by Tiruvalluvar

English version by P. S. Sundaram
Original Language Tamil

Can love be latched and hidden? A trickling tear
Will proclaim it loud.

The loveless grasp all; while the loving
With their very bones help others.

The soul, it is said, is enclosed in bones
That human love may be.

From love, devotion comes; and from that unsought
Priceless enlightenment.

Bliss hereafter is the fruit, they say,
Of a loving life here.

"Love helps only virtue," say the fools:
But it also cures vice.

As boneless worms wither in the sun, so too
The loveless in a just world.

A loveless life is a withered tree that would fain
Sprout in a desert.

What good are outward features if they lack
Love, the inward sense?

Love's way is life; without it humans are
But bones skin-clad.

-- from The Kural (Penguin Classics), by Tiruvalluvar / Translated by P. S. Sundaram

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Recommended Books: Tiruvalluvar

The Kural (Penguin Classics) Weaver's wisdom: Ancient precepts for a perfect life: an American English translation of Saint Tiruvalluvar's ancient Tirukural