Valluvar is a poet, thinker and teacher. He is not a mystic philosopher, neither is he a messiah or prophet. Umapathy Siva Chariyar, a poet and commentator of the 14th century AD in his Nenjuvidu thoothu 25 speaks about “The words of Truth spoken by the Divine poet Thiruvalluvar“. The foremost moral imperatives of the Kural are not to Kill and to tell the Truth. The Buddha told his disciple Ananda “Always take refuge in the Truth. Be Truthful“
The Yoga Siddhar Thirumoolar who lived between 4th and 6th centuries AD wrote the Thirumanthiram in Tamil in more than 3000 verses. It is the oldest and the most important text of Yoga from South India. Many verse of the Thirumanthiram reflects the essence of the Kural. The Kural speaks about mental and physical health.
Kural 457 refers to ‘mana nalam‘ mental health and Kural 942 tells us that medical intervention is not necessary if you observe strict dietary rules and the next Kural gives the recipe for a long life (943)
The Thirumanthiram also speaks about the importance of the diet regime and says that you continue to be alive only if you know how to maintain your physical health. The 12th century AD Saiva Siddhanta of Meikandar and others traces its origin to this master work. Following Thiruvalluvar Thirumoolar advices the use of gentle words. He says harsh words are like an unripe fruit but kind words are sweet and ripe.
Valluvar says in Chapter 10 Kural 96 that righteousness includes a smiling countenance, a heart full of Love and pleasant speech.
The Thirumanthiram is the 10th Thirumurai in the 12 Thirumurais which forms part of the Saiva Siddhanta scriptures. Thirumoolar is one of the 63 ‘Nayanmars‘, those who had achieved union with the Supreme Being. He is also one of the 18 Siddhars. Thirumoolar expressed the idea of one caste and one God, thus rejecting the caste system in its entirely as stated in Kural 972. The entire corpus is divided into 9 parts giving details of yoga secrets, philosophy of life and the truths he discovered. He declares, “Let the world rejoice, the bliss I have realised, the secrets of the universe I disclose“.
The word ‘Kadavul‘ which occurs in Chapter 1 of the Kural basically means the Supreme Being or the Absolute Truth, Supreme All – Powerful one who is beyond any attributes of form, colour, shape, sex or name. Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1888-1875) says that the supreme Being can be worshipped in any form and that it is a concept unique to the beliefs of the Tamils. Valluvar gives a number of words describing the qualities of the Supreme Being.
Kural 2 says that He is the incarnation of knowledge -wisdom.
The word ‘Kadavul‘ appears in the Tolkapiyam. Tol Purath 28 and 33 declare the following ‘Kaamap Pakhuthi Kadavulum Varaiyar‘ and ‘Kadavul Vaalthodu Kanniya Varume‘. Without an all – round knowledge of the historical circumstances, common beliefs and events of a particular period, one cannot truly gauge the meaning embedded in a work of literary merit.
The Kural holds a mirror to the time of its creation and at the same by stating universal truths in a ringing tone couched in chosen words of pure Tamil poetry it’s called a ‘Tamil Marai’ i.e as a Tamil Scripture. The poets of the 3rd Sangam who collected together at Madurai also called a ‘Pothu Marai’ , ‘Uthara Vedam’, ‘Theiva Nul ‘ and ‘Poiyamoli’.
Today the Tamil Scriptures are the first eleven Thirumuraikal of the 12 Thirumuraikal, the 4000 Thiviyappirapantham and the Thirukural. The Kural is part of our religious tradition though it does not subscribe to any particular form of worship or belief. It has a sanctity all its own and forms part of the beliefs system of the entire world.