Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Ullam Enbadhu aamai

 Ullam enbadhu aamai 

Adhil unmai enbadhu oomai

Sollil varuvadhu paadhi

Nenjil thoongi kidappadhu needhi


The heart is like a tortoise

(In it) truth lies mute

Words express only half

What remains dormant is the truth (what’s just)


Dheivam endraal adhu dheivam

Verum silai endraal adhu silaidhaan

Undu endraal adhu undu

Illai endraal adhu illai

Illai endraal adhu illai 


If you say it’s God, it is God

Or if you say it’s only a statue, then it’s only a statue

If you say it is, it is

If you say it isn’t, then it isn’t.

(Undu means it is there or it exists, illai means no, or it’s not there)


Thanneer than pol eriyum

Senthalum neer pol kulirum

Nanbanum pagai pol theriyum

Adhu naal pada naal pada puriyum

naal pada naal pada puriyum


Cool water will feel like hot coal

Hot coal will feel like cool water

Friend will seem enemy

That will be clearer (to understand) as days go by

Paramasivan kazhuthil irundhu

 Paramasivan kazhuthil irundhu

Paambu kaettadhu ‘Garuda sowkyama?’

‘Yaarum irukkum idathil irundhu vittaal

Ellam sowkyame’ Garudan sonnadhu

Adhil altham ulladhu


From around Lord Shiva’s neck,

The snake asked Garuda (its arch enemy), ‘Are you well?’

‘When everyone is where they are supposed to be

Everyone (everything) will be well’ replied Garuda

There’s deep meaning in that


Uyarndha idathil irukkum bodhu

Ulagam unnai madhikkum

Un nilamai konjam irangi vandhaal

Nizhalum kooda midhikkum

Madhiyadhaar midi vassal midhikadhae endru

Maanam ulla manidhanuku Avvai sonnadhu

Adhu Avvai sonnadhu adhil artham ulladhu


When you’re on top (of the rung/world)

The whole world will respect you

But when you’re down

Even your shadow will step on you

‘Do not even step on the entrance-stone of

Those who disrespect you’ said Avvai (an ancient poet)

There is a great meaning in that


Vande oda chakkarangal 

Irandu mattum vendum

Andha irandil ondru

Siriyadh endral

Endha vandi odum?

Unai polae alavodu

Uravada vendum

Uyarndhorum thaazhndhorum

Uravu kolvadhu

Adhu sirumai enbadhu


For a vehicle to run

It needs two wheels

If one of them is small

How will it run?

You should move with people of your standing

For any relationship between 

those on high levels and those on low levels

Is indeed lowly

(Sirumai is smallness, in this case lowliness)


Neeyum naanum 

Saerndh irundhom

Nilavum vaanum polae

Naan nilavu pola

Theyndhu vandhaen

Nee valarndha dhaale

En ullam ena paarthu

Keli seyyum podhu

Illadhaan il vaazhvil

Nimmadhi yeah

Idhu kanavan sonnadhu

Adhil altham ulladhu


You and I were together

Like sky and moon,

I waned like the moon

As you grew (waxed)

When my heart, looking at me mockingly

How can there be peace 

In the life of a householder

This is said by your husband

And there’s deep meaning in that.


(Illadhan means a man with nothing, ILvaazhvu is householder’s life)

Satti suttadhada kai vittadhada

 Satti suttadhada

Kai vittadhada 

Buddhi kettadhada

Nenjai thottadhada

Naalum nadandhu mudindha pinnal

Nalladhu kettadhu therindhada


The pot burnt (my) hand

The hand dropped it

Intellect was ruined

Touched (my) heart

After everything was done and dusted 

Got t know right and wrong


[‘naalum’ meaning four things. This is a recurring number/word in local parlance. ‘naalu paer' means four people which refers to all known and unknown people, as in what will people say will be ‘naalu paer enna sollvanga?. Here ‘naalum’ means all, everything]



Paadhi manadhil dheivam irundhu paarthu kondadhada

Meedhi mandhil mirugam irundhu aati vaithadhada 

Aatti vaitha mirugam indru adangi vittadhada

Aatti vaitha mirugam indru adangi vittadhada

Amaidhi dheivam muzhu manadhil kovil kondadhada


In one half of the heart, Divinity stayed and looked after it

In the other half, Animal (tendencies) took over and controlled it

The animal that made me sway has subsided (today)

God of peace has taken up the whole of (my) heart


Aaravaara paeygal ellam oadi vittadhada

Aaalaya mani oasi nenjil koodi vittadhada

Dharma dhevan kovilile oli thulangudhada

Dharma dhevan kovilile oli thulangudhada

Manam santhi, santhi, santhi endru oayvu kondadhada


Noisy, boisterous ghosts have run away

Temple bells (and their calming sounds) have come together (in me)

The light of Dharma deva (god of righteousness) is shining (in my heart)

Heart (in fullness) rests, saying ‘Peace, Peace, Peace’ 



Erumbu tholai urithu paarka yaanai vandhadhada

Idhaya tholai urithu paarka gnanam vandhadhada

Pirakkum mundane irundha ullam indra vandhadhada

Irandha pinnae varum amaidhi vandhu vitadhada


Skinning the ant, came the elephant

Skinning (my) heart came wisdom

The heart (that was) before being born has come

The peace that comes after death has come.

Ponal Pogattum Poda

[A word about ‘da’ (masculine) and ‘di’ (feminine). These are terms of endearment between close friends and relatives but are insults between strangers. When Kanandasan uses it, in most songs, like this one and ‘yaarada manidhan ange’, it is a form of frustration, disenchantment and disillusion. ]


Ponaal pogattum poda 

Indha boomiyil nilayai 

Vaazndhavar yaarada


(When it’s gone) Let it go

(Tell me) who has lived forever

On this earth?


Vandhadhu theriyum 

Povadhu enge

Vazhkai namakke theriyadhu 

Vandhavar ellam thangi vittaal

Indha mannil namakke idamadhu? 


We know where we came from 

We know not where we are going

If everyone who came here 

Stayed back 

Where’s the space for all of us? 

Life is a business 

(In it) Birth is income 

Death is expense

 Iraval thandhavan ketkindraan

Adhai illai yendral avan viduvaana 

Uravail solli azhuvadhanale 

Uyorai meendum tharuvana 

Kookuralale kidaikkadhu

Idhu courtukku ponaal jaikaadhu 

Andha kottayil nuzhaindhal thirumbaadhu 


The lender asks for it (what you borrewed) back 

Will he take no for an answer?

If you cry and wail citing how closely you’re related (to the dead)

Will he (lord of death) give the life back?

Hollering won’t bring it back 

Neither can you win it in a court of law 

When it enters that fortress (of death/afterlife),

It won’t come back. 


Elumbukkum sadhaikkum 

Maruthuvam kanden 

Idharkoru marundhai kandena 

Irundhal avalai thannan thaniyae 

eriyum neruppil viduvena?

Namakkum mele oruvanada 

Avan naalum therindha kalaignanda

Dhinam naadagam aadum thalavanada 


I found cure for bones and flesh

But did I find a cure for this (death)? 

If I had, would I leave her all alone on the burning pyre? 

There is someone above  all of us all

He knows everything 

And plays this game every day


[Kalaignan is an expert, a professional artiste. In this song the hero is a doctor and his wife dies young.] 

Veedu varai uravu

 Classic. It’s based on a local custom according to which, when the man of the house dies, the relatives can only come till the entrance of the house, the wife can only come till the end of the street and only sons are allowed till the grave. It’s also mentioned in a Siddha poem.


Aadiya aattam enna 

paesiya vaarthai enna 

Thediya selvam enna 

Thirandodhor sutram enna 

Koodu vittu aavi ponal

Koodave varuvadhenna? 


[Aattam literally means dance, or shaking. It also means the dance of the ego/arrogance which makes people do the things they do when money and power g to their heads. Much like how a spinning top is in motion only till the energy is exhausted.]


What (are all the) dance(s) we danced

What are all (the words) we said 

What (are all the different types of) wealth we accumulated 

How many in the name of relatives came looking for and surrounded us

But when the soul leaves the body 

What comes along? 

Veedu varai uravu

Veedhi varai manaivi

Kaadu varai pillai 

Kadaisi varaai yaaro?


Till the house, the relatives 

Till the street end, the wife 

Till the grave, the son 

Till the end, who? 


Aadum varai aattam 

Aayirathil naattam 

Koodi varum kootum 

Kolli varai varuma? 

[Again, ‘aattam’ here, same meaning]

 

We dance (our egoistic dance) till we can (are exhausted),

With our mind chasing a thousand things 

The crowd that seeks and surrounds us  (when we have everything)

Will it come till the grave? 


Thotilukku annai 

Kattilukku kanni

Pattinukku theeni 

Ketta pinbu gnani 


For the cradle, mother 

For the bed, woman

For hunger, food 

After everything’s ruined, wisdom 

(Poet says gnani meaning wise man, but wisdom sounds better here)


Sendravanai kettal

vandhu vidu enban 

Vandhavani kettal 

Sendru vidu enban 

Sendru vids unban


Ask the departed

He will say come with me 

Ask the newborn 

He will say go back 


Vandha naan mudhal

 Vandha naal mudhal 

indha naal varaai

Vaanam maara villai 

Vaan madhiyum meenum 

kadal kaatrum 

Malarum mannum 

kodiyum solayum 

nadhyium maaravillai 

Mandihan maari vittaan

Madhathil eri vittan 


From the day we came here  (to the earth)

Till today 

The sky hasn’t changed

The moon in the sky, 

the stars, the fish, 

the oceans, the wind 

The flowers, the earth, 

The creepers, the gardens, 

And the rivers

Haven’t changed 

But Man has changed

He has climbed on (tree that is) religion



Nilai maarinaal gunam maaruvan

Poi needhiyum naermayum thaeduvan 

Dhinam jaadhiyum bedhamum kooruvan 

Adhu vedham vidhi endr(u) odhuvan 

Manidhan maari vittan 

Madhathil eri vittan 


When his status (in life) changes,

So will his character

He will search for false justice and honesty,

Every day he will preach 

About caste and (other) differences 

He will say it’s the law of God

(and say) it’s all fate 

Man has (indeed) changed 

He has climbed on (tree that is) religion 


Paravayai kandaan 

Vimaanam padaithaaan 

Paayum meenil

Padaginai kandan 

Edhiroli kettan 

Vaanoli padaithaan 

Edhanai kandan madham thanaipadaithan 

Edhani kandaan panam thanai padaithaan? 

Manidhan maari vittan 


He saw the bird and invented the plane 

He saw the fish and invented the ship 

The echo he heard and he invented radio 

What did he see that made him invent religion?

What did he see that made him invent money? 

Man has changed

[NOTE: In the original lyrics it says ‘madhanthanai’ meaning religion’ but it seems the censor board didn’t want that word so the poet changed it to ‘panandhanai’ meaning money. They sound similar so it doesn’t jar on the ear.]


Inbamum kaadhalaum iyarkayin needhi

Etra thaazhvugal  manidhanin jaadhi 

Paaril iyarkai padaithadhai ellam

Paavi manidhan pirithu vaithane 


Happiness and love are the law of Nature 

Ups and downs are innate in Man  

(poet says ‘jaadhi’ usually meaning caste but in this context it means what you are born with)

All that Nature created on this earth

The sinner, Man, has divided and separated

Man has changed.

Maalai pozhudhin mayakkathilae

 [A wonderful song, beautifully rendered and the last stanza will stay with you for the rest of your life]


Maalai pozhudhin mayakkathile 

Naan kanavu kanden thozhi 

Manadhil irundhum vaarthaigalillai

Kaaranam en thozhi?


Inbam sila naal thunbam sila naal 

Endradhu yaar thozhi 

Inbam kanavil thunbam edhiril

Kanbadhum en ehozhi 


[while ‘mayakkam’ means faint or confused state, it is also applied to times of day. Here the poet says the evening time, twilight more specifically to be in that state. Think of it as when you wake up from a deep afternoon slumber and how you feel when you wake up, it’s sort of pleasant but dizzy. 

The word ‘thozhi’ means girl friend. It dates back to ancient literature when the lady waiting for her lover to come back from his sojourns would lament to her dearest friend.]


In the dizzying twilight of evening

I had a dream girl

No words issued from my heart 

Why is that so, girl? 

Who said pain is for a few days

And pleasure longer, friend? 

Please (I find) in dreams,

And pain in front (of me, as reality)

Why does it seem like that, girl?


Manamudithavar pol 

arugunile oru vadivu kanden thozhi 

Mangay en kayil kungumam thandhaar 

maalyittar thozhi 

Vazhimarandheno vandhavar nenjil saayndhu vitten thozhi 

Avar maraven maraven endrar udane 

marandhu vittar thozhi 

Parandhuvittar thozhi


I saw someone next to me

Who liked like my husband 

He put kumkum (vermillion) in my hand

Put garland (around my neck)

Did I forget my way (where I was going or coming)?  (also could mean  did I forget my manners of being a lady?)

I rested on the chest (of the man who came)

‘Never will I forget you’, said he

But immediately forgot 

And flew away! 


Kanavinil vandhavar yaarena kaeten 

Kanavar endrar thozhi 

Kanavar endral avar kanavu mudindhadhum 

Pirindhadhu En thozhi?


Ilamai ellam verum kanavu mayam 

Adhil maraindhadhu sila kaalam 

Thelivum ariyadhu mudivum theriyadhu

Mayangadhu edhir kaalam


The one who came in my dream

I asked who he was, girl

He said he was my husband

But if he was, then why did he leave

once the dream was over, friend?

Youth is just an empty, vacuous dreamy state, 

In  disappears part of our time (on earth),

Without knowing clarity 

and without knowing (where and how it will all) end 

Swoons the future.