Tirukural.Chapter 19: Avoidance of Backbiting

Kural 181

Silent about virtue and swift to act wrongly,
one who does not slander others may still be called good.

Kural 182

More vile than violating virtue and committing crime
is slandering a man, then smiling to his face.

Kural 183

Virtue declares that dying, not living, will bring
better rewards to deceiving backbiters.

Kural 184

Though you speak unkind words to a man’s face,
do not talk behind his back heedless of consequent harm.

Kural 185

Though his every word is full of kindly virtue,
a man’s mean backbiting will betray an empty heart.

Kural 186

If a man spreads tales of others’ faults,
his own worst faults will be exposed and spread.

Kural 187

Not knowing the companionable art of cheerful conversation,
men estrange even friends by divisive discourse.

Kural 188

If men are disposed to spread the faults of friends,
what deadly harm might they do to strangers?

Kural 189

Only because she weighs duty well does Earth bear the weight
of those who wait for a man’s departure to defame him.

Kural 190

If men perceived their own faults as they do the faults of others,
could misfortune ever come to them?

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