Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Archive for the category “Padhinen Keel Kanakku”

Thirukkural 36

Don’t think ‘Will do later’ but do virtuous deeds now itself,
For it will be an undying support when one dies.

அன்றறிவா மென்னா தறம்செய்க மற்றது
பொன்றுங்காற் பொன்றாத் துணை.

Don’t put off doing good deeds for a latter day. Do good deeds now itself when you are young. The virtue will be undying even when you die and will help you in after life.

அன்று – that day / later day
அறிவாம் – will decide (to do)
என்னாது – without
அறம் – virtue
மற்று அது – because that
பொன்று – death
பொன்றா – without dying
துணை – aid / support

Thirukkural – 1252

This passion is merciless; without any respite
It controls my heart even at midnight.

காம மெனவொன்று கண்ணின்றென் னெஞ்சத்தை
யாமத்து மாளுந் தொழில்.

She decries her passion. She says that it lacks compassion for her. It gives her no respite, and dominates her heart even at midnight hour.

காமம் – passion
கண் – கண்ணோட்டம் – compassion
இன்று – not
யாமம் – midnight
ஆளும் – rule
தொழில் – job

Naaladiyaar – 218

Even if they are as close to us as a dog’s toes,
What use is the friendship of those
who don’t help us even to the size of a fly’s toe?
Even if they’re far away from us,
We should nurture the friendship of those
Who are like the canal that helps a field flourish.

நாய்க் கால் சிறு விரல்போல் நன்கு அணியர் ஆயினும்,
ஈக் கால் துணையும் உதவாதார் நட்பு என்னாம்?
சேய்த்தானும் சென்று கொளல்வேண்டும், செய் விளைக்கும்
வாய்க்கால் அனையார் தொடர்பு

This verse is under the chapter ‘Choosing Friends’ – நட்பாராய்தல். The poet says “Some people may be physically close to us, like a dog’s ties that are closely placed. However they won’t help us a bit, even to the size of a house fly’s toe. What use is such a friendship? We should nurture the friendship of those who are like a canal that helps paddy field flourish with its water. Even if they are distant from us, we should take the effort to meet them and nurture their friendship.

அணி – close
துணை – measure / size
சேய் – distant
செய் – field
விளை – produce / flourish
வாய்க்கால் – canal
அனை – like

Thirukkural – 1314

“I love you more than anyone else” I said
“More than whom, more than whom” she sulked.

யாரினுங் காதல மென்றேனா வூடினாள்
யாரினும் யாரினு மென்று.

I told her that my love for her is bigger than any man could have for a woman. But she misunderstood as I was comparing my love for her with my other lovers. So she pouted and picked up a fight with me asking “more than whom do you love me”.

யாரினும் – more than anyone
ஊடினாள் – she had a tiff / sulked

Thirukkural 819

Friendship of those whose words and deeds differ
Is an agony even in one’s dream.

கனவினு மின்னாது மன்னோ வினைவேறு
சொல்வேறு பட்டார் தொடர்பு.

Friendship of people who say something and do something else is an agony,not only when one is awake but even when asleep.

Thirukkural – 950

Patient, Doctor, Medicine and Caretaker –
Constitute four components of the cure.

உற்றவன் தீர்ப்பான் மருந்துஉழைச் செல்வானென்று
அப்பானாற் கூற்றே மருந்து.

Thiruvalluvar talks of holistic approach to medicine. Cure for a disease is based on the type of patient, the treating doctor, medicine and one who gives medicine (nurse / caretaker). These four components constitute a cure.

உற்றான் – One who suffers
தீர்ப்பான் – one who cures
மருந்து – medicine
உழைச் செல்வான் – one who gives medicine / nurse / care taker
அப்பால் – these
நாற் கூற்று – four components

Thirukkural – 627

Realising that human body is a target for suffering,
Wise ones will not be distressed by distress.

இலக்கம், உடம்பு இடும்பைக்கு’ என்று, கலக்கத்தைக்
கையாறாக் கொள்ளாதாம், மேல்.

Wise people realise that the human body is a target for grief and suffering. Hence they will not be distressed when suffering affects them.

இலக்கம் – target
இடும்பை – suffering
கலக்கம் – distress
கையாறு – affliction / distress
கொள்ளாது – will not
மேல் –  high people / Wise ones

Thirukkural 496

Majestic chariot with strong wheels cannot traverse the sea;
Likewise, seafaring boat too will not travel in land.

கடல் ஓடா, கால் வல் நெடுந் தேர்; கடல் ஓடும்
நாவாயும் ஓடா, நிலத்து.

This couplet is under the chapter ‘Knowing the (right) place’ – இடனறிதல். Though a chariot might have string wheels it cannot travel in sea. It will sink. Similarly a boat that travels in sea cannot travel in land. It will run aground. Each is meant to be used in its place. Out of its place, it will become a liability.

Thirukkural – 661

Strength needed for a job is one’s mental strength;
All else is secondary to that.

வினைத் திட்பம் என்பது ஒருவன் மனத் திட்பம்;
மற்றைய எல்லாம் பிற.

Manpower, equipment and all other strengths needed to do a job are secondary to one’s mental strength in completing it.


வினை – job / work
திட்பம் – strength

Thirukkural – 1036

If hands of those who till their lands turn inactive,
Even those who renounced worldly pleasure, suffer.

உழவினார் கைம்மடங்கி னில்லை விழைவதூஉம்
விட்டேமென் பார்க்கும் நிலை.

If farmers stop tilling their lands and rest their hands idly, it will disturb everyone. Even monks who claim to have renounced worldly pleasures will find it difficult to carryout their duties in the absence of food.

உழவினார் – those who plough the land

கைம் மடங்கி – hands turn inactive

விழைவது – yearning / pleasure

விட்டேம் – gave up

என்பார்க்கும் – who say

நிலை இல்லை – can’t do their duty

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