My serendipitous encounter with Valluvar’s chef d’oeuvre Thirukkural resurfaced the germinating thoughts of simple living, sown by my mother in my childhood. In case, some of you are wondering what is Thirukkural let me elucidate.
Thirukkural or popularly known as the Kural, is a classic Tamil literary treatise comprising of 1330 couplets or Kurals, illustrating the significance of weaves of ethics and morality in the daily fabric of life. It is considered as one of the greatest works ever written on ethics and morality, primarily secular ethics, celebrated for its global appeal and unbiased views. Translated into 83 world languages including French, German, Japanese, Latin, Malay, Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic and English, it is one of the most translated non-religious literary compilation in the world.
It is said to have been brought to light sometime between the third and first century BC. The Kural text was unknown for close to two millennial. The first translation of the text appeared in Malyalam. Its unpublished manuscript remained in a cryptic version, until it was reported by the Annual Report of the Cochin Archaeological Department.
It took another three centuries before any translation was published in Malyalam. The compilation enjoys such a global appeal and acceptance that although it was written in India, all religious groups in India and abroad including Christianity claim it to be a work inspired by their moral foundations. The Christian Missionaries who arrived in India during the colonial era, drew semblance between their moral foundations.
The Christian Missionaries who arrived in India during the colonial era, drew semblance between their ideals and the thoughts detailed in the Kural, thus, marking a beginning of translations of the Kural text. Many scholars have translated Thirukkural in English, and the first was done by G.U.Pope.
The Thirukkural is an amalgamation of “Thiru” and “Kural”. “Kural” denotes the short length of its verses, and “Thiru” signifies its sanctity. The Thirukkural is divided into 133 chapters, each containing 10 couplets. The chapters are further grouped into 3 sections:
I ) Aram( Dharma) dealing with righteousness.
II) Porul (Artha) dealing with material world.
III) Inbam(Karma) dealing with love.
The universal reverence for the treatise, made me very inquisitive to explore the lofty wisdom of the text. Although, I could read only a few chapters from part I and II, it was easy to observe, why the couplets have been hailed by contemporary poets as a mustard seed which has seven seas of knowledge inlaid in it. Tiruvalluvar, the author, has diagnosed the intricacies of human behavior and psychology through such elementary and insightful depth, that it captures all the peaks and valleys encountered in the lives of individuals of the modern era.
His recipes for an enriching life, hover on godliness, ethics, morality, and humanness. They are clever and practical to implement, transcending borders of caste, age or nationality. The thoughts are simple yet profound, cooking a perfect platter to savour and satisfy our souls. By: TransLang Ways, we provide quality translation services in Mumbai and other parts of India.