Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Archive for the tag “Thiruppavai”

Thiruppavai – 18

Like a rampaging elephant is he,
the resolute warrior Nandagopala;

O’ Nappinnai*, his daughter in law,
Fragrant tressed Lady, Open the door;
Look, everywhere the roosters are crowing;
Cuckoos atop spring flower thickets are chirping;
Milady with a ball of flower in your hand! Open the door,
With fine bangles in your lotus hands tinkling,
For us to joyously sing the praise of your husband!

*Nappinnai – consort of Krishna; a character unique to Southern Vaishnavite tradition

உந்து மதகளிற்றன் ஓடாத தோள்வலியன்
நந்தகோ பாலன் மருமகளே நப்பின்னாய்
கந்தம் கமழும் குழலி கடைதிறவாய்
வந்துஎங்கும் கோழி அழைத்தனகாண் மாதவிப்
பந்தல்மேல் பல்கால் குயிலினங்கள் கூவினகாண்
பந்துஆர் விரலிஉன் மைத்துனன் பேர்பாடச்
செந்தா மரைக்கையால் சீரார் வளைஒலிப்ப
வந்து திறவாய் மகிழ்ந்தேலோர் எம்பாவாய்.

The girls now hail Nappinnai, Krishna’s consort, to open the doors for them to sing his praise. First they praise Nandagopalan, Krishna’s father, who is like a rampaging elephant in battle field and a resolute warrior who never flinches. Then they say, “O’ Nappinnai, daugher in law of fierce Nandagopalan, please open your door. We know you are inside with Krishna, fragrant flowers in your tresses tell us that.

It has dawned already. We aren’t bluffing. Look, roosters are crowing all over the village. Cuckoos sleeping comfortably atop spring flower thickets too are awake and have chirped many times. Milady, who carries a ball of flower to play with Krishna, please come and open the doors with bangles in your lotus like hands tinkling. Let us sing the praise of your husband joyously”

உந்து – moving forcefully / rampaging
மத களிற்றன் – like an elephant in rut
கந்தம் – fragrant powder
கமழும் – smelling
குழலி – haired girl
கடை – door
திறவாய் – open
மாதவிப் பந்தல் – Spring flower (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiptage_benghalensis) shrub / thicket
பல்கால்- many times
பந்து ஆர் விரலி – girl carrying (flower) ball in hand
மைத்துனன் – husband
சீரார் வளை – சீர் ஆர் வளை – சீர் மிகுந்த வளையல் – fine bangle

Thiruppavai – 17

Our Lord who grants us clothes, water and food,
O’ Nandagopala, please wake up!
Foremost of all gentle womenfolk,the light of our clan,
O’ our Lady Yasoda, rouse yourself!
O’ Lord of Lords, you rose so big to measure the world
That the sky was just your waist high,
Give up your sleep and wake up!
O’ golden anklet wearing Baladeva,
You and your brother please let go of your sleep!

அம்பரமே தண்ணீரே சோறே அறம்செய்யும்
எம்பெருமான் நந்தகோ பாலா எழுந்திராய்
கொம்பனார்க்கு எல்லாம் கொழுந்தே குலவிளக்கே
எம்பெரு மாட்டி யசோதாய் அறிவுறாய்
அம்பரம் ஊடஅறுத்து ஓங்கி உளகுஅளந்த
உம்பர்கோ மானே உறங்காது எழுந்திராய்
செம்பொற் கழலடிச் செல்வா பலதேவா
உம்பியும் நீயுன் உறங்கேலோர் எம்பாவாய்.

In this poem, the girls have gained entrance to the mansion (temple) and waking up the family of Krishna. First they hail Nandagopalan, Krishna’s father. “You grant us all that we need in this world – clothes, food and water. We thank you for that. O’ Nandagopala, please wake up”. Next they sing the praise of Yasoda, Krishna’s mother. “O’ our Lady Yasoda, you are the foremost of all gentle womenfolk. You are the light of our clan. Please open your eyes and rouse yourself.”

Next they hail Krishna. “In Vamana Avatar, you grew so big to measure the world that the sky was just your waist high, Krishna. Give up your sleep and wake up to bless us, your devotees”. Finally they hail Baladeva, Krishna’s elder brother. “O’ golden anklet wearing Baladeva, is it fair for you and your brother to be still asleep when we are here to worship you. Please let go of your sleep”

Thiruppavai – 16

O’ sentinel of our Lord Nandagopan’s mansion!
O’ guard of the festooned gateway where flags fly high!
Please open the gem embedded doors;
He will gift throbbing drums to us, pastoral maidens,
The dark hued magician promised yeserday;
We’ve come cleansed and pure, to wake him up with our song;
Don’t utter words of denial now, please;
Unlatch the divine doors, O’ Swami!

நாயக னாய்நின்ற நந்தகோ பன்உடைய
கோயில்காப் பானே கொடித்தோன்றும்
தோரண வாயில்காப் பானே மணிக்கதவம் தாள்திறவாய்
ஆயர் சிறுமிய ரோமுக்கு அறைபறை
மாயன் மணிவண்ணன் நென்னலே வாய்நேர்ந்தான்
தூயோமாய் வந்தோம் துயில்எழப் பாடுவ
வாயால்முன் னம்முன்னம் மாற்றாதே அம்மாநீ
நேய நிலைக்கதவம் நீக்கேலோர் எம்பாவாய்.

After finally gathering all their friends, the girls go to the temple. They call it the mansion of Nandagopan, Krishna’s father. Krishna is residing in that mansion. The doors are yet to open. They request the guard to open the festooned, gem adorned doors.

“We are young maidens from cowherds clan. Krishna, the dark hued magician promised us yesterday that he will give us drums for us to complete our vows. So we have come here today after cleansing ourselves. We are here to wake him up with our songs. O’ guard please don’t deny us. Please open the divine doors, O’ swami”

Thiruppavai – 15

“Hey, young parrot! Are you still asleep?”
“Cut down your chit-chat girls! I will join you now”
“Oh’ smart one! We know your sharp words and nimble tongue well”
“You girls are the smart ones! But if you insist, let it be me”
“Wake up and get ready soon! What else holds you in thrall?”
“Is every one here?” “All of us are here, come out and count;
He who killed the mighty tusker shaped demon,
He who destroys the strength of his enemies,
come out and sing the praise of that magician, my friend!”

எல்லே இளம்கிளியே இன்னம் உறங்குதியோ
சில்என்று அழையேன்மின் நங்கையீர் போதருகின்றேன்
வல்லைஉன் கட்டுரைகள் பண்டேஉன் வாய்அறிதும்
வல்லீர்கள் நீங்களே நானேதான் ஆயிடுக
ஒல்லைநீ போதாய் உனக்கென்ன வேறுடையை
எல்லாரும் போந்தாரோ போந்தார்போந்து எண்ணிக்கொள்
வல்ஆனை கொன்றானை மாற்றாரை மாற்றழிக்க
வல்லானை மாயனைப் பாடேலோர் எம்பாவாய்.

Another girl is still asleep when her friends call her to join them. The girls mock her “Are you till asleep, you pretty parrot like young girl?”. She replies “Stop yakking at my doorstep. I am not asleep. I am awake and am getting ready to join you”. The girls know her better. They reply “Oh, smart one. Don’t try to fool us. We have listened to your harsh words earlier also.We won’t be put off by your nimble tongue. Get up”.

She says “You girls are the real smart ones. But if you say that I am smart, let it be me”. They tell her “All that is fine. Get ready quick. What else is holding you in its thrall now?” She is trying to delay getting up. So she asks “Is everyone of our friends here?” They reply “Everyone is here. You come out yourselves and count. Krishna, the magician who killed the elephant shaped demon and is strong to destroy the strengths of his enemies, come let us sing his praise together.”

Thiruppavai – 14

Look at the garden pond in your backyard;
Red Lotus smiles while Night Lily purses its lips close;
Red brick color clothed, white toothed ascetics
Are on their way to blow Conch in their temples;
You said you’ll wake us up before anyone does;
You wake up now shameless, big talking girl! 
He who carries the Conch and Chakra in his mighty hands,
Our Lotus eyed Lord, come, sing his praise my friend!

உங்கள் புழக்கடைத் தோட்டத்து வாவியுள்
செங்கழுனீர் வாய்நெகிழ்ந்து ஆம்பல்வாய் கூம்பினகாண்
செங்கற் பொடிக்கூரை வெண்பல் தவத்தவர்
தங்கள் திருக்கோயில் சங்கிடுவான் போதன்றார்
எங்களை முன்னம் எழுப்புவான் வாய்பேசும்
நங்காய் எழுந்திராய் நாணாதாய் நாவுடையாய்
சங்கோடு சக்கரம் ஏந்தும் தடக்கையன்
பங்கயக் கண்ணானைப் பாடேலோர் எம்பாவாய்.

Another girl is still asleep. When her friends call for her to wake up, she replies “How do I know it is dawn?” The girls reply back “Look at the garden pond in your own backyard. Red Lotus are blooming. Night lily petals are closing down. It shows that the daybreak is here. Look outside. Red brick color clothed ascetics with white teeth are on their way to their temples to blow the conch and start their morning worship.

You  promised us yesterday that you will wake us up before everyone wakes up. But you are still asleep now. You shameless, big talking girl. Wake up and join us in singing the praise of our Lotus eyed Lord, who carries a conch and chakra in his mighty hands”

Thiruppavai – 13

He tore open the beak of the demon in bird form;
He battled and removed the barborous demon;
Singing his glory, all young girls have assembled for the rituals;
Morning star is up, midnight’s Jupiter has gone to sleep;
Birds too have started chirping, O’ flower like eyed girl!
Instead of plunging into the cold pond waters and bathing,
You lie asleep like a doll! Give up your pretense
And join us in singing his praise, my friend!

புள்ளின்வாய் கீண்டானைப் பொல்லா அரக்கனைக்
கிள்ளிக் களைந்தானைக் கீர்த்திமை பாடிப்போய்ப்
பிள்ளைகள் எல்லாரும் பாவைக் களம்புக்கார்
வெள்ளி எழுந்து வியாழம் உறங்கிற்று
புள்ளும் சிலம்பினகாண் போதரிக் கண்ணினாய்
குள்ளக் குளிரக் குடைந்துநீ ராடாதே
பள்ளிக் கிடத்தியோ பாவாய்நீ நன்நாளால்
கள்ளம் தவிர்ந்து கலந்தேலோர் எம்பாவாய்.

“Our Lord killed the bird shaped demon Bakasura and tore open its beak. He battled the barborous Ravana and felled him in the battle field. Singing the praise of our Lord, all the young girls have assembled at the designated spot for the rituals.

The morning star (Venus) shines in the early morning sky. Midnight’s Jupiter has gone to sleep. All the birds are awake and chirping. O’ Girl, whose eyes are superior to flowers! You are not joining us to enter the pond and take a dip in the cold waters of morning. You are still in your bed, thinking of our Lord all by yourself. Drop this pretense, wake up and join us in singing his praise, my friend!”

Thiruppavai – 12

Young buffalo grunts and thinks of its calf warmly;
The mere thought makes its udders gush with milk
And muddy the cowshed;
O’ girl, Sister of such fortunate cowherd! 
We stand at your doorstep with dew falling on  our head,
Singing the praise of the Lord dear to our heart, who in fitful rage 
destroyed the King of Lanka; yet you don’t reply back;
Wake up now at least; what’s this lingering sleep?
All the neighbours hear us, my friend!

கனைத்துஇளம் கற்றெருமை கன்றுக்கு இரங்கி
நினைத்து முலைவழியே நின்றுபால் சோர
நனைத்துஇல்லம் சேறாக்கும் நற்செல்வன் தங்காய்
பனித்தலை வீழநின் வாசற் கடைபற்றிச்
சினத்தினால் தென்இலங்கைக் கோமானைச் செற்ற
மனத்துக்கு இனியானைப் பாடவும்நீ வாய்திறவாய்
இனித்தான் எழுந்திராய் ஈதென்ன பேர்உறக்கம்
அனைத்துஇல்லத் தாரும் அறிந்தேலோர் எம்பாவாய்.

Now the girls are in front of the house of a wealthy cowherd’s sister. Andal sings ‘Your brother has buffaloes with overflowing udders. These buffaloes think of their calves and the mere thought makes their udders gush with milk, muddying the cowshed. Such a wealthy cowherd’s sister are you.

We are at your doorstep, trying to wake you up. It is early morning and the dew is slowly dropping on our head. We sing the praise of our favorite Lord, who in his anger destroyed Ravana, the king of Lanka. You hear us, yet you don’t reply back. Wake up atleast now. What sort of long sleep is this? The whole neighbourhood hears us and knows that you are still asleep. Wake up and join us, my friend!”

Thiruppavai – 11

From faultless cowherd clan – that milks hordes
of young cows and destroys enemies in battles –
are you, O’ golden creeper like slender girl;
Come join us, O’ stylish peacock like girl
with waist curved like a snake’s hood;
While all your friends have come to your courtyard
and are singing the praise of dark hued Kannan,
you, a wealthy girl, lie unmoved and silent;
What’s the meaning of this sleep, my friend?

கற்றுக் கறவைக் கணங்கள் பலகறந்து
செற்றார் திறலழியச் சென்று செருச்செய்யும்
குற்றம்ஒன் றில்லாத கோவலர்த்தம் பொற்கொடியே
புற்றுஅரவு அல்குல் புனமயிலே போதராய்
சுற்றத்து தோழிமார் எல்லாரும் வந்துநின்
முற்றம் புகுந்து முகில்வண்ணன் பேர்பாட
சிற்றாதே பேசாதே செல்வபெண் டாட்டிநீ
எற்றுக்கு உறங்கும் பொருளேலோர் எம்பாவாய்.

One of her friends is still asleep, not waking up. Andal tells her, “You are from the proud cowherd clan that milks hordes of cows tirelessly, and when it comes to battles, destroys its enemies fearlessly. O’ you slender golden creeper like girl from such a great clan; O’ you stylish beauty like a preening peacock. Your waist is curved like a snake’s hood.

We, your frieds are at your courtyard singing the praise of our dark hued Kannan. But you, a wealthy girl, are lying unmoving and silent. What is the meaning of such a sleep, my friend?”

அல்குல் is a contentious word in Tamil, due to its two different meanings. It is either ‘waist’ or ‘pudendum’ based on context. In this poem, it is interpreted as waist.

Thiruppavai – 10

Oh’ Mamma ascending heavens through these vows!
Won’t you give us a word even if you don’t open the doors!
Narayanan, whose crown is adorned with fragrant basil,
The benefactor who bestows boons when we praise him – 
In days of yore, the ever sleeping Kumbakarna
was felled to death because of Him; did that Kumbakarna
lose to you and hand over his long sleep?
Oh’ rarest of gems, blessed with eternal sleep,
Come quickly and open the doors, my friend!

நோற்றுச் சுவர்க்கம் புகுகின்ற அம்மனாய்
மாற்றமும் தாராரோ வாசல் திறவாதார்
நாற்றத் துழாய்முடி நாராயணன் நம்மால்
போற்றப் பறைதரும் புண்ணியனால்
பண்டுஒருநாள் கூற்றத்தின் வாய்வீழ்ந்த
கும்ப கருணனும் தோற்றும் உனக்கே
பெருந்துயில்தான் தந்தானோ ஆற்ற
அனந்தல் உடையாய் அருங்கலமே
தேற்றமாய் வந்து திறவேலோர் எம்பாவாய்.

Andal and other girls are still waking up the girl who is asleep. “Yesterday you promised us that we will keep these vows together and ascend to heaven because of this. Oh Mamma. But today you are still asleep. You are not opening your doors. Atleast give us a word saying you will wake up soon. Even that you are not doing.

Our Narayanan wears a fragrant garland made of holy basil in his crown. When we sound our drums and pray to him, he bestows boons on us. Once upon a time, in his avatar as Rama, he felled to death the ever sleeping Kumbakarna. Did that Kumbakarna lose to you instead and give his everlasting sleep? Such eternal sleep you have, you  rarest of gems. Come quickly and open your doors”

Thiruppavai – 9

In jeweled upper storey of your house, with lamps lit all around,
amidst fragrant incense smoke,  you are asleep on a soft bed – 
Oh’ my uncle’s daughter, open the latches of your adorned door;
Oh’ my aunt, will you not wake her up? Is your daughter 
Mute? Or is she deaf? Such eternal sleep she has;
Or is she under a spell? Is anyone guarding her bed?
We chant many of his names – Renowned Enchanter, 
Madhvan, Vaikundhan and so on; does she not hear?

தூமணி மாடத்து சுற்றும் விளக்கெரியத்
தூமம் கமழத் துயிலணைமேல் கண்வளரும்
மாமான் மகளே மணிக்கதவம் தாழ்திறவாய்
மாமீர் அவளை எழுப்பீரோ உன்மகள்தான்
ஊமையோ அன்றி செவிடோ அனந்தலோ
ஏமப் பெருந்துயில் மந்திரப் பட்டாளோ
மாமாயன் மாதவன் வைகுந்தன் என்றென்று
நாமன் பலவும் நவின்றேலோர் என்பாவாய்.

Andal is now at her cousin’s house, trying to wake her up. She sings “Oh’ my uncles daughter, you are asleep in the soft bed amidst fragrant incense smoke in the shining upper storey of your house with lamps lit all around. Wake up and unlatch the adorned doors of your house.

Oh’ my aunt, will you at least wake up your daughter. I have been hollering from here. But she doesn’t reply to me. Is your daughter a mute or a deaf? Such stubborn sleep she has. Is any one standing guard over her bed, forcing her to sleep? Or is she under a spell? We are here chanting our Lord’s many names – The enchanter, Madhavan the consort of Lakshmi, Vaikundhan the resident of Vaikundham and so on. Does she not hear us?”

Post Navigation