By Karthikeyan

Sairam to all fellow SKTCians,

In the first message given by Swami to Sister Apurva Iyengar on November 23, 2014, He had urged everyone to be a True Truth Aspirant. Some redolent thoughts are provided here that I hope would help in understanding how to become a True Truth Aspirant. 

For this purpose, I would like to refer to the sacred text called Thirukkural (Divine couplets) written in palm leaves (in Tamil) by Sri Thiruvalluvar who lived in Chennai in BC 300. Baba had Himself mentioned about Sri Thiruvalluvar in some of His Discourses. The sacred text Thirukkural was lost to the community for centuries and was again brought to the world by the help of Goddess Saraswati Herself! Thirukkural is considered one of the most important ancient books in Indian languages.

Thirukkural was translated from Tamil to English by Father Rev George Uglow Pope of England in 1886. The text has been translated into more than 30 languages. Though there are 1330 Divine Couplets in this sacred text, in this article I have given only a few relevant ones. Those who like to study all the couplets may request the same from Brother Sreejith Narayan, to whom I have sent the PDF with the entire 1330 Couplets.

Before going further into the Couplets, I would like to reminisce a small story illustrated by Bhagawan Baba about the Divinity of Sri Thiruvalluvar in one of His Discourses (Sathya Sai Speaks 1998 - Volume -31 - Chapter 38). 

Thiruvalluvar reforms a young man 

“There was another Great saint by the name Thiruvalluvar. Initially, he was a weaver. He used to weave just one sari per day, sell it in the bazaar, and earn money for his family. Good and bad exist together; it would be impossible to separate them. In the same village, there was the son of a rich man who was wasting his time wandering aimlessly. Where there is money, there is ego. Ego gives rise to bad qualities. Once the money is lost, all bad qualities too disappear. One day, the rich man’s son came to Thiruvalluvar and asked for the price of the sari. Thiruvalluvar said it cost four rupees. The boy was known for his arrogance and mischief. He picked up the sari, tore it into two pieces and asked for the price of one piece. Thiruvalluvar replied, it cost two rupees, since he had made the Sari into two halves. The boy tore it again into another piece and asked for the price. Thiruvalluvar replied that the price was one rupee. This brought about a transformation in the mind of the boy. He wondered how the businessman was calm and composed even after he tore the sari into pieces. The boy fell at Thiruvalluvar’s feet and repented for his behaviour. The boy said that due to his pride and arrogance, he made this mistake. Then he went to his father, got the required money for the sari and kept it at the feet of Thiruvalluvar.

Not the statues but the teachings of saints are important

Many such great saints lived in Tamil Nadu who set an ideal to Society. Unfortunately, people do not follow the teachings of these saints. But their statues are installed and adored. It is not the statues of saints that are important, but their teachings. The best way to propagate their teachings is to practice them.” - Baba


Chapter - Renunciation

Kural 341

From whatever, aye, whatever, man gets free,
From what, aye, from that, no more of pain hath he!

Kural Explanation

Whatever thing a man has renounced, by that thing he cannot suffer pain.

Kural 342

'Renunciation' made- ev'n here true pleasures men acquire;
'Renounce' while time is yet, if to those pleasures you aspire.

Kural Explanation

After a man has renounced (all things), there will still be many things in this world (which he may enjoy); if he should desire them, let him, while it is time abandon. (the world).

Kural 343 

'Perceptions of the five' must all expire;-
Relinquished in its order each desire

Kural Explanation

Let the five senses be destroyed; and at the same time, let everything be abandoned that (the ascetic) has (formerly) desired.

Kural 344

'Privation absolute' is penance true;
'Possession' brings bewilderment anew.

Kural Explanation

To be altogether destitute is the proper condition of those who perform austerities; if they possess anything, it will change (their resolution) and bring them back to their confused state.

Kural 345

To those who sev'rance seek from being's varied strife,
Flesh is burthen sore; what then other bonds of life?”

Kural Explanation

What means the addition of other things those who are attempting to cut off (future) births, when even their body is too much (for them).

Kural 346

Who kills conceit that utters 'I' and 'mine',
Shall enter realms above the powers divine.

Kural Explanation

He who destroys the pride which says "I", "mine" will enter a world which is difficult even to the Gods to attain.

Kural 347

Who cling to things that cling and eager clasp,
Griefs cling to them with unrelaxing grasp.

Kural Explanation

Sorrows will never let go their hold of those who give not up their hold of desire.

Kurals 348

Who thoroughly 'renounce' on highest height are set;
The rest bewildered, lie entangled in the net.

Kural Explanation

Those who have entirely renounced (all things and all desire) have obtained (absorption into God);all others wander in confusion, entangled in the net of (many) births.

Kural 349

When that which clings falls off, severed is being's tie;
All else will then be seen as instability.

Kural Explanation

At the moment in which desire has been abandoned, (other) births will be cut off; when that has not been done, instability will be seen.

Kural 350

Cling thou to that which He, to Whom nought clings, hath bid thee cling,
Cling to that bond, to get thee free from every clinging thing.

Kural Explanation

Desire the desire of Him(God) who is without desire; in order to renounce desire, desire that desire.

Chapter – Instability

Kural 331

Lowest and meanest lore, that bids men trust secure,
In things that pass away, as things that shall endure!

Kural Explanation

That ignorance which considers those things to be stable which are not so, is dishonourable (to the wise).

Kural 332

As crowds round dancers fill the hall, is wealth's increase;
Its loss, as throngs dispersing, when the dances cease.

Kural Explanation

The acquisition of wealth is like the gathering together of an assembly for a theatre; its expenditure is like the breaking up of that assembly.

Kural 333

Unenduring is all wealth; if you wealth enjoy,
Enduring works in working wealth straightway employ.

Kural Explanation

Wealth is perishable; let those who obtain it immediately practice those (virtues) which are imperishable.

Kural 334

As 'day' it vaunts itself; well understood, 'tis knife',
That daily cuts away a portion from thy life.

Kural Explanation

Time, which shows itself (to the ignorant) as if it were something (real) is in the estimation of the wise (only) a saw which cuts down life.

Kural 335

Before the tongue lie powerless, 'mid the gasp of gurgling breath,
Arouse thyself, and do good deeds beyond the power of death.

Kural Explanation

Let virtuous deeds be done quickly, before the hiccup comes making the tongue silent. (Before death comes)

Kural 336

Existing yesterday, today to nothing hurled!-
Such greatness owns this transitory world.

Kural Explanation

This world possesses the greatness that one who yesterday was is not today.

Kural 337

Who know not if their happy lives shall last the day,
In fancies infinite beguile the hours away!

Kural Explanation

Innumerable are the thoughts which occupy the mind of (the unwise), who know not that they shall live another moment.

Kural 338

Birds fly away, and leave the nest deserted bare;
Such is the short-lived friendship soul and body share.

Kural Explanation

The love of the soul to the body is like (the love of) a bird to its egg which it flies away from and leaves empty.

Kural 339

Death is sinking into slumbers deep;
Birth again is waking out of sleep.

Kural Explanation

Death is like sleep; birth is like waking from it.

Kural Explanation

Kural 340

The soul in fragile shed as lodger courts repose:-
Is it because no home's conclusive rest it knows?

Kural Explanation

It seems as if the soul, which takes a temporary shelter in a body, had not attained a home !

Chapter - Knowledge of the True

Kural 351

Of things devoid of truth as real things men deem;-
Cause of degraded birth the fond delusive dream!

Kural Explanation

Inglorious births are produced by the confusion (of mind) which considers those things to be real which are not real.

Kural 352

Darkness departs, and rapture springs to men who see,
The mystic vision pure, from all delusion free.

Kural Explanation

A clear, undimmed vision of things will deliver its possessors from the darkness of future births, and confer the felicity (of heaven).

Kural 353

When doubts disperse, and mists of error roll
Away, nearer is heav'n than earth to sage's soul.

Kural Explanation

Heaven is nearer than earth to those men of purified minds who are freed from doubt.

Kural 354

Five-fold perception gained, what benefits accrue
To them whose spirits lack perception of the true?

Kural Explanation

 Even those who have all the knowledge which can be attained by the five senses, will derive no benefit from it, if they are without a knowledge of the true nature of things.

Kural 355 

Whatever thing, of whatsoever kind it be,
'Tis wisdom's part in each the very thing to see.

 Kural Explanation

 (True) knowledge is the perception concerning everything of whatever kind, that that thing is the true thing.

Kural 356

Who learn, and here the knowledge of the true obtain,
Shall find the path that hither cometh not again..

Kural Explanation

They, who in this birth have learned to know the True Being, enter the road which returns not into this world.

Kural 357

The mind that knows with certitude what is, and ponders well,
Its thoughts on birth again to other life need not to dwell.

Kural Explanation

Let it not be thought that there is another birth for him whose mind having thoroughly considered (all it has been taught) has known the True Being.

Kural 358

When folly, cause of births, departs; and soul can view
The truth of things, man's dignity- 'tis wisdom true.

Kural Explanation

True knowledge consists in the removal of ignorance; which is (the cause of) births, and the perception of the True Being who is (the bestower of) heaven.

Kural 359

The true 'support' who knows- rejects 'supports' he sought before-
Sorrow that clings all destroys, shall cling to him no more.

Kural Explanation

He who so lives as to know Him who is the support of all things and abandon all desire, will be freed from the evils which would otherwise cleave to him and destroy (his efforts after absorption).

Kural 360

When lust and wrath and error's triple tyranny is o'er,
Their very names for aye extinct, then pain shall be no more.

Kural Explanation

If the very names of these three things, desire, anger, and confusion of mind, be destroyed, then will also perish evils (which flow from them).

Chapter - The Extirpation of Desire

Kural 361

The wise declare, through all the days, to every living thing.
That ceaseless round of birth from seed of strong desire doth spring.

Kural Explanation

(The wise) say that the seed, which produces unceasing births, at all times, to all creatures, is desire

Kural 362

If desire you feel, freedom from changing birth require!
'I' will come, if you desire to 'scape, set free from all desire.

Kural Explanation

If anything be desired, freedom from births should be desired; that (freedom from births) will be attained by desiring to be without desire.

Kural 363

No glorious wealth is here like freedom from desire;
To bliss like this not even there can soul aspire.

Kural Explanation

There is in this world no excellence equal to freedom from desire; and even in that world, there is nothing like it.

Kural 364

Desire's decease as purity men know;
That, too, from yearning search for truth will grow.

Kural Explanation

Purity (of mind) consists in freedom from desire; and that (freedom from desire) is the fruit of the love of truth.

Kural 365

Men freed from bonds of strong desire are free;
None other share such perfect liberty.

Kural Explanation

They are said to be free (from future birth) who are freed from desire; all others (who, whatever else they may be free from, are not freed from desire) are not thus free.

Kural 366

Desire each soul beguiles;
True virtue dreads its wiles.

Kural Explanation

It is the chief duty of (an ascetic) to watch against desire with (jealous) fear; for it has power to deceive (and destroy) him.

Kural 367

Who thoroughly rids his life of passion-prompted deed,
Deeds of unfailing worth shall do, which, as he plans, succeed.

Kural Explanation

If a man thoroughly cut off all desire, the deeds, which confer immortality, will come to him, in the path in which he seeks them.

Kural 368

Affliction is not known where no desires abide;
Where these are, endless rises sorrow's tide.

Kural Explanation

There is no sorrow to those who are without desire; but where that is, (sorrow) will incessantly come, more and more.

Kural 369

When dies away desire, that woe of woes
Ev'n here the soul unceasing rapture knows.

Kural Explanation

Even while in this body, joy will never depart (from the mind, in which) desire, that sorrow of sorrows, has been destroyed.

Kural 370

Drive from thy soul desire insatiate;
Straight'way is gained the moveless blissful state.

Kural Explanation

The removal of desire, whose nature it is never to be satisfied, will immediately confer a nature that can never be changed.

Chapter - The Praise of God

Kural 1

A, as its first of letters, every speech maintains;
The "Primal Deity" is first through all the world's domains.

Kural Explanation

As the letter A is the first of all letters, so the eternal God Lord Aadhi (Lord Parvathi) and Lord Bhagawan (Lord Siva) is first in the world.

Kural 2

No fruit have men of all their studied lore,
Save they the 'Purely Wise One's' feet adore.

Kural Explanation

What Profit have those derived from learning, who worship not the good feet of Him who is possessed of pure knowledge ?

Kural 3

His feet, 'Who o'er the full-blown flower hath past,' who gain
In bliss long time shall dwell above this earthly plain.

Kural Explanation

They who are united to the glorious feet of Him who passes swiftly over the flower of the mind, shall flourish long above all worlds.

Kural 4

His foot, 'Whom want affects not, irks not grief,' who gain
Shall not, through every time, of any woes complain.

Kural Explanation

To those who meditate the feet of Him who is void of desire or aversion, evil shall never come.

Kural 5

The men, who on the 'King's' true praised delight to dwell,
Affects not them the fruit of deeds done ill or well.

Kural Explanation

The two-fold deeds that spring from darkness shall not adhere to those who delight in the true praise of God.

Kural 6 

Long live they blest, who 've stood in path from falsehood freed;
His, 'Who quenched lusts that from the sense-gates five proceed'.

Kural Explanation

Those shall long proposer who abide in the faultless way of Him who has destroyed the five desires of the senses.

Kural 7

Unless His foot, 'to Whom none can compare,' men gain,
'Tis hard for mind to find relief from anxious pain.

Kural Explanation

Anxiety of mind cannot be removed, except from those who are united to the feet of Him who is incomparable.

Kural 8

Unless His feet 'the Sea of Good, the Fair and Bountiful,' men gain,
'Tis hard the further bank of being's changeful sea to attain.

Kural Explanation

None can swim the sea of vice, but those who are united to the feet of that gracious Being who is a sea of virtue.

Kural 9

Before His foot, 'the Eight-fold Excellence,' with unbent head,
Who stands, like palsied sense, is to all living functions dead.

Kural Explanation

The head that worships not the feet of Him who is possessed of eight attributes, is as useless as a sense without the power of sensation.

Kural 10

They swim the sea of births, the 'Monarch's' foot who gain;
None others reach the shore of being's mighty main.

Kural Explanation

None can swim the great sea of births but those who are united to the feet of God.


saravamoorthy m p
saravamoorthy m p2015-02-25 13:06#

Latha Sairam
Latha Sairam2015-02-25 14:01#
Wonderful article! Jai Sairam!
shehana2015-02-25 15:39#
sairam,thank you for sharing thirukkural,I have only heard of it ,never had the chance to read the precious quotes
Naren2015-02-25 18:27#
This work stands out from the rest in many ways.

Just a few more tidbits about this great text:

Thirukkural is referred to as 'Ulagappodhumarai' - 'Ulagam' (literally world but referring to universe) + podhu (common or applicable to all) + Marai (text of highest essence or origin) thus translating to the text of highest origin that's serves as a guidance/reference on life regardless of one's caste, creed, religion, or other differences.

One other name given to this work is 'Poyyamozhi' - The word that never lies.

Highly revered in the state of Tamil Nadu, there's a saying:

What God gave to man was the Bhagavad Gita
What man gave to God was Thiruvasagam (a work by another sage praising Shiva)
What man gave to man was Thirukkural.

As is the human nature, people from different sects, communities, religions etc. started claiming that this person actually belonged to their congregation and followed their way of life.

Pretty sure he didn't identify himself like they did. Perhaps that's why he was able to come up with Thirukkural in the first place :) His work is free of all types of politics and does a simple, clean job - help man improve in his life.

KARTHIKEYAN2015-02-26 18:10#
Nicely Said Brother.
Aravind2015-03-01 08:58#
Very Nice.

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