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 951-1080

Nobility | Honor | Greatness | Perfect Goodness | Possession of Courtesy | Wealth That Benefits None | Possession of Modesty | Advancing the Family | Farming | Poverty | Begging | Dread of Begging | Baseness

Book 2 - On Wealth

Part 3 The People


Verse 951 An innate sense of rights and shying away from wrong Are found together only in the nobly born.

Verse 952 Men of noble birth will never fall from three: Virtuous conduct, truthfulness, and modesty.

Verse 953 Four are the attributes of the true gentleman: a smiling face, A generous hand, a courteous disposition and kindly words.

Verse 954 Men of good birth will not do demeaning deeds Even though millions and millions may be gained thereby.

Verse 955 Time-honored families may be parted from prosperity's charitableness, But will never sever themselves from proper conduct.

Verse 956 Those committed to their family's flawless fame Dare not commit deceitful, dishonorable deeds.

Verse 957 In high-born men blemishes are clearly seen, Just as the moon's elevation makes it more visible.

Verse 958 When a man with good background lacks loving affection, Doubts arise whether he arose from that family.

Verse 959 The nature of a soil is known by the seedlings that sprout. Even so, the nature of a man's family is known by the words he speaks.

Verse 960 Those desiring greatness must desire modesty. And those seeking their family's honor must seek to be respectful to all.


Verse 961 Refrain from those actions that would degrade honor Even though they should be indispensable for the preservation of life.

Verse 962 Those who pursue glory honorably never act ingloriously, Even if fame is assured.

Verse 963 Cultivate modesty in the midst of good fortune, But in times of adversity preserve your dignity.

Verse 964 Honorable men fallen from high position May be likened to odious hari fallen from the head.

Verse 965 Even men grand as a mountain will become small If they commit an unworthy act though as small as a mustard seed.

Verse 966 It offers neither earth's renown nor heaven's refuge, So why would one run after or even stand before a man who reviles him?

Verse 967 Better to die right where you stand, the saying goes, Than to live running after those who despise you.

Verse 968 Will any medicine save the body of the high-born man When his honor has perished?

Verse 969 Shorn of its hair, the yak will refuse to live; Such men exist, who prefer death to the loss of honor.

Verse 970 The world will extoll and exalt honorable men Who exult in death rather than dishonor.


Verse 971 Life's light is the aspiration for glorious achievement. And disgrace is the dark thought that says, "I shall live without it."

Verse 972 Birth decrees to all men who live a common circumstance. Diverse actions define their unique specialness.

Verse 973 Lowly men are never high, even when elevated. High souls are never low, even when downtrodden.

Verse 974 Even as chastity in a woman, greatness must be guarded By being true to one's own self.

Verse 975 A man possessing greatness possesses the power To perform uncommon deeds.

Verse 976 "We will befriend great men and become like them," Such thoughts rarely intrude upon small minds.

Verse 977 When small-minded men do achieve some distinction, It only serves to augment their arrogance.

Verse 978 Greatness is always humble. But pettiness is self-adorned with words of praise.

Verse 979 Greatness abides in the absence of arrogance. Smallness proudly parades its haughtiness.

Verse 980 Greatness conceals through silence the weaknesses of others. But pettiness proclaims such things to all.

Perfect Goodness

Verse 981 It is said that all good things are natural to those Who know their duty and walk the path of perfect goodness.

Verse 982 Perfect men hold as good their own good character. No other goodness is so perfectly good.

Verse 983 Love, modesty, propriety, kindly look, and truthfulness- These are the five pillars on which perfect goodness rests.

Verse 984 Penance is that goodness which refrains from killing. Perfection is that goodness which refuses to tell others' faults.

Verse 985 Humility is the strength of the strong and the weapon With which the wise conquer their foes.

Verse 986 The touchstone of one's unalloyed character Is accepting defeat from inferiors unabashedly.

Verse 987 Of what avail is perfect goodness if it does not do good Even to those who have caused pain?

Verse 988 Deprived of all else, one remains undisgraced If endowed with strength of character.

Verse 989 Destiny's last days may surge with oceanic change, Yet men deemed perfectly good remain, like the shore, unchanged.

Verse 990 Should the perfect virtue of perfect men diminish, The robust earth would bear our burdensomeness no more.

Possession of Courtesy

Verse 991 If a man is easy of access to all, then the virtue of courtesy Will be easily accessible to him.

Verse 992 Loving kindness and birth to lofty kindred- These two confer on one a gracious manner.

Verse 993 That their limbs look alike does not render likness among human. Real similarities derive from similarly civil features.

Verse 994 The world commends the civil character of those Who combine usefulness with impartial benevolence.

Verse 995 Disparaging words pain a man even when uttered in jest. Therefore, those who know human nature are courteous even to their enemies.

Verse 996 The world goes on because civilized men exist. Without them it would collapse into mere dust.

Verse 997 Though their minds are as sharp as a rasp, Men without human decency are as wooden as a tree.

Verse 998 It is disgraceful to be discourteous, Even toward the unfriendly who treat you unjustly.

Verse 999 To those who cannot smile in joy the wide world Lies engulfed in darkness even in broad daylight.

Verse 1000 Great wealth amassed by men devoid of that virtue called courtesy Is like good milk that has soured in an unclean vessel.

Wealth That Benefits None

Verse 1001 Whoever hoards wealth, neither enjoying nor expending it, Is as lifeless as his unused heap.

Verse 1002 Believing wealth is everything, yet giving nothing, The miser will himself be possessed in a miserable birth.

Verse 1003 The mere sight of men who crave wealth's accumulation, And care nothing of renown is a burden to the earth.

Verse 1004 Unloved by even a single soul, What could such a man imagine he might leave behind.

Verse 1005 Amid accumulated millions a man remains poor If he neither gives nor enjoys his wealth.

Verse 1006 Vast wealth can be a wretched curse to one who neither Gladdens himself in its worth nor gives to the worthy.

Verse 1007 The wealth of a man who gives nothing to the needy Is like a beautiful maiden growing old unwed.

Verse 1008 The wealth of the man whom no one loves is like a poisonous tree That bears fruit in the heart of a village.

Verse 1009 Strangers will one day sieze his wealth, who, To pile it high, preffered self-denial, forsaking love and dharma.

Verse 1010 The short-lived poverty of the benevolent wealthy man Is like the temporary dryness of the rain cloud.

Possession of Modesty

Verse 1011 For fair-faced maidens virtue's modesty brings bashfulness, But the deeper modesty shies away from wrongful deeds.

Verse 1012 Food, clothing and such are not much different among people, It is modesty that distingiushes good men from others.

Verse 1013 All life clings to a body, Perfect goodness clings to all that is modest.

Verse 1014 Is not modesty the jewel of the great? Without it, Is not their strut an affliction for the eye to behold?

Verse 1015 Those men who for others' disgrace and their own feel equally ashamed Are regarded by the world as the abode of modesty.

Verse 1016 The great would rather defend themselves with modesty's barricade Than breach it to acquire the vast world itself.

Verse 1017 Those who prize unpretentiousness will forsake life to preserve it. But they would never forsake modesty for the sake of life.

Verse 1018 If a man does not feel ashamed of that which others feel ashamed, Virtue itself will be ashamed of him.

Verse 1019 One's family will be consumed in the fire of failure to act well; But everything good will be incinerated by dwelling in shamelessness.

Verse 1014 The movements of men devoid of innate modesty May be likened to wooden puppets suspended on a string.

Advancing the Family

Verse 1021 There is no greater dignity than that of the man who declares, "I will never cease in laboring to advance my family."

Verse 1022 Perseverance and sound understanding- These two are what exalt a man's family.

Verse 1023 When a man declares he will advance his family, God Himself will wrap His robes and lead the way.

Verse 1024 When a man's effort to raise high his family is unremitting, His work will prosper of itself even if he makes no plans.

Verse 1025 The world will surround and wish to befriend the man Who, without wrongdoing, prospers in life to uplift loved ones.

Verse 1026 It is said that true manliness consists In becoming the head and provider for one's family.

Verse 1027 On a battlefield the burden falls upon the brave; In the family, a comparable weight is carried by the most competent.

Verse 1028 Those seeking to improve their family await no reason, For delays and undue regard for dignity will destroy it.

Verse 1029 Behold the man who shields his family from all suffering. Has not his body become a willing vessel for affliction.

Verse 1030 Without good men to hold it up, The family house will fall when misfortune descends.


Verse 1031 Wherever it may wander, the world must follow the farmer. Thus despite all its hardships, farming is the most esteemed work.

Verse 1032 Farmers are the linchpin of the world, for they support all those Who take to other work, not having the strength to plow.

Verse 1033 Those who cultivate their food live in self-sufficiency. All others follow them and subsist in self-made dependence.

Verse 1034 Those in the shade of abundant sheaves of grain Will see many nations overshadowed by their own.

Verse 1035 Those who eat food harvested with their own hands will Never beg and never refuse a beggar's outstreched palm.

Verse 1036 When those who plough the fields stand idly with folded arms, Even completely desireless ascetics will not subsist.

Verse 1037 If soil is dried so one ounce become one-quarter ounce, Abundant yields will not require a single handful of fertilizer.

Verse 1038 It's better to fertilize than to furrow a field. Having weeded, it's better to watch a field than to water it.

Verse 1039 If the lord of the land fails to visit his fields, They will sulk as surely as a neglected wife.

Verse 1040 Mother Earth laughs to herself when she sees the slothful Pleading poverty and crying, "Alas, I have nothing to eat."


Verse 1041 Ask what is more miserable than being poor And the answer comes-only poverty pains like poverty.

Verse 1042 Poverty, the cruelest of demons, deprives a man Of every joy in this life as well as the next.

Verse 1043 That poison called poverty will destroy at once The honor of ancient descent and the refinement of speech.

Verse 1044 Privation produces unmindfulness which gives birth To improper words, even in men of proper birth.

Verse 1045 This one affliction called poverty Brings in its train a multitude of miseries.

Verse 1046 The poor may perceive profoundly and speak skillfully, Yet their meaningful words are always forgotten.

Verse 1047 Poverty, destitute of all virtue, estranges a man Even from the mother who bore him.

Verse 1048 Will wretched poverty which is kiling me so Come again today as of yesterday?

Verse 1049 Men may slumber even in the midst of fire, But none can find repose in poverty's presence.

Verse 1050 Having become fatally impoverished, let a man fully renounce, Lest he fatally exhaust his neighbor's vinegar and salt.


Verse 1051 If you meet a man of means, you may beg his help. If he refuses, the fault is his, not yours.

Verse 1052 Even begging can prove pleasurable When what is begged for comes without a sense of burden.

Verse 1053 Beffing has its own beauty if one supplicates Before dutiful men whose hearts never say no.

Verse 1054 There are men who never deny a request even in a dream. Begging from such men is as good as giving.

Verse 1055 Because men do exist on earth who never begrudge giving, Others dare to plead before men's gaze.

Verse 1056 The evils of begging will flee at the mere sight Of those who are free from the evil of refusal.

Verse 1057 There is rejoicing in a jubilant heart Upon seeing those who give without scoffing or scorning.

Verse 1058 Deprived of its beggars, this vast and verdant earth Would be reduced to a sphere for the wooden play of puppets.

Verse 1059 What glory would generous men have If there were none to beg and receive their gifts?

Verse 1060 One who begs and is refused should not be angry For his own poverty is sufficient proof.

Dread of Begging

Verse 1061 It is ten millions better not to beg, even from those Precious few who find joy in generosity and thus never refuse.

Verse 1062 Were it the world's Creator who wished men to live by begging, Men might well wish that He Himself also die a wanderer.

Verse 1063 There is no greater foolhardiness than saying to oneself, "I shall end the pains of poverty by begging."

Verse 1064 The entire world is too small to contain the dignity of men Who stoop not to beg even in the midst of destitution.

Verse 1065 Though it is only gruel thin as water, nothing is more savory Than the food that is earned by the labor of one's hands.

Verse 1066 The tongue finds nothing more distasteful than begging Even to simply plead for the cow's drinking water.

Verse 1067 This I beg of all beggers, "If beg you must, beg not from misers."

Verse 1068 The unsturdy ship called begging will break apart The moment it crashes against the rock of refusal.

Verse 1069 Thoughts of the beggar's plight must melt one's heart, But thoughts of refusals he receives crushes it completely.

Verse 1070 Is there any place a miser can safely hide When inside him resounds the word "no" which slays beggars?


Verse 1071 Outwardly, vile men resemble human beings. Never have we witnessed such a remarkable likeness.

Verse 1072 The low-minded are happier than men who know the good, For they are never troubled by the pains of conscience.

Verse 1073 Wicked rogues resemble the gods, For they, too, live doing whatever they want.

Verse 1074 When the vile meets the wicked he will outdo him In his vices and pride himself on the achievement.

Verse 1075 Fear is the primary motive force of base men. Apart from that, the desire for gain may motivate them, but only a little.

Verse 1076 Base men are like a bass drum, For they sound off to others every secret they happen to hear.

Verse 1077 The wretched are too inhospitable to even shake the moisture from their Just-washed hands, unless the visitor can shatter their jaw with clenched fist.

Verse 1078 The worthy yield their gifts when told of the need, but, like The sugar cane, the low will yield theirs only by a deathly crushing.

Verse 1079 Let a low man see others well clothed and fed And instantly their faults assail his sight.

Verse 1080 Is there anything for which ignoble men are suited? Well, whenever crisis comes no one sells themselves more swiftly!

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