Thirukkural – 601

Old Tamil Poetry

Lustrous lamp of one’s clan will dim and peter out,
if grime of laziness creeps in.

குடி என்னும் குன்றா விளக்கம், மடி என்னும்
மாசு ஊர, மாய்ந்து கெடும்.

Though one might have been born in a fabled clan, if he becomes lazy the brightness of his clan dignity will dim and peter out.

குன்றா விளக்கம் – is taken as long burning lamp without a wick by Parimel Alagar in his commentary. Devaneya Paavaanar interprets it as ‘light provided by rare gems’. His reasoning is that grime creeping on gem will dim and put out the light. I have gone with Devaneya Paavaanar’s interpretation.

குடி – Clan
மடி – Laziness
மாசு – grime / dust
ஊர்தல் – creep in
மாய்ந்து – dim / become lustreless
கெடும் – extinguished / destroyed

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