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Tiruvalluvar 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

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