Black and Bright and Beautiful

Fri Nov 10 14:01:37 EST 2000

Dear Dr. Ganesan:
I trust you saw my posting this morning:

The verse (1926) in Kampa RamAyaNa (veyyOn oLi tan.) mentioned may be roughly
translated as follows:

With an effulgence which would dim sunlight, (raMA) walked with her of slender
hip (SIta) and the younger one (LakshmaNa). Was this collyrium or emarald or
rain-bearing cloud, or a tidal surge? Oh, his form is of imperishable beauty!

1. collyrium: a black eye salve.
2. Rain-bearing clouds are dark.
3. The collyrium-simile could be used as a symbol of beauty, since it is used
to beautify the eyes.
4. The dark-cloud-simile could be used for their celestial majesty and mystery.
5. It does not follow that Rama was a Dravidian God, given that in the opening
verses of his work Kampan acknowledges that the story of Rama had been told
before (ValmIki) and acclaimed as a the greatest work.
6. It is impossible to convey the intrinsic beauty of Kampan's verse which only
those who are blessed with a knowledge of Tami can truly experience. My English
translation above (as good or as bad as it can get) is paler and more distorted
than the reflection is agitated murky waters of a perfect full moon in the
clear skies high above.

V. V. Raman
November 10, 2000

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