Thiruvalluvar was a Tamil poet-saint known as the author of the Tirukkural (“Sacred Couplets”), considered a masterpiece of human thought, compared in India and abroad to the Bible, John Milton's Paradise Lost, and the works of Plato.
- There is no greater wealth than Virtue,
And no greater loss than to forget it.
- Verse IV.2
- The worth of a wife is a man’s good fortune;
His jewels are his good children.
- Verse VI.10
- The gruel that children’s little hands have stirred
Is sweeter than nectar.
- Verse VII.2
- To use bitter words, when kind words are at hand,
Is like picking unripe fruit when the ripe fruit is there.
- Verse X.10
- The wound that’s made by fire will heal,
But the wound that’s made by tongue will never heal.
- Verse XIII.9
- To turn away a guest is poorest poverty;
To bear with fools is mightiest might.
- Verse XVI.3
- Real kindness seeks no return;
What return can the world make to rain clouds?
- Verse XXII.1
- When you are about to badger the weak,
Then imagine yourself before a more powerful man.
- Verse XXV.10
- How can kindliness rule that man
Who eateth other flesh to increase his own?
- Verse XXVI.1
- Not every light is a true light;
To the wise the light of truth is light itself.
- Verse XXX.9
- Anger kills both laughter and joy;
What greater foe is there than anger?
- Verse XXXI.4
- Just as the hand that strikes the ground cannot fail,
So is the ruin certain of him who cherishes anger.
- Verse XXXI.7
- Those who give way to great anger are like the dead:
Those who are free from anger are free from death.
- Verse XXXI.10
- Whatever things a man gives up,
By those he cannot suffer pain.
- Verse XXXV.1
- The learned are said to have seeing eyes;
The unlearned have only two sores on their faces.
- Verse XL.3
- Even the ignorant may appear very worthy,
If they keep silent before the learned.
- Verse XLI.3
- The ignorant are like useless, brackish soil;
They exist and that is all.
- Verse XLI.6
- When no food is given to the ear,
Then let a little be given to the stomach.
- Verse XLII.2
- As the quality of water changes with the nature of the soil;
So will a man’s reason vary with the quality of his friends.
- Verse XLVI.2
- The crow does not hide its prey, but calls for others to share it;
So wealth will be with those of a like disposition.
- Verse LIII.7
- The lotus’ stem is as long as the depth of water,
So men’s height is just as great as their inner strength.
- Verse LX.5
- They who in trouble untroubled are
Will trouble trouble itself.
- Verse LXIII.3
- To get wealth and security by guile
Is like one who pours water into a pot of unbaked clay.
- Verse LXVI.10
- Reasoning with a drunkard is like
Going under water with a torch to seek for a drowning man.
- Verse XCIII.9
- If men must beg to live,
May the Creator also go wandering and perish.
- Verse CVII.2