The Divine Poet-Thiruvalluvar


By-  Mr. Prakash K. (LT MHPS)

Thiruvalluvar was a Tamil poet and philosopher who contributed the classic Couplet Thirukkural to Tamil literature. Thiruvalluvar is thought to have lived sometime between 3rd century BC and 1st century BC. It is believed that he was born in Mylapore, Chennai and lived in Madurai. He was also called as Theiva pulavar (Divine poet). In Tamil Nadu his Birthday is celebrated adjoining the Pongal festival. His wife name’s was Vaasuki, a great example of a devoted wife.

Thirukkural is the only book translated in many world languages as “Art of Living“. Rev Beschie translated it into Latin, G.U. Pope into English, Fredrich Rucker into German, P.G.Dumast into French and so on. Thirukural is written as couplets (has only two lines). First line has four words and second line three words for a total of only seven words. In these seven words Thiruvalluvar speaks on almost all the subjects like management, medical diagnosis, positive thinking, covetousness, tyranny, hypocrisy, penury, nepotism and unscrupulousness.

Thirukkural is divided into three sections:

i) Section one deals with Aram (virtue)-Good ethical behavior with conscience and honor (“right conduct”).

ii) Section two discusses Porul (wealth), the right manner of conducting worldly affairs.

iii) Section three dwells on Kaamam (love), love between men and women.

The first section has 38 chapters, the second 70 chapters and the third 25 chapters. Each chapter consists of 10 couplets or Kurals, for a total of 1330 couplets. Although two sections, Aram and Inbam, are devoted to the private life of an individual more than half the couplets in Thirukural are grouped under Porul which discusses ethics in public life. Thus Thiruvalluvar gives more importance to righteous living in public life.

A statue built in his honor known as “The Thiruvalluvar Statue” is a 133 feet (40.6 m) tall stone sculpture which was inaugurated on 1st January 2000 and is located atop a small island near the town of Kanyakumari, where two seas and an ocean meet. The statue has a height of 95 feet (29 m) and stands upon a 38-foot (11.5 m) pedestal that represents the 38 chapters of “virtue” in the Thirukkural. The statue standing on the pedestal represents “wealth” and “pleasures”, signifying that wealth and love are to be earned and enjoyed on the foundation of solid virtue. The combined height of the statue and pedestal is 133 feet, denoting the 133 chapters in the Thirukkural. It has a total weight of 7000 tons. The statue, with its slight bend around the waist is reminiscent of a dance pose of the ancient Indian deities like Nataraja. The sculpture was designed by the noted Vastu architect, V. Ganapathi Sthapati (1927-2011).

A temple-like memorial to Thiruvalluvar, Valluvar Kottam, was built in Chennai in 1976. This monument complex consists of structures usually found in Dravidian temples, including a temple car carved from three blocks of granite, and a shallow, rectangular pond. The auditorium adjoining the memorial is one of the largest in Asia and can seat up to 4,000 people.

Let me sign off by quoting the great poet.

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References: Online sources.

One thought on “The Divine Poet-Thiruvalluvar

  1. nice information,
    About the poet i heared from my south indian friends that he was really a brilliant poet, in his book he had mentioned evey philosophy of life.

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