Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Thiruppavai – 2

Oh’ all those who live in this earth!
Hear the vows we undertake in this period of abstinence;
Singing the praise of our Lord
– asleep on the five headed snake in the milky ocean –
We will not partake milk and ghee; will bathe before day break;
Will not line our eyes or adorn our hair with flowers;
Will not do what’s not to be done; will not slander;
Will give offerings and alms as much as we can
And rejoice at our path to salvation, my friend.

வையத்து வாழ்வீர்காள் நாமும்நம் பாவைக்குச்
செய்யும் கிரிசைகள் கேளீரோ பாற்கடலுள்
பையத் துயின்ற பரம னடிபாடி
நெய்யுண்ணோம் பாலுண்ணோம் நாட்காலே நீராடி
மையிட்டு எழுதோம் மலரிட்டு நாம்முடியோம்
செய்யா தனசெய்யோம் தீக்குறளைச் சென்றோதோம்
ஐயமும் பிச்சையும் ஆந்தனையும் கைகாட்டி
உய்யுமாற் எண்ணி உகந்தேலோர் எம்பாவாய்.

The girls are pepping themselves up telling about things they will do in this month of Margazhi when they undertake their vow. They will start their day singing the praise of the Supreme Lord, who reclines on the five headed snake Adi Seshan in the milky ocean. The girls will avoid drinking  milk and using ghee in their food. They will bathe before daybreak. They will not line their eyes. Nor will they adorn their hair with flowers. They will do only righteous things, avoid doing things that are forbidden. They will avoid talking bad about others. They will give offerings to their Gurus and alms to those who ask for it , as much as they can. Doing all these is their path to salvation, when they can discard this worldly life and become one with Him. They rejoice at this.

I wasn’t clear on the difference between ஐயம் & பிச்சை. I thought they both meant alms. But why does Andal use them both? Went with PBA commentary that ஐயம் – Offerings to Gurus ; பிச்சை – Alms to those who ask.

பாவை – நோன்பு – விரதம் – Period of abstinence
கிரிசை – acts / vows
பையத் துயின்ற – asleep on snake hood (Lord Vishnu is depicted as asleep on five headed snake Adi Seshan in the milky ocean)
குறளை – calumny / slander
ஐயம் – Offerings to Gurus
பிச்சை – Alms to those who ask
ஆந்தனை – ஆகுமளவு – as much as we can
உய்யுமாறு – உய்யும் ஆறு – salvation path
உகந்து – rejoice

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