Tuesday, 11 December 2012

The Glory of Tamil Literature...Part...3

 The poems in Kurunthogai are indeed capable of capturing the
hearts of the readers. Almost all songs are sweet as the sandal paste
and each line invokes a pleasant memory. Besides being a record of
ancient Tamililian culture and civilisation, they also depict the
inner feelings,pleasures and pangs of love,
Besides love Kurunthogai is a record of historical events
and the virtues of life with suitable similes and examples. As
Kurunthogai encompasses all aspects of life it is also celebrated as '
Nalla kurunthogai " meaning good Kurunthogai, by our ancient scholars.
Some of these songs are so outstanding that they are quoted
often by our literary experts. Kurunthogai poems are written based on
the thoughts and character of the thalaivan ( hero ), thalaivi (
heroine ), thozh ( friend ).
Here is an example of how the thalaivan ( hero ) compares the
pleasure he experiences from his thalaivi ( heroine ).
" Virithiraip perunkadal valai iya ulagamum
arithuperu sirappit puthel naadum
irandunth thookiit seersaa laave ".
The pleasure from this world or the pleasure of the world
of Gods ( heaven ) are no match to the pleasure from my beloved one.
Hence with love man obtains all pleasures.
Another hero goes even further in his love experience:
" Perunthol kurumagal sirumel aagam
Orunaal punarap punarin
arainaal vazkaiyum vendalan yaane ".
" A day's pleasure with this beautiful damsel is all I want.
After that I don't want to live even half a day " is the lament of
this lover.
Here we see another desperate hero rushing to see his love
after some time of separation. He has promised her that he would
return on a particular day. That day has come and he rushes in his
chariot. The deal is that his heroine would not wait even a minute
after that specified time. She certainly will die. Obviously she has
not taken food regularly during the days of their separation. As a
result she has fallen sick . Now thalaivan is in a dilemma.He is
returning at the last minute. He tells his chariot rider ( paagan )
to somehow hurry the horses. Knowing well the desperate situation of
both the thalaivan and thalaivi, the chariot rider takes a new course
other than the regular route and succeeds to reach thalaivi in time.
In great joy and gratitude the thalaivan compliments the chariot rider
as follows:" Today you not only gave your chariot, but also my
thalaivi whom I adore as my own life.! "..This 400th popular
Kurunthogai song goes as follows:
" Seyaaru selvaam aayin,idarindru;
kallaikalam kaamam, perunthotku endru
nandrupurinthu enniya manathai aagi,
murambukann udaiya eki,karambaip
puthuvazhip padutha mathiyudai valavoi!
indru thanthanai thero
noiuzhanthu uraiviyai nalga laane? "
Now we shall have a glimpse of the thalaivi or heroine. She
is always referred as a delicate, chaste, and lovable woman. Her joy
during her union with her beloved lover has no bounds. At the same
time her sorrow during separation too has no limits. She is even
willing to sacrifice herself for the sake of love.
Here is a short Kurunthogai story. She laments the
separation of her lover to such an extent that the village focks mock
her to such an extent that it is unbearable. Her pathetic state is
described like this by poet Paranar.
A fig fruit ( athi pazham ) falls at the riverbank. Seven
crabs try to devour it. As a result the fruit is torn into bits and
turns into a paste. Likewise she too has been torn to pieces by the
gossip of the village folks. Here the poet using a simple fig fruit as
symbolic of a woman in distress is fantastic indeed. This is seen
Kurunthogai song 24:
" Karnkaal vembin onnpoo yaanar
ennai indriyum kazhivathu kollo?
aatruayal ezhuntha vennkottu athavathu
ezhukuliru mithitha orupazham polak
kuzhaiya, kodiyor naave,
kathalar akala, kallen dravae. ".
Kurunthogai 49 tells the wish of the thalaivi to be the wife
of her lover in the next birth too as follows:
" immai maari marumai yaayinum
neeyaa kiyaren kanavanai
yaanaa kiyarnin nenjuner pavale ".
In poem 152, a girl's lust for love is compared to an egg
which rots without the hen ( failing to hatch ) if the lover who has
gone on a journey does not return in time..
From these songs, it is evident ancient Tamils 20 centuries
ago took love seriously and honoured it as sacred and solemn.And
especially the women were willing to sacrifice their life for love.
There is no question of changing love partners in their lives.Love
blooms only once and that should last till their lifetime.
The thozhi ( the girl's friend ) is always portrayed as the
one who help the lovers to be united. She partakes in the joy and
sorrow of her thalaivi ( heroine ) and often rebukes the thalaivan
whenever he is indifferent to the thalaivi (* heroine ).
Let us see some of these thozhis as depicted by the poets of
The thalaivi laments the separation of her thalaivan as he
has not returned to be with her as promised.. The thozhi seeing the
pathetic situation of her friend consoles her in this Kurunthogai song
" Nilanthottup pugaa ar vaansam eraar
vilengiru munneer kaalit sellar
naatin naatin oorin oorin
kudimurai kudimurai therinU
kedunarum ularo nam katha lore ".
The meaning is very simple and interesting. He cannot walk
through the earth, sky or the sea.So by searching from country to
country, village to village , house to house could he escape from us?
Thus the thozhi gives hope to her friend in distress and encourages to
live on to see her beloved lover.
It is baffling to see such delicate and minute thinking of
our Sangam poets while dealing on the subject of love.They used the
simple everyday events and common objects to add beauty to their
Kurunthogai is a rich treasure of ancient Tamilian
literature in the form of such short poems.We will see more of them
in the future issues of Nesan4U.

To be

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