401 - Like those at draughts would play without the chequered square,
Men void of ample lore would counsels of the learned share.

To speak in an assembly (of the learned) without fullness of knowledge, is like playing at chess (on a board) without squares.

402 - Like those who doat on hoyden's undeveloped charms are they,
Of learning void, who eagerly their power of words display.

The desire of the unlearned to speak (in an assembly), is like a woman without breasts desiring (the enjoyment of ) woman-hood.

403 - The blockheads, too, may men of worth appear,
If they can keep from speaking where the learned hear!

The unlearned also are very excellent men, if they know how to keep silence before the learned.

404 - From blockheads' lips, when words of wisdom glibly flow,
The wise receive them not, though good they seem to show.

Although the natural knowledge of an unlearned man may be very good, the wise will not accept for true knowledge.

405 - As worthless shows the worth of man unlearned,
When council meets, by words he speaks discerned.

The self-conceit of an unlearned man will fade away, as soon as he speaks in an assembly (of the learned).

406 - 'They are': so much is true of men untaught;
But, like a barren field, they yield us nought!

The unlearned are like worthless barren land: all that can be said of them is, that they exist.

407 - Who lack the power of subtle, large, and penetrating sense,
Like puppet, decked with ornaments of clay, their beauty's vain pretence.

The beauty and goodness of one who is destitute of knowledge by the study of great and exquisite works, is like (the beauty and goodness) of a painted earthen doll.

408 - To men unlearned, from fortune's favour greater-evil springs
Than poverty to men of goodly wisdom brings.

Wealth, gained by the unlearned, will give more sorrow than the poverty which may come upon the learned.

409 - Lower are men unlearned, though noble be their race,
Than low-born men adorned with learning's grace.

The unlearned, though born in a high caste, are not equal in dignity to the learned; though they may have been born in a low caste.

410 - Learning's irradiating grace who gain,
Others excel, as men the bestial train.

As beasts by the side of men, so are other men by the side of those who are learned in celebrated works.

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Courtesy: We have used Thirukural Tamil interpretations by Dr. M. Karunanithi. The Englist translation was used from the book: TIRUKKURAL with translations in English by Rev Dr G U Pope, Rev W H Drew, Rev John Lazarus and Mr F W Ellis Published by The South India Saiva Siddhantha Works Publishing Society, Tinnevelly, Limited. India (1982).