Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Archive for the tag “Thirukkural”

Thirukkural – 483

Is there any work that’s impossible to do  – 
if done at the right time with right tools.

அருவினை யென்ப வுளவோ கருவியாற் 
கால மறிந்து செயின்.

No work is impossible to do if it is done at the right time with the right tools.

அரு வினை – அருமை + வினை – hard / impossible work
என்ப உளவோ – என்று கூறப்படுவது எதுவும் உள்ளதோ – is there anything called
கருவி – (right) tools
காலம் – (right) time
செயின் – செய்தோமென்றால் – if done

Thirukkural – 202

Since evil deeds beget evil, evil deeds
are feared more than a fiery blaze.

தீயவை தீய பயத்தலான், தீயவை
தீயினும் அஞ்சப்படும்.

An evil deed never goes unpunished. It will bring evil to one who did it. So it is to be feared more than a fiery blaze. A fire will burn a person then and there. But even if a person escapes retribution after doing an evil deed, it will follow them and will take its toll. Hence it is feared more than a fire.

பயத்தல் – beget / bring about

Thirukkural -277

Though outwardly (bright red) like the body of crab’s eye seed,
there are people, whose heart is black like its nose.

புறம் குன்றி கண்டனையரேனும், அகம் குன்றி
மூக்கில் கரியார் உடைத்து.

This verse is under the chapter கூடா ஒழுக்கம் – Pretense of Virtue. Thiruvalluvar says, there are people in this world who externally are virtuous like the bright red of crab’s eye seed (குன்றி மணி) body.  But their heart is black like the black nose of the seed. One should be pure externally and internally to be virtuous.

Crabs-Eye-seed

Crab’s eye seed – குன்றி மணி source : https://www.grow-trees.com/blog/social/facebook/crabs-eye-seed/

Bright Red is implied but not explicit in the original verse. I have added it to make the point clear.

புறம் – external
குன்றி – குன்றி மணி – Crab’s eye seed
கண்டு – looks
அனையர் – (people) like that
அகம் – internal / heart
கரியார் – black
உடைத்து – உடையது – (World) has

Thirukkural – 985

Ability of able men is humility; that’s also the tool
of learned men to turn foes to friends.

ஆற்றுவார் ஆற்றல் பணிதல்; அது சான்றோர்
மாற்றாரை மாற்றும் படை.

The real ability of able men is the humility with which they are able to build a team and work together. That humility is also the tool used by wise men to turn their foes into friends.

Friends is not explicit in the original couplet. It literally means ‘convert foes’. I have added the implied meaning to make it easier to read.

ஆற்றல் – prowess / ability
சான்றோர் – learned / wise
மாற்றார் – those who are against us / foes
மாற்றும் – convert / change / turn
படை – கருவி – tool

Thirukkural – 341

Whatever whatever one renounces, from those
from those he suffers no more.

யாதனின் யாதனின் நீங்கியான், நோதல்
அதனின் அதனின் இலன்.

If one renounces something, then that loses its power to make him suffer. Giving up something frees one from its power.

நீங்கி – to remove / give up
நோதல் – suffer

Thirukkural – 623

They trouble the trouble itself –
those who aren’t troubled by trouble.

இடும்பைக்கு இடும்பை படுப்பர்-இடும்பைக்கு
இடும்பை படாஅதவர்

Those who are not troubled by the trouble they face , will cause trouble to the trouble itself. Nothing can harm them. Trouble comes to a person to cause grief to him. If he is resolute and doesn’t grieve, then the purpose of trouble is defeated. Hence it will be troubled.

So now you know where the punch dialogues of Balaiah / Vijayakanth originate from 🙂

இடும்பை – distress / trouble

Thirukkural – 443

To revere wise men and make them one’s own,

is the rarest of rare gifts known.

அரியவற்றுள் எல்லாம் அரிதே-பெரியாரைப்
பேணித் தமராக் கொளல்.

When one comes across wise men, one should please them & make them his own. For they are the rarest of rare things to find.

Gifts is not explicitly mentioned in the couplet. It’s only implied.

அரியவற்றுள் எல்லாம் அரிது – rarest of rare
பெரியார் – wise knowledgeable men
பேணுதல் – To respect, take care, revere
தமர் – relative / one’s own
கொளல் – to have / to make

Thirukkural – 106

Forget not, kinship of the faultless; Forsake not,
friendship of those who stood fast by us in distress.

மறவற்க, மாசு அற்றார் கேண்மை! துறவற்க,
துன்பத்துள் துப்பு ஆயார் நட்பு!.

One should never forget the relation ship of those whose mind is faultless. Being with them will help him in this life and after life too. Similarly, one should not give up the friendship of those who stood fast by us as support in times of distress. They are our real friends.

Forget not / Forsake not phrase I have borrowed from Yogi Shuddhananda Bharathi’s translation.

மறவற்க – do not forget
மாசு அற்றார் – blemishless
கேண்மை – relationship / kinship
துறவற்க – துறக்க வேண்டாம் – give up not
துன்பத்துள் – at time of distress
துப்பு – support
ஆயார் – ஆனவர் – who became
நட்பு – friendship

Thirukkural – 235

Fame that grows as mortal body weakens, and endures after death,
is hard for anyone other than the masterly.

நத்தம்போல் கேடும், உளதாகும் சாக்காடும்,
வித்தகர்க்கு அல்லால் அரிது.

As one’s days pass by the mortal body weakens. For those who are proficient and skillful, fame grows at the same time as their mortal body weakens. Their fame achieves its zenith on their death and endures after that. Such achievement is not easy for any one other than those who are masters in their field.

Fame and mortal body are implied in the original, not mentioned explicitly.

நத்தம் – நந்து + அம் – growth / increase
கேடு – diminish / weakens
உளதாகும் – உளது ஆகும் – established / endures
சாக்காடு – death
வித்தகர் – adept / skillful / proficient
அரிது – hard / difficult

Thirukkural – 781

What else is harder to make than friendship? If made,
What else is better than it to guard the work we do?

செயற்கு அரிய யா உள, நட்பின்?-அதுபோல்
வினைக்கு அரிய யா உள, காப்பு?

A good friend is the hardest thing to acquire in this world. But once we have acquired a good friend, there is no one better to protect our work from foes. So work hard in getting good friends. They will take care of you.

செயற்கரிய – செய்தலுக்கு + அரிய – hard to make
யா – யாது – what
உள – உள்ளது – there
நட்பின் – than friendship
வினை – task / duty
காப்பு – protection

Post Navigation