Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Archive for the tag “Pazhamozhi400”

Pazha Mozhi 400 – 42

Even Thirumal* who saved cows in distress
is called just a cow herd by this world;
irrespective of whether Gods or humans,
tongue that speaks ill is never at a loss.

*Thirumal – Tamil for Lord Vishnu

ஆவிற் கரும்பனி தாங்கிய மாலையும்
கோவிற்குக் கோவல னென்றுலகம் கூறுமால்
தேவர்க்கு மக்கட் கெனல்வேண்டா தீங்குரைக்கும்
நாவிற்கு நல்குர(வு) இல்

When Indra sent rain and thunder to destroy Brindavan, Lord Krishna (avatar of Vishnu) lifted the hills and saved men and cattle from their distress. Even though standing up to Indra was a praiseworthy feat, still the world calls him but a cow herd. So this world doesn’t differentiate between Gods or humans when it disparagaes them. The tongue is never at a loss to criticize / say bad things about people.

The proverb here is “Tongue that speaks ill is never at a loss” (தீங்குரைக்கும் நாவிற்கு நல்குர(வு) இல்)

Pazhamozhi 400 (Proverbs 400) is one of the 18 post Sangam anthologies. It was written / compiled by முன்றுறை அரையனார் (Mundrurai Arayanar, Chief of Mundrurai) and is generally dated to around 5th Century AD.

ஆ – cow
அரும் – great
பனி – distress
மால் – திருமால் – Thirumal (Tamil for Vishnu)
கோ – cow
கோவலன் – cow herd
தீங்கு உரைக்கும் – speaking ill
நா – tongue
நல்குரவு – poverty / shortage

PazhaMozhi 400 – 10

When a close friend and his foe bicker,
one who incites both as if he’s their wellwisher,
instead of taking either’s side as a friend,
is called a torch lit in both ends.

பெரிய நட்டார்க்கும் பகைவர்க்கும், சென்று,
திரிவு இன்றித் தீர்ந்தார்போல் சொல்லி, அவருள்
ஒருவரோடு ஒன்றி ஒருப்படாதாரே,
இரு தலைக் கொள்ளி என்பார்.

When a close friend and his foe have a fight, one should take the side of either one of them. One who goes and talks to both as if he is their friend and incites them, making sure that they don’t reconcile is called a torch lit in both ends. He will damage them both.

Pazhamozhi 400 (Proverbs 400) is one of the 18 post Sangam collections. It was written by முன்றுறை அரையனார் (Mundrurai Arayanar, Chief of Mundrurai) and is generally dated to around 5th Century AD.

இருதலைக் கொள்ளி – a torch lit at both ends. The phrase  இருதலைக் கொள்ளி எறும்பு – an ant stuck in a torch that burns at both ends – is in common usage in Tamil Nadu even today.

PazhaMozhi 400 – 18

“They were one with the Virtuous, lived like kith and kin,
hence they’re good too”, saying so none will befriend the inferior;
O’ man from the town where paddy fields are full of cranes!
Can one eat sand mixed with sugar?

தக்காரோடு ஒன்றி, தமராய் ஒழுகினார்;
மிக்காரால்’ என்று, சிறியாரைத் தாம் தேறார்;-
கொக்கு ஆர் வள வயல் ஊர!-தினல் ஆமோ,
அக்காரம் சேர்ந்த மணல்?

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).

“Just because inferior people associate with the virtuous people and live closely with them  like their relatives, doesn’t mean that they are good too.Wise men won’t associate with the them.” The proverb is “Can one eat sand mixed with sugar (thinking it is sugar)?”

Cranes reside in paddy fields to hunt for fish. So do the inferior associate with the virtuous.

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