Could you put a wealth of knowledge in a verse of minimal words? If your answer is positive, how many words would you suggest? And how many verses could one compose? A dozen or two? Or a hundred or two?
The Tamil saint-poet Thiruvalluvar who lived about two thousand years ago had composed one thousand three hundred and thirty short verses, each verse containing seven to ten words, but brimming with profound wisdom. The European priests who learnt Tamil for the purpose of communication with the native people with the sole aim of spreading their religion were astonished by the immense wealth of knowledge imparted by these verses with minimal words. The collection of verses was aptly named “Thirukkural”, meaning sacred short verses with minimal words.
Here are a few samples – the translation is mine. I have tried to bring forth the original idea using minimal words :-
- As ‘a’ is the first letter of the alphabet, so is God the beginning of this universe.
2. What is the use of education if one does not worship God?
3. It is difficult to be free of worry if one does not surrender at the feet of the one
who has no equal (God).
4. A man who has an unblemished record of life in this world would be elevated to
be an angel in the Heaven.
5. The duty of the father is to make his son sit in the society of learned men.
6. A timely help is more precious than the world itself.