Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Archive for the tag “Thirukkural”

Thirukkural – 1211

To this dream that brought my lover’s message,
What feast shall I treat it to?

காதலர் தூதொடு வந்த கனவினுக்
கியாதுசெய் வேன்கொல் விருந்து.

He has gone away to earn wealth and she is pining for him. She hasn’t heard from him for long. She dreams that he has sent a message. This makes her happy and she wonders what feast to prepare for the dream that acted as a messenger.

Thirukkural – 788

Like swift hands of one whose dress slips,
Rushing to relieve (friend’s) misery is friendship.

உடுக்கை இழந்தவன் கை போல, ஆங்கே
இடுக்கண் களைவது ஆம்-நட்பு.

When one’s dress slips, his hands instinctively rush to rectify it. One should act with the same swiftness to relieve a friend’s misery. That’s what friendship is.

உடுக்கை – dress
இடுக்கண் – misery
களைவது – to remove

Thirukkural – 370

If one gives up insatiable desire, that itself
Will give him a state of eternal bliss.

ஆரா இயற்கை அவா நீப்பின், அந் நிலையே
பேரா இயற்கை தரும்.

Desire by nature is insatiable. If one gives it up, the act of giving up desire will lead him to a state of unchanging bliss in this life itself.

This couplet is under the chapter “Giving up desire”.

ஆர் – fill ஆரா – unfillable / insatiable
இயற்கை – nature
அவா – desire
நீத்தல் – give up
பேர் – to change பேரா – unchanging / eternal

Thirukkural – 1177

Grieving, grieving, let tears dry up now
In eyes that longingly looked at him in love.

உழந்துழந் துண்ணீ ரறுக விழைந்திழைந்து
வேண்டி யவர்கண்ட கண்.

She hasn’t seen him in a long time and is crying. She curses her eyes that cry saying “You were the one that looked at him longingly and fell in love. You deserve all the pain. May you shed so many tears in grief that your tears dry up”

உழந்து உழந்து உள்நீர் அறுக-விழைந்து இழைந்து
வேண்டி அவர்க் கண்ட கண்!

உழத்தல் – to suffer / grieve
உள்நீர்  – inner water / tears
அறுக – let dry
விழைதல் – to wish / long
இழை – be intimate / love
வேண்டி  – wanting

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

 

 

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