When Kural was written, the monastic rife was common in South India.
Tiru-Valluvar does not oppose it, but brings out the essence of the virtue in such life in
a rational manner. Penance really consists in the fortitude with which the pain that falls
to one's lot is borne and in the avoidance of causing pain to sentient beings. This is the
substance of penance, nothing else.
All notions of supernatural benefits arising out of self-inflicted pain
are discounted herein quietly, and a rational and catholic doctrine of patiently suffering
what ever pain falls to one's lot is indicated. Blessed is he who is qualified for
penance.To those who undertake penance in the form of self-inflicted pain without being
truly qualified, penance is mere profitless ravail.