Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Kambaramayanam – 1777

They fell down; wilted; writhed in agony;
Cried “It’s today we lost our eyes”;
Were immersed in a sea of misery;
“O’ my son! O’ my son” they sobbed;
“You broke our heart” they grieved;
“You’ve gone to live in the eternal world,
We can’t bear to live here by ourselves,
here we come, here we come” they cried.

“வீழ்ந்தார்; அயர்ந்தார்; புரண்டார்;
‘விழி போயிற்று இன்று ‘என்றார்;
ஆழ்ந்தார் துன்பக் கடலுள்;
‘ஐயா! ஐயா! ‘என்றார்;
‘போழ்ந்தாய் நெஞ்சை ‘என்றார்;
‘பொன் நாடு அதனில் போய் நீ
வாழ்ந்தே இருப்பத் தரியேம்;
வந்தேம்! வந்தேம் இனியே!‘‘

King Dasaratha killed a blind ascetic couple’s son by mistake while hunting. The boy had come to a jungle pond to take water for his thirsty parents. Dasaratha hears the noise and shoots an arrow thinking it’s a deer. Once he realises his mistake, he grieves and goes to the old couple and tells them of his mistake and apologises.

The blind couple collapse on hearing the death of their son, who was everything to them. They cry saying “Though we were blind, he never made us feel that. With his death today, we have really lost our eyes. O’ my son! O’ my son! In your death you have broken our heart. You have left us and gone to live in the eternal world (heaven). We won’t live alone here by ourselves. We will die and come along with you there” they grieved.

Death of a son is a pain that cannot be assuaged. Further to this they curse Dasaratha that he too will suffer the same fate. That curse is what causes the sequence of events leading to Rama’s exile and Dasaratha’s death.
போழ் – split / break
பொன் நாடு – golden country / heaven / eternal world
தரியேம் – can’t bear

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3 thoughts on “Kambaramayanam – 1777

  1. No parent can endure the loss of their child.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Note the parallel:

    Here the blind couple say ‘ It is now that we feel blinded’ ‘விழி போயிற்று இன்று ‘என்றார்;

    The curse hangs on Dasaratha, who is perpetually scared. The heirless King gets blessed in the Putrakameshti yAgam, but Viswamitra’s requests forebodes his worst fears. When Viswamitra asks for Rama-Lakshmana to come and guard his yAgam, Dasaratha feels like ‘how a blind man who was blessed with sight, only to lose it again’.

    ‘கண் இலான் பெற்று இழந்தான்’ என உழந்தான்

    What a precise parallel!

    Liked by 1 person

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