Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Archive for the tag “Thirukkural”

Thirukkural – 299

 

All lamps aren’t equally bright lamps; For wise ones
Lamp that dispels falsity is the real lamp.

எல்லா விளக்கும் விளக்கல்ல சான்றோர்க்குப்
பொய்யா விளக்கே விளக்கு.

Lamps that dispel external darkness alone are not considered to be bright lamps. Wise men consider the light of truth that dispels falsity as the real lamp.

 

Thirukkural 1217

 

The callous one who doesn’t favour us in reality,
Why does he torment us in our dreams?

நனவினா னல்காக் கொடியார் கனவினான்
என்னெம்மைப் பீழிப் பது.

He hasn’t come to meet her for days together, yet she can’t stop dreaming if him She says “He is not concerned about me. He doesn’t favour me with his presence here. Yet he appears in my dreams and torments me. Why does he do this”

நனவு – reality
நல்கு – give / favour (with his presence)
கொடியார் – கொடுமை புரிபவர் – cruel one
கனவு – dream
பீழித்தல் – torment

 

 

Thirukkural – 593

 

They don’t wallow in misery saying “our wealth is lost”,
Those who possess firm resolve.

ஆக்கம் இழந்தேமென்று அல்லாவார் ஊக்கம்
ஒருவந்தம் கைத்துடை யார்.

People who possess a strong and firm spirit will not be dispirited when they lose their wealth.

ஆக்கம் – wealth
இழந்தேம் – we lost
அல்லாவார் – will not suffer
ஊக்கம் – spirit / resolve
ஒருவந்தம் – firm
கைத்துடையார் – கை + உடையார் – possess

 

Thirukkural – 428

Thirukkural – 428

To not fear what is to be feared is stupidity;
To fear what is to be feared is wise man’s quality.

அஞ்சுவ தஞ்சாமை பேதைமை யஞ்சுவ
தஞ்ச லறிவார் தொழில்.

அஞ்சுவது – to be feared
அஞ்சாமை – to not fear
பேதைமை – stupidity
அஞ்சல் – to fear
அறிவார் – wise person

Thirukkural – 949

Condition of patient, extent of disease and season of remedy –
Physician should consider these and act accordingly.

உற்றா னளவும் பிணியளவுங் காலமுங்
கற்றான் கருதிச் செயல்

When a doctor is treating a patient, he should take into account the attributes of the patient (age / physical characteristics / strength), extent of the disease and the season when cure is administered. After careful consideration of all this should he treat the patient.

உற்றான் – one who has (disease)
அளவு – measure / characteristic / condition
பிணி – disease
கற்றான் – learned (doctor) / physician
கருதி – consider / take into account
செயல் – act / treat

 

 

Thirukkural – 1125

I’d recall, if I ever forgot; but never did I forget
the charms of
the girl with lively gleaming eyes.

உள்ளுவன்மன், யான் மறப்பின்; மறப்பு அறியேன்,
ஒள் அமர்க் கண்ணாள் குணம்.

Fearing the town gossip, he hasn’t come to meet her for some days. When he comes back, her friend asks him “Did you ever remember us once you went back to your town?” To which he replies “I would have recalled the memories of your friend, the girl with shining combative eyes, if I ever forgot her. But not for a moment did I forget her. So this question of remembering her doesn’t arise at all”

உள்ளுதல் – Recall / to think (of her)
யான் – I
மறப்பின் – if I forgot
மறப்பு – forgetting
அறியேன் – I never
ஒள் – shining / gleam
அமர் – lively / combative
குணம் – nature / charm

 

 

Thirukkural – 633

To divide foes, to strengthen bond with allies,
To reconcile with erstwhile friends – are a minister’s skills.

பிரித்தலும்
, பேணிக்கொளலும், பிரிந்தார்ப்
பொருத்தலும், வல்லதுஅமைச்சு.

A good minister is one who is skillful in making sure that foes are divided, one’s alliances are strong and reconciling with former allies who have parted ways. By this he will be able to help his ruler rule the country.

பிரித்தல் – divide
பேணுதல் – to take care / strengthen bond
பிரிந்தார் – those who parted ways (erstwhile friends)
பொருத்தல் – to join
வல்லது – ability
அமைச்சு – minister

Thirukkural – 1120

Even pimpernels and soft feathers of a swan
Are thorny caltrops to this girl’s feet.

அனிச்சமு மன்னத்தின் றூவியும் மாத
ரடிக்கு நெருஞ்சிப் பழம்.

My girl’s feet are soft and tender. Even soft petals of a pimpernel flower or fine feathers of a swan are thorns to her feet.

அனிச்சம் – Pimpernel flower
அன்னம் – swan
தூவி – feather
அடி – feet
நெருஞ்சி – caltrop (thorn)

Thirukkural 1238

 

As I eased my embracing arms away from her,
The bangled girl’s forehead lost colour.

முயங்கிய கைகளை யூக்கப் பசந்தது
பைந்தொடிப் பேதை நுதல்.

He is reminiscing about his girl. Once when they were hugging tight, he eased his arms a bit so as not to crush her. Thinking he is about to leave, she is distressed and her forehead loses colour.

Thirukkural 667

 

Do not ridicule looking at one’s appearance – this world has people
Who are like the linchpin of a lofty chariot.

உருவு கண்டு எள்ளாமை வேண்டும்-உருள் பெருந் தேர்க்கு
அச்சு ஆணி அன்னார் உடைத்து.

We should not mock a person looking on their appearance. There are people in this world who play important roles but look very ordinary. Linchpin of a majestic chariot looks very small. But it is key to the movement of the chariot. So don’t ridicule any one for their appearance.

உருவு – form / appearance

எள்ளாமை – not ridicule

அச்சாணி – linchpin

அன்னார் – similar people

உடைத்து – (world) has

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