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Kural – Wikipedia

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**Background and Authorship**:
– The term Tirukkural is a compound word of tiru and kuṟaḷ.
– Traditional accounts suggest it was the last work of the third Sangam.
– The Kural text was authored by Thiruvalluvar.
– There is negligible authentic information available about Valluvar’s life.
– Valluvar’s religion is subject to speculation with no historical evidence.

**Influence and Legacy**:
– The Kural text is widely acknowledged for its universality and secular nature.
– The text effectively denounced previously held misbeliefs during the Sangam era.
– The Kural has been translated into at least 40 Indian and non-Indian languages.
– It remains the most translated, most cited, and most citable of Tamil literary works.
– Considered a masterpiece and one of the most important texts of Tamil literature.

**Themes and Content**:
– The Kural emphasizes virtues like non-violence, moral vegetarianism, truthfulness, and gratitude.
– Covers a wide range of social and political topics like justice, war, and agriculture.
– The text encompasses domestic and ascetic virtues for the commoner.
– Valluvar addresses duties of individuals in various capacities.
– The Kural condemns immoral deeds like meat-eating, alcohol consumption, polygamy, and prostitution.

**Structure and Composition**:
– The Kural consists of 133 chapters with 10 couplets each, totaling 1,330 couplets.
– All couplets are in kural venba metre.
– Valluvar’s main aim was to produce an instructive text on wisdom, justice, and ethics.
– The Kural is structured with no gaps, each couplet being indispensable.
– Each couplet has two meanings: structural and proverbial.

**Philosophical Influences**:
– Valluvar’s treatment of ahimsa reflects Jain precepts.
– Valluvar’s teachings align with Hindu texts on dharma, artha, kama, and moksha.
– Valluvar’s political philosophy emphasizes ethical governance and justice.
– The Kural promotes non-killing as the highest virtue and emphasizes truthfulness.
– Valluvar presents a theory of state using elements like army, subjects, treasure, ministers, allies, and forts.

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