Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Thiruvempavai – 10

Far below the nether world, beyond words, is his feet;
Far above all the peaks is his flower adorned crown;
He is not of just one form, has his Lady as part of him;
He’s the source of Vedas; Though Celestials and humans praise him,
Words aren’t enough; He’s a friend, resides in hearts of his disciples;
Oh’ girls from unsullied clans doing service in his temple,
Which is his town, what is his name; Who are his kin, who are not;
What’s the way to sing his praise? Please tell us!

பாதாளம் ஏழினுங்கீழ் சொற்கழிவு பாதமலர்
போதார் புனைமுடியும் எல்லாப் பொருள்முடிவே
பேதை ஒருபால் திருமேனி ஒன்றல்லன்
வேதமுதல் விண்ணோரும் மண்ணும் துதித்தாலும்
ஓத உலவா ஒருதோழன் தொண்டருளன்
கோதில் குலத்தரன்றன் கோயிற் பிணாப்பிள்ளைகாள்
ஏதவன்ஊர் ஏதவன்பேர் ஆருற்றார் ஆரயலார்
ஏதவனைப் பாடும் பரிசேலோர் எம்பாவாய்

The girls have now reached the temple of Lord Siva in Thiruvannamalai. They sing his praise and ask those who serve the temple what is the right way to praise him.

“Lord Siva is of immense form. His blessed feet are far beneath the nether worlds, beyond the reach of words. His flower adorned crown is far above all the peaks of the world. (This can be read as his crown is far above the end of all things. முடி in Tamil means crown as well as end. The word play is hard to bring in English) He is not of the same form through out. He has his Lady (Goddess Shakthi) in one part of his body. He is the source of all Vedas. Though celestials and human sing his glory, words are not enough to praise him. He is a friend, resides in the heart of his disciples. (In some commentaries, this phrase ஒரு தோழந்தொண்டர் உளன் is interpreted as he has innumerable devotees. Again word play with the word உளன் –  has / in heart).

Oh’ girls doing service in his temple. You are from unsullied clans. Please enlighten us. Which is his town? What is his name? Who are his kith and kin? Who are not? What is the right way to sing his praise? Please let us know!”

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One thought on “Thiruvempavai – 10

  1. Great translation!


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