kuRuntokai 22

Periannan Chandrasekaran perichandra at YAHOO.COM
Wed Oct 4 16:49:45 UTC 2000

On Sun, 1 Oct 2000 17:43:57 -0700, Lakshmi Srinivas <lsrinivas at YAHOO.COM>

> I have a question re KuRuntokai 22 which I reproduce
>here for quick reference:
>     nIrvAr kaNNai nIyiva Noziya
>     yArO pirikiR pavarE cAraR
>     cilampaNi koNTa valaJcuri marAattu
>     vEni laJcinai kamazum
>     tEmU roNNuta ninnoTuJ celavE.
> Loosely translated:
>    You're crying that you remain here
>    who'd want to part with you -
>       with a bright brow sweet as the fragrance of
>       right whorled white kadamba flowers
>       blooming on the mountain slopes in spring
>    It's with you that he will go.
> In his commentary to this verse, U Ve cAminAtaiyar
>"ArrAmai mikka talaivi, 'yAro pirikiRpavarE' enRu tOzi
>kURiya mAttirattil tuyar nIGkit talaiyetuttu nimirntu
>nOkkinALAka, neRRiyin viLakkaGkANTA tOzi, " tEmu
>roNNutal' enRu viLittAL." (kuRuntokai, u. Ve Ca.,
>kapIr Press, 4th impression, 1962, p 64)
>Loosely translated:
>The grieving heroine, feels cheered by her companion's
>words "who would want to part with you" and looks up.
>The companion observing the (now) shining forehead
>calls it, "fragrant bright brow".
>It seems to me that this interpretation seems to, at
>least implicitly,  subscribe to the view that poetic
>utterance has creative potential. In other words,
>poems have a mantra like power.
>Can this interpretation be considered to be justified?
>I'd like the list members view on this topic.

I feel that we need not invoke mantra etc here.
Simple human psyhcology is enough to explain the situation.
Even the whole episode is expressed as  a poem but we must separate
that from the utterances referred to inside the poem.

This poem belongs to the pAlai (desert) landscape/genre involving
the theme of separation, either of the hero from the heroine or of both
lovers from their parents by way of elopement.  When it is the former, it
is often not separation but impending separation. The hero has just
announced his intent to depart to a far-off land, which can be symbolically
reached only after crossing a desolate landscape, to seek wealth, fame or
battle victory. The heroine is unable to bear the news and needs
consolation, or the hero himself is torn between duty and family/romance.

Real separation of lovers occurs mainly in mullai landscape; in mullai
though impending arrival or reunion of lovers at the promied date is

This particular poem obviously refers to the impending separation of the
hero from his lover.

Viewed simply, as soon as the heorine hears the phrase
"who [,ever,] would want to part with you"  which gives hope that the hero
himself may not bear to leave her behind,
she feels uplifted and looks up...

>It may be noted that M. Shanmugam Pillai's usually
>brief commentary does not contain this little
>interpretative excursus for this verse.

Neither does rA.raghava iyengAr's.

To me it looks like an interesting but minor and harmless adornment by UVS.

>Thanks and Warm Regards,


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