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Thiruvalangattu Moodhtha Thiruppadhikam - 2

(As English Poetry)

English Translation Sri. T N Ramachandran Thanjavur

It is crematory of burning pyres girt with cactus; 
Yetti, ilavam, eekai, soorai and kaarai abound here 
Where ghouls draw out and eat the exposed intestines 
Of corpses; it is here the Bhootas sing 
Accompanied on muzhavam by ghosts whose eyes 
Are like those of the drum, 
And the handsome One dances 
Yetti        :    Strychnos nuxvomica 
Ilavam     :     The silk cotton tree / Eriodrendron 
Eekai        :    A species of mimosa. 
Soorai        :    Zizyphus Napeca 
Kaarai     :    Webera tetrandra. 
Muzhavam     :    A percussion instrument. 
Fat melts and wets the ground; beholding this 
The long-toothed and sunken-eyed ghouls 
Enact the dance of tunangkai; then they throw their lookd 
Around, put out the fire in the pyres, 
Eat the corpses to their hearts’ content and feel 
Delighted; it is in such a fitting crematory, 
Holding fire in His hand, the handsome One dances.     

Jackals tug at and draw away the stinking 
White heads punctured by birds; 
Owls raise a hue and cry; owlets wave amain their wings; 
Barn-owls stare and cause fright in beholders; 
Foxes howl everywhere in great urgency; such is 
The great charnel-house; it is here 
The Lord desires to enact His dance. 
Note:    Ü좰 (Atku) is an onomatopoeic word indicating harsh sound.  This word was  
used only by St. Peyar.  The Tamil Lexicon, in the first instance, omitted to mention  
this word.  It however repaired the omission its Supplement. 
It was a corpse; yet a ghoul was not sure of it; 
So it came near it, pointed a finger at it, cried aloud, 
Roared and threw at it a fire-brand; even then 
It was not sure of aught; affrighted it fled far away 
And began to beat in bewilderment its stomach 
Like unto a picottach; this witnessing, many a ghoul 
Took to their heels in sheer fear; it is in such a crematory 
Our Lord, in the guise of a mad man, dances.        4 
Scorched are mulli plants, charred is the firewood; 
Brains seep out of broken crania; cacti wilt; 
Such is the fierce crematory where wood-apple trees 
Abound; it is indeed His place of rest. 
It is in this wilderness, the Supreme One dances 
Girt with the skin of an antlered 
And spotted antelope, the tiger-skin 
Dangling on His shoulder. 
Mulli    :     a thorny plant; Indian nightshade  
(Solanum Indicum) 
The colourful owlets of bright teeth – bent and ensate--, 
Gobble up heads, brains and bodies of corpses 
And hoot in the crematory; there ghouls whose 
Spreading hair is like the leaf of the taali-palm 
And whose fire-red eyes are ablaze, make 
Fluten music with their mouths along with 
The Bhoota hosts; it is here the handsome One 
Enacts His dance.                    6 
The ghostlings feel the burnt-out pyres and come by 
Flesh none, alas; dazed, they fall asleep there; 
Such is the crematory where the young ones of ghosts 
Endure much hardship; it is here the handsome One, 
Holding fire in His hand, enacts the evening-dance 
Keeping time to the sound 
Of muzhavam played by the celestials 
That had come thither, in time. 
The evening dance: The dance enacted  
during the hour of Pradosha.                    7 
It is a crematory where bodies burn crackling 
And where lofty bamboos scatter white pearls! 
There the huge and loud-mouthed ghouls 
Of dry and dangling hair and tired bodies 
Foregather and eat to their hearts’ content 
The corpses; it is in such a great crematory 
The One of gramarye dances; the Daughter 
Of the Mountain witness this is wonder.            8 
It is a crematory through which male monkeys 
Leap about; it is girt with bamboos; it is full 
Of ghouls and vultures; here abound the white  
Skulls and the smoke of the pyres; it is here 
The supreme One dances whilst His crooked, 
White mazhu and crescent wobble, 
The white tudi and the drum resound 
And the basic note of music hums: “Koll”. 
Mazhzu    :    A battle-axe; a burning rod. 
Tudi        :              A little drum shaped like an hour-glass. 
“Koll”        :    See preface.                    9 
The hollow-stomached ghouls—short and small--, 
Of huge mountains and the ghouls of fiery mouths 
And fierce teeth abiding in the crematory imbrowned 
By indai plants, sometimes coddle and sometimes resent 
Their infants.  To the singing of these whose basic note 
Sounds ‘Koll’ the pure One dances whilst His  
Dense and bright matted strands of hair dangle low.            10 
He sports crescent in His matted crest; He, for ever, 
Dances His twirling dance; His waist is cinctured 
With a serpent. Lo, whoever, by His grace, 
Is able to sing and dance out this decad 
Of Karaikkaal Pey of fiery mouth and sharp teeth 
That abides in the crematory, 
Will freed clean of all sins.                    11 

Sincere thanks to Sri. T N Ramachandran of thanjavur, who has translated this holy composition to English, for permitting English translation of Thiruvalangattu Moodhtha Thiruppadhikam (part-2) be published here.


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