Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Thiruvempavai – 14

With ear rings dangling, golden jewels swaying,
Flowers separating from braided hair, swarm of bees buzzing
Let’s bathe in the cold pond, sing the praise of Chidambaram*,
sing the essence of Vedas, extol him who personifies it,
golrify Paranjothi the infinite flame, hail the yellow flowers on his head,
sing his nature of being the origin and the end;
Bangle wearing Goddess Uma, who reveals Him to us step by step
And foster us to fulfillment, let’s sing her praise and take a dip, my friend!

*Lord Nataraja of Chidambaram

காதார் குழையாடப் பைம்பூண் கலனாடக்
    கோதை குழலாட வண்டின் குழாமாடச்
சீதப் புனலாடிச் சிற்றம் பலம்பாடி
    வேதப் பொருள்பாடி அப்பொருளா மாபாடிச்
சோதி திறம்பாடிச் சூழ்கொன்றைத் தார்பாடி
    ஆதி திறம்பாடி அந்தமா மாபாடிப்
பேதித்து நம்மை வளர்த்தெடுத்த பெய்வளைதன்
    பாதத் திறம்பாடி ஆடேலோர் எம்பாவாய் 

In this poem the girls sing the praise of Lord Siva and his consort Goddess Uma while taking a dip in the temple pond. The girls’ ear rings are dangling as the enter the pond, their golden jewelery is swaying, their flower adorned hair braids come loose and the flowers float away, a swarm of bees buzz over those flowers. They say “Let’s enter this cold pond, take a dip and sing the praise of the Lord of Chidambaram. He is the essence of Vedas. He personifies it. Let’s sing that too.

Let’s sing the praise of Paranjothi, the infinite flame (Of the temples that personify Lord Siva as five elements ,Thiruvannamalai, the temple on which Thiruvempavai is written, is the Fire element). Let’s sing the blessed yellow flowers (Golden Rain flowers) that he wears in his head. Lets’s sing the praise of him who is at the beginning of creation and the end of it. His consort, bangle wearing Goddess Uma, let’s us realize him gradually step by step. She fosters us and helps us attain fulfillment. Let’s sing her divine feet and take a dip in this pond”

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