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.
- 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.
COMPASSION, KINDNESS, FORGIVENESS, TOLERANCE
- 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.