Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Thiruppavai – 25

O’ Supreme Lord! Born as one woman’s son
And spirited away overnight to grow up as another’s son,
You turned to dust the evil plans of Kamsan –
who couldn’t bear to let you live on –
And like a fire in his stomach, made him panic!
We have come here yearning for you;
Our heartache will end if you grant us our wish; 
we shall hail your wealth and valour, and be in a state of bliss!

ஒருத்தி மகனாய்ப் பிறந்துஓர் இரவில்
ஒருத்தி மகனாய் ஒளித்து வளரத்
தரிக்கிலான் ஆகித்தான் தீங்கு நினைந்த
கருத்தைப் பிழைப்பித்துக் கஞ்சன் வயிற்றில்
நெருப்பென்ன நின்ற நெடுமாலே உன்னை
அருத்தித்து வந்தோம் பறைதருதி யாகில்
திருத்தக்க செல்வமும் சேவகமும் யாம்பாடி
வருத்தமும் தீர்ந்து மகிழ்ந்தேலோர் எம்பாவாய்.

The girls petition Krishna to show up and end their heart ache. They tell him “You were born as Devaki’s son and spirited away overnight to Mathura to grow up in hiding as Yasoda’s son. Your uncle Kamsan couldn’t bear to let you live, drew up many plans to kill you in childhood. But you turned all his plans to dust. You were like a fire in his stomach, a constant source of irritation and his nemesis. So valorous are you. You are the Supreme Lord.

We girls are here yearning to be in your presence. Our heart aches on being separated from you. Please grant us our wish and end our heart ache. We shall sing the praise of your wealth and valor and be in a state of bliss once we see you”

“Fire in the belly” is a positive idiom in English. In Tamil, it stands for dread / panic.

தரிக்கிலான் – தரிக்க முடியாதவன் – one who couldn’t bear
பிழைப்பித்து – (made his plans) fail – turn to dust
கஞ்சன் – Kamsan
அருத்தி – Desire / Yearning
பறைதருதி – (a metaphor for) grant us our wish
திருத்தக்க செல்வம் – wealth commensurate with the Goddess of wealth
சேவகம் – valour

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