Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Kurunthokai – 75

Did you see yourself? Or heard from those who saw?
from whom did you hear of my lord’s arrival?
I’d like to know for sure; please tell me!
You’ll receive the golden city of Patali
where elephants with white tusks play in river Son.

நீ கண்டனையோ? கண்டார்க் கேட்டனையோ?-
ஒன்று தெளிய நசையினம்; மொழிமோ!
வெண் கோட்டு யானை சோணை படியும்
பொன் மலி பாடலி பெறீஇயர்!-
யார்வாய்க் கேட்டனை, காதலர் வரவே?

She is desperately waiting for her lover’s arrival. The bard comes to her and says that her lover has come to town. She asks the bard “Did you see yourself o just heard from some one who saw him? If so who? I would like to know for sure, please tell me. If what you say is true, you will receive the wealth of the golden city of Pataliputra where elephants with white tusks play in river Son”

The poem brings out her desperation for good news. It also talks about the wealthy city of Pataliputra built in 3rd century BC as capital of Magadha empire. That might help to date this poem. Of course, Pataliputra was a flourishing city till 9th century AD. Pataliputra was situated at the confluence of three rivers – Ganges, Gandaki and Son.


நசை – desire / wish
மொழி – tell
வெண் கோடு – white tusk
சோணை – river Son
மலி – abound


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3 thoughts on “Kurunthokai – 75

  1. What the celebrated scholar S Vaiyapuri Pillai has said in this regard is that the reference to Pataliputra being on the banks of the river Sone seems to be an echo of a heuristic in Sanskrit grammar (anuśoṇam pāṭalīputram) i.e., the Mahābhāṣya commentary, hence it must be after that date. The Mahābhāṣya is traditionally dated to 150 BC.


  2. I suppose by ‘white tuskers’ is meant ‘elephants with white tusks’ 🙂


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