akara mudhala ezhutthellAm – Adhi

Baghavan mudhatrE ulagu


ezhutthellAm Akara mudhala : All letters, (all written knowledge), have their start in alphabet A.

ulagu Adhi Baghavan mudhatrE : (In the same way), God is the origin, prime-mover of this world


This is the first couplet of the first chapter of Thirukkural, a centuries old masterpiece composed by the sage poet Thiruvalluvar. He is dated earlier than 8th century AD, earliest being 2nd century BC. This work details the rules of quality living in 133 chapters, each consisting of ten couplets as above. The work is divided into three parts as,

arratthu pAl     – Path of dharma (or righteousness)

porut pAl         – Path of prosperity

kAmatthu pAl – Path of love


The first chapter is an invocation for the whole work. But the work still remains totally secular in approach. Even in this invocation the poet has not referred to a God of any religion. The poet himself is claimed variously to be a Hindu, a Jain or a Buddhist.


In this series of write-ups, it is proposed to discuss some of the kurals (couplets), not necessarily in any order.


Let us now go straight to the 9th kural: (Next Page)


Thirukkural – 9



koLil poriyil guNamilavE – eNguNatthAn

thALai vanangA thalai


koLil poriyil guNamilavE : Non-functional sensory organs do not serve their purpose and hence useless.

eNguNathhAn – God (with eight attributes)

thALai vanangA thalai – the head that does not bow to God’s feet (is also as useless as above)


Here God is referred as eNguNathhan, of eight attributes. This being the 9th kural it is possible that the poet refers to the God, whom he has already described in his earlier eight couplets. Let us see them:


  1. mudhatrE ulagu                      – Prime mover of this world
  2. vAlarivan                                – Abode of pure and full knowledge
  3. malar misai EkinAn                 – Residing in our heart (of lotus)
  4. vEnduthal vEndAmai IlAn    – devoid of likes and dislikes
  5. iruvinaiyum sErA iraivan        – The leader devoid of the duality of ignorance
  6. aindhu avitthAn                      – Who has vanquished all the five senses
  7. Thanakku uvamai IllAthAn    – Peerless, incomparable
  8. aravAzhi andhaNan                – riding the sea of virtue and dharma


The sage poet Thiruvalluvar has described the God, only as a personification of the above eight attributes in this invocation chapter.


Sightless eye, soundless ears, nose lacking smell, mouth lacking taste and body lacking sense of touch are useless. Same way the head (i.e., the mind and the knowledge it has acquired through the above sensory organs) will be of no avail unless it bows modestly to God.


Another kuraL next time.




One Response to “ThirukkuraL”

  1. Yagendhren Govender Says:

    kâDàvuL vaaZHthu is in praise of Lord sivà. yeNguNàm refers to His 8 Special Nature, of which, the Primary is Omniscience, hence the use of vaalâRivàn; as taught via the thirumândhiràm and Sanskrit sivaagàmaas.

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