Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Thanippadal – Avvaiyaar – 66

To the generous minded, gold is a trifle;
to the valorous, waiting death is a trifle;
to the wise, affection of women is a trifle;
to the ascetic, King is a trifle.

போந்த உதாரனுக்குப் பொன்துரும்பு சூரனுக்குச்
சேர்ந்த மரணம் சிறுதுரும்பு – ஆய்ந்த
அறிவோர்க்கு நாரிய ரும்துரும்பாம் இல்லத்
துறவியர்க்கு வேந்தன் துரும்பு

One who is generous will not put much value on gold. He looks at it as something to be given away. A brave warrior doesn’t fear death waiting for him. He treats it contemptuously. The wise men will not put much value on women’s affection. Similarly, those who have renounced worldly life will treat a King as just another person.

This poem is attributed to one of the later day Avvaiyars, dated between 12th and 15th Century CE. Various versions of this poem can be found in later day anthologies.

போந்த – perfect
உதாரன் – benefactor
துரும்பு – small bit, a trifling
சூரன் – brave, valorous
ஆய்ந்த – well read
நாரி – woman
துறவி – ascetic / monk

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One thought on “Thanippadal – Avvaiyaar – 66

  1. One of my favourites !

    I was quoting this one to a friend when discussing how courage is the luxury of the unencumbered (rather that the other way round!)

    Rajaji’s translation of selected Avvaiyar veNbAs includes this one too.

    //உதாரன் //

    Does this find mention elsewhere in our poetic tradition? AFAI searched, I couldn’t find.

    As you may know, this is the name Bharathidasan picked for the protagonist of his long poem: puratchikkavi.


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