Woman’s Chastity: Valmiki & Manu verses in Tirukkural couplet (Post No.10,661)


Post No. 10,661

Date uploaded in London – –    15 FEBRUARY   2022         

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Tiruvalluvar in his work Tirukkural praises the virtue of Chastity,

Of what avail is watch and ward? A woman’s will

is the best safeguard of her honour (Kural 57)

Another translation of the same couplet,

Of what use are prison walls to protect a woman’s virtue ?

The woman’s possession of a firm mind is her best protection

–Tirukkural 57

Prison walls, pad-locks and chastity belts are absolutely of no use to ensure a woman’s chastity. Her own conscience and inner strength will alone keep her really pure.


Chastity was valued as a virtue even in Western countries!

Shakespeare says,

“My chastity is the jewel of our house bequeathed down from many ancestors” in his drama ‘All is well that ends well’, Act 4, Scene 2

DIANA says,

Mine honour’s such a ring:
My chastity’s the jewel of our house,
Bequeathed down from many ancestors;
Which were the greatest obloquy i’ the world
In me to lose. Thus your own proper wisdom
Brings in the champion honour on my part
Against your vain assault.

All is well that ends well, Act 4, Scene 2

It is strange that even in western countries, women’s chastity was a high virtue and women proclaimed it as an age-old virtue, followed by her ancestors; now western women may laugh at Diana.


In Valmiki Ramayana Yudha Kanda, this is what Rama says;

न गृहाणि न वस्त्राणि न प्राकारास्तिरस्क्रियाः |
नेदृशा राजसत्कारा वृत्तमावरणं स्त्रियः ||

Na Grahani Na Vastrani Na Prakaara Striraskriyah
NaDrisha RajSatkara Vrittam Avaranama Striyah


Neither house, nor clothes, nor compound-wall, nor doors,
nor any types of Royal honours cover a woman. Her character is her shield which protects her.

— Valmiki Ramayana, Yudha Kaanda, Ch114.


Manu, author of world’s first law book Manu Smrti (9-12) says,

Women are not guarded when they are confined in a house by men who can be trusted to do their jobs well; but women who guards themselves by themselves are well guarded -9/ 12 Manu Smrti


Kamban , who lived 1000 years ago, gave us the Ramayana in Tamil Verses. He also repeated what Tiruvalluvar said,

In the Sundara Kanda, Hanuman was searching for Sita Devi. First he suspects that she may be in Ravana’s harem or bed room. But when he found her in the Asoka Grove under a tree, guarded by demon women , he was happy to see her chastity is well guarded. He wondered what gave her this protection. Was it Janaka’s good deeds in the form of Punya? Or the eternal Dharma? or Chastity guard/ fence? Wonder! Wonder! Who can do this? Unique! Can anyone like me explain this? (Sundara Kanda)

In the Aranya Kandam,

Jatayu is worried that Sita is going to be in the prison of Ravana; but at the same time, he was happy thinking that her chastity will save her, protect her from any harm


தருமமே காத்ததோ ? சனகன் நல் வினைக்

கருமமே காத்ததோ? கற்பின் காவலோ ?

அருமையோ !அருமையே ! யார் இது ஆற்றுவார் ?

ஒருமையே, எம்மனோர்க்கு, உரைக்கற்பாலதோ ?

-சுந்தர காண்டம் , காட்சிப் படலம்


3560.  பரும் சிறை இன்னன பன்னி உன்னுவான்;

“அருஞ்சிறை உற்றனளாம் ” எனா மனம்

‘பொரும் சிறை அற்றதேல் பூவை கற்பு எனும்

இரும் சிறை இறாது ‘என இடரும் நீங்கினான்.

ஆரண்ய காண்டம் , சடாயு உயிர்நீத்த படலம்


tags- Chastity, Valmiki, Kamban, Tiru valuvar , Tiruk Kural, Manu, Shakespeare