Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Kambaramayanam – 4182

அரசியல் பாரம் பூரித்து, அயர்ந்தனை இகழாது, ஐயன்
மரை மலர்ப் பாதம் நீங்கா வாழுதி; மன்னர் என்பார்
எரி எனற்கு உரியர் என்றே எண்ணுதி; எண்ணம் யாவும்
புரிதி; சிற்றடிமை குற்றம் பொறுப்பர் என்று எண்ண வேண்டா.

Don’t get powerdrunk and mock others foolishly,
but live without leaving the Lord’s lotus feet;
Think that a Ruler is like a bright flame and act so;
Don’t think that subjects will bear with your faults.

In Kamba Ramayanam, the monkey kings and brothers, Vali and Sugreeva fight each other. Rama, who is on Sugreeva’s side, hides behind a tree and shoots an arrow to kill Vali. Vali, in his death bed, accuses Rama of unethical warfare. Rama explains to him why he had to do so and says that Vali brought it upon himself with his acts against Sugreeva. Vali sees the light and accepts his fate. This poem is his advice to his brother Sugreeva before dying.

“Now that you have power don’t let it get to your head and mock others foolishly. Hold on to Lord Rama’s feet and live as per his advice. A ruler is like a flame. He should provide warmth to his subjects but must not singe them. Don’t think your subjects will bear with whatever you do” . Sound advice to everyone who wins an election.

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