Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Valaiyaapathi – 3

You adore the dark hued, glossy, flower decked,
beautified tresses of women, my heart!
Beautified tresses and shaped hair buns
will burn in funeral pyres one day, my heart!
Though you’ve seen them burn in funeral pyres
why do you still hanker after them, my heart!

நீல நிறத்தனவாய் நெய்கனிந்து போதவிழ்ந்து
கோலம் குயின்ற குழல்வாழி நெஞ்சே
கோலங் குயின்ற குழலுங் கொழுஞ் சிகையுங்
காலக் கனலெரியின் வேம்வாழி நெஞ்சே
காலக் கனலெரியின் வேவன கண்டாலுஞ்
சால மயங்குவ தென்வாழி நெஞ்சே.

Valaiyaapathi, written in 9th Century AD is one of the five great epics in Tamil Literature. Only 72 verses of Valaiyaapathi are available now and from these it is difficult to ascertain the story of the epic. Based on the content of these verses, it has been concluded that this a Tamil Jain literature. Tamil Nadu had dominant Jain presence for nearly thousand years from 4th Century BC to 8th Century AD. It declined with the revival of Shaivism in 8th C AD.

This verse talks about temporary nature of worldly pleasures. Jain monks naturally advocated an ascetic lifestyle.

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