Transcending life with the Tirukkural


It is not very often that one gets to witness a session on something that is timeless and precious. Not every work of literature sustains its sanctity and relevance even after about 2000 years from the time it was written. “ Ulaga Podhu Marai” as they call it, is a revered book for many out there. 1330 couplets and 133 chapters shove more sense into people than any other similar comparable work.

I had the honor of being a part of a session on the Tirukkural during an event. It was focused on the work of Shri.Gopal Krishna Gandhi on the Tirukkural.

The book is dedicated to two important people in his life, Shri.Rajaji and Shri. E.V Periyar.  The author urges us to read the Tirukkural and in the process discover another speed in probably envisioning the world.

Respect and Reverance are two different aspects. Valluvar approaches life and its multivariant hues with a bold and frank respect. He was conscious of human feelings and emotions. That must have been apparent to us since being oblivious to feelings and emotions, one could never have completed the third book, the book of love, Kaamathuppaal. As an example of Valluvar’s respect (not reverence), Gandhi quotes the below given Kural.

Kural 1062:


If he that shaped the world desires that men should begging go,
Through life’s long course, let him a wanderer be and perish so.
Couplet Explanation:

If the Creator of the world has decreed even begging as a means of livelihood, may he too go abegging and perish.
Transliteration(Tamil to English):


irandhum uyirvaazhdhal vaeNdin parandhu
keduka ulagiyatri yaan

The author says that he is fascinated by the form and method of conveying his point that was adopted by Tiruvalluvar.

When asked about how he set on working so closely with the Tirukkural, he says, that he was honored to have gotten a chance to work with it in such an intimate fashion. People just do not work casually with something as great as this without spending a lot of Intellectual energy on it.

On the influence of G.U.Pope on his work, he adds that it was as important to him as the original was and that he revered it.

What actually intrigued me, as a lost individual, are the true words that Mr.Gandhi spoke about how one must approach the Tirukkural. He says, one must read it with a Thinking Mind, a Healing Heart and A sensual Body.

When asked about the prominence of the Third book in his work, Gandhi says that it was not an easy job. It was more like grafting the Kamasutra, the book of Love onto the Bhagwat Gita. Neither of the two other books, the Arathuppaal or the Porutpaal had as much discussion about Ethical behavior as the third book has.

Kaamathuppaal has been further sub-divided into two divisions on pre-marital love and Post-marital love. It makes me wonder about the present day moral-policing and allied atrocities happening around.

The session was followed by rendition of a few Kurals tuned to music by Shri Chitraveena N Ravi Kiran and rendered in a mellifluous way by Shri Thiruvarur Girish. I personally would have loved it if it was a session of music and kural explanation in an alternate fashion.

The Tirukkural is a work of a genius that lives and breathes beyond time and age. An ageless classic that is very much accessible and relevant for the Town mayor and also to the barber. It is the code by which people must live by, in a perfect and ideal world. It is the code that we must try to adhere to, not only for a better society but also for a better self.


2 thoughts on “Transcending life with the Tirukkural

  1. Beautifully written. I am sure I am going to pick few lines from your post with your permission as I write my daily inspirations. Megha, as a co-blogger, I am very proud of the writer in you. Amazing way to portray the best of work. Keep going girl.

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