Just the other day I translated a nice poem of Mahakavi Bharathiyar who challenged the God of DEATH, as called in Hindu pantheon as LORD YAMA-‘YAMA DHARMARAJA’ and translated the same into English which I reproduce below in original Tamil, its transliteration and translation with my comment:The great patriotic, national poet Mahakavi Subrahmanya Bharathiyar had unbounded patriotism, abundant love for freedom political and more, love for the languages-he was a master of eighteen languages which is not an exaggeration- love for the people and their tradition and culture, infectious ‘optimism’ and fearlessness.
In this issue, we see his beautiful poem on –“Address to the Lord Yama”.
In the Hindu pantheon Lord Yama is the God of Death. He knows when to take away the life of a person born on earth and he does his duty meticulously!
Original in Tamil:
காலா! உனைநான் சிறு புல்லென மதிக்கிறேன்; என்றன்
காலருகே வாடா! சற்றே உனை மிதிக்கிறேன் – அட (காலா)
- வேலாயுத விருதினைமனதிற் பதிக்கிறேன் – நல்ல
வேதாந்த முரைத்த ஞானியர் தமை யெண்ணித் துதிக்கிறேன்-ஆதி
மூலா வென்று யானையைக் காக்கவே – நின்றன்
முதலைக்கு நேர்ந்ததை மறந்தாயோ கெட்ட மூடனே?-அட(காலா)
- ஆலாலமுண்டவனடி காணென்ற மார்க்கண்டன் – தன
தாவி கவரப்போய் நீ பட்டபாட்டினை அறிகுவன் – இங்கு
நாலாயிரம் காதம் விட்டகல்! உனைவிதிக்கிறேன் –ஹரி
நாராயண னாகநின் முன்னே உதிக்கிறேன் – அட (காலா)
Kaalaa! Unainaan sirupullena mathikkiraen-endran
Kaalarugae vaadaa! Satrae unai mithikkiraen-ada(kaalaa)
- Vaelaayudha virudhinai manadhir padhikkiraen-nalla
Vaedhaantha muraiththa njaaniyar thamai yeNNIth thudhikkiraen – adhi
Moolaa venru kadhariya yaanaiyaik kaakkavae –ninran
Mudhalaikku naerndhadhai marandhaayoa letta moodanae?
Ada – (kaalaa)
- Aalaala mundavanadi saraNenra maarkaNdan – thana
Dhaavi kavarappoay nee patta paattinai ariguvaen – ingu
Naalaayiram kaadham viitagal! Unai vidhikkiraen – hari
NaaraayaNa naaganin munnae udhikkiraen – ada (kaalaa)
Yamaa! I treat you as a trivial grass-
Come near my feet! I shall simply stamp you ! Yah (Yamaa)
- Taken I to my heart the award of the Lord
Pray to the saints of yore who gave me sermons –
To save the elephant that cried “oh, my great God”
Do you forget fool Yamaa what happened to your crocodile- -yah, (Yamaa)
- MarkaNda- who surrendered to the Lord Shiva who gulped
Whose life you wanted to take- your suffering and humiliation
I am aware of- here
Get away four thousand miles! I order you-
I appear before you as Hari Narayana- yah (Yamaa)
This is one of the most beautiful poems of Mahakavi Bharathiyar who chose to challenge the God of Death- YAMA in Hindu pantheon. It is believed by the people that Lord Yama is very powerful. Bharathiyar in this poem describes two mythological beliefs and says that all powerful Yamaa could not succeed on the basis of which the poet challenges Yamaa to come near him and he will simply stamp him under his feet! He also orders Yamaa to go four thousand miles away!!
One incident is Yamaa’s decision to take away the life of an elephant by making a crocodile to drag the elephant into deep water and kill. When the elephant called Lord Vishnu, Yamaa through the crocodile could do no harm to the devoted elephant and had to quit his attempt!
Again when Lord Yamaa wanted to take away the life of a strong devotee of Shiva much against his own father’s advice to pray only Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva protected Markandeya and Yamaa could do nothing!
Quoting these two mythological happenings, Bharathiyar challenges Yamaa to come near him and he will simply make him to pulp by the poet’s feet! What a lovely theme, content and presentation!
With all these assertions from the Poet, God of Death goes on with HIS duties as one of the trinities –Creator-protector and Destroyer- as Bharathi himself fell a victim to the Yama –in Chennai through the temple elephant!
I recollect and reproduce one or two of my thoughts in verses on the theme of DEATH:
. . DEATH-PERMANENT!
Oh! God of Death! Lord Yama- thee alone permanent
In this world and earth- eternally impermanent!
Health is lost but sure one day with medicines retrieved
Wealth is lost but sure one day with efforts is retrieved
Name is lost but sure one day with honesty retrieved
Fame is lost but sure one day with good conduct retrieved
House is lost but sure one day with a new one retrieved
Job is lost but sure one day with someone else retrieved!
Alas! When the God of death takes one away from earth
Permanently gone not to be retrieved till next birth!
Sure not in the same form and name, house and roof
Oh! God of Death! Lord Yama-thee alone permanent
In this world and earth- eternally impermanent
Mourn not death, may be the dead had relief permanent!
What is this DREADED DEATH
Knows no distinction
Young or old, poor or rich
Either sex, healthy or sick
Virtuous or vicious, dunce or diligent
Unlettered or highly literate
Dedicated Mahatma or despicable bandit
Social worker or menace to the society
All are same in the grip of death!
Death at times brings relief
Most of the times nothing but grief!
In one’s life time
That he lives is not a matter
How he lives is all that matters!
Man’s greatness is not in being
Sure one agrees that in doing!
Death can remove the physical self
Sure not his words and deeds
That indeed make him live for age!
Birth is alike getting out of sleep
Death is akin to getting into sleep
Fear not death, but boldly face!
Alive are dead; Dead are alive
All in the manner we live
And how we serve the society with love
To live in peace and amity, joy and cheers!
My esteemed viewers may be wondering why all on a sudden a Sunday story on DEATH!
Yes three deaths of my great decades old friends all in the course of a week resulted in this write up.
First was one of Mr.M Srinivasamurthy of Hyderabad a crusader in the cause of retired officers of Life Insurance Corporation of India who relentlessly fought for some of their rights taking matters to the highest court of the land.
Second is a great Tamil Poet by name ILAKKIYACH CHAKKARAVARTHI, KAVIYARASAR ILANDHEVAN., a poet of great repute and well connected .A king of poetry well known personally for years. A great loss indeed to the Tamil literary world!.
Third is yet another literary figure named Kalpattu Natarajan, a bird lover and photographer from Chennai.
As already referred to DEATH knows no age or sex, status or position, the rich or poor, literate or illiterate, when destined lives taken to HIS lap!
What cannot be cured must be endured!
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