Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Home > Tamil Language & Literature > Thirukural > Thirukural - English Translation: Himalayan Academy - Introduction > Index  > Couplets 1-100 > Couplets 101-200 > Couplets 201-400 > Couplets 401 - 600 > Couplets 601-810 > Couplets 811-950  > Couplets 951-1080

The Thiru Kural
Couplets 201 - 400

Dread of Sinful Deeds | Understanding One's Duty to Society | Charity | Glory | Possession of Compassion | Abstaining from Eating Meat |Austerity |Ascetic Pretence | Avoidance of Fraud | Truthfulness | Avoidance of Anger | Avoidance of Injuring Others | Avoidance of Killing | Impermanence of All Things | Renunciation | Knowledge of Truth | Eradication of Desire | Destiny | The Merits of the King | Learning

Dread of Sinful Deeds

Verse 201 Wicked men do not fear, but worthy men dread, The arrogance of sinful deeds.

Verse 202 From evil springs forth more evil. Therefore, evil is to be feared even more than fire.

Verse 203 To commit no wrong, even against one's enemies, Is said to be supreme wisdom.

Verse 204 Only the forgetful plot another's ruin; others remember That virtue itself devises a plotter's downfall.

Verse 205 Do not commit wrongful deeds, claiming to be poor. For such deeds only cause one to be poorer still.

Verse 206 Let him who wishes to be free from afflictions' pain Avoid inflicting harm on others.

Verse 207 One can escape from hate-filled enemies, But one's own hateful acts will relentlessly pursue and destroy hi

Verse 208 As a man's shadow follows his footsteps wherever he goes, Even so will destruction pursue those who commit sinful deeds.

Verse 209 If a man feels fond affection for himself, Let him not indulge in immoral deeds, however insignificant.

Verse 210 Know that a man will be defended against destruction If he does not deviate from Right and act iniquitously.

Understanding One's Duty to Society

Verse 211 The benevolent expect no return for their dutiful giving. How can the world ever repay the rain cloud?

Verse 212 It is to meet the needs of the deserving That the worthy labor arduously to acquire wealth.

Verse 213 Of all duties, benevolence is unequaled in this world, And even in celestial realms.

Verse 214 He who understands his duty to society truly lives. All others shall be counted among the dead.

Verse 215 The wealth of the world-loving wise man May be likened to a well-stocked village water tank.

Verse 216 Riches retained by generous men Resemble a fruit tree ripening in the heart of a village.

Verse 217 In the hands of a benevolent man, Wealth is like a medicinal tree whose healing gifts help all.

Verse 218 Those who deeply know duty do not neglect giving, Even in their own unprosperous season.

Verse 219 The benevolent man considers himself poor only When he is unable to render is accustomed service to humanity.

Verse 220 Were it said that loss of wealth is the price of benevolence, Such loss is worth selling one's self to procure.


Verse 221 Giving to the poor is true charity. All other giving expects a recompense.

Verse 222 Though men may declare it a good path, gathering gifts is bad. Though they decree it denies one heaven, giving gifts is good.

Verse 223 Men of good birth graciously give, Never uttering the wretched excuse, "I have nothing."

Verse 224 How unpleasant a beggar's pleading can become, Until one sees his face, so sweetly pleased.

Verse 225 Great indeed is the power acquired through austerity to endure hunger. But greater still is the power of those who relieve the hunger of others.

Verse 226 Relieving the ravaging hunger of the poor Is the most secure use of a rich man's wealth.

Verse 227 The fiery scourge called hunger never touches The man who shares his daily meal with others.

Verse 228 Is it because they are unaware of the joys of giving That hard-hearted men waste their wealth by hoarding it?

Verse 229 More bitter than even a beggar's bread is the Meal of the miser who hoards wealth and eats alone.

Verse 230 There is nothing more bitter than death; Yet even death is sweet when charitable giving is impossible.


Verse 231 Give to the poor, and life will be richly graced. There is no greater profit for a man than this.

Verse 232 All who speak will proclaim abiding praise For those who give alms to the poor.

Verse 233 Except for exalted glory which endures forever, Everything on earth perishes.

Verse 234 So great is glory gained by men in this world That celestials cease praising ascended sages.]

Verse 235 The loss that is gain and the death that is life of immortal glory Are attained only by the wise.

Verse 236 If you are born, be born for glory, For those born without it would be better off without birth.

Verse 237 Why do those whose life is devoid of renown Blame despising rivals, when they have themselves to blame?

Verse 238 Just as it is disgraceful to bear no children, All men on earth deem it disgraceful to not beget fame.

Verse 239 When forced to bear the body of a man without eminence, Even faultless, fruitful lands will lessen their yields.

Verse 240 Those who live without blame truly live. Those who live without glory live not.

Possession of Compassion

Verse 241 Among the wealthy, compassionate men claim the richest wealth, For material wealth is possessed by even contemptible men.

Verse 242 Find and follow the good path and be ruled by compassion. For if the Various ways are examined, compassion will prove the means to liberation.

Verse 243 Those whose hearts are drawn toward compassion Will never be drawn into the dark and woeful world.

Verse 244 Evil deeds dreaded by the soul will not afflict The compassionate who foster and protect all life.

Verse 245 This wide and wind-swept fertile earth is witness to the truth That misery is not for men who keep compassion.

Verse 246 They say those who act cruelly by forsaking compassion Must have forgotten what it means to forsake morality.

Verse 247 As this world is not for the penniless, So is that world not for the pitiless!

Verse 248 Those without wealth may one day prosper, but those without Kindness are utterly destitute, and their fortunes never change.

Verse 249 Practicing charity without compassion is as inconceivable As realizing Truth without clarity of mind.

Verse 250 Before advancing against men weaker than yourself, Ponder when you stood before those more powerful.

Abstaining from Eating Meat

Verse 251 How can he practice true compassion Who eats the flesh of an animal to fatten his own flesh?

Verse 252 Riches cannot be found in the hands of the thriftless, Nor can compassion be found in the hearts of those who eat meat.

Verse 253 Goodness is never one with the minds of these two: One who wields a weapon ad one who feasts on a creatures' flesh.

Verse 254 If you ask, "What is kindness and what is unkind?" It is not killing and killing. Thus, eating flesh is never virtuous.

Verse 255 Life is perpetuated by not eating meat. The clenched jaws of hell hold those who do.

Verse 256 If the world did not purchase and consume meat, There would be none to slaughter and offer meat for sale.

Verse 257 When a man realizes that meat is the butchered flesh Of another creature, he must abstain from eating it.

Verse 258 Perceptive souls who have abandoned passion Will not feed on flesh abandoned by life.

Verse 259 Greater then a thousand ghee offerings consumed in sacrificial fires Do not do sacrifice and consume any living creature.

Verse 260 All that lives will press palms together in prayerful adoration Of those who refuse to slaughter and savor meat.


Verse 261 It is the nature of asceticism to patiently endure Hardship and not to harm living creatures.

Verse 262 Austerity belongs to the naturally austere. Others may attempt it, but to no avail.

Verse 263 Is it because they must provide for renunciates That others forget to do penance?

Verse 264 Should he but wish it, an ascetics' austerities Will ruin his foes and reward his friends.

Verse 265 In this world men do austerities assiduously, Assured of the fulfillment of desired desires.

Verse 266 Those who perform austerities are fulfilling their destiny. All others Are ensnared by desire and unknowingly work their own destruction.

Verse 267 As the intense fire of the furnace refines gold to brilliancy, so does The burning suffering of austerity purify the soul to resplendence.

Verse 268 He who has realized by himself his souls' Self Will be worshipped by all other souls.

Verse 269 So potent is the power acquired through austerity That those who attain it may even stay the moment of death.

Verse 270 Few people perform penance, while the majority do not. For this reason the needy multitudes suffer deprivation.

Ascetic Pretence

Verse 271 Undeceived by a deceiver's duplicity, His own five elements silently mock him.

Verse 272 Of what avail is an outer appearance of saintliness, If the mind suffers inwardly from knowledge of its iniquity?

Verse 273 He who has not attained the power yet wears the garb of saints Is like a cow that grazes about wearing a tiger's skin.

Verse 274 He who conceals himself beneath saintly robes and commits sins Is like the hunter who hides in the bushes to snare unwary birds.

Verse 275 When those who claim dispassion act deceitfully, The day will come when they exclaim,"Alas! Alas! What have I done?"

Verse 276 None is so heartless as he who, without renunciation in his heart, Poses as a renunciate and lives fraudulently.

Verse 277 Like the poisonous jequirity seed, with its bright and black sides, There are outwardly dazzling men whose insides are dark.

Verse 278 Many are the men who piously bath in purifying waters, While in their dark hearts impure conduct lies concealed.

Verse 279 The arrow is straight but cruel; the lute is crooked but sweet. Therefore, judge men by their acts, not their appearance.

Verse 280 Neither shaven head nor long locks are required, Provided one refrains from conduct condemned by the world.

Avoidance of Fraud

Verse 281 If a man wishes not to be scorned by others, He will secure his own mind against the merest thought of fraud.

Verse 282 The mere thought of sin is sin. Therefore, Avoid even the thought of stealing from another.

Verse 283 The fortune that is amassed by fraud may appear to prosper But it will soon perish altogether.

Verse 284 Finding delight in defrauding others yields the fruit Of undying suffering when those delights ripen.

Verse 285 Benevolent thoughts and affectionate feelings flee from those Who watch for another's' unwatchfulness to swindle his property.

Verse 286 They who follow deceit's desirous path Cannot hope to work wisdom's measured way.

Verse 287 The dark deceits of fraud cannot be found In the hearts of those who desire the greatness called virtue.

Verse 288 As righteousness resides in the hearts of the virtuous, So does deceit dwell in the hearts of thieves.

Verse 289 Knowing nothing but deviousness, Men die each time they contrive their corrupt deeds.

Verse 290 Even the life in his body will abandon him who defrauds others, But heaven itself never forsakes those who are honest.


Verse 291 What is truthfulness? It is the speaking of words Which are entirely free from harmful effects.

Verse 292 Even falsehood is of the nature of truth, If it gives good results free from fault.

Verse 293 Let a man not speak as truth what he knows to be false, For his conscience will scorch him when he has lied.

Verse 294 He who lives truly in his own heart, Truly lives in the hearts of all people.

Verse 295 Those who speak only truth from the heart Surpass even penitents and philanthropists.

Verse 296 No prestige surpasses the absence of falsehood; All other virtues flow from it effortlessly.

Verse 297 Not lying, and merely not lying, is beneficial For those who can't practice and won't practice other virtues.

Verse 298 Water is sufficient to cleanse the body, But only truthfulness will purify the mind.

Verse 299 Not all lamps are effective lamps. The lamp of nonlying is the wise man's lamp.

Verse 300 Among all great truths which we have ever beheld, Not one can equal the goodness of veracity.

Avoidance of Anger

Verse 301 It is restraint that restrains anger when it can injure. If it cannot harm, what does restraint really matter?

Verse 302 Anger is wrong even when it cannot cause injury, But when it can, there is nothing more iniquitous.

Verse 303 Forget anger toward all who have offended you, For from anger springs a multitude of wrongs.

Verse 304 The face's smile and the heart's joy are slain by anger. Does there exist a greater enemy than one's own anger?

Verse 305 If a man would be his own guard, let him guard against anger. Left unguarded, his own wrath will slay him.

Verse 306 Drawing near it, men are engulfed in fury's' fire, Which burns even rescuing friends and family.

Verse 307 As a man trying to touch the ground with his hand cannot fail, So one who treasures his temper will doubtlessly be destroyed.

Verse 308 Even when others inflict wrongs as painful as the touch of blazing Torches, it is good if a man can refrain from anger.

Verse 309 If angry thoughts never invoke his mind, A man's other thoughts may instantly manifest.

Verse 310 As men who have died resemble the dead, So men who have renounced anger resemble renunciates.

Avoidance of Injuring Others

Verse 311 If hurting others would bring princely riches, The pure in heart would still refuse.

Verse 312 It is the principle of the pure in heart never to injure others, Even when they themselves have been hatefully injured.

Verse 313 Having others, even enemies who harmed you unprovoked, Assures incessant sorrow.

Verse 314 If you return kindness for injuries received and forget both, Those who harmed you will be punished by their own shame.

Verse 315 What good is a man's knowledge unless it prompts him to Prevent the pain of others as if it were his own pain?

Verse 316 Any actions which a man knows would harm himself He should not inflict on others.

Verse 317 The supreme principle is this: Never knowingly Harm anyone at any time in any way

Verse 318 Why does he who knows what injury to his own life is like Inflict injury on other living human beings?

Verse 319 If a man inflicts sorrow on another in the morning, Sorrow will come to him unbidden in the afternoon.

Verse 320 All suffering recoils on the wrongdoer himself. Therefore, those who Desire not to suffer refrain from causing others pain.

Avoidance of Killing

Verse 321 What is virtuous conduct? It is never destroying life, For killing leads to every other sin.

Verse 322 Of all the virtues summed by ancient sages the foremost are these: To partake of food one has shared and to protect all living creatures.

Verse 323 Not killing is the first and foremost good. The virtue of not lying comes next.

Verse 324 What is the good way? It is the path that reflects on How it may avoid killing any living creature.

Verse 325 Among all who disown the world out of dismay, the foremost are They who, dismayed with death-dealing, embrace non-killing.

Verse 326 Life-devouring death will not assail the living days Of one whose code of conduct is to never kill.

Verse 327 Refrain from taking precious life from any living being, Even to save your own life.

Verse 328 By sacrifice of life some gain great wealth and good, But sagacious men scorn such gains.

Verse 329 Those whose trade is killing creatures are deemed defiled By men who know the defiling nature of being mean.

Verse 330 They say the beggar who suffers a sore ridden body and deprived life Once deprived another's body of life

Impermanence of All Things

Verse 331 There is no baser folly than the infatuation That looks upon the transient as if it were everlasting.

Verse 332 Amassing great wealth is gradual, like the gathering of a theater Crowd. Its dispersal is sudden, like that same crowd departing.

Verse 333 Wealth's nature is to be unenduring. Upon acquiring it, do that which is enduring right away.

Verse 334 Though it seems a harmless gauge of time, a day, To those who fathom its form, is a saw steadily cutting the tree of life.

Verse 335 Do good deeds with urgency, Before death's approaching rattle strangles the tongue.

Verse 336 What wondrous greatness this world possesses- That yesterday a man was, and today he is not.

Verse 337 Man does not know if he will live another moment, Yet his thoughts are ten million and more.

Verse 338 The soul's attachment to the body resembles a fledgling Which forsakes its empty shell and flies away.

Verse 339 Death is like falling asleep, And birth is like waking from that sleep.

Verse 340 Not yet having a permanent home, The soul takes temporary shelter in the body.


Verse 341 Whatsoever a man has renounced, From the sorrow born of that he has freed himself.

Verse 342 After a man has renounced, he enjoys the many true things in this World. Let men desiring that renounce in time.

Verse 343 The five senses must be subdued And every desire simultaneously surrendered.

Verse 344 The mendicant's poverty permits not a single possession, For possessions draws him back into delusion.

Verse 345 What are life's petty attachments to the man who seeks severance From future births, when even his body is a burden?

Verse 346 He who slays the conceit which clamors "I" and "mine" Will enter a realm above the celestials' world.

Verse 347 If one clings to his attachments, refusing to let go, Sorrows will not let go their grip on him.

Verse 348 Those who renounce totally reach the highest peak; The rest remain ensnared in delusions net.

Verse 349 Birth ceases when all attachments are severed; Otherwise, one beholds unceasingly the transitoriness of life.

Verse 350 Attach yourself to Him who is free from all attachments. Bind yourself to that bond in order that all other bonds may be broken.

Knowledge of Truth

Verse 351 The delusion which mistakes the unreal for the Real Is the genesis of woeful births.

Verse 352 For those of undimmed perception, free from delusion, Darkness departs and rapture rushes in.

Verse 353 To those who have dispelled all doubt and perceive Truth, Heaven is nearer than earth.

Verse 354 All knowledge acquired through the five senses is worthless To those without knowledge of truth.

Verse 355 In everything of every kind whatsoever, Wisdom perceives Truth in that thing.

Verse 356 Those who find Divine Truth in this world Follow a path which never comes back to this world.

Verse 357 Those who think with certitude and ponder well that which is, Need never think of being born again.

Verse 358 Banishing the folly of rebirth and thus beholding Perfections True Being-that is wisdom.

Verse 359 The ruinous griefs that he is yet to suffer will not cleave to him who, Renouncing other supports, realizes life's true Support.

Verse 360 Desire, detesting and delusion-the annihilation of these three names Is the annihilation of suffering endured.

Eradication of Desire

Verse 361 At all times and to all creatures The seed of ceaseless births is desire.

Verse 362 If you must desire, desire freedom from birth. That will only come by desiring desirelessness.

Verse 363 Here no fortune is as dear as desirelessness; And even there nothing like it can be found.

Verse 364 Purity is but freedom from desire, And that is achieved by desiring to know Truth.

Verse 365 They say only those who have renounced desire are renunciates. Others do not share the same attainment

Verse 366 As it is desire, above all else, which deceives a man, Ascetics dread it judiciously.

Verse 367 When a renunciate ceases the deeds of desire, Deliverance from life and death will come when he desires.

Verse 368 He who has no desires has no sorrow, but where there is desire There will be ever-increasing sorrows.

Verse 369 When desire, sorrow's sorrow, dies away, Undying bliss prevails even here on earth.

Verse 370 It is the nature of desire never to be fulfilled, but he who utterly Gives it up realizes eternal fulfillment at that very moment.


Verse 371 Industriousness comes to men whom Fortune favors, But laziness approaches those whom Misfortune has chosen.

Verse 372 That destiny which decreases prosperity, increases ignorance. That destiny which diminishes loss, expands knowledge.

Verse 373 However subtle the texts studied, The native knowing destined one prevails.

Verse 374 Two natural ways are ordained in this world. Acquiring wealth is one. Attaining wisdom is quite another.

Verse 375 When fate is against a man, his assured success in gathering wealth will Fail; and when fate is with him, even certain failure will succeed.

Verse 376 Though you guard it well, what destiny does not decree disappears. Though you cast it aside, what fate calls yours will not depart.

Verse 377 A man may amass millions, but its enjoyment, Will never exceed the allotment allotted by him.

Verse 378 The destitute are almost ascetics and would renounce if only Approaching fate, carrying experiences yet to be, would pass them by.

Verse 379 Why should those who rejoice when Destiny brings good Moan when that same Destiny decrees misfortune?

Verse 380 What is there that is mightier than Destiny? For it is there ahead of us even in the plans we devise to overcome it.

The Merits of the King

Verse 381 He is lion among kings who is well-endowed with these six possessions: Army, citizens, wealth, ministers, allies and fortresses.

Verse 382 Four are the characteristics which a king cannot lack: Fearlessness, generosity, wisdom and industriousness.

Verse 383 In those who rule the land these three must never lapse: Vigilance, valiance and virtuous learning.

Verse 384 He is a true king who, unswerving in virtue, Restrains wrongdoing, and, steadfast in courage, maintains his honor.

Verse 385 A king is he who can amass a treasury of wealth, Store it, guard it and expend it wisely.

Verse 386 All peoples praise that nation whose sovereign Is always accessible and never speaks severely.

Verse 387 Behold the King who speaks sweetly, gives generously and Protects powerfully- the world, esteems his word its command.

Verse 388 Ruling righteously himself and safeguarding subjects from others, A monarch may be deemed divine by his people.

Verse 389 The world abides protected beneath the umbrella Of a virtuous king who can abide words bitter to the ear.

Verse 390 He is a light ruler who is endowed with the four merits Of generosity, graciousness, justice and care for the people.


Verse 391 Learn perfectly all that you learn, and Thereafter keep your conduct worthy of that learning.

Verse 392 Two are the eyes of those who truly live- One is called numbers and the other letters.

Verse 393 The learned have eyes that see, they say. The unlearned have but two sores on their face.

Verse 394 It is the learned mans prowess that meetings Bring delight and departures leave pleasant thoughts.

Verse 395 Amidst the learned be humble, as those possessing nothing are before The prosperous. Those who fail thus to learn are the lowest of men.

Verse 396 The deeper a sand-well is dug the freer is its flow of water. Even so, the deeper a man's learning the greater is his wisdom.

Verse 397 When every country our village could be his own, How can a man dwell unlearned to his death?

Verse 398 Learning a man secures in one birth Will secure his well-being in seven.

Verse 399 When the learned see that the learning that delights them Delights the world as well, they love learning even more.

Verse 400 A man's learning is an imperishable and precious wealth. All other possessions are less golden.




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