Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Thiruvempavai – 13

Because of the dark blue lily and brilliant red lotus,
Because of chirping birds and entwined snakes,
Because of those who come to wash off their sins here,
This gushing pond is like our God and Goddess together;
Let’ss enter and frolic in this pond with our bangles jingling,
and along with them our anklets tinkling;
Let’s enter these waters making our bosoms swell
And bathe in this lotus filled pond, my friend!

பைங்குவளைக் கார்மலரால் செங்கமலப் பைம்போதால்
    அங்கங் குருகினத்தால் பின்னும் அரவத்தால்
தங்கள் மலங்கழுவு வார்வந்து சார்தலினால்
    எங்கள் பிராட்டியும் எங்கோனும் போன்றிசைந்த
பொங்கு மடுவிற் புகப்பாய்ந்து பாய்ந்துநம்
    சங்கஞ் சிலம்பச் சிலம்பு கலந்தார்ப்பக்
கொங்கைகள் பொங்கக் குடையும் புனல்பொங்கப்
    பங்கயப் பூம்புனல்பாய்ந் தாடேலோர் எம்பாவாய் 

In this poem, the girls  equate the temple tank to the God (Siva) and Goddess (Sakthi) united in form. “One part of the tank is filled with dark blue lily flowers , like Sakthi. The other part is full of bright red lotus flowers, like the fiery form of Siva. Birds chirping is like the noise of Sakthi’s bangles. (The Tamil word குருகு stands for bird as well as bangle). The slithering snakes in the pond is like the snake in Siva’s neck. People  coming to the pond to cleanse themselves are like devotees who come to Siva and Sakthi to wash their sins off.

So this pond is Siva – Sakthi incarnate. Let us jump into this and frolic joyously, with our bangles and anklets tinkling noisily. As we dip into these waters the water gushes out. Our breasts too swell. Let us bathe in this lotus filled pond, my friend!”

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