Ravana describing Sita’s Beauty!- Kamba Ramayanam


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Thought of republishing this post which was posted years ago to cash in the current flavor of the season. Raavanan’s love for Sita! Here it comes the verses from Kamban describing beauty of Sita through Raavanan!

சீதையின் உருவௌதப்பாடு கண்ட
இராவணன் கூறுதல் ( 3305-3308 )

அம்பும் அனலும் நுழையாக்
கன அந்தகாரத்து
உம்பர் மழை கொண்டு, அயல்
ஒப்பு அரிது ஆய துப்பின்
கொம்பர், குரும்பைக் குலம்
கொண்டது, திங்கள் தாங்கி,
வெம்பும் தமியேன் முன்,
விளக்கு எனத் தோன்றும் அன்றே.
மருள் ஊடு வந்த மயக்கோ!

In this darkness so thick no fire
or arrow could pierce it,
she appears,with a thundercloud for her hair,
her body an utterly
incomparable branch of fine coral,with her breasts
like pair of young coconuts
and her face like the moon, a lamp that she raises
before me burning here alone.


Engayo poitaru kamban – really – There is absolute darkness and a lonely guy is fearing in the dark – then comes a creeper of red coral (Pavala kodi) which was carrying a dark rain cloud and  young tender coconuts and a radiant moon. Think about it what does a moon light mean to a lonely person afraid of dark ? Sita was the answer to the darkness called Lust that Raavanan has developed for her. See the description – dark cloud for her hair, tender coconut for her breasts,creeper of red coral for her body and radiating moon for her face.

மதி மற்றும் உண்டோ!
தெருளாது, இது என்னோ?
திணி மை இழைத்தாலும் ஒவ்வா
இருளூடு இரு குண்டலம்
கொண்டும் இருண்ட நீலச்
சுருளோடும் வந்து ஒர்
சுடர் மா மதி தோன்றும் அன்றே.
Am I confused because of my delusion
or is there another moon?
What is this that I cant understand? Through
this darkness blacker
than when thick collyrium is mixed,with two
earrings and her deep
black hair,a full moon comping up now
she appears,shining!
now comes the classic confusion – Am I in dream or is it really happening – the distinction between fantasy and reality has gone, I am now suffering from delusion. She looks like a moon with two earrings and dark hair in this darkness which is darker than when thick collyrium is mixed(Tamil – Mai – Kan Mai – which is really dark ).
புடைகொண்டு எழு கொங்கையும்
அல்குலும் புல்கி நிற்கும்
இடை கண்டிலம்; அல்லது
எல்லா உருவும் தெரிந்தாம்;
விடம் நுங்கிய கண் உடையார்
இவர் மெல்ல மெல்ல
மடம் மங்கையராய் என்
மனத்தவர் ஆயினாரே.
I cannot see a waist between
her hips and the breast
that rise from their wide base.
Other wise I have seen
all her forms and with her eyes
that have swallowed poison,
this young woman,step by step,has
entered my heart.
Here again Kamban shows his mastery -I am not seeing a waist which should connect the புடைகொண்டு எழு கொங்கையும் – breast which rise from the side (heavy breasts) and her அல்குல் – Pudendum muliebre(google for meaning).( Lines which probably inspired Vairamuthu lines in Jeans – Penne unathu mel idai parthen aadadaa brahman kanjanadi satre niminthen thali suthi ponen aga avane vallal adi ).  She has eyes which have swallowed poison (because with here sight she kills me!) , like slow poison she has step by step gone into my heart!
பண்டே உலகு ஏழினும் உள்ள
படைக் கணாரைக்
கண்டேன்; இது போல்வது ஒர்
பெண் உருக் கண்டிலேனால்;
உண்டே எனின் வேறு இனி
எங்கை உணர்த்தி நின்ற
வண்டு ஏறு கோதை மடவாள்
இவள் ஆகும் அன்றே.
Before this, I have seen all of them
with eyes like swords
throughout the seven worlds but never before
I have seen any woman
formed like this. If she is so different
it can only be she
my sister told of,this young woman whose hair
swarms with bees!
I have seen women in all 7 worlds(Raavanan has conquered all 7 worlds- so when he is saying this you should take it seriously) – I have seen these women with sword or arrow like eyes( which inflicts pain) but is no way comparable to this women( who has a slow poison in her eyes which is killing me inch by inch). If she is so different from all these woemn she must be the women Surpanaha must have said.(Surpanaha after her nose is cut describes each person at scene to Raavanan – and he falls for Sita just with her description!).
For women whose hair swarms with bees see this old blog of mine which explains this motif in detail- https://karkanirka.wordpress.com/2008/05/30/thiruvilayadal/ – in short bees get confused from the fragrance of her hair and think it is flower and swarm her hair!

Poet : Kamban
Translated by Gorge L Hart and Hank Heifetz

Now mute the sound and see how apt ASH is in this video when her hair flies.. the Kamban’s verses looks just like it was written for her!

Hope you enjoyed the post!



The forest book of Ramayana of Kamban by Gorge L Hart and Hank Heifetz

Kamaban Aranilai Kamba Ramayanam Urai

Tamil Lexicon

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  1. From which site I can get full kambaramayanam poems and meanings therefor?

  2. வைரம் நல்ல மொழிபெயர்ப்பு … வாழ்த்துக்கள்

  3. Hi

    This is an interesting one.I have never read Kamba Ramayanam before.but now feel like reading it.


  4. Which would be the best online lexicon to read a classic like Kamba Ramayanam. Or is there a good one to buy amongst publications? The dhool link is unfortunately down and Tamil virtual academy always gives a Java script error.

  5. Anna kalakal lines which describes the beauty of seethai and transulation is also nice .very nice job.all the best:)

  6. Beauty of Sita cannot be explained more than this. Yea ultimately she is the awathar of Goddess Lakshmi which could not be understood by highly read Rawana because of the lust in his eyes on hearing the words of Surpanaka.

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