Extracts from Thirukkural by Dr. M. Rajaram.  Dr. M. Rajaram is a trustee of the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre organisation in India.

Two thousand years ago there flourished in south India a poet by name Thiruvalluvar. He is regarded as an avatara (incarnation) of Brahma. His teachings can be found in the book THIRUKKURAL. They contain the essence of the Vedas, the Upanishads and the six Darshanas.

The 133-foot tall statue of Thiruvalluvar at Kanyakumari, the southern most tip of India.  Yoga Vacation day trips are taken from our Ashram in south India to Kanyakumari.


  • Always utter fruitful words
    Never utter futile words.
  • Who extols virtue openly but not in the heart
    Is, by mean backbiting, exposed.
  • Worse is to smile before and slander behind
    Than to decry virtue and do deeds not good.
  • A single harmful word uttered
    Turns all good things bad.
  • Control your tongue if not anything; otherwise
    A slip of the tongue brings evils.
  • Fire-burns certainly heal inside
    Tongue-burns will only abide.
  • The words uttered by the righteous
    Are sweet, kind and guileless.
    Kind words with a smiling face
    Are better than gifts of grace.
  • Smiling face, loving eyes and kind words—
    Virtue lies in these signs.
  • Fruitful, polite and pleasant words
    Beget happiness and fortunes.
  • Knowing well the pleasure of sweet words
    Why cast bitter ones at others?
  • Using bitter words instead of pleasant
    Is like preferring unripe fruits to ripe.


  • When desire, the woe of woes, dies
    Eternal bliss ensues.
  • Give up your insatiable desires
    And gain eternal joy.
  • No other greater fortune is here or there
    Than the fortune of having no desire.
  • Virtue lies in fear of desire
    As desire is the deceiver.
  • Desire is the seed of ceaseless births
    For all living things at all times.
  • If you desire for anything, desire for no births
    Rebirth comes not if you give up desires.


  • Who performs charity without sympathy
    Is like an unwise man seeking reality.
  • Wealth of wealth is the wealth of kindness
    Worldly wealth even the mean possess.
  • Imagine yourself facing the stronger
    While you oppress the weaker.
  • To bear with others’ evil is a good trait
    Better it is to forget it.
  • Practise and preserve patience
    To retain one’s perfection.
  • Avenger’s joy lasts only for one day
    Forgiver’s fame stays till Doomsday.
  • Though others do intolerable harm, pity them
    And better it is to do no evil to them.
  • Conquer men who do evils by arrogance
    Simply by your tolerance.
  • Better are they who endure bitter insults
    Than those who fast and do penance.
  • The whole world surely belongs to those
    Who are kind and aware of duties.
  • Showing kindness and patience even to those
    Who hurt is the chief of virtues.


  • Those with wisdom have everything
    Fools with everything have nothing.
  • Wisdom is to speak in terms simple and clear
    And grasp even subtle matter.
  • Wisdom restrains the wayward mind
    And leads it from evil to good.
  • Wisdom is to live in tune with the mode
    Of the changing world.


  • Forget anger towards anyone
    For it begets evil and pain.
  • All good wishes are obtained instantly
    If one’s thoughts are anger-free.
  • Anger is bad before the powerful
    Worse it is before the feeble.
  • Is there any greater foe than anger
    Which kills joy and laughter?
  • To guard yourself, keep wrath at bay
    Unchecked, anger will yourself slay.