Thiru Valluvar

The Thiru Kural Code is a guided exploration of the seminal work of Thiru Valluvar. Thiru Valluvar lived more than some 2000 years ago in India. He was a weaver by trade and gave the world a collection of 1330 Kurals or verses in the poetic Venpa metre. Over time these have come to be known as Holy Verses or Thiru Kural.

In fact Thiru Kural is a text on political science that speaks to every sector of society, in terms of their status in life. First he addresses the individual, then he speaks to the family, then he speaks to the priesthood, before finally answering the question of how it is that some are individuals, some are members of families and some are of the priesthood. This is all in Book 1.

In Book 2, he speaks to the monarchy and the royal court, before addressing the government and its officers, whom are followed in address by the political or rather diplomatic classes themselves, while he finishes book 2 with a general address to those not in power directly, advising them on how they can be more influential.

Thiru Valluvar seems to depart from the approach in Book 1 and Book 2, because in Book 3 he speaks to the princes and princesses of the contending kingdoms by dealing with the reality of their loves and marriages being used for diplomatic and political purposes. However the general interpretation of Book 3 is that it is a treatise on diplomacy itself, describing the ritualistic dance between opposing diplomatic forces.

The Thiru Kural Code was devised using the Socratic method of the dialectic, insofar as it interprets Thiru Kural as only one side of the argument. That is that Thiru Valluvar is responding to something with his first Kural, which is answered by an opponent, leading to Thiru Valluvar responding with his second Kural, and so on.

An example of this would be as follows:

Opponent: I am the greatest sage of our time, you must follow my teachings.

Thiru Valluvar: ‘A’ leads letters; the Ancient Lord; Leads and lords the entire world. 1

Opponent: I have studied all of the great literature and am familiar with all of the great teachings.

Thiru Valluvar: That lore is vain which does not fall; At His good feet who knoweth all. 2

Opponent: I have been taught by the masters, my teachers are impeccable.

Thiru Valluvar: Long they live on earth who gain; The feet of God in florid brain. 3

Opponent: You must have a guru, a sage, a master, a teacher to know God.

Thiru Valluvar: Who hold His feet who likes nor loathes; Are free from woes of human births. 4

Opponent: No, come now, ordinary people cannot have a direct relationship with God.

Thiru Valluvar: God’s praise who tell, are free from right; And wrong, the twins of dreaming night. 5

Opponent: It is only through studying with me and my teachings that you can conceive of God.

Thiru Valluvar: They prosper long who walk His way; Who has the senses signed away. 6

Opponent: You cannot be serious, complete ascetism is a myth, we are imperfect people.

Thiru Valluvar: His feet, whose likeness none can find; Alone can ease the anxious mind. 7

Opponent: You are being silly, our way knows what God is and what God is not.

Thiru Valluvar: Who swims the sea of vice is he; Who clasps the feet of Virtue’s sea. 8

Opponent: How dare you? I have credentials that are beyond reproach, I have studied deeply.

Thiru Valluvar: Like senses stale that head is vain; Which bows not to Eight-Virtued Divine. 9

Opponent: You are most unreasonable, we know the path to salvation, we do not need you!

Thiru Valluvar: The sea of births they alone swim; Who clench His feet and cleave to Him. 10

From this Socratic Method, we have considered Thiru Kural to be a dialogue not unlike the latter day Socratic dialogues recorded by Plato. In this manner Thiru Kural is an ancient text in political studies that has relevance today as an opinion in Political Science of “HOW” the political sphere of life should be structured. Where Socrates in Plato’s Res Publica conceived of the state as a degeneration from Aristocracy to Timocracy to Oligarchy to Democracy and then to Tyranny; Thiru Valluvar creates the blueprint for how Socrate’s Philosopher King should conduct himself or Philosopher Queen should conduct herself, and sets out how the monarchy, which is rejected by Socrates, can in fact thrive, successfully, in such a manner that they never become corrupt or unpopular.

It is clear that Thiru Valluvar starts the discussion about “the kind of government we should have”, then Socrates, Plato and Aristotle respond by saying “well, what if the rulers do not heed Thiru Valluvar’s advice?”. This evolution of the political text is the modern science of politics.

In India, Thiru Valluvar is recognised as the foremost ancient political scientist. They even have constructed a calendar which has replaced the Gregorian calendar, to recognise the advent of Thiru Kural. Indeed it is impossible to attain, hold, use or be in power if you are in fact found to be in foul of Thiru Kural.

To solve this problem we have created the Thiru Kural Code, as a training program for politicians and political operators that requires them to read Thiru Kural in the Socractic method, and then to write for themselves a statement, of approximately 100 words, explaining for themselves each of Thiru Valluvar’s 1330 Thiru Kurals.

An example of this would be as follows:

‘A’ leads letters; the Ancient Lord; Leads and lords the entire world. 1

According to the alphabet “A” is the first letter, it leads the letters. In Greek it is called alpha, a word that has led to the name “alphabet” and to the terminology “alpha” meaning to lead or to dominate. In the same manner that you would start the process of reading, writing and counting with “A” so too do you start the consideration of the entire world (used in the sense of the existent universe) with the “Ancient Lord” whom created, whom leads and whom rules the entire world. To be clear “A” is the beginning of understanding, and the “Ancient Lord” is the beginning of existence.

As you can see, it is not difficult, and with greater study it is possible to even produce a statement of approximately 1330 words. This exercise is liberating and enabling, and we have found a remarkable improvement in the quality of politics as practiced as a result of this process. We invite you to join us on this journey, Nandri Vannakam.

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