Patinathar’s poem on life- Part 4 – Death -Utarkurruvanam


முஞ்சடையுஞ் சிறுகுஞ்யும்விஞ்ச, 


மாமலைபோல் யமதூதர்கள்வந்து.

And lo, behold,

the Messenger of Death,

like a huge mountain,

shining and black shape,

all hairy, terrible,

teeth like the crescent moon(19)-






He throws his net

and takes the life

and goes.

the others come with bowed heads,

and weep,

the wife falls in his lap and weeps,(20)





The neighbors stand around and speak:

‘Well, he was very old.’

and then they, too, disperse

like cotton in the wind;

And a few stay,

propose to build a shed.(21)






Then comes the Paraiyar

bringing his drum. 

They wash the corpse,

dress it and anoint,

and decorate with sandal and with wreaths.(22)






The youngsters come and bend and take the corpse.

and they walk swiftly till they reach

the burning ground.

what is this human life?(23)







They place the body on the pyre 

and cover it with fuel, bathed in oil,

and then kindle the fire.

It burns and the fat melts,

and the limbs fall apart;

The bones, cracking and scorched,

sink down, deep down

and now the body

that was man

is hardly a handful

of ash.

Be gracious to me,

who am your slave,

o Lord, to me who trusted

this body of mine! (24)

Poet: Patinathar

Translated by Kamil Zvelebil


part 1: Birth


Part 2: Youth

Part 3: Old age


Other Patinathar poems in my blog:



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  1. One thing to be noted from “Pattinathar” songs is that, he seem to advise only men ( May be I am wrong if he had written songs for women to stay away from such pleasures ).

    Did he consider only men to do sin or dwelling a life dedicated to bodily pleasures ?

    And in almost all the songs it seems to be accusing women as they pull men towards them with their false body attractions.

    Is there anything that “Pattinathar” has written to Women telling pleasure from (men) body is mortal or something like
    that ?

    please clarify.

  2. One of the most important things you should understand here is…Patinathar wasnt the common poet you would immagine..
    He was a beggar and all these sings were uttered by him while he was beggar…
    Though he choose begging not because of poverty but for reasons u can understand form his poem, a person who has hated all worldly things….
    He wonders why his heart all ways thing of worldly things and he wants the lord to make him think only of the lord…
    He is not person trying to give advise to others rather he was ruing his mistakes….
    He is NOT advising any one here…. it more of personal tone being reflected here….

  3. Hi Vairam,

    Try posting songs from “Abhirami Andhadhi”, a classical Tamil work on goddess “Abhirami” of Thirukkadaiyur.

    The use of the poetic structure “Andhadi” by “Abhirmai bhattar” is exquisite. The way he prays to mother Abhirami to help him relieve from the worldly routines is a feast of nectar in Tamil.

    Also, Dr.Sirkazhi Govindarajan has sung with his majestic tone,syllable by syllable pronounciation of the text, which will help you to relish the grandeur of the work done my Abhirami Bhattar.


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