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Tirukural, the Great Tamil Classic Defines Human Virtues in 1330 Verses – A Review Using Ten Verses

Tirukural- the Tamil Veda (HOLY BOOK) was written 2000 years back and so its author Saint Tiruvalluvar was a contemporary to Jesus Christ. The contents of Tirukural apply even for modern thinking and education. Kural means any brief verse. The title ‘Tiru’ (or Thiru) is added as a sign of respect to both the verses and the poet. For brevity, it is mentioned in some places as Kural and Valluvar respectively. Tirukural belongs to SANGAM LITERATURE of Tamil language. Tamil Sangam means an association of learned Tamil Scholars of Madurai, the erstwhile capital of PANDYA kingdom where, written works of poets were recognised after great scrutiny and review by eminent Tamil scholars. Tirukural is one such literal work recognised among 18 books by Sangam during the first century B.C. Tirukural has been translated in all major languages of the world. In fact, Rev Father G.U.Pope was impressed greatly by its Latin translation and ventured to translate it in English. He compared the saying of Tiruvalluvar “All the living beings are born equal”(pirappokkum ella uyirkkum) to the teaching in Bible.

There are 1330 verses in toto in 133 chapters of 10 verses each on different topics.
This article deals with what Tiruvalluvar has to say about EDUCATION. The ten verses he has written about education form couplets 391 to 400, i.e. the 40th chapter which falls under the category of Materialism. This is not a word to word translation, but a treatise on the subject how Bliss can be obtained in one birth itself by getting the high value of Education during one’s life time.

1. (Kural 391 onwards): one should learn whatever has to be learnt without any fault. Once such learning is complete, he should live according to the lessons he has already learnt true to the spirit of learning. Perfect learning, devoid of all errors and doubts, is the basis of education. One should be clear about all aspects in the subject chosen. More importantly, there should not be any doubt about the questions that might arise at a later date even after the education is completed. Only such an education could make one fit for higher self. Also, on completion of education, one should never deviate from the path guided by education. Thus such a high value to education, regardless of the chosen field of profession such as medicine, jurisprudence, engineering, and what not!

 

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