Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Archive for the tag “Thevaram”

Thevaram 3.49.1

Those who chant it immersed in love, yielding to him
with tears of bliss – it guides them to the path of virtue;
It is the essence of all four Vedas;
It is the moniker of my lord, Namachivaya.

காதல் ஆகி, கசிந்து, கண்ணீர் மல்கி,
ஓதுவார் தமை நன் நெறிக்கு உய்ப்பது;
வேதம் நான்கினும் மெய்ப்பொருள் ஆவது
நாதன் நாமம் நமச்சிவாயவே.

This verse by Thirugnana Sambandhar extols the word Namachivaya, moniker of Shiva. He says those who chant it with heart full of love, melting to a puddle and tears of bliss streaming from their eyes – in other words unconditional surrender to God – will be guided by Him to the virtuous path. His Name is the truth and essence of all four Vedas.

The first line in Tamil – காதல் ஆகி, கசிந்து, கண்ணீர் மல்கி– uses alliteration and packs a punch in describing unconditional surrender of the devotees.

காதல் – love
கசிந்து – melting / yielding / giving in
ஓதுவார் – those who chant
நன் நெறி – right way
உய்ப்பது – guides / brings
மெய்ப்பொருள் – true meaning / essence
நாமம் – name / moniker

Thevaram 6.98.1

We aren’t subjects to anyone; we do not fear Death;
We will not suffer in hell; there’s no falsity in us;
We’re protected (by Him);
Nothing can trouble us; We will not bow down;

All our days are joyful, there’s no misery.

நாமார்க்கும் குடியல்லோம்; நமனை அஞ்சோம்;
நரகத்தில் இடர்ப்படோம்; நடலை இல்லோம்;
ஏமாப்போம்; பிணி அறியோம், பணிவோம் அல்லோம்;
இன்பமே எந்நாளும், துன்பமில்லை.

This is a famous poem of 7th Century Saivite saint Thirunavukkarasar (Appar). He was at the forefront of Saivite revival movement in Tamilnadu. The Pallava King, who was a Jain at that time, was angry with him and sent soldiers to bring him to the Royal court. This poem was Thirunavukkarasar’s famous retort. I have translated only the first two lines. These two lines are quoted often in Tamilnadu by anyone opposing authoritarianism of the State. Two more lines complete the poem.

We are not citizens bound to any king but Shiva. So we don’t fear the god of death. Even if we go to hell we will not suffer. We speak only the truth, so aren’t afraid. We are protected by the Supreme being. We don’t know anything that can trouble us. We will not bow down in front of your King. Our life is always a joy, there is no agony in it”

I am not well versed in religious scriptures. I go by the commentaries. If there is any mistake, do point out.



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