Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Archive for the category “Padhinen Keel Kanakku”

Thirukkural – 1118

 

If you can shine as bright as this girl’s face,
You too shall be my beloved, O’ moon.

மாதர் முகம்போலொளிவிட வல்லையேல்
காதலை வாழி மதி.

O’ Moon, You wax and wane, have spots in your face. If you’re able to shine as bright as this girl’s face, then you too shall become my love. But you can’t. So she’s my only love.

வல் – able

வல்லையேல் – if you’re able

Thirukkural – 896

Even if engulfed in a fire, one may escape;
But those who cause grief to noble men, cannot escape.

எரியான் சுடப்படினும், உய்வு உண்டாம்; உய்யார்,
பெரியார்ப் பிழைத்து ஒழுகுவார்.

Even if one is caught in a fire and singed, there is a chance for him to escape and survive. But causing grief to noble men is a sin from which there is no escape. One who indulges in it will have to suffer the consequences.

எரி – flame
சுடப் படினும் – even if burned
உய்வு – escape
உய்யார் – உய்ய மாட்டார் – 2will not escape
பிழைத்து – cause grief
ஒழுகுவார் – to do / act

Thirukkural – 1140

They laugh at me in front of my eyes, these dolts –
Since what I suffer, they don’t.

யாம் கண்ணின் காண நகுப, அறிவு இல்லார்-
யாம் பட்ட தாம் படாவாறு.

She tells to herself these idiots (her friends) laugh at me because they don’t suffer the pangs of love as I do

கண்ணின் காண – in front of my eyes
நகு – to laugh
படா – don’t feel

Thirukkural 619

 

Though fate renders one’s work futile,
Efforts of toil will get its fair due still.

தெய்வத்தான் ஆகாதுஎனினும், முயற்சி தன்
மெய் வருத்தக் கூலி தரும்.

Sometimes one may not be able to complete a work because fate destined otherwise. But the effort of labor to do the work will not go unpaid. It will get fair rewards to the toiler.

தெய்வத்தான்- because of God
ஆகாது- cannot be done
மெய் வருத்தம்- physical labor

Pazhamozhi 400 – 399

There are trees that yield nothing though they flower;
There are many who are naive though they’ve grown older;
There are seeds that don’t sprout even if sown in fertile soil;
Even if advised, dimwitted will not turn sensible.

பூத்தாலும் காயா மரம் உள; மூத்தாலும்
நன்கு அறியார் தாமும் நனி உளர்; பாத்தி
விதைத்தாலும் நாறாத வித்து உள; பேதைக்கு
உரைத்தாலும் தோன்றாது உணர்வு.

This is from பழமொழி நானூறு (Four hundred Proverbs). Since most of its content is similar to Naaladiyaar, this is thought 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).

There are trees in this world that have flowers blooming in their branches but do not yield any fruits. Similarly, there are many people in this world who have grown older in age yet are ignorant. There are seeds that don’t sprout even if they are sown in fertile farm lands. Similarly, there are dimwitted who will not become sensible even if advised by the wise. Fertile conditions alone do not promise growth. It is only the inherent quality that decides the outcome. Hence it is best to ignore those who refuse to listen.

பூத்தாலும் – even if flowering
காயா – fruit less (not yielding)
உள – there
மூத்தாலும் – even if they grow old
நனி – many
பாத்தி – small division of farm land (fertile soil)
நாறு – sprout நாறாத – not sprouting
வித்து – seed
பேதை – dimwit
உரைத்தாலும் – even if advised
தோன்றாது – will not appear
உணர்வு – sense

Thirukkural – 158

Those who arrogantly harm you,
thou shall win over with thy virtue.

மிகுதியான் மிக்கவை செய்தாரைத் தாம் தம்
தகுதியான் வென்று விடல்.

When an adversary arrogantly harms you, you should bear it with patience and win him over with your righteous ways.

மிகுதி – excess (arrogance)
மிக்கவை – harm
தகுதி – righteousness / virtue
வென்று விடல் – win over

 

Thirukkural – 864

One who is always angry and agitated is easy prey
For any one at any place on any day.

நீங்கான் வெகுளி; நிறை இலன்;- எஞ்ஞான்றும்,
யாங்கணும், யார்க்கும், எளிது.

A person who is always boiling with rage and lacks composure is not in his senses. He can be easily defeated any day any place by anybody. Those who want to succeed should learn to control their anger and be composed at all times.

நீங்கான் வெகுளி நிறையில னெஞ்ஞான்றும்
யாங்கணும் யார்க்கு மெளிது.

 

நீங்கான் – Never gives up (Always)
வெகுளி – Anger
நிறை Reserve / composed
இலன் – One who does not
எஞ்ஞான்று – any day
யாங்கண் – any place
யார்க்கும் – for anyone
எளிது – easy

Thirukkural – 194

Uttering useless, uncivil words to the multitude
Is unfair and distances one away from virtue.

நயன் சாரா நன்மையின் நீக்கும்-பயன் சாராப்
பண்பு இல் சொல் பல்லாரகத்து.

When one utters impolite and useless words in public to many people, he is being unfair and he distances himself away from the path of virtue.

நயன் – நேர்மை – honest / fair

நன்மை – goodness / virtue

பயன் – use

பண்பு – courteous / civil

பல்லார் – many people

Thirukkural – 1273

Like the thread that gleams through gems strung,
something gleams in this girl’s beauty, unsung.

மணியுள் திகழ்தரும் நூல்போல், மடந்தை
அணியுள் திகழ்வது ஒன்று உண்டு.

The thread through which the gems are strung is not directly visible to the eye, but it shines through the light of the gems. Similarly there is something that radiates through this girls beauty (which cannot be explained).

‘Unsung’ is not explicit in the original Kural. I have made it explicit in the translation.

Devaneya Paavaanar interprets அணி – post coital glow. That adds an extra layer to the Kural.

மணி – gem / necklace of gems strung together
திகழ் – shine / glimmer
மடந்தை – girl
அணி – beauty
ஒன்று உண்டு  – Something there

Naaladiyaar – 223

Even if a friend causes us much grief,
To put up with them is worth it; My Lord!
Bees buzz around bright flowers in your country’s tall peaks;
Patience of one saves friendship of two.

இறப்பவே தீய செயினும், தன் நட்டார்
பொறுத்தல் தகுவது ஒன்று அன்றோ?-நிறக் கோங்கு
உருவ வண்டு ஆர்க்கும் உயர் வரை நாட!-
ஒருவர் பொறை இருவர் நட்பு.

This verse is under the chapter நட்பிற் பிழைபொறுத்தல் – Bearing with faults in friendship. The poet says “One whom we have chosen as friend, even if they causes us much grief, it is worth to put up with them. If one person is patient, he saves the friendship between the two.”

The third  line is interesting. It is a description of the ruler’s country. It also means ‘though the flowers are at a height, bees go to them and buzz around. Similarly though a friend is at fault, we have to bear with them for the sake of friendship’.

இறப்பு – much / lot
தீய – grief
நட்டார் – நட்பு உடையவர் – friend
தகுவது – worth
நிறக் கோங்கு – colourful flowers of kOngu tree (Red cotton tree)
உருவ வண்டு – beautiful bee
ஆர் – noise (buzz)
உயர் வரை – tall peaks
பொறை – Patience

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