Vaidehi’s Sangam Tamil Poetry Translations



Please learn the Sangam poems if you want to know your heritage as a Tamil.  These poems reveal the sophisticated ancient Tamil culture of over 2,000 years ago.  The literature is a record of Tamil Nadu history of about 500 – 600 years.

Our ancestors who wrote the Sangam poems were geniuses.  There are 18 books.  They have left this incredible treasure for all of us to enjoy.  We as Tamils are very lucky to have inherited their poetry.  With some effort, all of us can learn and enjoy these poems.  In A.K. Ramanujan’s words “Even one’s own tradition is not one’s birthright; it has to be earned, repossessed”.   

In addition to translation, I have given meanings which will help to learn.  I have deliberately translated into easy, contemporary English so that the reader can learn the original Tamil poems easily.  English is a mere tool which could help Tamils to learn the original Tamil poems.  I have also written ‘eliya Tamil urai’ for some Kurunthokai, Ainkurunuru, Natrinai, Akananuru, Kalithokai and Purananuru poems.  I have also written ‘eliya Tamil urai’ for Mullaippaattu and Nedunalvaadai.  Please buy the Tamil urai books written by our great scholars (நச்சினார்க்கினியர், ஒளவை துரைசாமி, உ. வே. சாமிநாதையர், பொ. வே. சோமசுந்தரனார், அருள் அம்பலவாணர், பின்னத்தூர் அ. நாராயணசாமி ஐயர், இரா. இராகவையங்கார், தி. சதாசிவ ஐயர், அ. தட்சிணாமூர்த்தி, கு. வெ. பாலசுப்ரமணியன்).  That is the best way to learn these lovely poems and know our past.

Please contact me if you need to know more about the urai books written by these scholars –

This is a one person effort.  Kindly share this site with friends and family.  You need to get my permission to put my translations in any book or internet site.  I update my work constantly, add more details, valuable references, grammar notations and cross references in the Notes section.  If you download, please update your files at least once a month.    

A.K. Ramanujan wrote, “These poem are ‘classical,’ i.e., early, ancient; they are also ‘classics,’ i.e., works that have stood the test of time, the founding works of a whole tradition.  Not to know them is not to know a unique and major poetic achievement of Indian civilization”.

In addition to Sangam, I have also translated the following to English, with meanings – முத்தொள்ளாயிரம், பாண்டிக்கோவை, திருக்குறள், 6 பதினெண்கீழ்க்கணக்கு அக நூல்கள்.

Here are some of my other sites:

1. முத்தொள்ளாயிரம் –

2. பாண்டிக்கோவை –

3. திருக்குறள் –

4. ஆறு பதினெண்கீழ்க்கணக்கு அக நூல்கள் – (திணைமாலை நூற்றைம்பது, திணை மொழி ஐம்பது, ஐந்திணை எழுபது, ஐந்திணை ஐம்பது, கார் நாற்பது, கைந்நிலை)

5. Tagore’s Gitanjali translation –

6.  மாணிக்கவாசகரின் திருக்கோவையார் –

7.  Data from Sangam Literature – (Lists of fauna, flora, towns in ancient Tamil Nadu, kings, poets, reference to non-Tamils, occupations, food etc.)

8. Excerpts from the research articles of Iravatham Mahadevan regarding the Indus Valley Civilization –  (a site that will have the key points of the research of Asko Parpola in the coming weeks)

9.  Sangam Poems that are reflected in Divyaprabandham (I have listed many.  There are still more to be listed) -

10. (this site has the key facts seen in Sangam literature)

11. (this site has lessons 1 through 12 that can be used by students to learn on their own, plus articles on Sangam literature, Akam conventions etc.  In addition, it has the easy urai for the 10 long songs and for some of the anthology poems).



Vaidehi Herbert

Hawaii, U.S. A.

– ©  All Rights Reserved


7 responses »

  1. I saw your interview in Ananda Vikadan. Thank you for your great service. Tamil world will never forget you. You go ahead in your venture. Even though we are not well versed in Tamil literature, we know, we understand and we feel your hard work. Thank you. Alagiri, Deputy registrar, Tiruppur.

  2. வணக்கம் அம்மா,

    உங்கள் இந்த மொழிபெயர்ப்பு பணி மிகவும் பாராட்டிற்குறியது. மிகவும் மகிழ்ச்சி. செம்மொழியான நம் தமிழ்மொழியின் புலமையும், சிறப்பும், உயர்வும் உலகறியச் செய்யும் ஒரு மகத்தான பணி. உங்கள் பணி மென்மேலும் தொடர எங்கள் வாழ்த்துக்கள். சங்கப்பாடல்கள் ஆங்கிலத்தின் வழியாக தமிழ் இளையோரை சென்றடையும் அதே நேரத்தில், தமிழ் மொழியை அவர்கள் மறக்காமல் தமிழின் பயன்பாடு அவர்களிடத்தில் அதிகரிக்கச் செய்யும் கடமையும் நம் அனைவருக்கும் உண்டு என்ற என் தாழ்மையான கருத்தையும் இங்கு பதிவு செய்ய விரும்புகிறேன்.


  3. Dear Vaidehi Madam,

    I recently came across your blog when I was searching for books on English translations of Sangam Tamil poems. From my limited research on this subject, I observed that many translated works do not provide the ‘word by word’ meanings. You have not only done justice to the poems in your translations, but you have also taken great pains to make these poems accessible for novice readers such as myself.

    I take this opportunity to appreciate your effort. Your labor would be of great use to many like me to appreciate the beauty of Tamil poetry and will allow us to delve deeper into the subject.

    Sandeep Shankar

  4. Dear Amma,
    I am a church pastor with interest of Tamil language from Tamil Nadu. You have done a great work. And also you have given it for public on free of cost. What a heart you have. You are a real Godly woman. May the Lord bless you. If you can continue your work with 12 thirumurais, Nalayiram thivya brabandam that will be great.

    With love,
    Pon Nesan

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s