Muse #130 - simple one-word Tamil metaphor
Avvaiyar the poet lived in the 3rd century BCE. In those days, poets were often present at the courts of the Kings as part of his entourage. And she blessed the Chola dynasty King, with the single-word blessing “Varapuyarah” (வரப்புயர) - which means “may the bunds rise” - the bunds are the edges of the rice paddy fields which hold the water for the rice to grow.
The single complex word in Tamil conjugates varapu (bund) with uyarah (verb meaning let it become taller)
This is reflective of her understanding of complex human systems and their underlying interaction of various factors. The longer complete version of the poem goes like this -
வரப்புயர நீர் உயரும் - if the bunds rise, then water levels will rise
நீர் உயர நெல் உயரும் - if the water rises the paddy will grow more
நெல் உயரக் குடி உயரும் - if more paddy will grow, then people will have better lives
குடி உயரக் கோல் உயரும் - if people have better lives, the granaries will be full
கோல் உயரக் கோன் உயர்வான் - and if the granaries are full, the King will flourish
As I start work on my collection of metaphors, this is an excellent guide and approach to come up with extremely simple metaphorical terms that would condense the meaning of many interrelated actions in a dynamic and complex system. And that indeed is an excellent goal to work towards.
PS: The name Avvaiyar is a combination of the Tamil word avvai with the honorific suffix -yar. Avvai refers to 'respectable elderly woman' as the word ammai which means 'good woman' in general term for a woman of any age. Thus the name Avvaiyar means a 'respectable good woman', hence a generic title rather than a specific name of a person.