Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Inna Narpathu – 33

Acting on a drunkard’s word causes grief;
Walking in a thorny forest causes much grief;
Killing flood borne cattle causes grief;
Similarly grievous, is friendship of the devious.

கள் உண்பான் கூறும் கருமப் பொருள் இன்னா;
முள்ளுடைக் காட்டில் நடத்தல் நனி இன்னா;
வெள்ளம் படு மாக் கொலை இன்னா; ஆங்கு இன்னா,
கள்ள மனத்தார் தொடர்பு.

Inna Narpathu (இன்னா நாற்பது) – is a collection of 40 poems about what causes grief (இன்னா) and what should be avoided. This is a ‘post Sangam’ or  ‘didactic period’ work, generally dated between 100-500 CE. These poems were written by Kapilar, different from Kapilar of Sangam era. These poems are simple and talk directly.

Killing cattle is allowed when needed. But killing cattle that is carried away by floods and struggling to climb up the banks is an offense that causes much grief.

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