The eternal Thirukkural

Eternal1Thirukkural – the brilliant Tamil literary work can be called the treasure house of worldly knowledge. It goes beyond any religion or creed.  The name Thirukkural is made of two words; “Thiru” means “holy” and “Kural” means “short verse.” This great work is the creation of Thiruvalluvar who was a Tamil poet and author. Through his work he analyzed the intricacies of human nature with pragmatic insights. Thiruvalluvar’s masterpiece is almost 2000 years old. All the Kurals (verses) have only 7 words and thus all the 1330 ThiruKurals fit within 140 characters. Who was Thiruvalluvar? Very little is known about him. It is said that he was a simple weaver who wrote the kurals with divine inspiration; how could a simple weaver write something so profound almost 2000 years ago? In those days education was reserved for the richer and nobler classes. While reading this book of short verses, you just cannot say that it is written by a layman. The verses touch upon core values for the human race. In true sense it is a road map for the essential, fundamental and everlasting aspects of human life.

The Thirukkural is arranged in 133 Adhikarams (chapters of themes) each with 10 couplets. The 133 Adhikarams are divided into three major groups known as “Aram”, “Porul” and “Inbam”. Aram represents Virtue; Porul describes the principles of life for common people as well as the State. The last section “Inbam” deals with features and quintessence of Love. The overall organization of Thirukkural 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.
  • 100couplets on Ministers of State.
  • 220 couplets on the Essential requirements of Administration. In fact these are very good lessons on management.
  • 130 couples on Morality, both positive and negative.
  • 250 couplets on human love, sex and fervor.

Thirukkural has been translated in as many as 35 global languages, including 27 foreign languages such as English, French, German, Japanese, Latin, Malay, Portuguese and Spanish and Chinese was the latest one. So far, 96 scholars have translated Thirukkural in English and the first was done by Rev. G.U. Pope. The book has also been translated into ‘Vaagriboli,’ the language of Narikuravas – the tribal community in Chennai.

Thirukkural talks about the three main facets of life; wisdom, wealth and love and the Tamil literature talks of a fourth aspect “veedu,” which refers to God, or nirvana. I think if one follows every “kural” (maxim), he/she will automatically reach nirvana “veedu.”

Take any topic in management; from planning, coordination, leading, communication, managing people, and selection of people, training, and development, personality; take anything and you find them in well written verses and well explained in Thirukkural. The poet Thiruvalluvar must have written them for kings and their ministers then. But, in today’s complex and fast forward world also they still give clear directions.

Eternal2Thiruvalluvar has written brilliant verses on leadership; he mentions leadership as more of an attitude and a way of living and behaving. Leaders must inspire those around them by action and setting examples. It is about standing up for others and shielding them from harm. Leaders must be graceful. Today, when we imbibe West in all manners, we forget that our own literary classics have enormously rich material. It’s pitiable fact that we can’t draw relevance from them and relate them to needs and problems of the present. It seems Mahatma Gandhi learnt the concept of non-violence from a letter written to him by famous Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy who quoted couplets on non-violence from German translation of Thirukkural. The Father of the Nation had said that he came to know about Thirukkural first from Tolstoy!

Later, Mahatma Gandhi was inspired strongly by Thirukkural; he then inspired all sections of the society to fight for freedom from the foreign oppression through his deliberately chosen path of truth and non-violence. He provided inspiration to many oppressed nations in the world to fight against colonization and become free. He continues to inspire the world even today. Thus Thirukkural can be hailed as an eternal light which lightens up the world for over two thousand years. Mahatma Gandhi got the spark from Thirukkural, Martin Luther King, Martin Luther King jr., Nelson Mandela and many more leaders who fought against oppression and dictatorship adhering to a non-violent way followed Mahatma Gandhi. In fact Gndhiji used preach many couplets from Thirukkural in his speech. Truth and Non-violence can never be underestimated.   These two paramount practices can only control terrorism and religious fundamentalism which are the main cause of unrest in many parts of the world. It’s a pity that mass-murder and sabotage are destroying mankind and destabilizing many nations.

Eternal3In the subjects of Political Science, Management and Public administration, Thiruvalluvar seems supreme in his presentation and humanistic approach than many of his contemporaries. Recently, on 16th Jan 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi released a Gujarati translation of Thirukkural. I conclude my article with one of my favorite couplet  “Just as the hand rushes involuntarily to protect one’s honor in case of accidental state of undress, so does a friend come to his friend’s aid without being asked”

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Over the course of my life, I have done all possible jobs that one can think of – front desk assistant, telephone operator, clerical work, accounts assistant, inventory officer, sales woman, sales manager, tutor, lecturer, professor, director...etc. The range of job designations and experience of working in diverse roles has given me strength to think, help people, increase customer satisfaction, promote products, and off course build brands. When I look back at my career, in some jobs I excelled, in some I continued with odds. But the fact is that the diversity in my career has strengthened me as a person and definitely enhanced my skills. Every job taught me something or the other. I love meeting people, reading, travelling, listening to music, cooking, gardening, teaching, writing. Blogging has been a recent addition and am loving it. It has become my biggest hobby. Blogging has changed my life. My blog is wide-ranging manifestation of the way I think. I am a creative individual; I write because I have the urge to translate expressions of life. Over the years I studied and added some degrees as well. I have a PhD in Marketing Management from University of Pune, a post doctoral D.Litt (Doctor of letters) from Mumbai University in strategic management. I am a Professor of Management Studies with 16 years of teaching experience and have over 20 years industry experience. My core teaching areas are Marketing Strategy and General Management. As a teacher, I have always maintained the academic rigor in my classroom, I have always believed and practiced academic engagement while lecturing, I believe in experiential teaching-learning. I truly believe that education is interdisciplinary; therefore I have successfully guided 15 students for their PhD degree across various sectors in business management which includes a broad base of research coursework coupled with an area of specialization. I write on various management topics, research, news and higher education for students. And, the general section of articles on my blog relate to my interests in life. Happy reading to you all!

4 COMMENTS

  1. Truly Indians have no match…proud of the great Thiruvalluvar and his masterpiece”Thirukkural” that inspired people worldwide ..making them legends that they are today. Its high time we start respecting our scriptures and cherish them for future generations. It is a pity that we ourselves fail to realise the importance of our scriptures, practices etc. and it is only when a Westerner points out the advantage of our practices we pay umpteen attention & boast about it.Modi is correct with his “Make In India” policy its high time we explore ourselves rather than copying the West for development. Thank you Madam

  2. Excellent what a piece of noble job madam you are doing for the society and for the nation. Very nice article madam, proud to be Indian and like thirukkural India has produce many gems in his land, and i also agree what truth and non violence only can bring success and harmony and give a true sense of peace. thank for writing such an enlighten article , Madam i liked it

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