Beacon Press: The Kural
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The Kural

Tiruvalluvar's Tirukkural

Translator: Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma   Foreword bys: Andrew Harvey, Archana Venkatesan

A new translation of the classical Tamil masterpiece on ethics, power, and friendship, bringing Tiruvalluvar’s poetry and philosophy to a new generation seeking practical wisdom and spiritual sustenance

Drawing on the poetic tradition of W. S. Merwin, Wendell Berry, and William Carlos Williams, and nurtured by 2 decades of study under Tamil scholar Dr. K. V. Ramakoti, this new translation of the Kural by Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma brings English readers closer than ever to the brilliant inner and outer music of Tiruvalluvar’s work and ideas.

Tiruvalluvar’s Tirukkural is a masterwork of poetry and practical philosophy. On par with other world classics such as the Tao Te Ching, the Kural is a compendium of 1,330 short philosophical verses, or kurals, that together cover a wide range of personal and cosmic experience, such as—

Harsh rule that brings idiots together—nothing
Burdens the earth more

The life that cherishes strangers each day
Never falls upon ruin

Friendship is not a face smiling—friendship
Is a heart that smiles

Those who won’t give and enjoy—even with billions
They have nothing

Accompanying the translation is a foreword by the founder of the Institute for Sacred Activism, Andrew Harvey; an introduction by the translator and scholar Archana Venkatesan; and a “Commentary of Notes,” in which Pruiksma elucidates key words and shares insights from important Tamil commentaries.

Rich with indelible wordplay, learning, and heart, Pruiksma’s translation transforms the barrier of language into a bridge, bringing the fullness of Tiruvalluvar’s poetic intensity to a new generation.
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"To translate even a single kural couplet, bewitching in its rhythm and packed with meaning, is a formidable task. But we now have Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma’s translation, without doubt the best ever into English."
—David Shulman, The New York Review of Books

“An intriguing new translation of this magnum opus.”
Kajal Magazine

“In the astonishingly fresh and vibrant translations that adorn this book, Tiruvalluvar’s voice can now reach the universal audience that so deeply needs its universal wisdom.”
—Andrew Harvey, from the Foreword

“This translation provides a refreshing remembrance and illustration (without the usual reprimands and dire warnings) of how to be a good steward of the planet and what it means to live a good life—a much-needed map of astonishingly humane guidance and care.”
—Aimee Nezhukumatathil, author of World of Wonders

“[An] exquisite translation . . . To live as the wise Ku?a? advises us to—in a state of chronic, cultivated empathy and in service of others—is indeed to live right and to live well.”
—Archana Venkatesan, from the Introduction

Foreword by Andrew Harvey

Introduction by Archana Venkatesan

A Translator’s Preface to Tiruvalluvar’s Tirukkural



1. In Praise of God
2. The Glory of Rain
3. The Greatness of Letting Go
4. The Imperative of Right Action


5. The Home Life
6. In Praise of One’s Life Companion
7. Having Children
8. Having Love
9. Hospitality
10. Sweet Speech
11. Gratitude
12. Fairness
13. Self-Control
14. The Possession of Conduct
15. Fidelity
16. Forbearance
17. Freedom from Envy
18. Freedom from Greed
19. Freedom from Backbiting
20. Freedom from Fruitless Speech
21. Fear of Wrongdoing
22. Knowing What Is Fitting
23. Giving
24. Renown


25. Compassion
26. Refusing Meat
27. Tavam
28. Unworthy Conduct
29. Freedom from Stealing
30. Truth
31. Freedom from Anger
32. Doing No Harm
33. Freedom from Killing
34. Impermanence
35. Renunciation
36. Knowing What Is Real
37. Severing from Desire


38. Fate



39. The Splendor of Kings
40. Learning
41. Lack of Learning
42. Listening
43. The Possession of Knowledge
44. Elimination of Faults
45. Gaining the Help of the Great
46. Freedom from Smallness
47. Clarity Before Action
48. Knowing Strength
49. Knowing Time
50. Knowing Place
51. Knowing and Trusting
52. Knowing and Engaging
53. Kindness to Kindred
54. Absence of Mind
55. Good Rule
56. Harsh Rule
57. Striking No Fear
58. Eyes That Are Moved
59. Espionage
60. Having Energy
61. Freedom from Sloth
62. Mastery of Action
63. Not Being Defeated by Adversity


64. Ministers
65. Strength in Speech
66. Purity of Action
67. Firmness of Action
68. Ways of Action
69. Diplomacy
70. Moving with Kings
71. Reading Faces
72. Knowing an Audience
73. Not Fearing an Audience
74. Country
75. Fortresses
76. The Making of Wealth
77. The Splendor of Armies
78. The Valor of Warriors
79. Friendship
80. Examined Friendship
81. Long Friendship
82. Harmful Friendship
83. False Friendship
84. Folly
85. Presumption
86. Discord
87. Splendor for Enemies
88. Knowing an Enemy
89. Enemies Within
90. Not Scorning the Great
91. Yielding to Wives
92. Limitless Women
93. Not Drinking
94. Dice
95. Medicine


96. Lineage
97. Honor
98. Greatness
99. Integrity
100. Having Kindness
101. Fruitless Wealth
102. Having Modesty
103. Serving Family
104. Farming
105. Want
106. Begging
107. Dread of Begging
108. Wickedness



109. Allure
110. Knowing Signs
111. The Joys of Joining
112. In Praise of Her
113. In Praise of Love
114. Down with Decorum
115. Talk


116. Unbearable Absence
117. Pining Away
118. The Longings of Eyes
119. Pallor
120. The Anguish of Solitude
121. The Longing of Memory
122. Talk of Dreams
123. The Misery of Evening
124. The Drooping of Limbs
125. To Her Heart
126. Loss of Restraint
127. Longing to Reunite
128. Making Signs Known
129. Longing for Union
130. At Odds with One’s Heart
131. Sulking
132. Sulking’s Subtleties
133. Sulking and Bliss

A Commentary of Notes


The Kural

ISBN: 978-080700361-9
Publication Date: 1/11/2022
Size:5.5 x 8.5 Inches (US)
Price:  $24.95
Format: Cloth
Availability: In stock.