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  Tirukkural constitutes one of the most important literary works in Tamil. It is generally reckoned that Kural was composed during the Sangam Period of literary development in Tamil (500-200 BC). Kural continues to be important today, in the twentyfirst century, for scholars believe that Kural conveys many many important messages to the society. International interest in the study of Kural can be traced to the second half of the Nineteenth century.

  This comprehensive reference has been made possible due to the availability of the Multilingual software from IIT Madras. Visitors to these pages should be able to view the text in Tamil script on most graphic enabled web browsers. The presentations are unique and one of a kind on the web.

Introduction to Tirukkural

  Tirukkural is a masterpiece of Tamil literature, composed during the last of the three Sangam eras. While it has not been possible to exactly date the work, the reference to Kural in the great epics Manimekalai and Silappadhikaram give us some idea of when it would have been composed.

About Tiruvalluvar

  Not much is known about Tiruvalluvar, the author of the work though it is believed that he was born in Mylaopore (Chennai, Tamilnadu) and belonged to the weaver community. He is also known by several other names e.g., Nayanar, Theivappulavar, Perunavalar. The work itself is often called Tamil Marai, a reference to its identification with the Vedas.

Historical Information

  It is believed that Valluvar composed the work on request from his close friend and student by name Elela Singan. Upon completion, Valluvar took the work to Madurai, as per the prevailing practice of reading out new compositions in a public forum where critics and scholars would be present.

  The conceited scholars at Madurai, insisted on measuring the greatness of the work through a test where the manuscript would be placed with other works on a plank kept afloat in the tank of the great temple and it was to be seen if the plank remained afloat. The significance of this is that the greatness of a work is realized on the basis of not the weight of its manuscript (written on Palm leaves) but the devine qualities of the work which foced the plank to stay afloat.

  It is said that to the amazement of the critics, the Sangam Plank shrunk itself in size to hold only the Kural manuscript and in the process throwing out the rest.

  There is also a belief that Valluvar and the great poetess Auvaiyar were siblings and it was Auvaiyar who went one step ahead of what had been said about Kural earlier. Idaikkadar had praised Kural with a reference that the greatness of Kural is such that Valluvar had packed inside a mustard seed, the essence of all knowledge from the broad world spanned by seven seas. Auvaiyar had substituted the term kadugu (mustard) by Anu (meaning an atom). It is interesting to note that the concept of Atom had already been established in the Tamil country two thousand years ago! 

Kural - statistics

  Tirukkural is a work of 1330 couplets each of which conforms to the structure of "Kural Venba", a grammatical construction with two lines of four and three words respectively. The work is arranged in 133 Adhikarams, each with 10 couplets. The 133 Adhikarams are divided into three major groups known as "Aram", "Porul" and "Inbam". Aram represents Virtue, Porul defines the principles of Life for common people as well as the State. The last section deals with aspects of Love. The overall organization of Tirukkural is as follows, based on seven ideals prescribed for people followed by observations on Love.

40 couplets on God, Rain, Virtue and Ascetics.
200 couplets on Domestic Virtue 
140 couplets on Higher Virtue based on Grace
250 couplets on Royalty
100 couplets on Ministers of State
220 couplets on the Essential requirements of Administration
130 couples on Morality, both positive and negative
250 couplets on Human Love and Passion

List of Adhikarams

     The list provides the titles of the 133 Adhikarams (in Tamil script).  

In praise of Kural

  Today, one also reads an appendix to the work where great men had praised the author. This appendix is known as "Tiruvalluva Malai" or the "Garland of Valluvar". It has fiftythree verses from fiftythree different poets spanning several centuries. This appendix is a goldmine of information about Tirukkural. Thiruvalluva Malai is presented in an independent page with the text in the Tamil script. 


Introduction to Kural

About Tiruvalluvar

Historical Information

Kural - statistics

Browse the text of Kural
(The complete text arranged in Adhikarams)


Linguistic Analysis of Kural

Letter, word frequencies
(Distribution of the letters of Tamil in the text of Kural)

Kural a day
(couplet chosen at random each day)

Search the text of Kural
(A simple web interface to search for words in the text of Tirukkural, with a provision to enter the query string in Tamil)

Kural Word list
(Alphabetically arranged list of words from the 1330 couplets. Approx. 6000 words)


Kural on the web
(Links to other sites)

Siddharthan Ramachandramurthi has setup a web site presenting the text of kural with an added search facility. A good example of an attempt to present Tamil text through images and thus avoid the vagaries of fonts!

Acharya Logo
The statue of Saint Tiruvalluvar greets visitors at Kanyakumari, the southernmost tip of India. The 133 feet tall statue stands next to Vivekananda Memorial, a temple for meditation. The height of 133 feet signifies the 133 "Adhikarams". The pedastal measures 38 feet in height, representing the 38 "Adhikarams" of the first part of Kural "Aram".

Today is May. 27, 2020
Local Time: 20 50 04

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