Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Archive for the tag “Nanmanikkadigai”

Nanmanik Kadigai – 6

From spurges* is aromatic agar born;
In deer’s stomach is rich musk** born;
Inside the sea invaluable pearl is born;
Who knows in which clan virtuous will be born?

கள்ளி வயிற்றின் அகில்பிறக்கும் மான்வயிற்றின்
ஒள்ளரி தாரம் பிறக்கும் பெருங்கடலுள்
பல்விலைய முத்தம் பிறக்கும் அறிவார்யார்
நல்லாள் பிறக்குங் குடி.

*Sap of square spurge (cactus like plant) was considered equivalent of agar wood resin from which attar is manufactured.
**Musk gland is inside a male deer’s body, between its genitals and umbilicus.

This poem is about how worth is based on one’s activities and not where he was born. The poet points out that aromatic substance is born in cactus like plants, rich musk is born inside a male deer’s stomach, invaluable pearls are born inside the huge ocean. So who knows in which clan the virtuous will be born. So do not value a person based on where he is born, value him based on his activities.

‘ஒள் அரிதாரம்’ has been interpreted as ‘bright musk’ in Tamil commentaries. Common meaning of ஒள் – ஒண்மை is bright. But it doesn’t make sense to call musk as bright. I have used ‘rich’ one of the other meanings in Madras University Dictionary.

Wikipedia link for
Spurge – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euphorbia
Musk deer – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musk_deer

கள்ளி – Square Spurge
அகில் – Agar / aloes (aromatic resin of agarwood. Here an equivalent sap from spurge plant)
ஒள் – luxurious / rich
அரிதாரம் – musk
பல்விலை – highly valued
முத்தம் – pearl
குடி – clan

Nanmanik Kadigai – 55

There’s no body part better than eyes;
there’s no kin more intimate than spouse;
there’s nothing that equals sparkle of kids;
there’s no God on par with Mom.

கண்ணிற் சிறந்த உறுப்பில்லை கொண்டானின்
துன்னிய கேளிர் பிறரில்லை மக்களின்
ஒண்மையவாய்ச் சான்ற பொருளில்லை ஈன்றாளோ
டெண்ணக் கடவுளு மில்.

Eyes are better than all other body parts for a human being. There is no relative who is closer than one’s husband. There is nothing equal to the splendour of kids. There is no God who can be on par with one’s mother.

சிறந்த – better
கொண்டான் – husband
துன்னிய – close / intimate
மக்கள் – children
ஒண்மை – splendour / knowledge
சான்ற – சார் – equal
ஈன்றாள் – one who gave birth (mother)
ஓடு எண்ண – think with (on par)

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