Friday, September 15, 2006

Connoisseur Kambar - Part 5

Borrowing money and other materials are very common these days. The interesting thing is that more banks are ready to give loans to people and are willing to put the people in debt. Apart from that people are more willing to buy an asset by getting a loan. Even I am not an exception though I write this post. In those days, borrowing was considered a sin and it was advised not to borrow anything. There is even an old saying

"Kadan Vaangi Kadan Koduthaar Kettaar"

meaning, those who borrow to pay another debt will ruin themselves.

Kadan - debt
Vaangi - get Koduthu - give;
Koduthaar - person giving something

Kettu - Spoil, ruin;
Kettaar - person spoiling themselves

Even Avaiyar, says that it is a great sin to borrow and to spend more than what one earns. Her song goes like this

"Aana Mudhalil Adhigam Selavaanaal
Maanamizhandhu Madhikettu Pona Dhisai
Ellaarkkum Kallanaai Yezhupirappum Theeyanaai
Nallaarkkum Pollaanaam Naadu"
                  - Avaiyar

meaning, the one who spends more that what he earns, that is, he gets a loan to meet out his expenses. He will lose his dignity. He will lose his mind and will be considered by all as thief in whatever direction he goes. He will be a sinner in all his births and will be a bad guy for all the good ones .

Aana Mudhalil: Aana - Completed, Attained; Mudhalil - Capital, Earned money.
Adhigam: Too much, in excess
Selavu Aanaal - Expense met
Maanam Ezhandhu: Maanam - Dignity;
Ezhandhu - Lose
Madhi: Mind Sense; Kettu - Spoil, ruin
Pona - Going
Dhisai - Direction
Ellaarkkum - For all
Kallan - Thief
Yezhu pirappu - In all the births
Theeyan - Bad fellow
Nallaar - Good people
Pollaan - Bad fellow
Naadu - Compare, Understand

Kambar as usual in his exquisite style explains how it would feel to be in a debt.
Here goes his song.

    "Vidam (Visham) Konda Meenaippolum
         Venthazhal Mezhugu Polum
    Padam Konda Paanthal Vaayil
         Pattriya Thaerai Polum
    Dhidamkonda Rama Baanam
         Serukkala thutra Podhu
    Kadankondaar Nenjam Pola
         Kalanginaan Elangai Vendhan"
                  - Kambar

meaning, Like a fish that has taken in poison; Like the wax near a hot flame; Like the toad that got caught between the venomous jaws of a snake; When the brave arrows of Lord Rama flew in the war field. Ravana's feared and panicked as of the victim's position in the above situations that can be compared to the person in a debt

Vidam (Visham) - Poison
Konda - having
Meen - Fish
Polum - Like
Venthazhal - Red hot flame
Mezhugu - Wax
Padam - Snake's hood
Paanthal - Snake
Vaai - Mouth, jaws
Pattriya - Catching
Thaerai - Toad
Dhidam - Brave, solid
Rama - Lord Rama
Baanam - Arrow
Serukkalam - War field
Uttra - Flew, Enter
Kadan- debt; Kondar - person in debt
Nenjam - heart, mind
Kalanginaan - feared, panicking
Elangai - Sri Lanka, Vendhan - King (Ravana)

So our forefathers avoided borrowing and being in a debt. As the debt would force a person to do anything that is considered mean. And he has to live his life always in fear. Kambar proved his eloquence and style by picturising the effects of being in a debt. The wonder nowadays is the banks promote credit cards and force people into debt which was considered a sin. Lets put a thought about it and try to contend ourselves with what we have and escape the great sin of debt. The point of not being in a debt might not be feasible for businesses today and even for people. But the facts elucidated by Kambar cannot be denied. Lets ponder over it.

More to come, until then...


Anonymous said...

Great presenter you are...You make the subject very interesting.

You are a true Tamilian... All tamilians should be like yu

prasad said...

You said all other situations are being compared to how a person in debt feels. Is that right ?

When I read it, i interpreted it as kambar used all other examples to poetically state how Ravana felt when Rama came to lanka for war.

I felt that the person in debt was yet another analogy in the poem. But you're right that it being compared to other really strong examples does make enforce the point that carrying debt is as bad as others. I felt the crux of this poem was not about 'debt' but the situation in ramayana.

R.Prabhu said...

Thanks anon!


Thanks Prasad! Normally when we interpret the song one would say that the song depicts how Ravana felt. However Kambar was quite shrewd enough, that if he had analogised or simply said "Kadan pattar...", people reading the poem would not get the feel of how a person in debt feels. So he defines the feeling and seamlessly integrates the crux with Ravana.

Hope that is clear!

Anonymous said...

Again a good explanation Prabhu...

Hmm... all these days, so many have been quoting just "kadan pattar nenjam pol kalangi ninraan Ilangai vendan" alone in their speech. Thanks for giving the full seyyul.

great venture prabu...keep going...


R.Prabhu said...

Thanks Priya!

Anonymous said...

kandan pattaar nejam pola kalanginaannu kettu irukeren- full paatu ippo dhaan kekaren..
ungalukku kambar paatu kadhai ellam epdi theriyum? awesome

R.Prabhu said...

Thanks Priya! Information about Kambar and his songs are from various sources. My father told some of them, and the rest from books articles I read wayback. Actually, I thought of writing just a 2 part writeup. But the other 3 are recollections at the right time :)

Krishna said...

Hi, I didnt read everything, just the kadanpatrar nenjampol and a cpl of comments. Here's what I feel:

Kalanginaan - means disturbed or distressed in this context. not fear or panick.

and in this scenario this is about how ravana feels when his life is spared by rama - when rama says "indru poi nalai vaa" after ravana looses all his weapons.

Here ravana feels the burden of life as much as that of a debtor when it is spared by rama.

Good work mate, keep it up :)

R.Prabhu said...

Hi Krishna,

Thanks for coming by!!! Good point, and point noted, thanks for the comment! Your interpretation from the viewpoint that Ravana is a great warrior is correct, but when considered from the viewpoint of a debtor, they fear and panic when they see their lender. Kambar compares Ravana being in those situations when he went a nirayudhapani.

But your viewpoint is good indeed. Thanks once again

Narayanan Venkitu said...

Prabhu - Why did you stop writing...please keep writing....You are talented and a good writer !!

BTW - I've taken the Kadan - picture ( Kambar ) and used it in my Blog...if you would like for me to not use it..please let me know, I'll take it off.

Again - Please write..

R.Prabhu said...

Hello Mr. Narayanan Venkitu,

Thank you very much for your encouragements and compliments. I had been held up in a lot of things so could not squeeze the time to write a post.

Feel free to use it. I will be very happy if you did!!!

Thank you very much once again!!!

sajan said...

Could you tell me where and what is the no,. of the verse vidamunda meenailppolum. I searched the text and could not find it in the mina text asd well as migaippaadal.

saroja ramanujam said...

I went through your blog. It is just great wish to know you. I have a query in Kamban . Where doesthe verse vidam konda meenaippOl occurs?inrupOy ---- or final scene

R.Prabhu said...


Will let you know the details soon. Thanks for coming by!

R.Prabhu said...

@Saroja Madam,

Thanks for coming to my blog. I am honoured for a person like you has visited my blog. Will post the details soon, I read it in some other book and not the original verses of Kambar so I need to search it in the original verses.

S Subramanian said...

Can you cite the particular padalam in Kambaaramayanam where this poem appears. I searched yudhdha kANDam all over in Kambaramayanam but could not find this particular poem. Also "inRu pOy nALai vA" also is not to be found. Some people attribute this poem to aruNAcala kavirayar.
What do you think?

R. Prabhu said...


You are right, as also pointed out by Saroja. I was a very naive researcher at that time I wrote this post. I too did not find the song in the Kamba Ramayanam. I will search for the details and post it whenever I find it. Thanks for the pointers though.