THE BEAUTY OF SIMILES IN TIRUKKURAL - PART II

Tiruvalluvar


A commentator had said that Kural is as potent as a mustard pierced at the centre in which the waters of the seven seas are put inside! He meant to say that it is so rich in meaning!As Dr.G.U. Pope had said it is the Bard of the Universal Man.

In the previous article we have seen a few selected Kurals with beautiful similes. Here are a few more gems for you to enjoy!

Kural 296
Thottanaithu oorum manarkeni mantharku
Katranaithu oorum arivu

Meaning: The wells in the sand abound with springs of water as one digs deep, so with approriate education knowledge gets wider and deeper.

Apparetly Valluvar was familiar with the process of digging sand wells.This analogy the poet uses with good effect to draw a prallel to the cultivation of mind.Acquisition of knowledge and its development can only be the result of application of ons's mind. physical idleness will not produce water. Mental idleness surely will not produce knowledge.

Kural 151
Akalvarai thangum nilampolalt thammai
Igazhvaraip poruthal thalai

Meaning: Just like the earth which supports the men who dig it, men of virtue bear with those who heap scorn on them.

This Kural shows the high plateau of norms of virtue in social conduct that existed in Tamil society at that time - nearly 2000 years back! Forbearance is not only a religious teaching but a common belief as well!.

Kural 763
Olithakkal ennam uvari elippagai
Naagam uyirpak kedum.

Meaning: What is the good of mobilising a roaring army of rats Which could be hissed off by a deadly snake!

In this interrogative form of deadly humour, Valluvar has discounted the idea of just enlisting the numbers.The soldiers taken into the army must be loyal, well-trained and be brave. In this figure of speech Valluvar says one thing effctively but a different and related idea that quality is always more important than quantity is conveyed!

Kural 782
Nirai neera neeravar kenmai Pirai mathip
pin neera pethaiyar natpu.

Meaning: The friendship of the worthy develops day by day like the waxing crescent moon But the foolish alliances deteriroate like the waning thereof!

Rajaji has given a crisp commetary on this kural.
" The friendship of men of character is like the young moon which grows as the days pass, but frindship with fools diminishes with familirity like the moon after her full pass!"

Kural 783
Navilthorum nool nayam polum payilthorum
Panbu udaiyar thodarbu

Meaning: As one sees greater beauty and delivers enhanced pleasures from the deeper study of a book. Noble friendships gain in worth and grace day by day. Deeper learning of great books and intimate friendship with great personsare both ideal for a good life.

Kural 959
Nilathil kidanthamai kaalkaattum Kaatum
Kulathil piranthar vay sol.

Meaning: The nature of the soil is known by the seedling that grows in it. A man's ancestry is known by his speech. A well-known and oft- quoted proverb which summarises this Kural is (kulattalave aagum gunam).

Kural 772
Kaana muyal eytha ambinl yanai
Pizhaitha vel enthal inithu

Meaning: It is better by far to hold the spear that was aimed at an elephant and missed it than the arrow that killed a runaway hare!

An English proverb is "hitch your wagon to the star" even if it means failure.

There are quite a few other simile like this and I have selected just a few of them.That way Valluvar proves himself to be a grea teacher who takes a lot of pains to strengthen his points.What a pleasure it is to have known and enjoyed Thirukkural!

R.Narasimhan
April 2007



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