Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Archive for the tag “NaachiyarThirumozhi”

Naachiyar Thirumozhi – 584

O’ dark clouds that appear over Venkata hills during monsoon!
I tumble down like withered crown flower leaves in rainy season,
chanting the name of one who appeared in battlefield victoriously;
Will he not send me a word of hope as time stretches before me!

கார்காலத் தெழுகின்ற கார்முகில்காள் வேங்கடத்துப்
போர்காலத் தெழுந்தருளிப் பொருதவனார் பேர்சொல்லி
நீர்காலத் தெருக்கிலம் பழவிலைபோல் வீழ்வேனை
வார்காலத் தொருநாள்தம் வாசகம்தந் தருளாரே!

This is a poem from Nachiyar Thirumozhi by Andal, dated to around 8th century. She is in love with Lord Vishnu, who resides in the Venkata hills (Tirupati). As monsoon clouds rise up, she complains to them. “I keep chanting his name, who appeared in the battlefield and emerged victorious. Constantly thinking of him, I am becoming weak and brittle. I fall down like the crown flower (எருக்கு) leaves that dry out in summer and at the first touch of rains fall down. Why does he not send me a message one of these days as I wait for him. His message would revive me”

Crown flower plant has a milky stem. During the hot summer, the milky liquid is completely dried out and the leaves fade. As soon as the rain drops fall on the plant, the leaves break and fall down. She says she is like those leaves, her soul is withering as he hasn’t appeared in front of her. At this stage, if rain drops fall on her, she will break down completely. If he sends a message to her, that will sustain her life.

I was reminded of this poem after seeing a video of a leaf falling down in a pond. It is not a crown flower leaf, but the image triggered the memory of this beautiful poem.

Falling gracefully….

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கார்காலம் – monsoon
கார்முகில் – dark clouds
பொருதுதல் – fight
நீர்காலம் – rainy season
எருக்கு – crown flower
இலம் – without / poor
பழு – பழுத்த – faded
வார் – lengthen
வாசகம் – message

Naachiyar Thirumozhi – 508

Like the sacred offerings
made by priests to the deities
being trampled and smelled
by a fox roaming in the wild,
if any talk arises that my breasts
which rise in pleasure for the noble One
are to be possessed by a human,
I will cease to live, God of love.

வானிடை வாழுமவ் வானவர்க்கு
மறையவர் வேள்வியில் வகுத்தஅவி
கானிடைத் திரிவதோர் நரிபுகுந்து
கடப்பதும் மோப்பதும் செய்வதொப்ப
ஊனிடை யாழிசங் குத்தமர்க்கென்று
உன்னித் தெழுந்தவென் தடமுலைகள்
மானிட வர்க்கென்று பேச்சுப்படில்
வாழகில் லேன்கண்டாய் மன்மதனே.

Andal, who had decided to become one with Lord Vishnu dedicated her life to be with him. However she learned of her father trying to get her married. This poem is Andal throwing the gauntlet. “My body and life are meant for the Lord. If I ever hear you talk about getting me married to a mortal, that my body which is meant for the Lord is to be handled by a human being, I will give up my life. It will be like a wild fox smelling and trampling the sacred offering made to deities.”

The raw passion of this poem is a beauty to behold. She equates herself to the sacred offering made to God.

Naachiyar Thirumozhi – 567

 

Does it smell of camphor? or of Lotus?
His coral red mouth, is it delicious?
Yearning to know the taste and smell
of the tusk breaker’s* mouth, I ask you;
tell me O’ ocean born white Conch.

கருப்பூரம் நாறுமோ கமலப்பூ நாறுமோ
திருப்பவளச் செவ்வாய்தான் தித்தித்தி ருக்கும்மோ
மருப்பொசித்த மாதவன்றன் வாய்ச்சுவையும் நாற்றமும்
விருப்புற்றுக் கேட்கின்றேன் சொல்லாழி வெண்சங்கே.

*When Kamsa sent his Royal elehant to trample Krishna and Balarama, they broke its tusk and threw it off easily.

Panchajanyam is the white conch of Krishna, which he blows to sound the start of war. Andal, a fervent devotee of Krishna, asks the Panchajanyam about how his mouth tastes and smells.

“Does it smell of camphor or lotus (which are offered to him while praying)? Does his mouth taste delicious? I desire to know the taste and smell of his mouth. Since you are lucky enough to be on his mouth, please tell me”

Andal is one of the well known poet saints in Tamil literary canon. She is the only woman among the 12 Alwars (saints) in Sri Vaishnavite tradition. Born in 8th Century AD as the daughter of Vishnu Chittan (Periyalvar) in Sri Villiputhur, she fell in love with Lord Vishnu at an young age and decided to marry him. Her poems in Thiruppavai are sung during the month of Margazhi (Dec-Jan). Naachiyar Thirumozhi consists of 143 poems of intense longing and desire for Lord Vishnu.

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