Mahakavi Bharathiyar’s “Condemning Illusion”

By N.V.Subbaraman from Chennai, India

Mahakavi Bharathiyar, great  patriot and national Poet  with his sterling songs in Tamil, roused the peoples conscience towards, Motherland, its freedom, Mother Tongue, its greatness,  Woman’s lib, its need and sanctity, social evils, need to eradicate and so on during the short span of 39 years of his life (11-12-1882 to 11-9-1921).

He was proud of his Motherland-India that is Bharath- its hoary culture and civilization, achievements of the ancient land and sang in praise that made everyone take pride and serve the nation.

He is equally conscious of the essential needs of the human beings physically, mentally, intellectually, spiritually and so on. Here is a beautiful poem condemning ILLUSION that is MAYA.” and  in his original Tamil, its transliteration and translation into English and a comment.

Original in Tamil:

உண்மை யறிந்தவர் உன்னைக் கணிப்பாரோ?


திண்மையுள்ளாரை நீ செய்வது

மொன்றுண்டோ – மாயையே                (1)

எத்தனை கோடி படைகொண்டு வந்தாலும்

     மாயையே – நீ

சித்தத் தெளிவெனுந் தீயின்முன்

     நிற்பாயோ? – மாயையே!                    (2)

என்னைக் கெடுப்பதற் கெண்ணமுற்றாய்

     கெட்ட மாயையே! நான்

உன்னைக் கெடுப்ப துறுதியென்,

     றேயுணர் – மாயையே!                      (3)

சாகத் துணியிற் சமுத்திர மெம்மட்டு

     மாயையே ! – இந்தத்

தேகம் பொய் யென்றுணர் தீரரை யென்

     செய்வாய் – மாயையே !                     (4)

இருமை யழிந்தபின் எஙிருப்பாய் அற்ப,

     மாயையே ! – தெளிந்

தொருமை கண்டார் முன்னம் ஓடாது

     நிற்பையோ ! – மாயையே                   (5)

நீதரும் இன்பத்தை நேரென்று கொள்வேனோ

     மாயையே – சிங்கம்

நாய்தரக் கொள்ளுமோ நல்லர

     சாட்சியை – மாயையே !                    (6)

என்னிச்சை கொண்டுனை யெற்றிவிட

     வல்லேன் மாயையே ! _ இனி

உன்னிச்சை கொண்டெனக் கொன்றும்

     வராது காண் – மாயையே!                   (7)

யார்க்கும் குடியல்லேன் யானென்ப

     தோர்ந்தனன் மாயையே! – உன்றன்

போர்க்கஞ்சு வேனோ பொடியாக்குவேன்

     உன்னை – மாயையே!                       (8)


UNmai  yarindhavar unnaik kaaNbaaroa?

 Maayaiyae – manath

ThiNmaiyuLLaarai  nee seyvadhu

          MonruNdoa ! – maayaiyae     (1)

Eththanai koadi padai  koNdu vandhaalum

Maayaiyae- nee

Siththath theLivenun  theeyinmun

          Nirpaayoa? – maayaiyae!        (2)

Ennaik kedupadhar keNNamutraay

          Ketta maayaiyae! – naan

Unnaik keduppa thuruthiyen,

          RaeyuNar – maayaiyae!         (3)

Saagath thuNiyir memmattu

Maayaiyae ! – indhath

Dhaegam poyyenruNar theerarai yen

          Seyvaay – maayaiyae !         (4)

Irumai yazindhapin engiruppaay arpa

Maayaiyae ! – theLin

Dhorumai kaNdaar munnam oadaadhu

          Nirpaiyoa ! – maayaiyae.       (5)

Neetharum inbaththai naerenru koLvamoa

Maayaiyae- singam

Naaytharak koLLumoa nallara

          Saatchiyai – maayaiyae       (6)

Ennichchai koNdunai yetrivida

          Vallaen Maayaiyae! –  ini

Unnichchai koNdenek konrum

          Varaadhu kaaN – maayaiyae!     (7)

Yaarkkum kudiyallaen yaanenba

          Thoarndhanan maayaiyae! – unran

Poarkkanjuvaenoa podiyaakkuvaen

          Ubnnai – maayaiyae!     (8)


Will those who know the truth care for you Oh, illusion?

Can you do any harm to those who are strong hearted oh, illusion?     (1)

With a big battalion of warriors oh, illusion

Can you stand the stare of mind’s clarity, oh, illusion?        (2)

You have decided to take a ride on me oh, illusion

Realize that I am sure to rout you, oh, illusion!       (3)

To the one ready to face death, depth of sea is nothing, oh, illusion

What can you do to the one who knows this body is ephemeral, oh, illusion!   (4)

As duality dies, where will you be trivial illusion?

Can you stand and stare at the realized one, oh, illusion?  (5)

Do you think I will go for the joy that you offer, oh, illusion?

Lion will not accept the offer of governance from a petty dog, oh, illusion!  (6)

I am strong enough to kick you of as I wish oh, illusion

Your wish is not capable of inflicting any injury, oh, illusion!    (7)

I know that I am slave to none, oh, illusion

The war that you wage cannot cow me down, I will pulp you oh, illusion!   (8)

Maya is maya, illusion is illusion, it can never be real! Here Bharathiyar’s ridiculing decrying and condemning the illusion is beautifully brought out in this song!



  1. The esoteric truth that for the Gnani who knows that MAYA is blinding the intellect from knowing the REAL it is easy to realise the presence of GOD in all that is created and feel HIS presence everywhere and everything and striving to live in harmony by consciously driving away the enveloping MAYA is excellently brought out by the poet and admirably translated by Sri. NVS. May his work continue uninterruptedly. Wishes.

  2. N V Subbaraman says:

    Thanks sir, for your scholarly response.

  3. O K R Sivagnanam says:

    A nice song on the futility of illusion by Mahakavi Bharathi!
    And its translation into English by NVS Sir is beautiful!
    An illusion always tempts us to the extent of hiding behind it the real one- illusions appear to be so perfectly real that what is actually real finds itself unqualified to compete with the former and establish its position!
    But an analysis on the basis of common sense will correct our wrong notion of illusions in its perspective, and click us right!

    Crush the illusion out of shape, and give shape to reality!

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