Weaver’s Wisdom

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imageTiruvalluvar, the poet-saint, or rather the saint-poet, lived in the hamlet now called Chennai about 2,000 years ago. Tirukural, his work, is a book for universal acceptance, ulakappodumarai. The very first votive offering is unto the Omnipotent, “Adi Bhagvan mudatre ulagu,” and reflects the very words found in the Ishavasya Upanishad, “Ishavasyam-Idam Sarvam.” ¶The aphorisms (couplets) are full of practical wisdom touching on all aspects of an ideal life. Though there have been several English translations, the present one is excellent in that the verses are lucid and in simple style. Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, of international renown, has done a monumental service in having Tirukural translated in English so that this work of wisdom from the Weaver reaches a very large number of aspirants.§

His Holiness Jagadguru Sri Sankaracharya Swami Jayendra Saraswathi, Spiritual Head of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam; Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, India§

imageWeaver’s Wisdom is not a mere book to gain wisdom but a means for knowing Truth. Such an authoritative source of knowledge has been crowned by the holy hands of His Divinity, Sivaya Subramuniyaswamigal, whose continuous, untiring dedicated service will become the canon to destroy the forts of ignorance. His devoted, undiluted work for twenty years to complete this Herculean task in a flawless manner reflects his adoration and faith in Sri Tiruvalluvar and Tirukural. I have studied many commentaries on Tirukural in Tamil, but I felt the spirit was missing in all of them. But in this unique book, the life, spirit and meaning are well preserved. It will enlighten millions of people to gain the wisdom herein and lead a meaningful life. I am sure this book is bound to correct the cankered mind of the youth and show them the path of reclamation. The pictorial representations in the book will help the children and youth to understand easily the valuable message of this ancient great epic. Hail Hinduism! Om Tat Sat.§

His Holiness Sri Sri Swami Buaji Maharaj, Centenarian, Founder and Head of Indo-American Yoga-Vedanta Society; New York, USA§

imageI am amazed at the depth and clarity of this American English translation of the Tirukural. This work, which has been undertaken by two sannyasins with great love and devotion under the guidance of Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, makes the words of wisdom of the Tamil Sage Tiruvalluvar relating to many aspects of human activity as relevant to the modern world of today as they were 2,200 years ago.§

Shiva Pasupati, President’s Counsel; Former Attorney General of Sri Lanka; President, Australian Tamil Foundation; Strathfield, Australia§

imageThe translation of this great classic has been done to honor Satguru Siva Yogaswami of Sri Lanka, the Self-realized mystic of the highest order and spiritual beacon light who preached universal love: every country is your country and every person your kinsman, seek God within and see God in everyone and everywhere. ¶The introductory chapters and comments by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami give luster to the translations. The watercolor paintings appearing with each chapter give the cultural background for those not familiar with Hindu culture. This book should adorn the libraries of the world and find a place in every home. It is a happy significance that the book is being published at the time of the installation of the 133-foot-tall Tiruvalluvar granite statue at Kanya Kumari in South India to proclaim India’s cultural contributions to the world.§

Tiru M. Arumugam, President, Sivathondan Society UK; London, England§

imageNow, the 2,200-year-old Kural, ever youthful, attiring itself in popular American English, presents itself as Weaver’s Wisdom. We see the genesis of this project in the ever-fulfilling sankalpa—will—of our venerated Satguru Sivayoga Swamigal. We sense the universal transmission of our Satguru Yogaswami’s grace through Gurudeva Sivaya Subramaniyaswami’s dedicated service. Eppavo Mudintha Kerrym—Accomplished is His will. ¶On translating ancient texts, Dr Ananda Commaraswamy says, “A man is only qualified to translate an ancient text when he has really participated in, and not merely observed, the outer and inner life of its time and identified this time with his own. All this evidently requires a far longer, more roundabout and self-denying discipline.” This criterion is met here by the translator of Weaver’s Wisdom, whose life has been molded by the religious, ethical and social codes as enunciated in the Kural. Sage Tiruvalluvar’s Kural, rendered in rhythmic couplets in sweet and simple Tamil, translated in Weavers Wisdom has retained its power to transform one’s psyche. May the wisdom of the Kural remain with us forever as our guide and counselor.§

Vimala Krishnapillai, Ph.D., Lecturer, Faculty of Education, University of Colombo; President of Sri Ramakrishna Sarada Devi Samithi; Joint Trustee of the Sivayogar Swami Thiruvadi Trust; Colombo, Sri Lanka§

imageThere are a great number of problems, economic, political and social, standing in the way of a ruler. Solutions and guidance for such problems can be found in Kuralism, the maxims of Tirukural.§

Indira Gandhi, Former Prime Minister of India, on Tirukural§


imageThe divine poet through his gift of Tirukural gives maxims to serve as guidance for all classes, sections, denominations, etc., in the world. Tirukural couplets have the added significance of providing invaluable advice for all times, as it takes into consideration the wider aspects, with necessary changes, of human nature beyond national, religious and linguistic boundaries. Tirukural gives added value because the author, Tiruvalluvar, had the rare distinction of having lived the ideal life as portrayed in his immortal work. Tirukural shows a way of life applicable to all sections of society, from kings and nobles down to the common man. This teaching echoes the sentiments expressed in many other religious texts, such as Tirumantiram, Naladiyar, Saiva Tirumuraigal of the Nayanars and Vaishnava Prapanthams of the Alwars. ¶Good conduct with abiding moral values and sincere brotherhood are the centerpieces of Tiruvalluvar’s teachings. Kindness to fellow human beings, full sense of humanity and human values will ensure a better world, according to the tenets of Tirukural. In a world full of turmoil, the Tirukural stands as a beacon to a peaceful way of life, and this coupled with the daily recitation of the Panchakshara Mantra, “Namasivaya,” found at the heart of the Vedas, will ensure peace and well being.§

Dr. T.S. Sambamurthy Sivachariar, Head of the South India Archaka Sangam; Head Priest, Shree Kalikambal Kovil; Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India§

imageThe Tirukural was very dear to Satguru Siva Yogaswami of Jaffna. Under his holy feet I have been brought up as one of his devotees from my early age of eight years. Whenever I visited, he spoke to me, directed and blessed me always through the sacred Kural. In 1949, Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami made a vow to bring together the best of both the East and the West. In 1999, with his latest book, Weaver’s Wisdom, he has successfully brought this to the West. Referring to the statue of Saint Tiruvalluvar at Kanya Kumari, Subramuniyaswami states, “While America’s Statue of Liberty is a metal monument to political freedom and social promise, Tiruvalluvar stands as a stone statement of political wisdom, social duty and the spiritual promise of dharma.” ¶We should not confine Tiruvalluvar only to Tamil Nadu. He belongs to the world. Weaver’s Wisdom is beyond race, religion and nationality. It will enrich the life of a person as he or she journeys along this Eternal Path. The wisdom of the weaver is a vital part of our lives, and it will pave the way for success in life.§

Tiru A. Kandiah, Ph.D.; Author of Malarum Manamum; Former Head, Department of Tamil, University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka; Former Professor, University of London; Sydney, Australia§