551 - Than one who plies the murderer's trade, more cruel is the king
Who all injustice works, his subjects harassing.

The king who gives himself up to oppression and acts unjustly (towards his subjects) is more cruel than the man who leads the life of a murderer.

552 - As 'Give' the robber cries with lance uplift,
So kings with sceptred hand implore a gift.

The request (for money) of him who holds the sceptre is like the word of a highway robber who stands with a weapon in hand and says "give up your wealth".

553 - Who makes no daily search for wrongs, nor justly rules, that king
Doth day by day his realm to ruin bring.

The country of the king who does not daily examine into the wrongs done and distribute justice, will daily fall to ruin.

554 - Whose rod from right deflects, who counsel doth refuse,
At once his wealth and people utterly shall lose.

The king, who, without reflecting (on its evil consequences), perverts justice, will lose at once both his wealth and his subjects.

555 - His people's tears of sorrow past endurance, are not they
Sharp instruments to wear the monarch's wealth away?

Will not the tears, shed by a people who cannot endure the oppression which they suffer (from their king), become a saw to waste away his wealth ?

556 - To rulers' rule stability is sceptre right;
When this is not, quenched is the rulers' light.

Righteous government gives permanence to (the fame of) kings; without that their fame will have no endurance.

557 - As lack of rain to thirsty lands beneath,
Is lack of grace in kings to all that breathe.

As is the world without rain, so live a people whose king is without kindness.

558 - To poverty it adds a sharper sting,
To live beneath the sway of unjust king.

Property gives more sorrow than poverty, to those who live under the sceptre of a king without justice.

559 - Where king from right deflecting, makes unrighteous gain,
The seasons change, the clouds pour down no rain.

If the king acts contrary to justice, rain will become unseasonable, and the heavens will withhold their showers.

560 - Where guardian guardeth not, udder of kine grows dry,
And Brahmans' sacred lore will all forgotten lie.

If the guardian (of the country) neglects to guard it, the produce of the cows will fail, and the men of six duties viz., the Brahmins will forget the vedas.

Previous Chapter       Next Chapter  


[Thirukural in English] [Thirukural in Tamil] [Thirukural in Details]


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).