Our Master’s













Sringarapadyavali presents a Sanskrit verse translation of two hundred selected Tamil poems about Iove.  It also presents English verse translation of the same verses and a brief account of the many conventions governing Tamil love poetry. Some of them relate the sentiment to the physical background; for example, secret love develops in the hill slopes while separation is presented in the background of grassy meadows. Throughout the work, love is treated as a divine force.


o bee, resplendent with shiny wings

Who spend your life in appraising

The bouquet of flowers : Tell me now,

Not just what takes your fancy but

The absolute truth. Is there a flower

As sweet-scented as the hair of this girl.

The girl with a peahen’s velvet softness

And teeth set close in dazzling rows

Whose love for me will never know

Any surcease through long aeons?


The girl to the friend:

I’m anguished. My eyes shed tears

Which bum as they stream down my sunken cheeks And

my lord whom the gods have named

To dry my tears is not present

To perform the task; he left on his travels

Condemning me to anguished tears.


The girl to herself :

Dark is the middle of the night

All talk suspended, people

Have settled down to slumber

With passions calmed, the world

And all that lives now sleep Only poor I

Cannot sleep a wink.

(Kuruntokai 6)


Passers-by who see a young couple eloping :

Who may these be that have chosen to traverse

The barren desert where the dried-up seeds

Of the vahai tree make a sound in their pods

When the wind shakes them-a sound like the drum

Played by the Aryan dancers gyrating

On the rope that’s tied between two bamboo poles

Stuck on the ground – who may these be,

One of whom wears a hero’s anklet

And the other, a pair of ornaments

On her legs making the softest jingle-

Who may these noble people be

That merit our sympathies and all good wishes?

(Kuruntokai 7)


The girl to the friend:

The lord of my heart has chosen to go

Traversing the barren deserts

Where waterholes are tiny, looking like

Ant hills – with pathways forking out,

Where brigands standing on rocks heated

To the level of stones in furnaces

Sharpen their arrows with which they slaughter

Hapless wayfarers. But the people of this village Far from feeling pity for him

Have chosen to spread calumny,

To heap abuses on him and on me!
(Kuruntokai 12)


The friend to the girl:

You think, dear, the lord of your heart,

May go forgetting you in his quest

For a hoard of wealth. It isn’t likely!

For the desert lizard can be heard

Sending his call to his loving mate

By making a sound that is rather like

That produced by the brigands of the desert

Sharpening their arrows on the nails of their fingers.

The call of the lizard to his mate

Will send him speeding home to you !

(Kuruntokai 16)


The boy to himself:

Lament, 0 heart, grown lustreless

Like the heads of bards who strum the lute,

Heads bereft of golden bloom

On the death of Evvy, patron of arts?  (please check this word)

What is that girl to you in truth?

The girl who wears coiffured braids

Smelling sweet with the brightest blossom

Of the mullai creeper that blooms at night

Twining round the tree that grows

On a side of the house. How does the girl.

Matter to you, 0 heart of mine?

(Kuruntokai 19)

Translated by A. V. Subramanian (b 27 November 1924) joined Indian Railways in 1948 as a Probationary Officer. Served in many parts of India and retired as Additional General Manager, Southern Railway in 1982. Delivered lectures on literature, religion and philosophy in many places in India. Went on lecture tours to USA, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore, Italy, France, and UK. Has written over 80 books on a variety of subjects. Over 30 of them are on aesthetics and literary criticism. He has developed an original theory of aesthetics based on Neurology and has presented many innovative concepts on aesthetics in his books. Won several prizes and citations and honoured by the Tamil Nadu State Government and by reputed literary organizations devoted to the development of Sanskrit and Tamil.


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