There has been a debate on the religion of Thiruvalluvar and his origin in the country. The religion to which he belonged has always been a subject of debate among scholars.
- He is a Tamil poet-saint known as the author of the Tirukkural (“Sacred Couplets”) , considered a masterpiece of human thought, compared in India and abroad to the Bible, John Milton’s Paradise Lost, and the works of Plato.
- He is believed to have lived in Mylapore (now part of Chennai [formerly Madras], Tamil Nadu, India) with his wife, Vasuki.
- He was probably a Jain ascetic of humble origins who worked as a weaver. Both Buddhists and Shaivites, however, claim him as their own, and he is especially revered by those of low caste.
- Dravidian groups count him as a saint with no religious identifiers except his Dravidian roots.
- He is regarded as a cultural and moral icon for Tamils across caste and religious lines. The period when he lived is debated, as is his religious identity. Some place him in the third or fourth century; others put him in the eighth or ninth.
- Thiruvalluvar is fondly referred to as Valluvar by Tamils. His ‘Tirukkural’(a collection of couplets on ethics, political and economical matters, and love), a collection of 1,330 couplets (‘kurals’ in Tamil), are an essential part of every Tamil household — in the same way as, say, the Bhagavad Gita or the Ramayana are in traditional North Indian Hindu household