Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Archive for the category “Padhinen Keel Kanakku”

Thirukkural – 1071

The despicable appear like any other human, they do;
We haven’t seen such similarity as between these two.

மக்களே போல்வர், கயவர்; அவர் அன்ன
ஒப்பாரி யாம் கண்டது இல்.

Despicable people look just like any other humans externally. There is nothing that differentiates them in physical appearance. It is so remarkable that no where else have we found such similarity between two different beings.

கயவர் – despicable person
ஒப்பார் – equivalence / similarity

 

Thirukkural – 995

Mockery hurts, even if done in jest; considerate people
behave courteously. even to their foes.

நகையுள்ளும் இன்னாது, இகழ்ச்சி; பகையுள்ளும்
பண்பு உள, பாடு அறிவார் மாட்டு.

Mocking a person hurts them, even if it is done in jest. So those who are considerate of other people behave courteously even to their foes.

நகை – laughter / joke
இன்னாது – grief
இகழ்ச்சி – mockery
பகை – enemy / foe
பாடு அறிவார் – those who know the right way (considerate)

Naaladiyaar – 259

Though a flower overflows with honey and is fragrant,
A fly doesn’t go for it but desires lowly stuff; like that,
For those whose heart is full of base thoughts,
What’s the use of honeyed words of advice uttered by the wise?

பொழிந்து இனிது நாறினும், பூ மிசைதல் செல்லாது,
இழிந்தவை காமுறூஉம் ஈப்போல், இழிந்தவை-
தாம் கலந்த நெஞ்சினார்க்கு என் ஆகும், தக்கார் வாய்த்
தேன் கலந்த தேற்றச் சொல் தேர்வு?

Ainthinai Ezhupathu – 23

Dark clouds have started pouring, monsoon is here;
Riding his horse whose bells sound like noisy toads,
Won’t my lover come today to alleviate my sickness?
Not a bangle stays in my arms.

தேரைத் தழங்குரல் தார் மணி வாய் அதிர்ப்ப,
ஆர்கலி வானம் பெயல் தொடங்கி, கார் கொள,
இன்று ஆற்ற வாரா விடுவார்கொல், காதலர்?
ஒன்றாலும் நில்லா, வளை.

He has gone away in summer to earn money, promising that he will come back by the time monsoon starts. Now the clouds have darkened it has started pouring. Monsoon is here. He hasn’t come yet. She is pining for him. She asks her friend, “The monsoon is here. Won’t he come today to alleviate my sickness? I’m so weak that not a single bangle stays in my arm, they are all falling down”

The first line in the Tamil poem (which I have made second line in translation) is packed with description. She wants him to ride fast and reach her. As he rides fast, sleigh bells in his horse’s neck sound noisily, like toads croaking in monsoon season. It isn’t specified in the poem whether he is riding a chariot or a horse. Earlier commentators have taken in as horse driven chariot. I couldn’t work it into the translation.

தேரை – toad
தழங்குரல் – தழங்கு + குரல் – sounding noise
தார்மணி – bells worn by horse
வாய் அதிர்ப்ப – sounding
ஆர்கலி வானம் – rainy clouds
பெயல் – to pour
கார் – monsoon
ஆற்ற – to alleviate

 

Naaladiyaar – 215

To bloom like a tree flower and never close back
is friendship; once a friend, forever a friend;
Those who bloom initially and then close back,
like a pond flower, none likes or befriends.

கோட்டுப்பூப் போல மலர்ந்துபிற் கூம்பாது
வேட்டதே வேட்டதாம் நட்பாட்சி;- தோட்ட
கயப்பூப்போல் முன்மலர்ந்து பிற்கூம்பு வாரை
நயப்பாரும் நட்பாரும் இல்.

Good friends are like flowers that bloom on trees. Ones those flowers open up, they remain open till they whither and fall. Like wise good friendship remains steadfast, always open. Those who are friends initially and then shut down are like flowers that bloom in a pond – lilies or lotus. They bloom and close back. No body likes or befriends such people.

கோடு – Tree
கூம்புதல் – close
வேட்டல் – வேட்கை – விரும்புதல் – desire (friend)
கயம் – pond
நயப்பார் – like
இல் – இல்லை – no one

Naaladiyaar – 398

My friend with shining bangles! You ask
“The forest is hard to pass through;
Will it be possible for you

to follow him and cross it tomorrow?”
One who acquires a majestic horse
immediately learns how to ride it.

“கடக்க அருங் கானத்து, காளைபின், நாளை
நடக்கவும் வல்லையோ?’’ என்றி-சுடர்த்தொடீஇ!-
பெற்றான் ஒருவன் பெருங் குதிரை அந் நிலையே
கற்றான், அஃது ஊருமாறு.

She has planned to elope tomorrow with him. Her friend asks her, “the way is hard to pass through. You aren’t used to the hardships. Will you be able to walk across the forest, following him?” She is drunk on love. She replies “You don’t worry about me. Once I fell in love with him, I was prepared for this. Like one who acquires a majestic horse immediately learning the right way to ride it”

கானம் – forest
காளை – youth (him)
சுடர்த் தொடீஇ – one who wears shining bangles
பெருங்குதிரை – பெருமை + குதிரை – majestic horse
ஊரும் – riding
ஆறு – way

Thirukkural – 64

Far sweeter than ambrosia is the porridge that is  
messed up by tender fingers of one’s own kids.

அமிழ்தினும் ஆற்ற இனிதே-தம் மக்கள்
சிறு கை அளாவிய கூழ்.

Food in which kids have put their tender fingers in and played with, is far more sweeter for their parents than even the food of Gods. That is because becoming a parent is considered a boon. This couplet is in the chapter ‘(Boon of) having children’ (புதல்வரைப் பெறுதல்)

அமிழ்து – ambrosia / food of Gods
மக்கள் – children
அளாவுதல் – mix up / play with
கூழ்  – porridge

Ainthinai 70 – 16

O’ my supple shouldered friend!
He who left me hasn’t come back;
Dark clouds have drawn up water from the sea
And have arrived accompanied by lightning,
Making soft stepped peacocks crow in delight;
But there’s none to ask me ‘are you doing fine?”

தட மென் பணைத் தோளி! நீத்தாரோ வாரார்;
மட நடை மஞ்ஞை அகவ, கடல் முகந்து,
மின்னோடு வந்தது எழில் வானம்; வந்து, என்னை,
‘என் ஆதி?’ என்பாரும் இல்.

He has left her to earn money. He promised her that he will be back by monsoon. She is waiting for him. Rains have arrived but he hasn’t come. She confides in her friend, “O’ my friend with long soft bamboo like shoulders! He who left me hasn’t come back yet. Beautiful dark clouds have drawn up water and arrived with lighting. Seeing them soft stepped peacocks are crowinf in delight. But I’m all alone. There is none to ask me ‘ Are you doing ok?’. “

Naaladiyaar – 192

Even a tender sapling by the wayside,
once its core hardens, will be used to tie an elephant;
Living too is like that,
if one strengthens oneself, without sloth.

ஆடு கோடு ஆகி அதரிடை நின்றதூஉம்,
காழ் கொண்டகண்ணே, களிறு அணைக்கும் கந்து ஆகும்;-
வாழ்தலும் அன்ன தகைத்தே, ஒருவன்தான்
தாழ்வு இன்றித் தன்னைச் செயின்.

This Naaladiyaar poem is under the chapter தாளாண்மை (Spiritedness / perseverance). What is a tender sapling by the way side will be used to tie a mighty elephant in the future, once its core strengthens  and it becomes a strong tree. Such is life too. If one puts in effort to strengthen oneself, without being lazy, he will prosper in life.

ஆடு – shaky
கோடு – branch
அதர் – way
காழ் – hard
களிறு – elephant
அணைக்கும் – tie
கந்து – Post to tie an elephant
தாழ்வுdefect

Pazhamozhi 400 – 321

Wise men analyse their strength, their allies strength,
consequence of the act, and then decide; instead,
if one decides without a plan, and acts without a plan,
results too will be unplanned.

தன்-தூக்கி, தன் துணையும் தூக்கி, பயன் தூக்கி,
மற்று அது கொள்வ, மதி வல்லார்; அற்று அன்றி,
யாதானும் ஒன்று கொண்டு, யாதானும் செய்தக்கால்,
யாதானும் ஆகிவிடும்.

Before acting upon something, wise men analyse their own strength, strength of their allies and what are the consequences of their act. Only after that will they act. Instead of that, if one decides randomly without a plan and acts without a plan, the results too will be unexpected.

தூக்கி – analyse
துணை – ally
மதி வல்லார் –  those with brains – wise men
அற்று அன்றி – அது இல்லாமல் – instead
யாதானும் – just like that / random / unplanned

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