Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Archive for the category “Padhinen Keel Kanakku”

Thirukkural – 400

Learning is the superior wealth that doesn’t decay;
Other forms of wealth are not equal to it.

கேடில் விழுச்செல்வங் கல்வி யொருவற்கு
மாடல்ல மற்றை யவை.

Education is one superior wealth for a person, as it doesn’t decay. All other forms of wealth will decay over time or can be taken away. Hence nothing is equal to learning.

கேடு – decay
இல் – இல்லாத – not
விழு – superior / excellent
செல்வம் – wealth
ஒருவற்கு – to a person
மாடு – wealth
அல்ல – not (equal)
மற்றையவை – others

Naaladiyaar – 64

When unqualified people malign them,
Wise men don’t get hot under the collar;
Lowly people though take it to heart,
repeat it all over town, get furious,
and slam themselves into a pillar in anger.

நேர்த்து நிகரல்லார் நீரல்ல சொல்லியக்கால்
வேர்த்து வெகுளார் விழுமியோர் – ஓர்த்தனை
உள்ளத்தான் உள்ளி உரைத்துராய் ஊர்கேட்பத்
துள்ளித்தூண் முட்டுமாம் கீழ்.

When some one who in unqualified thinks of himself as an equal and maligns, wise men don’t get angry and hot under the collar. They just ignore the words. But lowly people keep thinking of the slur uttered against them. They take the words to heart, keep repeating it all over the town, build up their anger and in their rage slam themselves into a nearby pillar. There is no point in taking the slurs uttered by unequal people to heart. To keep thinking of it only harms the person who was slurred against. It is wise to just ignore and move on.

Thirukkural – 339

Like falling asleep, is Death;
Like waking up from sleep, is Birth.

உறங்கு வதுபோலுஞ் சாக்காடு உறங்கி 
விழிப்பது போலும் பிறப்பு

Birth and death happen regularly in this world. They are inevitable. They are just like falling asleep and waking up. So don’t think that one will be here for ever.

உறங்குவது – To sleep
சாக்காடு – Death
விழிப்பது – To wake up
பிறப்பு – Birth

Thirukkural – 333

Of impermanent nature, is wealth; when one acquires it,
Do good that is permanent, right away.

அற்கா இயல்பிற்றுச் செல்வம்; அது பெற்றால்,
அற்குப ஆங்கே செயல்
.

Wealth is fickle by nature and will not stay with one person for long. So whenever one acquired it, they should immediately do good deeds that are permanent.

அல்குதல் – to stay / permanent
இயல்பு – nature
ஆங்கே – then itself / right away
செயல் – do

Thirukkural – 74

From love springs forth interest in fellow humans;
That effortlessly begets the gift of friendship of all.

அன்பு ஈனும் ஆர்வம் உடைமை; அது ஈனும்,
‘நண்பு’ என்னும் நாடாச் சிறப்பு.

When one’s heart is filled with love, one takes keen interest in others and empathises with them. This interest shown begets the friendship of all , without one consciously working towards it.

சிறப்பு can mean honour / esteem / special / gift. I have interpreted as gift, based on Devaneya Paavanar ‘s commentary.

அன்பு – love

ஈனும் – gives birth to

ஆர்வம் – interest

நாடா – unsought / effortless

சிறப்பு – gift

Naaladiyaar – 116

Even if they learn books of wisdom in detail,
Restless ones will never cease to be restless;
O’ beautiful eyed lass!
Even if cooked with salt and ghee, or milk, or curd, or spices,
Wild gourd will never lose its bitterness.

இடம் பட மெய்ஞ்ஞானம் கற்பினும் என்றும்,
அடங்காதார் என்றும் அடங்கார்;-தடங் கண்ணாய்!-
உப்பொடு நெய், பால், தயிர், காயம், பெய்து அடினும்,
கைப்பு அறா, பேய்ச் சுரையின் காய்.

Some people are by nature restless and are not in control of their senses. Even if they learn scriptures and books of wisdom in detail, still they will not learn to control their senses. This is like cooking wild bottle gourd. It smells and is extremely bitter. Even if it is cooked with ghee and salt or marinated in milk or curd or cooked with spices, its inherent bitterness will never go away. Similarly people’s inherent qualities will not change.

இடம் பட – expansive / in detail
மெய்ஞ்ஞானம் – true wisdom
அடங்காதார் – ones who aren’t under control / restless
தடங் கண்ணாய் – big eyed woman
காயம் – spices / condiments
அடினும் – சமைத்தாலும் – even if cooked
கைப்பு – bitterness
அறா – will not lose
பேய்ச் சுரையின் காய் – wild bottle gourd (?)

Thirukkural – 766

Valour, Honour, Marching on the path of virtue, Ruler’s confidence,
These four are the army’s defence.

மறமான மாண்ட வழிச்செலவுதேற்றம்
எனநான்கே யேமம் படைக்கு.

An army is protected by these four qualities – Valour of its troops, Honourable conduct, Following the virtuous path of its predecessors and being completely trusted by the ruler.

மறம் – bravery / valour
மானம் – honour
மாண்ட வழி – glorious path (of predecessors)
செலவு – to go / march
தேற்றம் – assurance / trust
ஏமம் – protection / defence
படை – Army

Thirukkural – 567

Thirukkural – 567.

Harsh words and punishment far exceeding the crime
Are files that wear down the Ruler’s conquering might.

கடு மொழியும், கையிகந்த தண்டமும், வேந்தன்
அடு முரண் தேய்க்கும் அரம்
.

A Ruler should not use harsh words nor give punishments that far exceed the crime. These are like metal files that wear down toughened steels. Citizens anger will similarly wear down the all conquering strength of the ruler.

கை – fault / crime
இக – beyond
தண்டம் – punishment
அடு – conquering
முரண் – strength / might
தேய்க்கும் – wear down
அரம் – file

Thirukkural – 1211

To this dream that brought my lover’s message,
What feast shall I treat it to?

காதலர் தூதொடு வந்த கனவினுக்
கியாதுசெய் வேன்கொல் விருந்து.

He has gone away to earn wealth and she is pining for him. She hasn’t heard from him for long. She dreams that he has sent a message. This makes her happy and she wonders what feast to prepare for the dream that acted as a messenger.

Thirukkural – 788

Like swift hands of one whose dress slips,
Rushing to relieve (friend’s) misery is friendship.

உடுக்கை இழந்தவன் கை போல, ஆங்கே
இடுக்கண் களைவது ஆம்-நட்பு.

When one’s dress slips, his hands instinctively rush to rectify it. One should act with the same swiftness to relieve a friend’s misery. That’s what friendship is.

உடுக்கை – dress
இடுக்கண் – misery
களைவது – to remove

Post Navigation