14 Sep Mathematics in Tirukkural
The famous Tamil work Tirukkural written by Thiruvalluvar believed to have been written during the Sangam period of Tamil (500 to200 BCE) has been acknowledged as a great work akin to the Vedas, providing, like the Bhagavad Gita, guidance for a happy life here as well as hereafter.
Thiruvalluvar has a significant place in literature as he is the author of the great Thirukkural which is also called Ulaga Podhu Marai(universal veda) as Marai is an equivalent word of Vedha in Tamil.
It has been called as Tamil Marai (Tamil Veda), Poyyamozhi (Words that do not lie), and Daivanool (Divine text). The fact that it has been translated into different languages speaks volumes for its universal values and its catholicity of outlook.
It expounds in aphorisms in the form of Tamil couplets called venbas, and deals with aram, porul and inbam, that is, dharma or righteous way of life, wealth and happiness. It is interesting to note that aram or dharma comes first and then only wealth and then happiness, signifying thereby that wealth earned according to dharma alone can lead to happiness.
Like the Bhagavad Gita, it can be studied from various angles. In the present article, it is proposed to outline in brief how mathematics in the form of numbers, and those in the decimal system of numeration, have found a habitat in this work.
The very name of the author Thiruvalluvar in Tamil contains 7 letters. The sum of the numerical values represented by the letters in the name Tiruvalluvar is said to add to a total of 133 which is again 7 x 19.
The form of couplets in this work follows the venba pattern, that is, with seven metric or feet, with four in the first one and three in the second one.
The couplets has seven cirs(which is a single or combination of tamil word which may be seen from the title as Thirukural=Thiru+kural where Thiru is amalgamated with the word kural), with four in the first line and three in the second line .
It contains 133 chapters, which is a product of 7 and 19 and each chapter contains 10 couplets with a total of 1330 couplets. Again the number 1330 is equal to 7 x 19 x 10.Every chapter contains 7 x 10 metrical feet, and the entire work contains 9310 = 7 x 19 x 10 x 7 metric feet. Thus, the number 7 happens to be at the base of this work.
The whole 1330 is divided by 3 sections(which is called ‘muppal’ in tamil, which is called trvarga in Sanskrit) naming arathupaal (righteousness), porutpaal (wealth), kamathupaal (love). These are further divided into subdivisions called ‘Iyal’ in tamil and there are 7 iyals after Kadavul Valthu (for God).
Each Iyal is further subdivided into smaller divisions called ‘Adhikarangal’. Hence, there are 7 iyals, 133 Adhikarams and 10 couplets in each Adhikaram amounting to 1330 couplets. We can the significance of 7 his work, that is 133 being (1+3+3=7), 1330 being (1+3+3+0).
There are 40 couplets on God which is inclusive of nature like rain. Virtue and ascetics.
By Prachodayat Team