Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Archive for the category “Padhinen Keel Kanakku”

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

Naaladiyaar – 247

If we befriend those who are sensitive enough
To understand our unspoken thoughts, joy will befriend us;
If we leave those who dumbly misconstrue
Even explicit words, grief too will leave us.

உணர உணரும் உணர்வுடை யாரைப்
புணரிற் புணருமாம் இன்பம் – புணரின்;
தெரியத் தெரியுந் தெரிவிலா தாரைப்
பிரியப் பிரியுமாம் நோய்.

We should be careful with our friendship. If we befriend someone, we should become friends with those who are sensitive to understand our unspoken thoughts. Then the friendship will bring us joy. On the other hand, if we befriend some one who misunderstands even things we state explicitly, it will end in grief. If we move away from such persons, grief too will move away from us.

It us impossible to translate the wordplay and rhyme in the original. So I have gone for detailed explanatory translation.

உணர – thoughts

உணர்வு – sensitive

புணர்ச்சி – join / befriend

தெரிவு – clear

தெரிவு இல்லாதார் – one who lacks clarity / dumb

Thirukkural – 370

If one gives up insatiable desire, that itself
Will give him a state of eternal bliss.

ஆரா இயற்கை அவா நீப்பின், அந் நிலையே
பேரா இயற்கை தரும்.

Desire by nature is insatiable. If one gives it up, the act of giving up desire will lead him to a state of unchanging bliss in this life itself.

This couplet is under the chapter “Giving up desire”.

ஆர் – fill ஆரா – unfillable / insatiable
இயற்கை – nature
அவா – desire
நீத்தல் – give up
பேர் – to change பேரா – unchanging / eternal

Thirukkural – 1177

Grieving, grieving, let tears dry up now
In eyes that longingly looked at him in love.

உழந்துழந் துண்ணீ ரறுக விழைந்திழைந்து
வேண்டி யவர்கண்ட கண்.

She hasn’t seen him in a long time and is crying. She curses her eyes that cry saying “You were the one that looked at him longingly and fell in love. You deserve all the pain. May you shed so many tears in grief that your tears dry up”

உழந்து உழந்து உள்நீர் அறுக-விழைந்து இழைந்து
வேண்டி அவர்க் கண்ட கண்!

உழத்தல் – to suffer / grieve
உள்நீர்  – inner water / tears
அறுக – let dry
விழைதல் – to wish / long
இழை – be intimate / love
வேண்டி  – wanting

Pazhamozhi 400 – 282

Wealthy is one who safeguards his wealth;
That wealth itself will safeguard him;
A residing tiger protects the forest;
In turn, forest protects the tiger.

உடையதனைக் காப்பான் உடையான்; அதுவே
உடையானைக் காப்பதூஉம் ஆகும்;-அடையின்,
புதற்குப் புலியும் வலியே; புலிக்குப்
புதலும் வலியாய்விடும்.

One becomes wealthy by safeguarding his wealth. In turn the wealth will safe guard him. Like how a tiger residing in a forest protects the forest. People are afraid of the tiger and don’t venture into the forest. At the same time, the dense forest offers protection to the tiger

உடையது – possession / wealth
உடையான் – who owns / wealthy
அடை – reside
புதல் – thicket / low jungle
வலி – strength / protection

Naaladiyaar – 32

“Forget virtue, desire wealth and multiply it;
We’ll be here forever”, don’t think so stupid heart!
Though you work tirelessly and live joyfully,
Your days are gone; What’s your plan, tell me?

‘ஆவாம் நாம், ஆக்கம் நசைஇ; அறம் மறந்து,
போவாம் நாம்’ என்னா,-புலை நெஞ்சே!-ஓவாது
நின்று உஞற்றி வாழ்தி எனினும், நின் வாழ்நாள்கள்
சென்றன; செய்வது உரை.

Don’t forget to do good deeds and just desire wealth, spending all your time in increasing it, thinking your days are forever. If you think so, you are stupid my heart. You might work tirelessly without taking a break and live your life as you wish, but your life time is dwindling. What are you going to do in the remaining days (for your afterlife), tell me.

ஆக்கம் – wealth
நசை – desire
அறம்  – virtue, good deeds
ஆவாம் – increase
போவாம் – will not go (die)
புலை – base / stupid
ஓவாது – without giving up
உஞற்றி – vigorous

Thirukkural – 299

 

All lamps aren’t equally bright lamps; For wise ones
Lamp that dispels falsity is the real lamp.

எல்லா விளக்கும் விளக்கல்ல சான்றோர்க்குப்
பொய்யா விளக்கே விளக்கு.

Lamps that dispel external darkness alone are not considered to be bright lamps. Wise men consider the light of truth that dispels falsity as the real lamp.

 

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