Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Thiruvempavai – 12

He is the fount we dip in, to free ourselves
from miseries of life that shackle us;
He is the dancer who dances with fire
in the divine hall of holy Chidambaram;
This sky and earth and everything else
He playfully creates, protects and destroys;
Let’s praise him, plunge into the temple’s floral pond
– with our bangles tinkling, waist chains jingling, 
and over our flowered tresses bees buzzing – 
Hail his golden feet and then bathe in the mountain spring, my friend!

ஆர்த்த பிறவித் துயர்கெடநாம் ஆர்த்தாடும்
    தீர்த்தன்நற் றில்லைச்சிற் றம்பலத்தே தீயாடும்
கூத்தன்இவ் வானும் குவலயமும் எல்லோமும்
    காத்தும் படைத்தம் கரந்தும் விளையாடி
வார்த்தையும் பேசி வளைசிலம்ப வார்கலைகள்
    ஆர்ப்பரவஞ் செய்ய அணிகுழல்மேல் வண்டார்ப்பப்
பூத்திகழும் பொய்கை குடைந்துடையான் பொற்பாதம்
    ஏத்தி இருஞ்சுனைநீ ராடேலோர் எம்பாவாய்.

Poems from 11-15 are the girls singing the praise of Lord Siva while taking a dip in the temple tank. “Our Lord is the holy fount of waters we dip in to free ourselves from the miseries of life that fetter us. He is the dancer in the divine hall of holy Chidambaram. He is the creator, protector and destroyer of this world which he does playfully.

Let us praise him and take a plunge in his temple’s pond filled with flowers. As we take a dip our bangles tinkle, our waist chains jingle and bees buzz over our flowered tresses. Let us hail his golden feet and bathe in the mountain spring, my friend”

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