Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Thiruppavai – 19

My Lord, in the room lit by oil lamps,
Atop a soft mattress on an ivory legged cot,
You’re asleep with flower braided Nappinnai,
whose breasts rest on your flower strewn chest;
Please respond to us!
O’ eyelined Nappinnai!
You aren’t letting Him leave the bed, even for a moment;
You can’t bear to be away from him, even for a second;
Honestly, this isn’t fair on your part!

குத்து விளக்கெரிய கோட்டுக்கால் கட்டில்மேல்
மெத்தென்ற பஞ்ச சயனத்தின் மேல்ஏறிக்
கொத்தலர் பூங்குழல் நப்பினை கொங்கைமேல்
வைத்துக் கிடந்த மலர்மார்பா வாய்திறவாய்
மைத்தடம் கண்ணினாய் நீஉன் மணாளனை
எத்தனை போதும் துயிலெழ ஒட்டாய்காண்
எத்தனையேலும் பிரிவுஆற்ற கில்லாயால்
தத்துவம் அன்று தகவேலோர் எம்பாவாய்.

The girls ask Krishna to open the door and bless them with his presence. They stand outside the  doors of his room and hail him. “Oh Krishna, the room you are sleeping is well lit with oil lamps. On the ornate cot with ivory legs, on top of a soft and fluffy mattress, you lie sleeping with Nappinnai who is wearing a bunch of flowers in her braid. Her breasts rest on your chest that is strewn with flowers from her braid. Please wake up and talk to us even if you can’t see us. Your word is enough for us”

Then they accuse Nappinnai of holding her husband back. “O Nappinnai, of long and lined eyes! You are not letting your husband get up from the bed, even for a moment. Can’t you bear to be away from him even for a second? You want to keep Him, the Lord of this world, for yourself all the time. Honestly, this isn’t fair on your part.”

நப்பினை கொங்கைமேல் வைத்துக் கிடந்த மலர்மார்பா  can be interpreted in two ways. Either as “Nappinnai, whose breasts rest on your flower strewn chest” or “Nappinnai, on whose breasts rests your flower strewn chest”. I have gone with the former interpretation.

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One thought on “Thiruppavai – 19

  1. This verse might have inspired the following song:


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