Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Purananooru – 134

Āy is not a trader in virtue who thinks
‘Generosity in this life for bliss in next’;
Virtue of wise men who preceded him
guides his benevolence.

இம்மைச் செய்தது மறுமைக்கு ஆம்’ எனும்
அற விலை வணிகன் ஆஅய் அல்லன்;
பிறரும் சான்றோர் சென்ற நெறி என,
ஆங்குப் பட்டன்று, அவன் கைவண்மையே.

Āy (ஆய்)is one of the 7 generous kings praised in Sangam literature. I like this poem for the phrase ‘trader in virtue’ (அற விலை வணிகன்). If you do a good deed expecting some good karma points in afterlife, you are just a trader in virtue. An act of generosity ceases to be if it is in exchange of something else.

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