Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Puranaanooru – 189

For one who rules this ocean bound world
unrivaled under his royal standard,
and the illiterate, who tracks wild game
day and night without a moment’s sleep,
serving size is one, clothes are but two;
everything else is equal too;
purpose of wealth is to share;
if savored alone, much is lost.

தெண் கடல் வளாகம் பொதுமை இன்றி
வெண் குடை நிழற்றிய ஒருமையோர்க்கும்,
நடு நாள் யாமத்தும் பகலும் துஞ்சான்
கடு மாப் பார்க்கும் கல்லா ஒருவற்கும்,
உண்பது நாழி; உடுப்பவை இரண்டே;
பிறவும் எல்லாம் ஓர் ஒக்குமே;
செல்வத்துப் பயனே ஈதல்;
துய்ப்பேம் எனினே, தப்புந பலவே.

This poem is written by Nakkeeeranar, son of Madurai Kanakkayanaar (மதுரை கணக்காயணார் மகன் நக்கீரனார்). White Parasol (umbrella) was one of the royal attributes of an emperor. I have taken the liberty to change it to Royal standard as it is easier to understand in English.

Whether one is an emperor of this world or an illiterate hunter, they are awake at all times in search of wealth. Their needs too are same – they can eat only one portion of food and wear only two pieces of clothes. All their activities (eating, sleeping, procreation) in life are similar too.

So when one has more than what he needs, he has to share it with the world. That is the purpose of wealth. Instead if one hoards wealth and savors it alone, he loses his good karma and the joy of being just.


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