Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Archive for the tag “Thanippaadal”

Thanippadal – 57

With mom departs palate; with dad departs learning;
with children departs one’s riches – fine life
departs with kin, strength departs with sibling;
everything departs along with wife.

தாயோ டறுசுவைபோம் தந்தையொடு கல்விபோம்
சேயோடு தான்பெற்ற செல்வம்போம் – ஆயவாழ்(வு)
உற்றா ருடன்போம் உடற்பிறப்பால் தோள்வலிபோம்
பொற்றாலி யோடெவையும் போம்.

This poem by Avvayar (the 3rd) is about what we lose when we lose people in our life. Mother is one who cares about serving tasty food to you. Father is one from whom we constantly learn. Children are one’s valuable posessions. Kith and kin are needed for fine life. A sibling adds strength. We lose each of these when each one of them departs from our life. Wife embodies all this and more. So when you lose your wife, you loses everything.

With mother goes அறு சுவை – six tastes (sweet, sour, pungent, salt,astringent, bitter). I’ve substituted palate for it.
The word used for wife is பொற்றாலி – பொன் + தாலி meaning Golden bridal chain / Mangalsutra. I used generic wife to make it easier to understand in English.

Thanippadal – Avvayar . 1

Have a couple of flunkeys sing one’s praise;
wear myriad rings in fingers; don an apparel
of silk or cotton ; then, his art will be acclaimed,
even if toxic or bitter.

விரகர் இருவர் புகழ்ந்திட வேண்டும்
விரல்நிறை மோதிரங்கள் வேண்டும் – அரையதனில்
பஞ்சேனும் பட்டேனும் வேண்டும் அவர்வித்தை
நஞ்சேனும் வேம்பேனும் நன்று.

This poem by Avvayar (12th Century) shows how the world values style over substance. If one has a couple of flunkeys to sing his praise, adorn his fingers with many rings, and dons a rich attire made of silk or cotton then the world will laud him even if his skill is no good.

Thanippaadal – Avvaiyar

Weaver bird’s nest, lac’s resin, termite’s mound
or a beehive is hard for anyone else to do –
So do not brag I am the most skillful around,
everyone is good at something too.

வான்குருவி யின்கூடு வல்லரக்கு தொல்கரையான்
தேன்சிலம்பி யாவருக்கும் செய்யரிதால் -யான்பெரிதும்
வல்லோமே என்று வலிமைசொல வேண்டாங்காண்
எல்லார்க்கும் ஒவ்வொன் றெளிது!

This is a popular poem by poet Avvaiyar (the third Avvaiyar of 11th Century possibly). This is part of a collection of independent poems (தனிப் பாடல்), not part of any anthology. The legend is that she sang this when challenged that no one can write an epic like Kamban. Most probably an apocryphal story.

She says Don’t brag that you are the best of all. No one can create a Weaver bird’s nest (தூக்கணாங்குருவிக் கூடு) or a lac insect’s resin (அரக்கு)  or a termite mound or a beehive. Every one is good at something, so don’t brag.

I learned about lac insects and their resin while trying to understand this poem. You can read about them here. Ancients can always teach us a lesson or two.

I am sure that this poem is derived from poem no. 26 of Sirupanchamoolam, written by Kari Aasaan before 8th century. That poem has similar structure and compares silk worm’s thread and tent worm’s nest in addition to Weaver bird’s nest, lac insect’s resin and a beehive.

வான் குரீஇக் கூடு, அரக்கு, வால் உலண்டு நூல், புழுக்கோல்,
தேன் புரிந்தது, யார்க்கும் செயல் ஆகா;-தாம் புரீஇ,
வல்லவர் வாய்ப்பன என்னார்; ஒரோ ஒருவர்க்கு
ஒல்காது, ஓரொன்று படும்.

Thanippaadal – Avvaiyaar

What we’ve learned amounts to a fistful of sand,
what we’ve not learned is vast as the world,
hence the Goddess of Arts too keeps learning –
don’t boast and challenge others, O bard,
an ant too is eight spans wide by its own hand.

கற்றதுகைம் மண்ணளவு கல்லா துலகளவென்(று)
உற்ற கலைமடந்தை ஓதுகிறாள் – மெத்த
வெறும்பந்த யங்கூற வேண்டாம் புலவீர்
எறும்புந்தன் கையாலெண் சாண்.

This is one of the famous poems of Avvaiyar. Scholars estimate that there have been six poets by the name of Avvaiyar in Tamil literature. This poem is attributed to Avvaiyar II, whose time is estimated to be before 10 Century CE.

In this poem, she mocks the poet who challenges her. She says what we have learned is just a fistful of sand, what we are yet to learn is as vast as the world. Knowing this, even the Goddess of education, Saraswati, is still learning. (Saraswati is depicted with a manuscript in her hand). So don’t boast that you know everything and challenge me. Just because an ant measures eight spans when measured by its own hand doesn’t mean it can compete with a human being who too measures eight spans by his hand.

Thanip paadal – Ramachandra Kavi Rayar

Cow births a calf,
rain pours, house collapses,
wife falls sick, slave dies,
and as he rushes to sow seeds
before season ends,
creditors stop him on the way,
and the king’s men list the taxes to pay,
and the priest blocks his way for tithe,
and the bard sings for alms –
this poor fellow’s misery is painful to see.

ஆஈன மழைபொழிய இல்லம்வீழ
அகத்தடியாள் மெய்நோவ அடிமைசாவ
மாஈரம் போகுதென்று விதைகொண்டோட
வழியிலே கடன்காரர் மறித்துக்கொள்ளக்
கோவேந்தர் உழுதுண்ட கடமைகேட்கக்
குருக்கள்வந்து தட்சணைக்குக் குறுக்கேநிற்கப்
பாவாணர் கவிபாடிப் பரிசுகேட்க
பாவிமகன் படுந்துயரம் பார்க்கொணாதே.

This is fairly new, written in 19th century.

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