Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Archive for the month “November, 2019”

Pazhamozhi 400 – 312

Those who did not do considerable good deeds earlier,
Can they expect to attain considerable wealth later?
If they compare with others’ wealth and try, will it happen?
No returns for those who didn’t invest.

முன் பெரிய நல்வினை முட்டு இன்றிச் செய்யாதார்,
பின் பெரிய செல்வம் பெறல் ஆமோ? வைப்போடு
இகலிப் பொருள் செய்ய எண்ணியக்கால், என் ஆம்?-
முதல் இலார்க்கு ஊதியம் இல்.

Good deeds we did in previous birth will ensure better life in this birth. Those who did not do any good deeds in previous birth, can they expect good things in this birth? Even if they compare themselves with others’ wealth and try to earn, will anything change? There’s no return for those who haven’t invested (by doing good deeds).

This is from பழமொழி நானூறு (Four hundred Proverbs). Since most of its content is similar to Naaladiyaar, this is supposed to have been written after that, possibly around 4th Century AD. These four hundred proverbs were collated and written in verse by Poet Mundrurai Arayanar (முன்றுரை அரையனார்). From the foreword verse of this anthology it is inferred that he was a follower of Jainism. Rebirth and Karma are cornerstones of Jain world view.

முன் – earlier (previous birth)

நல்வினை – good deeds

முட்டு இன்றி – without limits / considerable

பின் – later (this birth)

வைப்பு – savings (of others)

இகல் – compare

என் ஆம்? – என்ன ஆகும் – what will happen

முதல் – investment / capital

ஊதியம் – salary / return

Naaladiyaar – 152

Whether it is achievable or not,
Wise men aim to do admirable deeds;
Is a spear that missed a lion lesser
to an arrow that pierced a fox’s heart?

இசையும் எனினும், இசையாதுஎனினும்,
வசை தீர எண்ணுவர், சான்றோர்;-விசையின்
நரிமா உளம் கிழித்த அம்பினின் தீதோ,
அரிமாப் பிழைப்ப எய்த கோல்?

Learned people aim to do deeds that are admirable and difficult to do. They are not worried about whether it is achievable or not. They put in their best efforts and aim high. A spear that missed killing a lion is no way lesser to an arrow that struck a fox’s heart. Aim high, even if there is a possibility of failure.

This verse is similar to Thirukkural – 772

கான முயலெய்த வம்பினில் யானை
பிழைத்தவே லேந்த லினிது.

இசை – possible (to achieve) / achievable
வசை தீர – blameless / exemplary
எண்ணுதல் – intend / aim
நரி மா – fox (animal)
உளம் – Heart
அரிமா – Lion
பிழைப்ப – let it survive / missed (killing)
கோல் – spear


Thirukkural – 819


Friendship of those whose words and deeds differ
Is an agony even in one’s dream.

கனவினு மின்னாது மன்னோ வினைவேறு
சொல்வேறு பட்டார் தொடர்பு.

Friendship of people who say something and do something else is an agony, not only when one is awake but even when one is asleep.

கனவு – dream
இன்னா – grief / misery
தொடர்பு – connection / friendship

#Tamil #Thirukkural #Poetry #translation​

Naaladiyaar – 28

Those who are blessed with a healthy body,
Must put their body to good use –
Like a cloud circling mountain peaks,
This body will appear and vanish in a blink.

யாக்கையை யாப்புடைத்தாப் பெற்றவர், தாம் பெற்ற
யாக்கையால் ஆய பயன் கொள்க-யாக்கை
மலை ஆடும் மஞ்சுபோல் தோன்றி, மற்று ஆங்கே
நிலையாது நீத்துவிடும்!

This Naaladiyaar verse talks about the impermanence of life. A healthy body is a rare gift. Those who have got that, should use their life to do good deeds to the maximum of their potential. They should not think that they will be healthy and live for ever. The body is like a cloud circling a mountain peak. It might look massive and permanent but we all know it will vanish without a trace. So one must make good us of the healthy life they are bestowed with.

யாக்கை – body
யாப்பு – firm / healthy
ஆய பயன் – maximum use
மஞ்சு – cloud

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