Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Sivavakkiyar – 26

O’ humans, you believe in illusions, build a house, offer sacrifices due,
and live with your women, kids, kinsfolk and cattle;
When your palm-leaf* turns up at the impartial judge’s** hand and he calls you,
this body of yours won’t be worth even the price of a begging bowl.

* Palm-leaf in which one’s fate is written
** Impartial judge – Lord of death who doesn’t differentiate between people

வீடெடுத்து வேள்வி செய்து மெய்யினோடுபொய்யுமாய்
மாடு மக்கள் பெண்டீர் சுற்றம் என்றிருக்கும் மாந்தர்காள்
நாடு பெற்ற நடுவர் கையில் ஓலை வந்து அழைத்திடில்
ஓடு பெற்ற அவ்விளை பெறாது காண் இவ்வுடலமே. 

In this poem Sivavakkiyar talks about impermanence of material aspects of life. Human beings spend their time building houses, offering sacrifices to God and live surrounded by near and dear ones thinking it is forever. They believe in this illusion. But once their time is up and palm-leaf in which their fate is written turns up in the hands of God of death, this body becomes useless. It will not be worth even the price of a begging bowl.

Siddhar poems don’t have any established commentaries. So some times it becomes difficult to interpret the hidden meaning. ‘House’ here can be read as ‘Human body’ too. Then the poem becomes you take care of this body and work for its pleasures thinking this illusion is true, but once your time is up this body is worth nothing.

வேள்வி – Religious sacrifice / Housewarming (in this context)?
மெய் – truth
நாடு பெற்ற நடுவர் – Impartial judge who rules over every one
ஓடு – திருவோடு – Clay begging bowl
உடலம் – Body


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One thought on “Sivavakkiyar – 26

  1. /பெண்டீர்/
    பெண்பால் பன்மை முன்னிலை.
    What you want is: பெண்டிர்


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