamil: திருக்குறள், literally Sacred Verses), or shortly the Kural, is a classic Tamil text consisting of 1330 couplets or kurals, dealing with the everyday virtues of an individual. Considered one of the greatest works ever written on ethics and morality, chiefly secular ethics, it is known for its universality and non-denominational nature. It was authored by Valluvar, also known in full as Thiruvalluvar. The text has been dated variously from 300 BCE to 7th century CE. The traditional accounts describe it as the last work of the third Sangam, but linguistic analysis suggests a later date of 450-500 CE.
Traditionally praised as "the Universal Veda," the Kural emphasizes on the vital principles of non-violence, vegetarianism/veganism, casteless human brotherhood, absence of desires, path of righteousness and truth, and so forth, besides covering a wide range of subjects such as moral codes of rulers, friendship, agriculture, knowledge and wisdom, sobriety, love, and domestic life. The work is commonly quoted in vegetarian conferences, both in India and abroad. Considered as chef d'oeuvre of both Indian and world literature, the Kural 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 Deiva nūl (divine text).
The Kural has influenced several scholars across the ethical, social, political, economical, religious, philosophical, and spiritual spheres. Authors influenced by the Kural include Leo Tolstoy, Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Schweitzer, Ramalinga Swamigal, Monsieur Ariel, Constantius Joseph Beschi, Karl Graul, August Friedrich Caemmerer, Nathaniel Edward Kindersley, Francis Whyte Ellis, Charles E. Gover, George Uglow Pope, Alexander Piatigorsky, A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, and Yu Hsi, many of whom have translated the work into their languages. Translated into at least 40 languages as of 2014, the Kural is one of the most widely translated works in the world. Because the life, culture and ethics of the Tamils are considered to be solely defined in terms of the values set by the Kural, the government and the people of Tamil Nadu alike uphold the text with utmost reverence. Along with the Gita, the Kural is a prime candidate nominated to be the national book of India, for which a declaration was passed at the Tamil Nadu Assembly in 2006.
Main article: Glossary of names for the Tirukkural
The term Tirukkural is a compound word made of two individual terms, tiru and kural. Tiru is an honorific Tamil term that corresponds to the universally Indian, Sanskrit term sri meaning "holy, sacred, excellent, honorable, and beautiful". The term tiru has as many as 19 different meanings.Kural means something that is "short, concise, and abridged". Etymologically, kural is the shortened form of kural paattu, which is derived from kuruvenpaattu, one of the two Tamil poetic forms explained by Tolkappiyam, the other one being neduvenpaattu. According to Winslow, kural is used as a literary term to indicate "a metrical line of two feet, or a distich or couplet of short lines, the first of four and the second of three feet". Thus, Tirukkural literally comes to mean "sacred couplets."
The Kural is unique among ancient works that it did not have a name nor did it have any mention of the author's name in it at the time of its release at the ruler's court at the city of Madurai, the seat of the Third Tamil Sangam. Legend has it that the author used the word Muppāl, meaning "three divisions", to present it to the King since the work was written about the first three of the four ancient Indian aims in life, known as purushaarthas, viz., virtue, wealth and love. Remaining nameless for several years after its writing, the work came to be referred to by various names in the centuries that followed. Nine traditional names had already been in use to refer to the book during the time of writing of the Tiruvalluva Maalai, a eulogy written on the Kural by various poets between the 1st and 11th centuries CE. It is estimated that the Kural has historically been known by as many as 44 names given at various periods over the millennia, making it one of the numerously titled works.
Organization of the work
The Kural is structured into 133 chapters, each containing 10 couplets (or kurals), for a total of 1,330 couplets. The 133 chapters are grouped into three parts, or "books":
- Book I – Aṟattuppāl (அறத்துப்பால்): Book of Virtue (Dharma), dealing with virtues independent of the surroundings (Chapters 1-38)
- Book II – Poruṭpāl (பொருட்பால்): Book of Polity (Artha), dealing with virtues with respect to the surroundings (Chapters 39-108)
- Book III – Kāmattuppāl (காமத்துப்பால்): Book of Love (Kama), dealing with virtues involved in conjugal human love (Chapters 109-133)
Each kural or couplet contains exactly seven words, known as 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, the term Thirukkural is a cir formed by combining the two words thiru and kuṛaḷ. The book on Aṟam (virtue) contains 380 verses, that of Poruḷ (wealth) has 700 and that of Inbam (love) has 250.
The overall organisation of the Kural text is based on seven ideals prescribed for a commoner besides observations of love. This includes 40 couplets on God, rain, ascetics, and virtue; 200 on domestic virtue; 140 on higher yet most fundamental virtue based on grace, benevolence and compassion; 250 on royalty; 100 on ministers of state; 220 on essential requirements of administration; 130 on morality, both positive and negative; and 250 on human love and passion.
The couplets are generally numbered in a linear fashion across the three books, covering all the 1,330 couplets. They can also be denoted by their chapter number and couplet number within the chapter. Thus, the third couplet in Chapter 104 (Agriculture), for instance, can be numbered either as 1033 or, less commonly, as 104:3.
The Kural has been dated variously from 300 BCE to 7th century CE. According to traditional accounts, it was the last work of the third Sangam, and was subjected to a divine test (which it passed). The scholars who believe this tradition, such as Somasundara Bharathiar and M Rajamanickam, date the text to as early as 300 BCE. Historian K. K. Pillay assigned it to the early 1st century CE.
Linguist Kamil Zvelebil is certain that Tirukkuṛaḷ does not belong to the Sangam period, and dates it to somewhere between 450-500 CE. His estimate is based on the language of the text, its allusions to the earlier works, and its borrowing from some Sanskrit treatises. Zvelebil notes that the text features several grammatical innovations, that are absent in the older Sangam literature. The text also features a higher number of Sanskritloan words compared to these older texts. According to Zvelebil, besides being part of the ancient Tamil literary tradition, the author was also a part of the "one great Indian ethical, didactic tradition", as a few of his verses seem to be translations of the verses in Sanskrit texts such as Mānavadharmaśāstra and Kautilya's Arthaśāstra.
S. Vaiyapuri Pillai assigned the work to c. 650 CE, believing that it borrowed from some Sanskrit works of 6th century CE. Zvelebil disagrees with this assessment, pointing out that some of the words that Pillai believed to be Sanskrit loan words have now been proved to be of Dravidian origin by Thomas Burrow and Murray Barnson Emeneau.
Main article: Thiruvalluvar
"The book without a name by an author without a name."
Very little is known about Valluvar, the author of the Kural. In his work The Smile of Murugan, Czech Scholar Kamil Zvelebil cites a tradition suggesting he was an outcaste by birth, the issue of a union between a Brahmin man and a Pariah woman. Some think that he was a weaver by caste. He is believed to have been born in the temple town of Mylapore, a locality within the present-day Chennai, and is said to be a simple weaver by profession who wrote the kurals with divine inspiration. He was married to Vasuki. The first instance of the author's name mentioned as 'Valluvar' is found to be several centuries later in a song of praise called the Tiruvalluva Maalai. Just as the book remained unnamed at the time of its presentation at the court of the ruler, the author too did not name himself in the writing of the book. Over the centuries that followed, people started calling the work "Tirukkural" and its author as "Thiruvalluvar". Monsieur Ariel, who translated the Kural text into French, thus praised it as "the book without a name by an author without a name." There are also claims and counter-claims as to the authorship of the book and to the exact number of couplets written by Valluvar.
Valluvar is thought to have belonged to either Jainism or Hinduism. This can be observed in his treatment of the concept of ahimsa or non-violence, which is the principal concept of both the religions. Valluvar's treatment of the chapters on vegetarianism and non-killing reflects the Jain precepts, where these are stringently enforced. The three parts that the Kural is divided into, namely, aram (virtue), porul (wealth) and inbam (love), aiming at attaining veedu (ultimate salvation), follow, respectively, the four foundations of Hinduism, namely, dharma, artha, kama and moksha. His mentioning of God Vishnu in couplets 610 and 1103 and Goddess Lakshmi in couplets 167, 408, 519, 565, 568, 616, and 617 suggests the Vaishnavite beliefs of Valluvar. Other eastern beliefs of Valluvar found in the book include previous birth and rebirth, seven births, and some ancient Indian astrological concepts, among others. Despite using these contemporary religious concepts of his time, Valluvar has limited the usage of these terms to a metaphorical sense to explicate the fundamental virtues and ethics, without enforcing any of these religious beliefs in practice. This, chiefly, has made the treatise earn the title Ulaga Podhu Marai (the universal scripture).
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. The only other book that is attributted to Valluvar other than the Kural text is Gnanavetti, a text that deals with spiritual aspects, due to which the author is also known as 'Gnanavettiyan'.
Structural plan of the work
Having written by a single author, the Kural literature reveals a single structural plan. The Kural is not an anthology for there is not any later additions to the text. According to Kamil Zvelebil, the content of the Kural text is "undoubtedly patterned." The entire work has been structured very carefully without an allowance for any structural gaps in the text such that every couplet remains indispensable for the structured whole. Thus, one can find two distinct meanings for every couplet in the Kural literature, namely, a structural one and a proverbial one. In their isolated form, that is, when removed from the content-structure, the couplets lose their structural meaning, the most important of the two, with the isolated distiches still remaining charming and interesting in themselves. This simply makes the isolated couplet a wise saying or a moral maxim, "a 'literary proverb' in perfect form, possessing, in varying degree, the prosodic and rhetoric qualities of gnomic poetry." On the other hand, within the content-structure, the couplets acquire their structural meaning in relation to other couplets, forming higher patterns, and finally, in relation to the entire work, they acquire perfection in the totality of their structure.
Tone of the work
Written in poetic form and marked by pragmatic idealism, the Kural text is unique among the ancient literature in terms of both its poetic and its intellectual accomplishments. In poetic terms, it fuses verse and aphoristic form in diction in a "pithy, vigorous, forceful and terse" manner. In intellectual terms, it is written on the basis of secular ethics, expounding a universal, moral and practical attitude towards life. Unlike religious scriptures, the Kural refrains from talking of hopes and promises of the other-worldly life. Rather it speaks of the ways of cultivating one's mind to achieve the other-worldly bliss in the present life itself. By occasionally referring to bliss beyond the worldly life, Valluvar equates what can be achieved in humanly life with what may be attained thereafter. Only in a couple of introductory chapters (Chapters 1 and 3) does Valluvar sound religious. Even here, he maintains a tone that could be acceptable to people of all faiths.
It is believed that Valluvar composed every chapter in response to a request to produce ten best couplets on a particular subject. Nevertheless, he seldom shows any concern as to what similes and superlatives he used earlier while writing on other subjects, purposely allowing for some repetition and mild contradictions in ideas one can find in the Kural text. Despite knowing its seemingly contradictory nature from a purist point of view, Valluvar employs this method to emphasise the importance of the given code of ethic. Following are some of the instances where Valluvar employs contradictions to expound the virtues.
- While in Chapter 93 Valluvar writes on the evils of intoxication, in Chapter 109 he uses the same to show the sweetness of love by saying love is sweeter than wine.
- To the question 'What is wealth of all wealth?' Valluvar points out to two different things, namely, grace (Kural 241) and hearing (Kural 411).
- In regard to the virtues one should follow dearly even at the expense of other virtues, Valluvar points to veracity (Kural 297), not coveting another's wife (Kural 150), and not being called a slanderer (Kural 181). In essence, however, in Chapter 33 he crowns non-killing as the foremost of all virtues, pushing even the virtue of veracity to the second place (Kural 323).
- Whereas he says that one can eject what is natural or inborn in him (Kural 376), he indicates that one can overcome the inherent natural flaws by getting rid of laziness (Kural 609).
- While in Chapter 7 he asserts that the greatest gain men can obtain is by their learned children (Kural 61), in Chapter 13 he says that it is that which is obtained by self-control (Kural 122).
Nevertheless, the basic ideas of Valluvar is found in the introductory section of the Kural, which includes the first four chapters of the text. Valluvar begins this portion with the invocation of God and continues to praise the rain, the vitalizer of all life forms on earth, and ascetics, the wisdom-imparting guide to all beings, before concluding the introduction by emphasizing the value of aṟam or virtue. Valluvar extols rain next only to God for it provides food and serves as the basis of a stable economic life by aiding in agriculture, which Valluvar asserts as the most important economic activity later in Book II of the Kural.
The entire writing of all the three books of the Kural text bases aṟam or dharma as its cornerstone, which resulted in the Kural being referred to simply as Aṟam. The greatest of virtues according to Valluvar is non-killing, followed by veracity, which he plainly indicates in couplet 323, and the two greatest sins that Valluvar feels very strongly are ingratitude and meat-eating. As observed by P. S. Sundaram in the introduction to his work, 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."
Main article: Praise of Tirukkural
The Kural is praised for its universality across the globe. The ancient Tamil poet Avvaiyar observed, "Valluvar pierced an atom and injected seven seas into it and compressed it into what we have today as Kural." The Russian philosopher Alexander Piatigorsky called it chef d'oeuvre of both Indian and world literature "due not only to the great artistic merits of the work but also to the lofty humane ideas permeating it which are equally precious to the people all over the world, of all periods and countries."G. U. Pope called its author "a bard of universal man." According to Albert Schweitzer, "there hardly exists in the literature of the world a collection of maxims in which we find so much of lofty wisdom."Leo Tolstoy called it "the Hindu Kural," and Mahatma Gandhi called it "a textbook of indispensable authority on moral life" and went on to say, "The maxims of Valluvar have touched my soul. There is none who has given such a treasure of wisdom like him."Sir A. Grant said, "Humility, charity and forgiveness of injuries, being Christian qualities, are not described by Aristotle. Now these three are everywhere forcibly inculcated by the Tamil Moralist."Edward Jewitt Robinson said that the Kural contains all things and there is nothing which it does not contain. Rev. John Lazarus said, "No Tamil work can ever approach the purity of the Kural. It is a standing repute to modern Tamil." According to K. M. Munshi, "Thirukkural is a treatise par excellence on the art of living."Sri Aurobindo stated, "Thirukkural is gnomic poetry, the greatest in planned conception and force of execution ever written in this kind."Monsieur Ariel, who translated and published the third part of the Kural to French in 1848, called it "a masterpiece of Tamil literature, one of the highest and purest expressions of human thought." According to Rev. Emmons E. White, "Thirukkural is a synthesis of the best moral teachings of the world."Rajaji commented, "It is the gospel of love and a code of soul-luminous life. The whole of human aspiration is epitomized in this immortal book, a book for all ages."Zakir Hussain, former President of India, said, "Thirukkural is a treasure house of worldly knowledge, ethical guidance and spiritual wisdom."
Along with Nalatiyar, another work on ethics and morality from the Sangam period, the Kural is praised for its veracity. An age-old Tamil maxim has it that "banyan and acacia maintain oral health; Four and Two maintain moral health," where "Four" and "Two" refer to the quatrains and couplets of Nalatiyar and the Kural, respectively.
While it has been widely acknowledged that Valluvar was of Jain origin and the Kural to its most part was inspired from Jain, Hindu and other ancient Indian philosophies, owing to its universality and non-denominational nature, almost every religious group in India and across the world, including Christianity, has claimed the work for itself. For example, G. U. Pope speaks of the book as an "echo of the 'Sermon on the Mount.'" In the Introduction to his English translation of the Kural, Pope even claims, "I cannot feel any hesitation in saying that the Christian Scriptures were among the sources from which the poet derived his inspiration." However, the chapters on the ethics of vegetarianism (Chapter 26) and non-killing (Chapter 33), which the Kural emphasizes unambiguously unlike the Bible or other Abrahamic religious texts, suggest that the ethics of the Kural is rather a reflection of the Jaina moral code than of Christian ethics.
Comparison with other ancient literature
Unlike the mystic philosopher of Lao Tzu or the law-giving prophets of the Judaeo-Christian tradition, Valluvar remained a philosopher concerning with the day-to-day conduct of a common individual. Scholars compares the codes of virtue, nobility, propriety, just governance, conduct, social obligations, self-control, education and knowledge with other ancient thoughts such as the Confucian sayings in Lun Yu, Hitopadesa, Panchatantra, Manusmriti, Tirumandiram, Book of Proverbs in the Bible, sayings of the Buddha in Dhammapada, ethical works of Persian origin such as Gulistan and Bastan.
Similarities with ancient Indian literature
Several ancient Indian literature such as Manusmriti, Kautilya's Arthashastra, Kamandaka's Nitisara bear likeness with the second book (Porul), the book on wealth, of the Kural text, while Vatsyayana's Kamasutra shares similarities with Inbam, the third book of the Kural text (the book on love). However, the attitude and approach of Valluvar in expounding the virtues remain entirely different from any of these contemporary works. While the Artha Shastra is based on subtle statecraft, the Porul of the Kural text bases morality and benevolence as its cornerstones. The social hierarchies and discrimination found in Manusmriti are contrasted with Valluvar's concept of universal brotherhood and oneness of humanity. Unlike Kamasutra, which is all about eros and techniques of sexual fulfillment, the Kural text of Inbam remains a poetic appreciation of flowering human love as explicated by the Sangam period's concept of intimacy, known as aham in the Tamil literary tradition.
Similarities with Confucian thoughts
The Kural text and the Confucian sayings recorded in the classic Analects of Chinese (called Lun Yu, meaning "Sacred Sayings") resemble each other in many ways. Both Valluvar and Confucius focused on the behaviors and moral conducts of a common person. Similar to Valluvar, Confucius advocated legal justice embracing human principles, courtesy, and filial piety, besides the virtues of benevolence, righteousness, loyalty and trustworthiness as foundations of life. Incidentally, Valluvar differed from Confucius in two respects. Firstly, unlike Confucius, Valluvar was also a poet. Secondly, Confucius did not deal with the subject of conjugal love, for which Valluvar devoted an entire division in his work.
Publication of the work
Save for the highly educated circle of scholars and elites, the Kural remained largely unknown to the outside world for close to one-and-a-half millennia. It had been passed on as word of mouth by parents to their children and by preceptors to their students for generations within the Tamil-speaking regions of South India. It was not until 1595 when the first translation of the work appeared in Malayalam that the work became known to the wider circle outside the Tamil-speaking communities. It was only in 1812 that the work first came to print, when the Kural text was published in Tamil, chiefly by the efforts of the then Collector of Madras Francis Whyte Ellis, who established the 'Chennai Kalvi Sangam'. It was only in 1835 that Indians were permitted to establish printing press. Thus the Kural became the first book to be published in Tamil.
Commentaries and translations
Main articles: Translations of Tirukkural, List of Tirukkural translations by language, and Tirukkural translations into English
Commentary refers to prosaic interpretations written by various persons for the original verse form of the Kural couplets. These commentaries are chiefly written in Tamil by pioneer writers over the millennia. Translation, on the other hand, refers to any interpretation, either in prose or in verse, verbatim or otherwise, of the Kural couplets in other languages. Thus, any commentary written in a language other than Tamil is considered a prose translation of the Tamil original in that particular language.
The Kural is arguably the most reviewed of all works in Tamil literature, and almost every major writer has written commentaries (explanation in prose) on it. There have been several commentaries written on the Kural over the centuries. There were at least ten medieval commentaries written by pioneer poets of which only six are available today. The ten canonical medieval commentators include Manakkudavar (10th century CE), Dharumar, Dhamatthar, Nacchar, Paridhi, Thirumalaiyar, Mallar, Kaliperumal or Pari Perumal (11th century CE), Kaalingar (12th century CE), and Parimelazhagar (late 13th century CE). Of these, only the works of Manakkudavar, Paridhi, Kaalingar, Pari Perumal, and Parimelazhagar are available today. The works of Dharumar, Dhaamatthar, and Nacchar are only partially available. The commentaries by Thirumalaiyar and Mallar are lost. The pioneer among these commentators are Manakkudavar and Parimelazhagar. Several commentaries started appearing in the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries. In 1935, V. O. Chidambaram Pillai had written commentary on the first part of the Kural (virtue) and was published in a different title, although it was only in 2008 that the complete work of his commentary on the Kural was published. Some of the commentaries of the twentieth century include those by Thiru Vi Ka, Bharathidasan, M. Varadarajan, Namakkal kavignar, Devaneya Pavanar, M. Karunanithi, and Solomon Pappaiah.
The first translation known of the Kural text is a Malayalam translation that appeared in about 1595. However, the manuscript remained unpublished and was first reported by the Annual Report of the Cochin Archeological Department for the year 1933–34. The Christian missionaries who came to India during the colonial era, inspired by the similarities of the Christian ideals found in the Kural, started translating the text into various European languages. The Latin translation of the Kural, the first of the translations into European languages, was made by Constantius Joseph Beschi in 1730. However, he translated only the first two parts, viz., virtue and wealth, leaving out the section on love assuming that it would be inappropriate for a Christian missionary to do so. The first French translation was brought about by an unknown author by about 1767 that went unnoticed. The first available French version was by Monsieur Ariel in 1848. Again, he did not translate the whole work but only parts of it. The first German translation was made by Dr. Karl Graul, who published it in 1856 both at London and Leipzig. Graul's translation was unfortunately incomplete due to his premature death. The first, and incomplete, English translations were made by N. E. Kindersley in 1794 and then by Francis Whyte Ellis in 1812. While Kindersley translated a selection of the Kural text, Ellis translated 120 couplets in all—69 of them in verse and 51 in prose.[a][b]W. H. Drew translated the first two parts in prose in 1840 and 1852, respectively. It contained the original Tamil text of the Kural, Parimelazhagar's commentary, Ramanuja Kavirayar's amplification of the commentary and Drew's English prose translation. However, Drew was able to translate only 630 couplets, and the remaining were made by John Lazarus, a native missionary. Like Beschi, Drew did not translate the part on love. The first complete English translation of the Kural was the one by George Uglow Pope in 1886, which brought the Kural to the western world.
By the end of the twentieth century, there were about twenty-four translations of the Kural in English alone, by both native and non-native scholars, including those by V. V. S. Aiyar, K. M. Balasubramaniam, Shuddhananda Bharati, A. Chakravarti, M. S. Purnalingam Pillai, C. Rajagopalachari, P. S. Sundaram, V. R. Ramachandra Dikshitar, G. Vanmikanathan, Kasturi Srinivasan, S. N. Sriramadesikan, and K. R. Srinivasa Iyengar. At present, the Kural has been translated into 37 languages. It is the most translated Tamil literature and also the most translated non-religious text of India.
It is also said that the work has also been translated into 'Vaagriboli', the language of the Narikuravas, a tribal community in Tamil Nadu.
With a highly compressed prosodic form, the Kural text employs the intricately complex Kural venba metre, known for its eminent suitability to gnomic poetry. This form, which Zvelebil calls "a marvel of brevity and condensation," is closely connected with the structural properties of the Tamil language and has historically presented extreme difficulties to its translators. Talking about translating the Kural into other languages, H. A. Popley observes, "it is impossible in any translation to do justice to the beauty and force of the original." Zvelebil claims that it is impossible to truly appreciate the maxims found in the Kural couplets through a translation but rather that the Kural has to be read and understood in its original Tamil form.
Besides these inherent difficulties in translating the Kural, some scholars have attempted to either read their own ideas into the Kural couplets or deliberately misinterpret the message to make it conform to their preconceived notions. The Latin translation by Father Beshi, for instance, contains several such mistranslations noticed by modern scholars. According to V. Ramasamy, "Beschi is purposely distorting the message of the original when he renders பிறவாழி as ‘the sea of miserable life’ and the phrase பிறவிப்பெருங்கடல் as ‘sea of this birth’ which has been translated by others as ‘the sea of many births’. Beschi means thus ‘those who swim the vast sea of miseries’. The concept of rebirth or many births for the same soul is contrary to Christian principle and belief".
Valluvar has been highly venerated as a poet-saint over the centuries. In the early 16th century, a temple was constructed in Mylapore, Chennai, in honor of Valluvar. It was extensively renovated in the 1970s. There are also temples for Valluvar at Periya Kalayamputhur, Thondi, Kanjoor Thattanpady, Senapathy, and Vilvarani.
In 1976, Valluvar Kottam, a monument to honor the Kural literature and its author, was constructed in Chennai
செயற்கரிய யாவுள நட்பின் அதுபோல்
வினைக்கரிய யாவுள காப்பு.
நட்பைப்போல் செய்து கொள்வதற்கு அருமையானவை எவை உள்ளன, அதுபோல் தொழிலுக்கு அரிய காவலாக இருப்பவை எவை உள்ளன.
சம்பாதிப்பதற்கு நட்பைப் போல அரிய பொருள் வேறு எவை உண்டு? அதைச் சம்பாதித்து விட்டால் பிறர் புக முடியாதபடி நம்மைக் காப்பதற்கு அரிய பொருள் வேறு எவை உண்டு?.
What so hard for men to gain as friendship true?
What so sure defence 'gainst all that foe can do?.
What things are there so difficult to acquire as friendship ? What guards are there so difficult to break through by the efforts (of one's foes) ? .
seyaRkariya yaavuLa natpin adhupoal
vinaikkariya yaavuLa kaappu
நிறைநீர நீரவர் கேண்மை பிறைமதிப்
பின்னீர பேதையார் நட்பு.
அறிவுடையவரின் நட்பு பிறை நிறைந்து வருதல் போன்ற தன்மையுடையது, அறிவில்லாதவரின் நட்பு முழுமதி தேய்ந்து பின் செல்லுதல் போன்ற தன்மையுடையன.
பிறை, நாளும் வளர்வதுபோல, அறிவுடையார் நட்பு வளரும்; முழு நிலவு தேய்வது போலப் பேதைகளின் நட்பு தேயும்.
Friendship with men fulfilled of good Waxes like the crescent moon;
Friendship with men of foolish mood, Like the full orb, waneth soon.
The friendship of the wise waxes like the new moon; (but) that of fools wanes like the full moon.
niRainheera neeravar kaeNmai piRaimadhip
pinneera paedhaiyaar natpu
நவில்தொறும் நூல்நயம் போலும் பயில்தொறும்
பண்புடை யாளர் தொடர்பு.
பழகப் பழக நற்பண்பு உடையவரின் நட்பு இன்பம் தருதல், நூலின் நற்பொருள் கற்கக் கற்க மேன்மேலும் இன்பம் தருதலைப் போன்றதாகும்.
படிக்கும்போது எல்லாம் மகிழ்ச்சி தரும் நூலின் இன்பம் போல நல்ல குணமுள்ளவரோடு கொண்ட நட்பு அவரோடு பழகும் போதெல்லாம் மகிழ்ச்சி தரும்.
Learned scroll the more you ponder, Sweeter grows the mental food;
So the heart by use grows fonder, Bound in friendship with the good.
Like learning, the friendship of the noble, the more it is cultivated, the more delightful does it become.
navildhoRum noolnhayam poalum payildhoRum
paNpudai yaaLar thodarpu
நகுதற் பொருட்டன்று நட்டல் மிகுதிக்கண்
மேற்செனறு இடித்தற் பொருட்டு.
நட்புச் செய்தல் ஒருவரோடு ஒருவர் சிரித்து மகிழும் பொருட்டு அன்று, நண்பர் நெறிக்கடந்து செல்லும் போது முற்ப்பட்டுச் சென்று இடித்துரைப்பதற்காகும்.
ஒருவனோடு நட்புக் கொள்வது சிரித்து மகிழ மட்டும் அன்று; நண்பனிடம் வேண்டாத செயல் இருக்கக் கண்டபோது விரைந்து கண்டித்துப் புத்தி சொல்வதற்கும் ஆம்.
Nor for laughter only friendship all the pleasant day,
But for strokes of sharp reproving, when from right you stray.
Friendship is to be practised not for the purpose of laughing but for that of being beforehand in giving one another sharp rebukes in case of transgression.
nakudhaR poruttandru nattal mikudhikkaN
maeRsenaru itiththaR poruttu
புணர்ச்சி பழகுதல் வேண்டா உணர்ச்சிதான்
நட்பாங் கிழமை தரும்.
நட்புச் செய்வதற்குத் தொடர்பும் பழக்கமும் வேண்டியதில்லை, ஒத்த உணர்ச்சியே நட்பு ஏற்படுத்துவதற்கு வேண்டிய உரிமையைக் கொடுக்கும்.
ஒருவனோடு ஒருவன் நட்புக் கொள்வதற்கு அருகருகே இருப்பதோ, நெருங்கிப் பழகுவதோ வேண்டியதில்ல. இருவரது எண்ணமும் ஒத்திருந்தால் அதுவே நட்பு என்னும் தோழமையைக் கொடுக்கும்.
Not association constant, not affection's token bind;
'Tis the unison of feeling friends unites of kindred mind.
Living together and holding frequent intercourse are not necessary (for friendship); (mutual) understanding can alone create a claim for it.
puNarchchi pazhakudhal vaeNdaa uNarchchidhaan
natpaanG kizhamai tharum
முகநக நட்பது நட்பன்று நெஞ்சத்து
அகநக நட்பது நட்பு.
முகம் மட்டும் மலரும் படியா நட்பு செய்வது நட்பு அன்று, நெஞ்சமும் மலரும் படியாக உள்ளன்பு கொண்டு நட்பு செய்வதே நட்பு ஆகும்.
பார்க்கும்போது மனம் மகிழாமல், முகம் மட்டுமே மலரப் பழகுவது நட்பு அன்று. அன்பால் மனமும் மலரப் பழகுவதே நட்பு.
Not the face's smile of welcome shows the friend sincere,
But the heart's rejoicing gladness when the friend is near.
The love that dwells (merely in the smiles of the face is not friendship; (but) that which dwells deep in the smiles of the heart is true friendship.
mukanhaka natpadhu natpandru nenjaththu
akanhaka natpadhu natpu
அழிவி னவைநீக்கி ஆறுய்த்து அழிவின்கண்
அல்லல் உழப்பதாம் நட்பு.
அழிவைத் தரும் தீமைகளிலிருந்து நீக்கி, நல்ல வழியில் நடக்கச் செய்து, அழிவுவந்த காலத்தில் உடனிருந்து துன்பப்படுவதே நட்பாகும்.
அழிவு தரும் வழிகளில் நண்பன் சென்றால் தடுத்து, நல்ல வழியில் அவனைச் செலுத்தி அவனுக்குக் கேடு வரும் என்றால் அதை அவனுடன் பகிர்வது நட்பு.
Friendship from ruin saves, in way of virtue keeps;
In troublous time, it weeps with him who weeps.
(True) friendship turns aside from evil (ways) makes (him) walk in the (good) way, and, in case of loss if shares his sorrow (with him).
azhivi navainheekki aaRuyththu azhivin-kaN
allal uzhappadhaam natpu
உடுக்கை இழந்தவன் கைபோல ஆங்கே
இடுக்கண் களைவதாம் நட்பு.
உடைநெகிழ்ந்தவனுடைய கை, உடனே உதவிக்காப்பது போல் (நண்பனுக்குத் துன்பம் வந்தால்) அப்போதே சென்று துன்பத்தைக் களைவது நட்பு.
பலர் முன்னே ஆடை நழுவும்போது உடனே சென்று உதவும் கை போல, நண்பனுக்குத் துன்பம் வந்த போது உடனே சென்று போக்குவதே நட்பு.
As hand of him whose vesture slips away,
Friendship at once the coming grief will stay.
(True) friendship hastens to the rescue of the afflicted (as readily) as the hand of one whose garment is loosened (before an assembly).
udukkai izhandhavan kaipoala aangae
idukkaN kaLaivadhaam natpu
நட்பிற்கு வீற்றிருக்கை யாதெனின் கொட்பின்றி
ஒல்லும்வாய் ஊன்றும் நிலை.
நட்புக்கு சிறந்த நிலை எது என்றால், எப்போதும் வேறுபடுதல் இல்லாமல், முடியும் போதெல்லாம் உதவி செய்து தாங்கும் நிலையாகும்.
நட்பின் அரியணை எது என்றால், எப்போதும் மாறாமல் முடிந்தபோது எல்லாம் ஒருவர்க்கு ஒருவர் உதவுவதேயாம்.
And where is friendship's royal seat? In stable mind,
Where friend in every time of need support may find.
Friendship may be said to be on its throne when it possesses the power of supporting one at all times and under all circumstances, (in the practice or virtue and wealth).
natpiRku veetrirukkai yaadhenin kotpindri
ollumvaai oondrum nilai
இனையர் இவரெமக்கு இன்னம்யாம் என்று
புனையினும் புல்லென்னும் நட்பு.
இவர் எமக்கு இத்தன்மையானவர், யாம் இவர்க்கு இத் தன்மையுடையேம் என்று புனைந்துரைத்தாலும் நட்பு சிறப்பிழந்து விடும்.
இவர் எமக்கு இத்தனை அன்பு உடையவர்; நாமும் இவர்க்கு இப்படியே என்று ஒருவரை ஒருவர் அலங்காரமாகப் பாராட்டிச் சொன்னாலும் நட்பு அற்பமானதாகப் போய்விடும்.
Mean is the friendship that men blazon forth,
'He's thus to me' and 'such to him my worth'.
Though friends may praise one another saying, "He is so intimate with us, and we so much (with him)"; (still) such friendship will appear mean.
inaiyar ivaremakku innamyaam endru
punaiyinum pullennum natpu