Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Archive for the tag “Thiruvempavai”

Thiruvempavai – 5

Annamalai, whom Vishnu couldn’t fathom and Brahma couldn’t glimpse,
We can get to know, you lied through your teeth,
you milk and honey tongued trickster! Open your door;
Humans, celestials, others – beyond their grasp is he;
Even when we praise his beautiful form
and grace that enthralls us and soothes us,
and intone loudly ‘Siva, Siva’, You still don’t wake up;
Is this your nature, O’ our fragrant tressed friend?

மாலறியா நான்முகனும் காணா மலையினைநாம்
போலறிவோம் என்றுள்ள பொக்கங்க ளேபேசும்
பாலூறு தேன்வாய்ப் படிறீ கடைதிறவாய்
ஞாலமே விண்ணே பிறவே அறிவரியான்
கோலமும் நம்மைஆட் கொண்டருளிக் கோதாட்டும்
சீலமும் பாடிச் சிவனே சிவனேயென்று
ஓலம் இடினும் உணராய் உணராய்காண்
ஏலக் குழலி பரிசேலோர் எம்பாவாய்.

She is still sleeping when her friends come to wake her up to go to the temple. They mock her words the previous day when she had said they can go and get to know Annamalai (which is the name of the hill as well as Lord Siva residing in the temple in foothills), whom even Vishnu could not grasp fully and Brahma couldn’t glimpse completely. But now she is still sleeping, all her sweet words uttered prove to be false. Siva is beyond understanding and perception of either humans or celestial or any others.The girls say we are praising such an omnipotent lord and intoning loudly at the top of our voice Siva, Siva. Yet you don’t wake up, is this your true nature?

Thiruvempavai – 4

“O’ Shiny pearl like white toothed girl! Hasn’t it dawned yet?”

“Have all my friends, who prattle sweetly like parrots, come?”

“We can do a headcount and tell you;
But don’t sleep till then and waste time;
We’d rather sing the praise of our lord –
the nectar of celestials, the essence of Vedas, pleasant to eyes –
with melting heart and dissolve in bliss; You come out and count;
if numbers fall short go back to sleep, my friend”

ஒள்நித் திலநகையாய் இன்னம் புலர்ந்தின்றோ
வண்ணக் கிளிமொழியார் எல்லாரும் வந்தாரோ
எண்ணிக்கொ டுள்ளவா சொல்லுகோம் அவ்வளவும்
கண்ணைத் துயின்றவமே காலத்தைப் போக்காதே
விண்ணுக் கொருமருந்தை வேத விழுப்பொருளைக்
கண்ணுக் கினியானைப் பாடிக் கசிந்துள்ளம்
உள்நெக்கு நின்றுருக யாம்மாட்டோம் நீயேவந்து
எண்ணிக் குறையில் துயிலேலோர் எம்பாவாய்

The girls knock at the door of their friend who is still asleep and wake her up. They say, “Come on girl, you with shiny pearl like white teeth. The sun is almost out. Hasn’t it dawned yet for you. Come let’s go and pray to our Lord” The girl wants to grasp the last few moments of sleep. So she asks from her bed itself, “Have all our friends come? Or are there still people like me who are asleep? Wake them up and then call me?” Her friends know her tricks. So they say “We can count and tell you. But don’t waste time till then and be asleep. We will rather sing the praise of our lord. He is the nectar of the celestial beings. He is the essence of Vedas. He is pleasing to the eye. We will rather praise him with melting heart and surrender to the bliss than doing a headcount for you. If you want, you come out and count. It you find the numbers short, you can go back to your sleep. For now, wake up”

Thiruvempavai – 3

“Oh’ pearly white toothed girl! You said you’ll wake up early
to sweetly chant “My lord, my sweetheart, my elixir”;
wake up  and open your door now!”

“O’ good mannered girls! You observe ten practices*!
You’re senior devotees of Eesan; Will you not bear
with slip ups of new devotees and guide us?”

“Don’t we know how much you love him?
Will good-natured people not sing the praise of our Sivan?”
That’s all we want, our friend.”

முத்து அன்ன வெள் நகையாய்! முன் வந்து, எதிர் எழுந்து, “என்
அத்தன், ஆனந்தன், அமுதன்” என்று அள்ளூறித்
தித்திக்கப் பேசுவாய், வந்து உன் கடை திறவாய்’.
`பத்து உடையீர்! ஈசன் பழ அடியீர்! பாங்கு உடையீர்!
புத்து அடியோம் புன்மை தீர்த்து ஆட்கொண்டால், பொல்லாதோ?’
`எத்தோ நின் அன்புடைமை? எல்லோம் அறியோமோ?’
`சித்தம் அழகியார் பாடாரோ, நம் சிவனை?’
`இத்தனையும் வேண்டும் எமக்கு’ ஏல் ஓர் எம்பாவாய்!

The girls come and wake up their friend. They say “Yesterday you promised us you will wake up before us, and be sweetly chanting “My lord, my sweetheart, my elixir”. But now you are still asleep. Come, open your door and join us”. She replies “O’ girls. You are all good mannered.You observe the ten practices of Shaivism. You are senior devotees of my lord. Will you not be a little more patient with new devotees like me and guide me in the right practices”. They reply back “Don’t worry. We were just teasing you. Don’t we know how much you are in love with our lord? Those of good heart will sing the praise of our Sivan. We want you too to join us. That’s all we want from you, our friend.”

*Ten external practices of Shaivism – (புறத்திலக்கணம் பத்து)
Wearing Vibhuti
Worship elders
Sing hymns of Siva
Utter Siva’s monikers
Do Siva Poojai
Do altruistic deeds
Listen to myths of Siva
Worship in Sivan Temples
Eat only at the house of Sivan devotees
Help devotees of Siva

Some commenters say பற்று – ‘adherence’ morphed to பத்து. In that case, the translation would be “You have great love for him” instead of “You follow the ten practices”

Thiruvempavai – 2

“Day and night when we chatted,
your love is to Paranjothi*, you said;
Is this flower strewn bed
the object of your love now, Oh’ bejeweled beauty?”

“Oh’ bejeweled girls! Chee Chee!
Are these words your idea of a joke?
Is this the time and place to mock me?”

“Lord Siva, of luminous form, resident of Thillai Chittrambalam,
whose lotus feet shies away from worship of celestials,
is here to grace us; We, his devotees,
are we strangers to each other, My friend?”

*Paranjothi – Ethereal Flame, a name of Lord Shiva. In Thiruvannamalai, where these verses were sung, Shiva is worshipped in the form of a flame.

பாசம் பரஞ்சோதிக்கு என்பாய், இராப் பகல் நாம்
பேசும்போது; எப்போது இப் போது ஆர் அமளிக்கே
நேசமும் வைத்தனையோ? நேரிழையாய்!’ `நேரிழையீர்!
சீ! சீ! இவையும் சிலவோ? விளையாடி
ஏசும் இடம் ஈதோ? விண்ணோர்கள் ஏத்துதற்குக்
கூசும் மலர்ப் பாதம் தந்தருள வந்தருளும்
தேசன், சிவலோகன், தில்லைச் சிற்றம்பலத்துள்
ஈசனார்க்கு அன்பு ஆர்? யாம் ஆர்?’ ஏல் ஓர் எம்பாவாய்!

This verse is written as a dialogue between the girl and her friends who have come to wake her up. The friends mock her and say, “Whenever we chatted, you said your love is sworn to our Lord Siva, Paranjothi (the ethereal flame). But now you are still asleep. Is this flower strewn bed your object of love now, you bejeweled beauty?” She replies “Oh bejeweled girls, stop this nonsense. Are these some of the words you use to mock me. Do you think this is the right time and place to laugh at me?” They reply back “We all are the devotees of Lord Shiva, he who shines like a bright light, he who is the resident of Thillai Chittrambalam (current day Chidambaram). Celestial beings who ask him for favors fall at his feet. But he shies away from them. His lotus feet is here to grace us, the devotees who ask for nothing but his love. We all are his devotees. Are we strangers to each other? So don’t take our words to heart, my friend”

போது – flower
ஆர் – strewn
அமளி – bed
நேரிழை – fine jewels wearing girl
விண்ணோர்கள் ஏத்துதற்குக் கூசும் – Celestials + pray + shies – Celestial being pray to Supreme God only when they need something. So he shies away from them. 

Thiruvempavai – 1

Oh’ girl with long bright eyes!
Even after hearing us sing the praise
of the infinite Flame with neither beginning nor end,
You’re still asleep! Are your ears hard of hearing?
On hearing us sing the praise of Mahadevan’s
anklet clad feet at the entrance of her street,
a friend of ours sobbed, forgot herself,
rolled and fell down senseless
from her flower strewn bed; Oh’ my, Oh’ my,
such was her devotion, my friend!

ஆதியும் அந்தமும் இல்லா அரும்பெருஞ்
சோதியை யாம்பாடக் கேட்டேயும் வாள்தடங்கண்
மாதே வளருதியோ வன்செவியோ நின்செவிதான்
மாதேவன் வார்கழல்கள் வாழ்த்திய வாழ்த்தொலிபோய்
வீதிவாய்க் கேட்டலுமே விம்மிவிம்மி மெய்ம்மறந்து
போதார் அமளியின்மே னின்றும் புரண்டிங்ஙன்
ஏதேனும் ஆகாள் கிடந்தாள்என் னேஎன்னே
ஈதேஎந் தோழி பரிசேலோர் எம்பாவாய்.

Thiruvempavai is a set of 20 verses sung by Manickavasagar on Lord Shiva residing in Thiruvannamalai. These are part of Thiruvasagam, the 8th Thirumurai in Saivite canon. In these 20 verses the girls celebrating Paavai Nonbu (vows of women) call their friends to join them in bathing in the river and sing the praise of Lord Shiva.

In this verse the girls chide their friend who is still asleep. “Oh, girl with long, bright eyes! Even after hearing us sing the praise of our lord, who is like an immense flame with no beginning and no end, you are still asleep. Your ears must be hard of hearing. There was another friend of ours, in whose street we entered singing the praise of our Lord’s anklet clad feet. On hearing his praise, she lost herself completely to him. She sobbed, entered a trance like state, rolled and fell down from her flower strewn bed and lay senseless on the floor. Such was her devotion to our lord, my friend. (And here you are still asleep. Wake up and join us in praising him)”

ஆதியும் அந்தமும் இல்லா – with no beginning and no end
அரும்பெரும்சோதி – rare immense flame (infinite)
வாள் தடங் கண் – bright , long eyes
வளருதியோ – are you asleep
வன் செவி – useless ears
நின் செவி – your ears
வார் கழல்கள் – anklet feet
விம்மி விம்மி – sobbbed and sobbed
மெய்மறந்து – forgot her self
போதார் அமளி – போது ஆர் அமளி – flower strewn bed
ஏதேனும் ஆகாள் – unable to do anything (senseless)
பரிசு – character (devotion)

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