Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Archive for the category “Padhinen Keel Kanakku”

Naaladiyaar – 75

Among two friends who get along with no differences,
If one slides into unseemly vices,
Put up with him till he is tolerable!
If he turns intolerable,
don’t talk ill of him, just move away!

வேற்றுமை இன்றிக் கலந்து, இருவர் நட்டக்கால்,
தேற்றா ஒழுக்கம் ஒருவன்கண் உண்டாயின்,
ஆற்றும் துணையும் பொறுக்க! பொறான் ஆயின்
தூற்றாதே, தூர விடல்!

Two people are close friends with no differences between them. Suddenly one of them starts veering of the straight and narrow path of virtue and turns to vices. The other friend should bear with him till he is bearable. If his behaviour takes a turn for worse and he is intolerable, one should not talk ill of him and abuse him publicly. It is better to disengage from him and make a clean cut of the friendship instead of hurting the one time friend further.

வேற்றுமை – difference
இன்றி – without
கலந்து – mingle
நட்டக்கால் – நட்பு கொண்டிருந்தால் – if they are friends
தேற்றா ஒழுக்கம் – தகுதி இல்லாத ஒழுக்கம் – unacceptable practices – vices
ஆற்றும் – tolerable
துணை – வரை – till
பொறுக்க – tolerate
பொறான் – பொறுக்க முடியாதவன் – untolerable
தூற்றாதே – don’t abuse – don’t talk ill
தூர விடல் – leave (him) far away

Thirukkural – 332

 

Accrual of riches is like crowds thronging theater halls;
It departs too the same way once screen falls.

கூத்தாட்டு அவைக்குழாத் தற்றே பெருஞ்செல்வம் 
போக்கும் அதுவிளிந் தற்று.

This Kural is under the chapter Impermanence. Great wealth accrues to a person like crowds thronging a theater hall. But the crowd is not permanent. It departs once the show is over. Similarly wealth doesn’t stay with one person forever.

கூத்து – drama / theater
அவை – hall
குழாம் – crowd
பெரும் செல்வம் – great wealth
போக்கு – goes away / departs
விளி – over / (screen falls)

Thirukkural – 1196

 

One sided love is misery; if matched evenly
On both sides, like kavadi*, it is blessed.

ஒருதலையான் இன்னாது, காமம்; காப் போல
இருதலையானும் இனிது.

*Kavadi – pole carried on shoulder by devotees with sacrificial offerings on both ends. (Hindi – Kanvar?)

He has gone away to earn wealth. She pines for him. She says “Only I pine for him. He doesn’t think about me. One sided love is nothing but misery. Love is blessed when it is matched evenly on both sides, like the kavadi”

இன்னாது – painful
கா – kavadi

 

 

Thirukkural – 151

Like Earth that bears with those who dig her up,
To bear with the scornful is the best of virtue. 

அகழ்வாரைத் தாங்கும் நிலம் போல, தம்மை
இகழ்வார்ப் பொறுத்தல் தலை.

Though people dig earth up, yet earth carries them with patience. Similarly to bear with those who are scornful towards one is the topmost virtue. It is not easy though.

அகழ் – to dig / excavate
தாங்கும் – supports, carries / bear
நிலம் – earth
இகழ் – mock / scorn
பொறுத்தல் – bear

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

 

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