Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Thiruvempavai – 1

Oh’ girl with long bright eyes!
Even after hearing us sing the praise
of the infinite Flame with neither beginning nor end,
You’re still asleep! Are your ears hard of hearing?
On hearing us sing the praise of Mahadevan’s
anklet clad feet at the entrance of her street,
a friend of ours sobbed, forgot herself,
rolled and fell down senseless
from her flower strewn bed; Oh’ my, Oh’ my,
such was her devotion, my friend!

ஆதியும் அந்தமும் இல்லா அரும்பெருஞ்
சோதியை யாம்பாடக் கேட்டேயும் வாள்தடங்கண்
மாதே வளருதியோ வன்செவியோ நின்செவிதான்
மாதேவன் வார்கழல்கள் வாழ்த்திய வாழ்த்தொலிபோய்
வீதிவாய்க் கேட்டலுமே விம்மிவிம்மி மெய்ம்மறந்து
போதார் அமளியின்மே னின்றும் புரண்டிங்ஙன்
ஏதேனும் ஆகாள் கிடந்தாள்என் னேஎன்னே
ஈதேஎந் தோழி பரிசேலோர் எம்பாவாய்.

Thiruvempavai is a set of 20 verses sung by Manickavasagar on Lord Shiva residing in Thiruvannamalai. These are part of Thiruvasagam, the 8th Thirumurai in Saivite canon. In these 20 verses the girls celebrating Paavai Nonbu (vows of women) call their friends to join them in bathing in the river and sing the praise of Lord Shiva.

In this verse the girls chide their friend who is still asleep. “Oh, girl with long, bright eyes! Even after hearing us sing the praise of our lord, who is like an immense flame with no beginning and no end, you are still asleep. Your ears must be hard of hearing. There was another friend of ours, in whose street we entered singing the praise of our Lord’s anklet clad feet. On hearing his praise, she lost herself completely to him. She sobbed, entered a trance like state, rolled and fell down from her flower strewn bed and lay senseless on the floor. Such was her devotion to our lord, my friend. (And here you are still asleep. Wake up and join us in praising him)”

ஆதியும் அந்தமும் இல்லா – with no beginning and no end
அரும்பெரும்சோதி – rare immense flame (infinite)
வாள் தடங் கண் – bright , long eyes
வளருதியோ – are you asleep
வன் செவி – useless ears
நின் செவி – your ears
வார் கழல்கள் – anklet feet
விம்மி விம்மி – sobbbed and sobbed
மெய்மறந்து – forgot her self
போதார் அமளி – போது ஆர் அமளி – flower strewn bed
ஏதேனும் ஆகாள் – unable to do anything (senseless)
பரிசு – character (devotion)

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