Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Puranaanooru – 121

Hearing of a patron’s place, from all four
directions will come, the needy horde;
doling out generously is easier,
but to rank them is difficult; Mighty ruler!
since you know that best,
avoid ‘all are equal’ view, among poets!

ஒரு திசை ஒருவனை உள்ளி, நால் திசைப்
பலரும் வருவர், பரிசில் மாக்கள்;
வரிசை அறிதலோ அரிதே; பெரிதும்
ஈதல் எளிதே; மா வண் தோன்றல்!
அது நற்கு அறிந்தனைஆயின்,
பொது நோக்கு ஒழிமதி, புலவர் மாட்டே!

Another poem from Kapilar. He goes to the court of Malayaman Thirumudik Kari, a small ruler. Kari treats Kapilar as yet another poet who has come to court in search of gifts. Kapilar is offended. So he tells Kari, it is easy for one to be philanthropic and dole out gifts. But it is difficult to rank people who crowd the benefactor. So don’t treat all poets as same, some are superior to others.

You can call this elitism in Sangam era 🙂

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