by Tiruvalluvar

English version by P. S. Sundaram
Original Language Tamil

Truthfulness may be described as utterance
Wholly devoid of ill.

Even a lie is truthful
If it does unsullied good.

Lie not against your conscience
Lest it burn you.

Not false to one's own conscience one will reign
In all the world's consciousness.

Truthfulness in thought and word
Outweighs penance and charity.

Nothing can equal truthfulness
In getting fame and other virtues.

To be unfailingly true
Is to be unfailing in other virtues.

Water ensures external purity
And truthfulness shows the internal.

All lights are not lights: to the wise
The only light is truth.

In all the gospels we have read we have found
Nothing held higher than truthfulness.

-- 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