Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Archive for the month “July, 2021”

Thirukkural 584

Officers, kith and kin, opposition –
To watch them all carefully is a spy’s vocation.

வினைசெய்வார் தஞ்சுற்றம் வேண்டாதா ரென்றாங்
கனைவரையு மாராய்வ தொற்று.

வினைசெய்வார், தம் சுற்றம், வேண்டாதார், என்று ஆங்கு
அனைவரையும் ஆராய்வது-ஒற்று.

A good spy is one who watches closely everyone including officers of the ruler, his close relatives and his enemies.

வினை செய்வார் – one who does work
தன் சுற்றம் – one’s relatives
வேண்டாதார் – those who oppose
ஆராய்வது – study closely / watch closely
ஒற்று – spying

Kapilar Agaval – Lines 25-33

Wealth is like a swiftly flowing swollen river;
Youth is like the eroding bank of that river;
Lifetime is like a tree perched on that river bank;
So, do your duty; and do that duty well;
And what you do well, do it today;
And what you have to do today, do now itself;
If you put it off saying I will do it tomorrow,
You never know if it’s your turn or Death’s turn tomorrow.

            ஆவதுமறியீர் நமனுடைமுறைநாள்

These lines are from 15th century long poem கபிலர் அகவல். It is a 142 line long moral aphoristic poem.

Wealth doesn’t stay for long. It swiftly flows through like a river. One’s youth is like the river bank of that river, which is eroded quickly. And one’s lifetime is like a tree growing in that river bank. Once the river bank is completely eroded, the tree loses its roots and falls down. Likewise one’s life span also vanishes quickly.

As life is so fickle, you should not put off doing your duty. And you have to do it to the best of your ability. Do it today and do it now. If you put it off saying you will do it tomorrow, one never knows if tomorrow might be your turn or God of death’s turn

பெருக்காறு – பெருக்கு + ஆறு – swollen river
ஒத்தது – like
இடிகரை – eroding river bank
ஒன்றே – one thing (duty)
நன்று – well
இன்று – today
இன்னே – now itself
என்பீர் ஆகில் – if you say so
முறை நாள் – (your) turn நமன் – எமன் – God of Death

Thirukkural 36

Don’t think ‘Will do later’ but do virtuous deeds now itself,
For it will be an undying support when one dies.

அன்றறிவா மென்னா தறம்செய்க மற்றது
பொன்றுங்காற் பொன்றாத் துணை.

Don’t put off doing good deeds for a latter day. Do good deeds now itself when you are young. The virtue will be undying even when you die and will help you in after life.

அன்று – that day / later day
அறிவாம் – will decide (to do)
என்னாது – without
அறம் – virtue
மற்று அது – because that
பொன்று – death
பொன்றா – without dying
துணை – aid / support

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