Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Thevaram 6.98.1

We aren’t citizens to anyone; we do not fear Death;
We will not suffer in hell; there’s no falsity in us;
We’re blissful;  we do not wallow in sickness; Will not bow down;
Every day’s a pleasure, there’s no agony.

நாமார்க்கும் குடியல்லோம்; நமனை அஞ்சோம்;
நரகத்தில் இடர்ப்படோம்; நடலை இல்லோம்;
ஏமாப்போம்; பிணி அறியோம், பணிவோம் அல்லோம்;
இன்பமே எந்நாளும், துன்பமில்லை.

This is a famous poem of 7th Century Saivite saint Thirunavukkarasar (Appar). He was at the forefront of Saivite revival movement in Tamilnadu. The Pallava King, who was a Jain at that time, was angry with him and sent soldiers to bring him to the Royal court. This poem was Thirunavukkarasar’s famous retort. I have translated only the first two lines. These two lines are quoted often in Tamilnadu by anyone opposing authoritarianism of the State. Two more lines complete the poem.

We are not citizens bound to any king but Shiva. So we don’t fear the god of death. Even if we go to hell we will not suffer. We speak only the truth, so aren’t afraid. We are blissful. We don’t wallow in sickness. We will not bow down in front of your King. Our life is always a joy, there is no agony in it”

I am not well versed in religious scriptures. I go by the commentaries. If there is any mistake, do point out.

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