Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Archive for the category “Padhinen Keel Kanakku”

Pazhamozhi 400 – 312

Those who did not do considerable good deeds earlier,
Can they expect to attain considerable wealth later?
If they compare with others’ wealth and try, will it happen?
No returns for those who didn’t invest.

முன் பெரிய நல்வினை முட்டு இன்றிச் செய்யாதார்,
பின் பெரிய செல்வம் பெறல் ஆமோ? வைப்போடு
இகலிப் பொருள் செய்ய எண்ணியக்கால், என் ஆம்?-
முதல் இலார்க்கு ஊதியம் இல்.

Good deeds we did in previous birth will ensure better life in this birth. Those who did not do any good deeds in previous birth, can they expect good things in this birth? Even if they compare themselves with others’ wealth and try to earn, will anything change? There’s no return for those who haven’t invested (by doing good deeds).

This is from பழமொழி நானூறு (Four hundred Proverbs). Since most of its content is similar to Naaladiyaar, this is supposed 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). From the foreword verse of this anthology it is inferred that he was a follower of Jainism. Rebirth and Karma are cornerstones of Jain world view.

முன் – earlier (previous birth)

நல்வினை – good deeds

முட்டு இன்றி – without limits / considerable

பின் – later (this birth)

வைப்பு – savings (of others)

இகல் – compare

என் ஆம்? – என்ன ஆகும் – what will happen

முதல் – investment / capital

ஊதியம் – salary / return

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 one is asleep.

கனவு – dream
இன்னா – grief / misery
தொடர்பு – connection / friendship

#Tamil #Thirukkural #Poetry #translation​

Naaladiyaar – 28

Those who are blessed with a healthy body,
Must put their body to good use –
Like a cloud circling mountain peaks,
This body will appear and vanish in a blink.

யாக்கையை யாப்புடைத்தாப் பெற்றவர், தாம் பெற்ற
யாக்கையால் ஆய பயன் கொள்க-யாக்கை
மலை ஆடும் மஞ்சுபோல் தோன்றி, மற்று ஆங்கே
நிலையாது நீத்துவிடும்!

This Naaladiyaar verse talks about the impermanence of life. A healthy body is a rare gift. Those who have got that, should use their life to do good deeds to the maximum of their potential. They should not think that they will be healthy and live for ever. The body is like a cloud circling a mountain peak. It might look massive and permanent but we all know it will vanish without a trace. So one must make good us of the healthy life they are bestowed with.

யாக்கை – body
யாப்பு – firm / healthy
ஆய பயன் – maximum use
மஞ்சு – cloud

Thirukkural – 1125

 

I’ll remember, if I forget; but I know not how to forget the virtues
Of this lass with a gleam and dare in her eyes.

உள்ளுவன் மன்யான் மறப்பின் மறப்பறியே
னொள்ளமர்க் கண்ணாள் குணம்.

He is going back after their tryst. Her worried friend asks him will you remember us once you go back to your town. He says “I will remember, if I forget her. But I do not know how to forget her charms. She, whose sharp eyes dazzle with a gleam”

உள்ளுதல் – to think of

மறப்பறியேன் – i don’t know how to forget
ஒள் அமர்க் கண்ணாள் – bright, battling eyed girl
குணம் – traits / virtues

Thirukkural – 1254

Unyielding reserve I had, I thought; My passion though,
breaks out and reveals itself.

நிறையுடையே னென்பேன்மன் யானோயென் காம
மறையிறந்து மன்று படும்.

She says that she was proud of her womanly reserve and was sure she could keep her feelings for him under control. But her passion doesn’t listen to her. Though she tried to keep it hidden, it broke out and revealed itself in public.

நிறை – Reserve
உடையேன் – I had
என்பேன் யான் – I said
காமம் – passion
மறை – hidden place
இறந்து – கடந்து – transgress / breaks
மன்று – assembly / public
படும் – (வெளிப்) படும் – reveals

Naaladiyaar – 61

Let those who respect us, pass by!
Let those who disrespect us too, pass by!
Even a housefly climbs up one’s head;
So, it’s good for wise men to not lash out angrily.

மதித்து இறப்பாரும் இறக்க! மதியார்,
மிதித்து இறப்பாரும் இறக்க! மிதித்து ஏறி,
ஈயும் தலைமேல் இருத்தலால், அஃது அறிவார்
காயும் கதம் இன்மை நன்று

There will be people who respect a wise man. There will be people who disrespect one and step on them. Wise men who know this nature of the world should not get irritated and angry, as even a housefly climbs up one’s head. There is no point getting angry with the fly.

மதித்து – respect
மதியார் – மதிக்க மாட்டாதவர் – disrespect
மிதித்து – who step on
இற(த்தல்) – to pass by
அஃது அறிவார் – those who realize / wise men
காயும் – lash out
கதம் – angry
இன்மை – not

Thirukkural – 620

They see even fate retreat –
those who strive hard resolutely.

ஊழையும் உப்பக்கம் காண்பர்-உலைவு இன்றித்
தாழாது உஞற்றுபவர்.

Those who put in their best efforts steadfastly, can even conquer their fate.

ஊழ் – destiny /fate
உப்பக்கம் – முதுகு – back
உலைவு – tremble / hesitant
உஞற்று – effort

Thirukkural – 752.

 

Have-nots are ridiculed by one and all;
Wealthy are heaped with praise by all.

இல்லாரை எல்லாரும் எள்ளுவர்; செல்வரை
எல்லாரும் செய்வர், சிறப்பு.

One’s wealth decides how he is looked upon by the world. Those who are wealthy are praised by everyone while those who are not well off are ridiculed by everyone.

எள்ளுதல் – ridicule
சிறப்பு – respect / praise

Thirukkural – 445

As governance depends on ministers acting as his eyes,
A ruler should surround himself with ministers wise.

சூழ்வார்கண் ணாக வொழுகலான் மன்னவன் 
சூழ்வாரைச் சூழ்ந்து கொளல்.

Governance of a country depends on the ministers who act as a Ruler’s eyes. They take information to him and advice him in people’s mood. So a ruler should surround himself with the wisest if ministers.

சூழ் – advice.

சூழ்வார் – advisor / minister.

Thirukkural – 338

Like a bird flying away discarding its eggshell
Is the relationship between body and soul.

குடம்பை தனித்து ஒழியப் புள் பறந்தற்றே –
உடம்பொடு உயிரிடை நட்பு

This Kural is under the chapter நிலையாமை – Impermanence. Valluvar equates a soul like a bird that discards its shell and flies away. This physical body is nothing but a shell.

For those who can read Tamil – The word குடம்பை can mean either ‘nest’ or ‘shell’. Devaneya Paavaanar explains here why he treats it as shell while some commentators treat it as nest. https://t.co/jgxSH2dS9s

குடம்பை – egg shell
புள் – bird

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