Thiruvalluvar, the esteemed author of the Kural did not create anything fitting the description of a religion. But in recent times parts of the Kural are being used in solemn social ceremonies, wedding and funerals in a quasi-religious manner. Those who do not want a brahmin priest intervening in their affairs have resorted to the Kural to give sanctity to their special events.
For instance wherever Tamil live in small or big numbers in countries all over the world they use Chapter 1 – Kadavul Vaalthu as an invocation to the ‘Paramporul‘ the all pervading deity.
It adds a solemnity to the occasion in addition to the homage paid to the Tamil language which is the common link amongst the Tamil living in more than 40 countries.
A new type of wedding ceremony has emerged in the last few decades known as “Thamil Thirumanam” based on selected couplets of the Kural. The wedding ceremony is conducted by a Tamil man or female versed in the Kural. He or she intones Chapters 1, 43, 14, 8, 7, 5, 4, 9, 32, and 6. If the bride and bridegroom desire it, a thali tieing ceremony takes place under the direction of the person who conducts the entire event.
Tamil Funerals are also conducted with selections of the Kural especially Chapters 1, 3, 4, 6, 27 and 66. Kadavul Vaalthu is often intoned as a prayer by all present. Some learned Tamil leaders like former founder of International Movement For Tamil Cultural (IMTC) Ratnam K.Veerappan have provided in their Last Will that only a Thirukural ceremony should be conducted during the last rites and it was so observed.
Thirukural has obtained an exalted position amongst the under-privileged people who had not fallen prey to the wiles of the Brahmins and their associates. Mention may be make of the ‘Pahawan Aathi Thiruvalluvar Gnana Madam‘ whose followers are scattered all over Kerala numbering more than 50,000. They are mostly of the underprivileged section of society, low paid workers and the poverty stricken. They have vowed to renounce caste distinctions in accordance with Kural 972.
Kural consciousness is very high in Kerala, the land of highly educated people. When the Malayala translation of the Kural rendered by Sankaran Nair was completed it was carried on the back of an elephant, paraded on the streets of Thiruvananthapuram and was presented to the world by the Travancore Maharajah.
There are highly educated Keralites who are conscious of their Tamil Heritage and their past as members of the Chera monarchy known for their bravery and literary prowess. Due to the large scale migration of Ariyan elements the whole complexion of society has been radically changed. But ancient Tamil words like ‘oodupurai‘ – the place where free food is offered, ‘Panimudakku‘ meaning workers strike are still in use. Hundreds of ancient Tamil words with a Malayala overtone enrich the language.
The entire corpus of Sangam literature has been rendered to Malayalam. The Silapadikaram which is a tale of three cities of Puhar, Madurai and Vanji has became a Malayalam epic on its own right. The three cities represent the Pandiya, Chola and Chera kingdoms respectively.