Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Kundalakesi – 18

What’s to wither will wither; what’s to bloom will bloom;
what’s to be gained will be gained; what’s to be lost will be lost;
those who realise this will neither brood nor rejoice;
the maxim what’s to happen will happen is true.

மறிப மறியும் மலிர்ப மலிரும்
பெறுப பெறும் பெற்று இழப்ப இழக்கும்
அறிவது அறிவார் அழுங்கார் உவவார்
உறுவது உறும்என்று உரைப்பது நன்று.

The above poem is from Kundalakesi, the buddhist epic. It encapsulates the Buddhist philosophy of Karma. All that happens is destined to happen based on one’s Karma in previous birth. The Tamil poem is highly concise and precise. It’s difficult to bring that brevity in the translation. I have tried my best.

“If some thing has to die it will die. All your efforts cannot save it. Similarly if something is to grow, it will grow despite hardships. If one is destined to get something, he will get it. All the world can’t stop it. Similarly if one has to lose what he has he will lose it. Wise men who realise this will not grieve when they lose something nor rejoice when they get something. The worldly saying that what is destined to happen will happen is completely true”

Kundalakesi is one of the five great epics of Tamil literature. Three of these are Jainism based (Seevaka Sinthamani, Silappathikaaram, Valayaapathi) and two are Buddishm based (Manimekalai and Kundalakesi). Kundalakesi is estimated to have been written before 5th Century AD. Only 19 of the 99 verses of Kundalakesi are available today.

மறிதல் – diminish / destroyed
மலிர்தல் – grow
பெறுதல் – get
இழத்தல் – lose
அறிதல் – know
அழுங்குதல் – worry
உவத்தல் – be happy
உறு – to happen


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2 thoughts on “Kundalakesi – 18

  1. Pingback: Kundalakesi – 18 – Nomadic wanderer

  2. How can you narrate a kavya even in 99 verses?


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