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About 100 days ago, I started to read one Thirukkural a day. I have always wanted to read it all but never got around to it. There are 1330 of them.

I had learnt somewhere around 50-80 Kurals (I would guess) across many years in School. They are concise aphorisms that are brilliant and very much applicable to living a good/moral life.

My aim was to correlate the teachings in Thirukkural to other works I have been reading (Not just Bhagavad Gita, Bible or Buddhism but even Shakespeare, Stoicism to works of fiction).

The text has been around for 2 millenia so it is free as in air, free as in speech and free as in beer. There are lots of open texts. But to get it to stick, I went “is there an app for that?”. Turns out there is. After trying a few ones, I settled on this for the crisp presentation.

Truth be told, even though Tamil is my mother-tongue and I am proficient at it (at least as much as C++, Python and English), I don’t understand many words and their usage (from sankam literature). Thankfully this version has two Tamil to Tamil translations (commentaries) and an additional English translation.

One commentary is by the popular and entertaining Tamil professor / “PattiMandram” Judge Solomon Pappayya. This version is the one that comes to my rescue mostly. The English one is written by G. U. Pope (I believe) and it tries to stick to the meter and be poetic and rhyming and hence sometimes sounds odd. [probably it sounds even more odd to me given that I know what it is in Tamil and I can compute quickly that English translation didn’t do justice].

I highly recommend this (free) app as well as the Thirukkural text.

This has become my morning routine. Reading this is one of the first things. Today’s the 100th Kural - which is not only a Kural that I learnt in school and know by-heart but also a beautiful one.

As quoted in texts/site:

இனிய உளவாக இன்னாத கூறல்
கனிஇருப்பக் காய்கவர்ந் தற்று.

Iniya Ulavaaka Innaadha Kooral
Kaniiruppak Kaaikavarn Thatru

திரு மு.வரதராசனார் உரை

இனிய சொற்கள் இருக்கும் போது அவற்றை விட்டுக் கடுமையான சொற்களைக் கூறுதல் கனிகள் இருக்கும் போது அவற்றை விட்டு காய்களைப் பறித்துத் தின்பதைப் போன்றது.

சாலமன் பாப்பையா உரை:

மனத்திற்கு இன்பம் தரும் சொற்கள் இருக்க, அவற்றை விட்டுவிட்டுத் துன்பம் தரும் சொற்களைக் கூறுவது, நல்ல பழம் இருக்க நச்சுக்காயை உண்பது போலாகும்.

When pleasant words are easy, bitter words to use, Is, leaving sweet ripe fruit, the sour unripe to choose.

To say disagreeable things when agreeable are at hand is like eating unripe fruit when there is ripe.


I would love to someday learn it all by heart and more so importantly apply that to life - but ways to go - a work in progress.

Happy reading!

Thirukkural Wikipedia page

Thirukkural App on iPhone App Store