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As of 2015, the Chinese language had two translations available of the Tirukkural.
The first Chinese translation of the Kural text was made by Che'ng Hsi in 1967, published by the Department of Indian Studies, University of Malaya and printed at the Hong Kong University Press.The Nattukottai Chettiars Endowment Fund, which has also provided a Malay translation, funded the first Chinese translation. The second translation was made by Yu Hsi in 2014, which is a complete translation made in Mandarin.
|Kural, Chapter 26 (禁食肉)
|Kural 254 (Couplet 26:4)
|Kural 258 (Couplet 26:8)
|Che'ng Hsi, 1967
|Yu Hsi, 2014
The Kural text (called Tirukkural, meaning "Sacred Verses") and the Confucian sayings recorded in the classic Analects of Chinese (called Lun Yu, meaning "Sacred Sayings") resemble each other in many ways.Both Valluvar and Confucius focused on the behaviors and moral conducts of a common person. Similar to Valluvar, Confucius advocated legal justice embracing human principles, courtesy, and filial piety, besides the virtues of benevolence, righteousness, loyalty and trustworthiness as foundations of life. Incidentally, Valluvar differed from Confucius in two respects. Firstly, unlike Confucius, Valluvar was also a poet. Secondly, Confucius did not deal with the subject of conjugal love, for which Valluvar devoted an entire division in his work.
Thiruvalluvar, commonly known as Valluvar, was an Indian poet and philosopher. He is best known as the author of the Tirukkuṟaḷ, a collection of couplets on ethics, political and economic matters, and love. The text is considered an exceptional and widely cherished work of Tamil literature.
Parimelalhagar, sometimes spelled Parimelazhagar, born Vanduvarai Perumal, was a Tamil poet and scholar known for his commentary on the Thirukkural. He was the last among the canon of ten medieval commentators of the Kural text most highly esteemed by scholars. He was also among the five oldest commentators whose commentaries had been preserved and made available to the Modern era, the others being Manakkudavar, Pari Perumal, Kaalingar, and Paridhi. Of all the ancient commentaries available of the Kural literature, Parimelalhagar's commentary is considered by scholars as the best both in textual and literary aspects. The codification of the writings of Valluvar is attributed to Parimelalhagar. Parimelalhagar also remains the most reviewed, in terms of both praise and criticism, of all the medieval Kural commentators. Praised for its literary richness and clarity, Parimelalhagar's commentary is considered highly complex and exquisite in its own right that it has several scholarly commentaries appearing over the centuries to elucidate it. Along with the Kural text, Parimelalhagar's commentary has been widely published that it is in itself regarded a Tamil classic.
The Tirukkuṟaḷ, or shortly theKural, is a classic Tamil language text consisting of 1,330 short couplets, or kurals, of seven words each. The text is divided into three books with aphoristic teachings on virtue (aram), wealth (porul) and love (inbam), respectively. Considered one of the greatest works ever written on ethics and morality, it is widely acknowledged for its universality and secular nature. Its authorship is traditionally attributed to Valluvar, also known in full as Thiruvalluvar. The text has been dated variously from 300 BCE to 5th century CE. The traditional accounts describe it as the last work of the third Sangam, but linguistic analysis suggests a later date of 450 to 500 CE and that it was composed after the Sangam period.
Yu Hsi is a Taiwanese Tamil poet and scholar, who has translated the Tirukkural and the poems of Subramaniya Bharathi and poet Bharathidasan in Mandarin. He is the founder president of the Tamil Sangam in Taiwan. He has received various awards, including awards from Seoul World Academy of Arts and Culture (2004), Thiruvalluvar Award (2014), and a felicitation from former President of India A. P. J. Abdul Kalam.
John Lazarus (1845–1925) was a Christian missionary to India who rendered the Tirukkural into English. He revised the work of his predecessor William Henry Drew, who had already translated the first 63 chapters of the Tirukkural, and translated the remaining portion of the Kural text.
Tirukkural remains one of the most widely translated non-religious works in the world. As of 2014, there were at least 57 versions available in the English language alone. English, thus, continues to remain the language with most number of translations available of the Kural text.
Latin is the first foreign language into which the Tirukkuṟaḷ was translated. There are three known translations of the Kural text available in Latin.
French has the second maximum number of translations of the Tirukkural among European languages, next only to English. As of 2015, there were at least 18 translations of the Kural text available in French.
As of 2015, the Japanese language has two translations available of the Tirukkural.
As of 2015, Urdu has at least two translations available of the Tirukkural.
Manakkudavar was a Tamil scholar and commentator known for his commentary on the Tirukkural. His is the earliest of the available commentaries on the Kural text, and hence considered to bear closest semblance with the original work by Valluvar. He was among the canon of Ten Medieval Commentators of the Kural text most highly esteemed by scholars. He was also among the five ancient commentators whose commentaries had been preserved and made available to the Modern era, the others being Pari Perumal, Kaalingar, Paridhi, and Parimelalhagar.
Kaalingar, also known as Kalingarayar, was a Tamil scholar and commentator known for his commentary on the Thirukkural. He was among the canon of Ten Medieval Commentators of the Kural text highly esteemed by scholars. He was also among the five ancient commentators whose commentaries had been preserved and made available to the Modern era, the others being Manakkudavar, Pari Perumal, Paridhi, and Parimelalhagar.
P. S. Sundaram (1910–1998), born Pazmarneri Subrahmanya Sundaram, was an Indian professor of English, best known for translating the Tirukkural and various Tamil classics into English. He had degrees in English from the University of Madras and the Oxford University. He served as professor of English for about 40 years in different parts of North India.
The Ten Medieval Commentators were a canonical group of Tamil scholars whose commentaries on the ancient Indian didactic work of the Kural are esteemed by later scholars as worthy of critical analysis. These scholars lived in the Medieval era between the 10th and 13th centuries CE. Among these medieval commentaries, the commentaries of Manakkudavar, Kaalingar, and Parimelalhagar are considered pioneer by modern scholars.
The Book ofAṟam, in full Aṟattuppāl, also known as the Book of Virtue, the First Book or Book One in translated versions, is the first of the three books or parts of the Kural literature, a didactic work authored by the ancient Indian philosopher Valluvar. Written in High Tamil distich form, it has 38 chapters each containing 10 kurals or couplets, making a total of 380 couplets, all dealing with the fundamental virtues of an individual. Aṟam, the Tamil term that loosely corresponds to the English term 'virtue', correlates with the first of the four ancient Indian values of dharma, artha, kama and moksha. The Book of Aṟam exclusively deals with virtues independent of the surroundings, including the vital principles of non-violence, moral vegetarianism, veracity, and righteousness.
Tiruvalluva Malai is an anthology of ancient Tamil paeans containing fifty-five verses each attributed to different poets praising the ancient work of the Kural and its author Tiruvalluvar. With the poets' time spanning across centuries starting from around 1st century CE, the collection is believed to have reached its present form by 10th century CE. With the historical details of the ancient philosopher and his work remaining obscure, much of the legend on the Kural and Tiruvalluvar as they are known today are chiefly from this work. The collection also reveals the name of the author of the Kural text as 'Tiruvalluvar' for the first time, as Tiruvalluvar himself composed the Kural text centuries earlier without indicating his name anywhere in his work. Reminiscing this, E. S. Ariel, a French scholar of the 19th century, famously said of the Tirukkural thus: Ce livre sans nom, par un autre sans nom.
Tirukkural, or the Kural, an ancient Indian treatise on common moralities, has been given by various names ever since its writing between the first century BCE and the 5th century CE. Originally referred to as Muppāl, perhaps as presented by its author Valluvar himself at the ruler's court, the work remains unique among ancient works in that it was not given any title by its author himself. All the names that the work is referred by today are given by later days' scholars over the millennia. The work is known by an estimated 44 names excluding variants, although some scholars list even more. E. S. Ariel, a French scholar of the 19th century who translated the work into French, famously said of the Kural thus: Ce livre sans nom, par un autre sans nom.
The Book of Poruḷ, in full Poruṭpāl, also known as the Book of Wealth, Book of Polity, the Second Book or Book Two in translated versions, is the second of the three books or parts of the Kural literature, authored by the ancient Indian philosopher Valluvar. Written in High Tamil distich form, it has 70 chapters each containing 10 kurals or couplets, making a total of 700 couplets all dealing with statecraft. Poruḷ, which means both 'wealth' and 'meaning', correlates with the second of the four ancient Indian values of dharma, artha, kama and moksha. The Book of Poruḷ deals with polity, or virtues of an individual with respect to the surroundings, including the stately qualities of administration, wisdom, prudence, nobility, diplomacy, citizenship, geniality, industry, chastity, sobriety and teetotalism, that is expected of every individual, keeping aṟam or dharma as the base.
The Book of Inbam, in full Iṉbattuppāl, or in a more sanskritized term Kāmattuppāl, also known as the Book of Love, the Third Book or Book Three in translated versions, is the third of the three books or parts of the Kural literature, authored by the ancient Indian philosopher Valluvar. Written in High Tamil distich form, it has 25 chapters each containing 10 kurals or couplets, making a total of 250 couplets all dealing with human love. The term inbam or kamam, which means 'pleasure', correlates with the third of the four ancient Indian values of dharma, artha, kama and moksha. However, unlike Kamasutra, which deals with different methods of lovemaking, the Book of Inbam expounds the virtues and emotions involved in conjugal love between a man and a woman, or virtues of an individual within the walls of intimacy, keeping aṟam or dharma as the base.
The dating of the Tirukkural, and by extension the period of its author Valluvar, has been a subject of intense debate among scholars for centuries, and it continues to remain so. The Kural is variously dated between 300 BCE and 5th century CE. According to Blackburn, the "current scholarly consensus" dates the text and the author to approximately 500 CE. The Tamil Nadu government has ratified 31 BCE as the year of birth of Valluvar. Still the precise date as to when Valluvar completed writing the Kural text remains murky. This article speaks about various dates arrived at by various scholars over time.