Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Villi Bharatham – 41 (60)

Surrounding the mighty hero
who stood like a mythical beast,
they shot many an arrow,
as ghosts danced awaiting a feast.

யாளி என நின்ற வய
மீளியை வளைந்து, பல
வாளிகள் பொழிந்தனர்கள்,
கூளிகள் நடம்செயவே.

Villi Bharatham, 13th day war.

Though a 2000 year old Mahabaratham rendition written by Perundhevanar is mentioned in Tamil texts, it has not been found. Mention of Mahabaratham war occurs in Sangam poetry too. Mahabaratham written by SriVilliputhurar (the man from SriVilliputhur) in 14th century is the oldest available Mahabaratham in Tamil. He makes it clear in the introduction that it is not a complete rendition but a shortened form just following the main story.

This poem describes the Kaurava warriors surrounding Abhimanyu and attacking him from all sides. The ghosts of death dance around awaiting his fall. The brevity and the rhyme of Tamil poem is marvellous. Translating that into English in impossible, but I have tried to do justice to the original.

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