Thirukural of Tiruvalluvar | 3



The pure fail not in power of words
Knowing grand council's moods and modes. |721

Among scholars he is scholar
Who holds scholars with learned lore. |722

Many brave foes and die in fields
The fearless few face wise councils. |723

Impress the learned with your lore
From greater savants learn still more. |724

Grammar and logic learn so that
Foes you can boldly retort. |725

To cowards what can sword avail
And books to those who councils fail? |726

Like eunuch's sword in field, is vain
His lore who fears men of brain. |727

Though learned much his lore is dead
Who says no good before the good. |728

Who fear to face good assembly
Are learned idiots, certainly. |729

They are breathing dead who dare not
Empress before the wise their art. |730



It's country which has souls of worth
Unfailing yields and ample wealth. |731

The Land has large luring treasure
Where pests are nil and yields are sure. |732

It's land that bears pressing burdens
And pays its tax which king demands. |733

It is country which is free from
Fierce famine, plague and foemen's harm. |734

Sects and ruinous foes are nil
No traitors in a land tranquil. |735

The land of lands no ruin knows
Even in grief its wealth yet grows. |736

Waters up and down, hills and streams
With strong forts as limbs country beams. |737

Rich yield, delight, defence and wealth
Are jewels of lands with blooming health. |738

A land is land which yields unsought
Needing hard work the land is nought. |739

Though a land has thus every thing
It is worthless without a king. |740


The fort is vital for offence
Who fear the foes has its defence. |741

A crystal fount, a space a mount
Thick woods form a fort paramount. |742

An ideal fort's so says science:
High, broad, strong and hard for access. |743

Ample in space, easy to hold
The fort foils enemies bold. |744

Impregnable with stores of food
Cosy to live-That fort is good. |745

A fort is full of stores and arms
And brave heroes to meet alarms. |746

Besieging foes a fort withstands
Darts and mines of treacherous hands. |747

A fort holds itself and defies
The attacks of encircling foes. |748

A fort it is that fells the foes
And gains by deeds a name glorious. |749

But a fort however grand
Is nil if heroes do not stand. |750


Naught exists that can, save wealth
Make the worthless as men of worth. |751

The have- nothing poor all despise
The men of wealth all raise and praise. |752

Waneless wealth is light that goes
To every land and gloom removes. |753

The blameless wealth from fairest means
Brings good virtue and also bliss. |754

Riches devoid of love and grace
Off with it; it is disgrace! |755

Escheats, derelicts; spoils of war
Taxes duties are king's treasure. |756

Grace the child of love is nourished
By the wet-nurse of wealth cherished. |757

Treasures in hand fulfil all things
Like hill-tuskers the wars of kings. |758

Make wealth; there is no sharper steel
The insolence of foes to quell. |759

They have joy and virtue at hand
Who acquire treasures abundant. |760


The daring well-armed winning force
Is king's treasure and main resource. |761

Through shots and wounds brave heroes hold
Quailing not in fall, the field. |762

Sea-like rat foes roar ... What if?
They perish at a cobra's whiff. |763

The army guards its genial flame
Not crushed, routed nor marred in name. |764

The real army with rallied force
Resists even Death-God fierce. |765

Manly army has merits four:-
Stately -march, faith, honour, valour. |766

Army sets on to face to foes
Knowing how the trend of war goes. |767

Army gains force by grand array
Lacking in stay or dash in fray. |768

Army shall win if it is free
From weakness, aversion, poverty. |769

With troops in large numbers on rolls
Army can't march missing gen'rals. |770


Stand not before my chief, O foes!
Many who stood, in stones repose. |771

To lift a lance that missed a tusker
Is prouder than shaft that hit a hare. |772

Valour is fight with fierce courage
Mercy to the fallen is its edge. |773

At the tusker he flings his lance
One in body smiles another chance. |774

When lances dart if heroes wink
"It is a rout" the world will think. |775

The brave shall deem the days as vain
Which did not battle-wounds sustain. |776

Their anklets aloud jingle their name
Who sacrifice their life for fame. |777

The king may chide, they pursue strife;
They fear loss of glory; not life. |778

Who will blame the heroes that lose
Their lives in war to keep their vows? |779

Such a death shall be prayed for
Which draws the the tears of the ruler. |780


Like friendship what's so hard to gain?
That guards one against acts villain? |781

Good friendship shines like waxing moon,
The bad withers like waning moon. |782

Like taste in books good friendship grows
The more one moves the more he knows. |783

Not to laugh is friendship made
But to hit when faults exceed. |784

No close living nor clasping grip
Friendship's feeling heart's fellowship. |785

Friendship is not more smile on face
It is the smiling heart's embrace. |786

From ruin friendship saves and shares
The load of pain and right path shows. |787

Friendship hastens help in mishaps
Like hands picking up dress that slips. |788

Friendship is enthroned on the strength
That always helps with utmost warmth. |789

"Such we are and such they are!"
Ev'n this boast will friendship mar. |790


Than testless friendship nought is worse
For contacts formed will scarcely cease. |791

Friendship made without frequent test
Shall end in grief and death at last. |792

Temper, descent, defects and kins
Trace well and take companions. |793

Take as good friend at any price
The nobly born who shun disgrace. |794

Who make you weep and chide wrong trends
And lead you right are worthy friends. |795

Is there a test like misfortune
A rod to measure out kinsmen? |796

Keep off contacts with fools; that is
The greatest gain so say the wise. |797

Off with thoughts that depress the heart
Off with friends that in woe depart. |798

Friends who betray at ruin's brink
Burn our mind ev'n at death to think. |799

The blameless ones as friends embrace;
Give something and give up the base. |800


That friendship is good amity
Which restrains not one's liberty. |801

Friendship's heart is freedom close;
Wise men's duty is such to please. |802

Of long friendship what is the use
Righteous freedom if men refuse? |803

Things done unasked by loving friends
Please the wise as familiar trends! |804

Offence of friends feel it easy
As folly or close intimacy. |805

They forsake not but continue
In friendship's bounds though loss ensue. |806

Comrades established in firm love
Though ruin comes waive not their vow. |807

Fast friends who list not tales of ill
Though wronged they say "that day is well". |808

To love such friends the world desires
Whose friendship has unbroken ties. |809

Even foes love for better ends
Those who leave not long- standing friends. |810


Swallowing love of soulless men
Had better wane than wax anon. |811

Who fawn in wealth and fail in dearth
Gain or lose; such friends have no worth. |812

Cunning friends who calculate
Are like thieves and whores wicked. |813

Better be alone than trust in those
That throw in field like faithless horse. |814

Friends low and mean that give no help-
Leave them is better than to keep. |815

Million times the wise man's hate
Is better than a fool intimate. |816

Ten-fold crore you gain from foes
Than from friends who are vain laughers. |817

Without a word those friends eschew
Who spoil deeds which they can do. |818

Even in dreams the tie is bad
With those whose deed is far from word. |819

Keep aloof from those that smile
At home and in public revile. |820


The friendship by an enemy shown
Is anvil in time, to strike you down. |821

Who pretend kinship but are not
Their friendship's fickle like woman's heart. |822

They may be vast in good studies
But heartfelt- love is hard for foes. |823

Fear foes whose face has winning smiles
Whose heart is full of cunning guiles. |824

Do not trust in what they tell
Whose mind with your mind goes ill. |825

The words of foes is quickly seen
Though they speak like friends in fine. |826

Trust not the humble words of foes
Danger darts from bending bows. |827

Adoring hands of foes hide arms
Their sobbing tears have lurking harms. |828

In open who praise, at heart despise
Cajole and crush them in friendly guise. |829

When foes, in time, play friendship's part
Feign love on face but not in heart. |830

2.3.11 FOLLY

This is folly's prominent vein
To favour loss and forego gain. |831

Folly of follies is to lead
A lewd and lawless life so bad. |832

Shameless, aimless, callous, listless
Such are the marks of foolishness. |833

No fool equals the fool who learns
Knows, teaches, but self-control spurns. |834

The fool suffers seven fold hells
In single birth of hellish ills. |835

A know-nothing fool daring a deed
Not only fails but feels fettered. |836

Strangers feast and kinsmen fast
When fools mishandle fortunes vast. |837

Fools possessing something on hand
Like dazed and drunken stupids stand. |838

Friendship with fools is highly sweet
For without a groan we part. |839

Entrance of fools where Savants meet
Looks like couch trod by unclean feet. |840


Want of wisdom is want of wants
Want of aught else the world nev'r counts. |841

When fool bestows with glee a gift
It comes but by getter's merit. |842

The self- torments of fools exceed
Ev'n tortures of their foes indeed. |843

Stupidity is vanity
That cries "We have sagacity". |844

Feigning knowledge that one has not
Leads to doubt ev'n that he has got. |845

Fools their nakedness conceal
And yet their glaring faults reveal. |846

The fool that slights sacred counsels
Upon himself great harm entails. |847

He listens not nor himself knows
Plague is his life until it goes. |848

Sans Self -sight in vain one opens Sight
To the blind who bet their sight as right. |849

To people's "Yes" who proffer "No"
Deemed as ghouls on earth they go. |850

2.3.13 HATRED

Hatred is a plague that divides
And rouses ill-will on all sides. |851

Rouse not hatred and confusion
Though foes provoke disunion. |852

Shun the plague of enmity
And win everlasting glory. |853

Hate- the woe of woes destroy;
Then joy of joys you can enjoy. |854

Who can overcome them in glory
That are free from enmity? |855

His fall and ruin are quite near
Who holds enmity sweet and dear. |856

They cannot see the supreme Truth
Who hate and injure without ruth. |857

To turn from enmity is gain
Fomenting it brings fast ruin. |858

Fortune favours when hate recedes
Hatred exceeding ruin breeds. |859

All evils come from enmity
All goodness flow from amity. |860


Turn from strife with foes too strong
With the feeble for battle long. |861

Loveless, aidless, powerless king
Can he withstand an enemy strong? |862

Unskilled, timid, miser, misfit
He is easy for foes to hit. |863

The wrathful restive man is prey
To any, anywhere any day. |864

Crooked, cruel, tactless and base
Any foe can fell him with ease. |865

Blind in rage and mad in lust
To have his hatred is but just. |866

Pay and buy his enmity
Who muddles chance with oddity. |867

With no virtue but full of vice
He loses friends and delights foes. |868

The joy of heroes knows no bounds
When timid fools are opponents. |869

Glory's light he will not gain
Who fails to fight a fool and win. |870


Let not one even as a sport
The ill-natured enmity court. |871

Incur the hate of bow-ploughers
But not the hate of word-ploughers. |872

Forlorn, who rouses many foes
The worst insanity betrays. |873

This world goes safely in his grace
Whose heart makes friends even of foes. |874

Alone, if two foes you oppose
Make one of them your ally close. |875

Trust or distrust; during distress
Keep aloof; don't mix with foes. |876

To those who know not, tell not your pain
Nor your weakness to foes explain. |877

Know how and act and defend well
The pride of enemies shall fall. |878

Cut off thorn-trees when young they are;
Grown hard, they cut your hands beware. |879

To breathe on earth they are not fit
Defying foes who don't defeat. |880


Traitorous kinsmen will make you sad
As water and shade do harm when bad. |881

You need not sword- like kinsmen fear
Fear foes who feign as kinsmen dear. |882

The secret foe in days evil
Will cut you, beware, like potters' steel. |883

The evil- minded foe within
Foments trouble, spoils kinsmen! |884

A traitor among kinsmen will
Bring life-endangering evil. |885

Discord in kings' circle entails
Life- destroying deadly evils. |886

A house hiding hostiles in core
Just seems on like the lid in jar. |887

By secret spite the house wears out
Like gold crumbling by file's contact. |888

Ruin lurks in enmity
As slit in sesame though it be. |889

Dwell with traitors that hate in heart
Is dwelling with snake in selfsame hut. |890


Not to spite the mighty ones
Safest safeguard to living brings. |891

To walk unmindful of the great
Shall great troubles ceaseless create. |892

Heed not and do, if ruin you want
Offence against the mighty great. |893

The weak who insult men of might
Death with their own hands invite. |894

Where can they go and thrive where
Pursued by powerful monarch's ire? |895

One can escape in fire caught
The great who offends escapes not. |896

If holy mighty sages frown
Stately gifts and stores who can own? |897

When hill-like sages are held small
The firm on earth lose home and all. |898

Before the holy sage's rage
Ev'n Indra's empire meets damage. |899

Even mighty aided men shall quail
If the enraged holy seers will. |900


Who dote on wives lose mighty gain
That lust, dynamic men disdain. |901

Who dotes, unmanly, on his dame
His wealth to him and all is shame. |902

Who's servile to his wife always
Shy he feels before the wise. |903

Fearing his wife salvationless
The weaklings' action has no grace. |904

Who fears his wife fears always
Good to do to the good and wise. |905

Who fear douce arms of their wives
Look petty even with god- like lives. |906

Esteemed more is women bashful
Than man servile unto her will. |907

By fair-browed wives who are governed
Help no friends nor goodness tend. |908

No virtue riches nor joy is seen
In those who submit to women. |909

Thinkers strong and broad of heart
By folly on fair sex do not dote. |910


For gold, not love their tongue cajoles
Men are ruined by bangled belles. |911

Avoid ill-natured whores who feign
Love only for their selfish gain. |912

The false embrace of whores is like
That of a damned corpse in the dark. |913

The wise who seek the wealth of grace
Look not for harlots' low embrace. |914

The lofty wise will never covet
The open charms of a vile harlot. |915

Those who guard their worthy fame
Shun the wanton's vaunting charm. |916

Hollow hearts alone desire
The arms of whores with hearts elsewere. |917

Senseless fools are lured away
By arms of sirens who lead astray. |918

The soft jewelled arms of whores are hell
Into which the degraded fall. |919

Double-minded whores, wine and dice
Are lures of those whom fortune flies. |920


Foes fear not who for toddy craze
The addicts daily their glory lose. |921

Drink not liquor; but let them drink
Whom with esteem the wise won't think. |922

The drunkard's joy pains ev'n mother's face
How vile must it look for the wise? |923

Good shame turns back from him ashamed
Who is guilty of wine condemned. |924

To pay and drink and lose the sense
Is nothing but rank ignorance. |925

They take poison who take toddy
And doze ev'n like a dead body. |926

The secret drunkards' senses off
Make the prying public laugh. |927

Don't say "I'm not a drunkard hard"
The hidden fraud is known abroad. |928

Can torch search one in water sunk?
Can reason reach the raving drunk? |929

The sober seeing the drunkard's plight
On selves can't they feel same effect? |930


Avoid gambling, albeit you win
Gulping bait-hook what does fish gain? |931

Can gamblers in life good obtain
Who lose a hundred one to gain? |932

If kings indulge in casting dice
All their fortune will flow to foes. |933

Nothing will make you poor like game
Which adds to woes and ruins fame. |934

The game, game- hall and gambler's art
Who sought with glee have come to nought. |935

Men swallowed by the ogress, dice
Suffer grief and want by that vice. |936

If men their time in game- den spend
Ancestral wealth and virtues end. |937

Game ruins wealth and spoils grace
Leads to lies and wretched woes. |938

Dress, wealth, food, fame, learning-these five
In gambler's hand will never thrive. |939

Love for game grows with every loss
As love for life with sorrows grows. |940


Wind, bile and phlegm three cause disease
So doctors deem it more or less. |941

After digestion one who feeds
His body no medicine needs. |942

Eat food to digestive measure
Life in body lasts with pleasure. |943

Know digestion; with keen appetite
Eat what is suitable and right. |944

With fasting adjusted food right
Cures ills of life and makes you bright. |945

Who eats with clean stomach gets health
With greedy glutton abides ill-health. |946

who glut beyond the hunger's fire
Suffer from untold diseases here. |947

Test disease, its cause and cure
And apply remedy that is sure. |948

Let the skilful doctor note
The sickmen, sickness, season and treat. |949

Patient, doctor, medicine and nurse
Are four- fold codes of treating course. |950


Right-sense and bashfulness adorn
By nature only the noble- born. |951

The noble-born lack not these three:
Good conduct, truth and modesty. |952

Smile, gift, sweet words and courtesy
These four mark true nobility. |953

Even for crores, the noble mood
Cannot bend to degrading deed. |954

The means of gift may dwindle; yet
Ancient homes guard their noble trait. |955

Who guard their family prestige pure
Stoop not to acts of cunning lure. |956

The faults of nobly-born are seen
Like on the sky the spots of moon. |957

If manners of the good are rude
People deem their pedigree crude. |958

Soil's nature is seen in sprout
The worth of birth from words flow out. |959

All gain good name by modesty
Nobility by humility. |960

2.4.2 HONOUR

Though needed for your life in main,
From mean degrading acts refrain. |961

Who seek honour and manly fame
Don't do mean deeds even for name. |962

Be humble in prosperity
In decline uphold dignity. |963

Like hair fallen from head are those
Who fall down from their high status. |964

Even hill-like men will sink to nought
With abrus-grain-like small default. |965

Why fawn on men that scorn you here
It yields no fame, heaven's bliss neither. |966

Better it is to die forlorn
Than live as slaves of those who scorn. |067

Is nursing body nectar sweet
Even when one's honour is lost? |968

Honour lost, the noble expire
Like a yak that loses its hair. |969

Their light the world adores and hails
Who will not live when honour fails. |970


A heart of courage lives in light
Devoid of that one's life is night. |971

All beings are the same in birth
But work decides their varied worth. |972

Ignoble high not high they are
The noble low not low they fare. |973

Greatness like woman's chastity
Is guarded by self- veracity. |974

Great souls when their will is active
Do mighty deeds rare to achieve. |975

The petty-natured ones have not
The mind to seek and befriend the great. |976

The base with power and opulence
Wax with deeds of insolence. |977

Greatness bends with modesty
Meanness vaunts with vanity. |978

Greatness is free from insolence
Littleness swells with that offence. |979

Weakness of others greatness screens
Smallness defects alone proclaims. |980


All goodness is duty to them
Who are dutiful and sublime. |981

Good in the great is character
Than that there is nothing better. |982

Love, truth, regard, modesty, grace
These five are virtue's resting place. |983

Not to kill is penance pure
Not to slander virtue sure. |984

Humility is valour's strength
A force that averts foes at length. |985

To bear repulse e'en from the mean
Is the touch-stone of worthy men. |986

Of perfection what is the gain
If it returns not joy for pain? |987

No shame there is in poverty
To one strong in good quality. |988

Aeons may change but not the seer
Who is a sea of virtue pure. |989

The world will not more bear its weight
If from high virtue fall the great. |990


To the polite free of access
Easily comes courteousness. |991

Humanity and noble birth
Develop courtesy and moral worth. |992

Likeness in limbs is not likeness
It's likeness in kind courteousness. |993

The world applauds those helpful men
Whose actions are just and benign. |994

The courteous don't even foes detest
For contempt offends even in jest. |995

The world rests with the mannered best
Or it crumbles and falls to dust. |996

The mannerless though sharp like file
Are like wooden blocks indocile. |997

Discourtesy is mean indeed
E'en to a base unfriendly breed. |998

To those bereft of smiling light
Even in day the earth is night. |999

The wealth heaped by the churlish base
Is pure milk soured by impure vase. |1000


Dead is he with wealth in pile
Unenjoyed, it is futile. |1001

The niggard miser thinks wealth is all
He hoards, gives not is born devil. |1002

A burden he is to earth indeed
Who hoards without a worthy deed. |1003

What legacy can he leave behind
Who is for approach too unkind. |1004

What is the good of crores they hoard
To give and enjoy whose heart is hard. |1005

Great wealth unused for oneself nor
To worthy men is but a slur. |1006

Who loaths to help have-nots, his gold
Is like a spinster- belle grown old. |1007

The idle wealth of unsought men
Is poison-fruit- tree amidst a town. |1008

Others usurp the shining gold
In loveless, stingy, vicious hold. |1009

The brief want of the rich benign
Is like rainclouds growing thin. |1010


To shrink from evil deed is shame
The rest is blush of fair- faced dame. |1011

Food, dress and such are one for all
Modesty marks the higher soul. |1012

All lives have their lodge in flesh
Perfection has its home in blush. |1013

Shame is the jewel of dignity
Shameless swagger is vanity. |1014

In them resides the sense of shame
Who blush for their and other's blame. |1015

The great refuse the wonder- world
Without modesty's hedge and shield. |1016

For shame their life the shame-sensed give
Loss of shame they won't outlive. |1017

Virtue is much ashamed of him
Who shameless does what others shame. |1018

Lapse in manners injures the race
Want of shame harms every good grace. |1019

Movements of the shameless in heart
Are string-led puppet show in fact. |1020


No greatness is grander like
Saying "I shall work without slack". |1021

These two exalt a noble home
Ardent effort and ripe wisdom. |1022

When one resolves to raise his race
Loin girt up God leads his ways. |1023

Who raise their races with ceaseless pain
No need for plan; their ends will gain. |1024

Who keeps his house without a blame
People around, his kinship claim. |1025

Who raise their race which gave them birth
Are deemed as men of manly worth. |1026

Like dauntless heroes in battle field
The home- burden rests on the bold. |1027

No season have they who raise their race
Sloth and pride will honour efface. |1028

Is not his frame a vase for woes
Who from mishaps shields his house? |1029

A house will fall by a mishap
With no good man to prop it up. |1030


Farming though hard is foremost trade
Men ply at will but ploughmen lead. |1031

Tillers are linch- pin of mankind
Bearing the rest who cannot tend. |1032

They live who live to plough and eat
The rest behind them bow and eat. |1033

Who have the shade of cornful crest
Under their umbra umbrellas rest. |1034

Who till and eat, beg not; nought hide
But give to those who are in need. |1035

Should ploughmen sit folding their hands
Desire-free monks too suffer wants. |1036

Moulds dried to quarter- dust ensure
Rich crops without handful manure. |1037

Better manure than plough; then weed;
Than irrigating, better guard. |1038

If landsmen sit sans moving about
The field like wife will sulk and pout. |1039

Fair good earth will laugh to see
Idlers pleading poverty. |1040

2.4.10 Poverty

What gives more pain than scarcity?
No pain pinches like poverty. |1041

The sinner Want is enemy dire
Of joys of earth and heaven there. |1042

The craving itch of poverty
Kills graceful words and ancestry. |1043

Want makes even good familymen
Utter words that are low and mean. |1044

The pest of wanton poverty
Brings a train of misery. |1045

The poor men's words are thrown away
Though from heart good things they say. |1046

Even the mother looks as stranger
The poor devoid of character. |1047

The killing Want of yesterday
Will it pester me even to- day? |1048

One may sleep in the midst of fire
In want a wink of sleep is rare. |1049

Renounce their lives the poor must
Or salt and gruel go to waste. |1050

2.4.11 ASKING

Demand from those who can supply
Default is theirs when they deny. |1051

Even demand becomes a joy
When the things comes without annoy. |1052

Request has charm form open hearts
Who know the duty on their part. |1053

Like giving even asking seems
From those who hide not even in dreams. |1054

The needy demand for help because
The world has men who don't refuse. |1055

The pain of poverty shall die
Before the free who don't deny. |1056

When givers without scorn impart
A thrill of delight fills the heart. |1057

This grand cool world shall move to and fro
Sans Askers like a puppet show. |1058

Where stands the glory of givers
Without obligation seekers? |1059

The needy should not scowl at "No"
His need another's need must show. |1060
* Saint valluvar talks of two kinds of Asking:-( ) Asking help for public causes or enterprises.
( ) Begging when one is able to work and this is condemned.


Not to beg is billions worth
E'en from eye-like friends who give with mirth. |1061

Let World-Maker loiter and rot
If "beg and live" be human fate. |1062

Nothing is hard like hard saying
"We end poverty by begging". |1063

All space is small before the great
Who beg not e'en in want acute. |1064

Though gruel thin, nothing is sweet
Like the food earned by labour's sweat. |1065

It may be water for the cow
Begging tongue is mean anyhow. |1066

If beg they must I beg beggers
Not to beg from shrinking misers. |1067

The hapless bark of beggary splits
On the rock of refusing hits. |1068

The heart at thought of beggars melts;
It dies at repulsing insults. |1069

The word "No" kills the begger's life
Where can the niggard's life be safe? |1070

2.4.13 MEANNESS.

The mean seem men only in form
We have never seen such a sham. |1071

The base seem richer than the good
For no care enters their heart or head. |1072

The base are like gods; for they too
As prompted by their desire do. |1073

When the base meets a rake so vile
Him he will exceed, exult and smile. |1074

Fear forms the conduct of the low
Craving avails a bit below. |1075

The base are like the beaten drum
Since other's secrets they proclaim. |1076

The base their damp hand will not shake
But for fists clenched their jaws to break. |1077

The good by soft words profits yield
The cane- like base when crushed and killed. |1078

Faults in others the mean will guess
On seeing how they eat and dress. |1079

The base hasten to sell themselves
From doom to flit and nothing else. |1080

The Holy Kural Ends.