Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Thirumurugaattruppadai – 91-102

One face is radiant like the sun
to illuminate this dark world spotlessly;
One face is kind to worshipping devotees,
and bestows boons to them with love;
One face protects the yagnya of priests
who do not swerve from rules laid out in Vedas;
One face analyses things not understood
and enlightens the way ahead like the bright moon;
One face takes sides in a war, enters battlefield
with a ruthless heart and crushes enemies;
One face is all smiles with Valli,
creeper like thin waisted naive daughter of the hill chief.

மா இருள் ஞாலம் மறு இன்றி விளங்க,
பல் கதிர் விரிந்தன்று, ஒரு முகம்; ஒரு முகம்,
ஆர்வலர் ஏத்த, அமர்ந்து இனிது ஒழுகி,
காதலின் உவந்து வரம் கொடுத்தன்றே; ஒரு முகம்
மந்திர விதியின் மரபுளி வழாஅ
அந்தணர் வேள்வி ஓர்க்கும்மே; ஒரு முகம்
எஞ்சிய பொருள்களை ஏமுற நாடி,
திங்கள் போலத் திசை விளக்கும்மே; ஒரு முகம்
செறுநர்த் தேய்த்துச் செல் சமம் முருக்கி,
கறுவுகொள் நெஞ்சமொடு களம் வேட்டன்றே; ஒரு முகம்
குறவர் மட மகள், கொடி போல் நுசுப்பின்
மடவரல், வள்ளியொடு நகை அமர்ந்தன்றே;

This verse is part of Thirumurugaattruppadai, sung by Nakkeerar, dated around 3rd century CE (?). It sings the praise of Lord Murukan and his abodes. These lines are part of the verses about Murukan in Thiruchendur (then known as Thirucheer Alaivai, literally ‘glorious sea front’). Murukan is called Arumugan, one with six faces. These lines explain the six faces / facets of Murukan. I think Thirumurugaattruppadai is the first work that incorporates Murukan into the pantheon of Gods. In earlier Sangam poetry he is the Lord of the hills (குறிஞ்சி நிலத் தலைவன்)

One face is radiant like the sun and illuminates this dark world, without any hidden dangers. One face looks kindly at devotees, listens to their prayers, and grants boon to them with love. One face protects the priests conducting sacrificial offerings (Homa/Yagnya) without swerving from rules laid out in Vedas. One face analyses things unknown to people and shows the path ahead, like the moon. One face takes sides in a war of good against evil, enters the battle field with a ruthless heart and crushes the enemies. One face smiles joyously with Valli, the slim waisted naive daughter of the hill chieftain.

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2 thoughts on “Thirumurugaattruppadai – 91-102

  1. Are we able to say with certainty that the prolific paranar’s poem:

    கடவுள் ஆயினும் ஆக,
    மடவை மன்ற, வாழிய முருகே!

    is way earlier than tirumurukāṭruppaṭai, on the basis of the language alone?

    That is, without leaning on the presence of Vedic puranic elements in the content as itself demonstrative of ṭirumurukāṭruppaṭai being a latter day work (that would be circular reasoning), are there other ways to infer the same?


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