thiruppAvai – 04 – Azhi mazhai

srImathE satakOpAya nama:
srImathE rAmAnujAya nama:
srImadh varavaramunayE nama:

Full Series

1st pAsuram – parathvam (nArAyaNan); 2nd pAsuram – vyUham (kshIrAbdhi nAthan); 3rd pAsuram – vibhavam (thrivikraman); In this pAsuram, they sing of antharyAmithvam (inside varuNa dhEva the rain god).

sarvESvaran (god for all) lowered His stature on His own, to come and be born and live here in AyppAdi. Here, He is following the orders of gOpikAs, letting them make fun of Him, (bends to show His back as a writing table for these girls to write on; they try bangles for size on His wrist), and they are together with krishNan all the time. It goes without saying that the other dhEvathAs would want to help the gOpikAs as well, and take part in their enjoyment of union with krishNan.

The dhEvathai of rain (parjanyan) comes and asks the gOpikAs “How do I do my part in this togetherness so that my life would be meaningful and fit my nature of being subservient to emperumAn; please give me orders to do anything you desire”. The gOpikAs reply, ‘People should say ‘these girls did nOnbu, and all the rains showered’ ‘; and they give him their list of how he should rain for the well-being of the people.
This is also related to people who have done samAsryaNam (surrender) through their AchAryan. When someone asked AzhvAn (kUraththAzhvAn), ‘what will you do when you see dhEvathAntharams (other dhevathAs)’? AzhvAn replied, “Your question is wrong and against the words of vEdhAs. Ask instead what the dhevathAs should do when they see us who are saraNAgathAs (done samAsrayaNam).”

ஆழி மழைக்கண்ணா ஒன்று நீ கைகரவேல்
ஆழி உள் புக்கு முகந்துகொடு ஆர்த்து ஏறி
ஊழி முதல்வன் உருவம் போல் மெய்கறுத்துப்
பாழிய்அம் தோளுடைப் பற்பனாபன் கையில்
ஆழி போல்மின்னி வலம்புரி போல் நின்று
அதிர்ந்து தாழாதே சார்ங்க முதைத்த சரமழை போல்
வாழ உலகினில் பெய்திடாய் நாங்களும்
மார்கழி நீராட மகிழ்ந்தேலோர் எம்பாவாய்.

Azhi mazhaik kaNNA! onRu(m) nI kai karavEl
AzhiyuL pukku mugandhu kOdu Arththu ERi
Uzhi mudhalvan uruvam pOl mei karuththu
pAzhiyam thoLudaiya paRpanAban kaiyil
Azhi pOl minni valampuri pOl ninRu adhirndhu
thAzhAdhE sArngam udhaiththa sara mazhai pOl
vAzha ulaginil peidhidAi
nAngaLum mArgazhi nIrAda maghizhndhElor empAvAi


Word by Word Meaning

mazhaik kaNNA – O varuNa dhEvA the head of rain gods
Azhi – who is majestic like the ocean
kai karavEl – without holding back
onRu(m) – anything,
nI – you
AzhiyuL pukku – enter the ocean
mugandhu kodu – drink entire water,
Eri – rise in the sky
Arthu – with thunders,
mei karuthu – become dark
uruvam pOl – like the divine body of
Uzhi mudhalvan – emperumAn who is the root cause of time and everything,
Azhi pOl minni – do lightning like the discus (in the right hand),
ninRu adhirndhu – stay and be thunderous
valam-puri pOl – like the conch (in the left hand),
pAzhi-am-thOL-udai – of the one with great and beautiful shoulders,
paRpanAbhan kaiyil – of the one with beautiful navel;
thAzhadhE – without any delay
sArngam udhaitha sara mazhai pOl – like how the arrows poured from the bow (of srI rAma)
peidhidAi – pour the rain
vAzha – for all to live
nAngaLum – so that we too (we who are doing nOnbu)
mArgazhi nIrAda – pleasantly bathe as part of mArgazhi
magizhndhu – with happiness

Simple Translation

Azhi mazhaik kaNNA

emperumAn gave the work of creating and destroying to brahma rudhras, and kept the saving work to Himself; O! the parjanyan, you are also similar to Him in helping the country as He has given this good work to you of pouring the rains after considering your goodness.

O! the parjanyan, to whom perumAL has given the job of pouring rains on this world, and who has got a lot of rain in you, please, without thinking that we have done pApams, pour the rain on us so that the elders are happy about the result of our nOnbu. Be of big heart and be kind and take care of these ordinary people’s requests – that is what krishNan did by walking all the way to kauravAs for negotiating a land on behalf of pANdavas.

(It is such a low-level task for krishNan, but He did that out of kindness towards these people; not only that, He wants others to know about it too! – where did krishNan let others know about it? – go to thiruvallikkENi and he is proudly standing there saying that I went as a messenger for the pANdavas, I drove the chariot for them, and I got a lot of wounds in my face when helping them in kurukshEthra).

onRu nI kai karavEl

They are asking the dhEvathai of rain to pour without holding anything back, without a changing generosity; nee – you who will become white when you don’t rain. Unlike emperumAn gOshti that do good based on good deeds, pour without any partiality like how we accept everyone even considering their bad deeds as a good reason for mercy, as part of the group of pirAtti.

Like bhattar said to emperuman that His eyes cannot match pirAtti’s always-kind eyes, here the varuNa dhEvathai is not comparable to emperumAn’s ever generous nature.

Azhi uL pukku mugandhu  kodu

Enter the middle of salty ocean all the way to the bottom and drink all the water and take them and pour them as rain – we want it for the well-being of our AyppAdi. (and not into the small holes dug by the sons of king sakara who sent his sons in search of the horse used in asvamEdha yAgA).

Arththu –

When her son gets angry with her and goes to a choultry at the street-end and doesn’t come home in the night, the mother would send food for him without letting him know about it, and later when he returns she would not show any expression about having given that food – emperumAn is also like this – He protects us but doesn’t show it in His face.  But we want  you (parjanyan) to show it all – with all eagerness and happiness, and with a lot of thunder and lightning – like how thiruvadi (hanuman) came back with such an enthusiasm after locating and meeting sIthA pirAtti, and like how the other vAnaras were showing the enthusiasm upon seeing how thiruvadi was returning.

ERi – We and this whole world should see you coming with thunder and lightning like a bow; should cover the whole sky with your dark clouds; like it is said in ‘viNNIla mElAppu virindhArpOl‘ (nAchiAr thirumozhi 8-1) and ‘madha yAnai pOl ezhundha mAmugil-kAL’ (nAchiAr thirumozhi 8-9).

Azhi uL pukku mugandhukodu Arththu Eri – people who have surrendered to Him get deep in to kainkaryam and get to AchAryan’s thiruvadi.

Arthu – fully into;  ERi – AchAryan’s position; mugandhu kodu – achAryan due to his abhimAnam/kindness towards even those who have done lots of pApams, by making emperumAn be kind to them.

Uzhi mudhalvan

Like how emperumAn at the time before creation of beings (that time is called Uzhi; mudhalvan: emperumAn), sees all of us who have not yet gained a body or life, and feels sorry for us and with so much kindness starts his creation process with just His sankalpam (with a thought in His mind), and then He would get bright with happiness – You, the rain dhEvathai, also should possess similar kindness towards us. “gyAlam padaiththa em mugil vaNNanE” (O the one who created the worlds, whose color is like dark clouds) is what nammAzhwAr also said.

uruvam pOl mei karuththu

When emperumAn decides to create the worlds due to His kindness filling His heart like how a grown plant would be, the rain dhevathai, you also come with your body getting dark (clouds).

‘mei’ ‘karuththu’ – they are saying only the body would get dark for the rain dhEvathai, because unlike emperumAn‘s kindness which towards us comes from His inside, the clouds will become white after giving rains; emperumAn is always having kindness towards us.


pAzhi – lot of space available (in the shoulder); emperumAn’s shoulder is so big that when people wanting to reach Him who go under the protection of His big shoulders, and will look small compared to the shadow of His shoulders; that is, His longing for us is more compared to all of our longing for Him;

am-thOL – His shoulder’s protection is so sweet like the milk that is boiled off of its water (சுண்டக் காய்ச்சின பால்). He is to be protected by us, and is also our enjoyment.

paRpa nAbhan

emperumAn with the beautiful nAbhi (navel; belly button); navel like a lotus flower; from where He created brahmA (vyashti srushti) and is waiting, with His large and kind shoulder, for us to be born and go to Him;

paRpanAbhan kaiyil Azhi pOl minni

If a king gets a child, because of his status he may not fully show all his happiness outside; but all his people would enjoy the birth celebrating by throwing colors at each other (like hOli).

Similarly, although emperumAn is not showing his happiness outside after creating brahmA, since now brahmA would create all us (his children), His happiness is reflected outside by the Azhi (chakram / discus) in his hand which is becoming bright and dazzling. This is the reason for mentioning together in this pAsuram about ‘padmanAbhan’ (who made brahma to create us) and His dazzling Azhi (which is reflecting emperumAn‘s happiness for getting His children).

valampuri pOl ninRadhirndhu

Like how in kurukshEthra the conch sounded by krishNan made the kauravas dead scared and pAndavas very happy, (what appears as deadly weapon for the enemies looks like an ornament for us); O the rain dhEvathai make thunderous noise to raise and pour the rain on us.

valampuri – the conch is very close to emperumAn; emperumAn gets to put it in his wonderful lips. It has done bhAgyam. ==> ANdAL implies that they should get so much rain, not like how much the people who pray other dhEvathais would get but like those who get the sambandham of emperumAn (like the conch got the relationship with emperumAn), that is us who have done samAshrayaNam.

‘ninRru’  adhirundhu – unlike in kurukshEtram where the conch was sounded only once, we want you (the rain dhEvathai) to stay put and pour a lot of rain.

The kindness of emperumAn as sounded by the praNavam which announces about SEsha-SEshi relationship, vAzha – for lowkIkas (samsAris) to be corrected with svarUpa gyAnam (of SEsha-SEshi bhAvam); ulaginil – where samsAris live; peidhidAi – pour the nectar that is of bhagavath guNa anubhavam.


We should not get less (rain) like what they will get who go to other dhEvathais; we should get like how those who have done bhagavath samAsryaNam where perumAn would rush to help us.

sArngam udhaiththa  

sArngam: the bow of chakravarthy thirumagan (srI rAman). Like a snake which did not get any prey, the bow would be idle with perumAL (srI rAman), but once perumAL gives it the permission it would automatically pour arrows on the enemies; once it leaves the bow even perumAL cannot stop the arrow;

sara-mazhai pOl – like how perumAL‘s bow rains (the arrows) ..

vAzha ulaginil peidhidAy

Pour your rain, O the rain dhEvathai.

With those arrows of perumAL the rAkshasas were not saved; but you pour the rain for the whole world / everyone to live well.

nAngaLum mArgazhi nIrAda, magizhndhu

Then varuna dhEvathai (rain) asks “அழகிது! (nice!), I wanted to do something for you, but you are asking me to rain which I have been already doing, as perumAL assigned me that job. So what is new?”

For this the gOpikAs answer, “Well, we and krishNan will bathe, you see that and become happy; that will also get you to see krishNan.”

After seeing your big clouds and the sound of thunder, we are taking bath to reduce our angst due to separation from krishNan.  For the elders we have to bathe just as part of nOnbu only; it is not necessary to do it happily; for you, we will happily bathe and be with krishNan. This is how you are helping us.

ElOrEm-pAvai – commit to your mind and follow us; colloquial phrase with no specific meaning.

In this pAsuram, similar to how gOpikAs ask varuNan to do the task which he already does as part of his work/kainkaryam, prappanas also do the nithya/naimithika tasks (like sandhya vandhanam, srArtham) as part of following what is required of them.

English translation raghurAm srInivAsa dhAsan

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4 thoughts on “thiruppAvai – 04 – Azhi mazhai

  1. Pingback: Word Puzzles – Tiruppavai Series 4 | srIvaishNava Education Portal

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