thiruviruththam – 14 – IrvanavElum anjElum

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avathArikai (Introduction)

This pAsuram comes under the classification of nalam pArAttu. In other words, the leading man praises the qualities of the leading lady. Here, the leading man, bewildered by the beauty of the leading lady’s eyes, describes their beauty in several ways.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

IrvanavElum anjElum uyirmEl miLirndhu ivaiyO
pErvanavO alla dheyva nal vEL kaNai pEroLiyE
sOrvana neelach chudar vidumEniyammAn visumbUr
thErvana dheyvam annIrakaNNO ichchezhum kayalE

Word-by-Word Meanings

Irvana – splitting
vElum – as the weapon spear
am – beautiful
sElum – as the fish
ivai – these
uyir mEl – on the life
miLirndhu – attacking
pErvanavO alla – they will not go away
dheyvam – as the lord
nal – being distinguished
vEL – manmatha’s (cupid‘s)
kaNai – arrow of red lotus
pEr – huge
oLi – lustre
sOrvana – letting out
neelam – dark
sudar – splendorous
vidum – emitting
mEni – divine form
ammAn – sarvESvaran, the Lord’s
visumbu – SrIvaikuNtam
Ur – nithyasUris who are present in that place
thErvana – are searching
dheyvam – different from prAkrutham (primordial)
annIra – distinguished like that
i – this
sezhum – well rounded
kayal – fish
kaNNO – eyes?

Simple Translation

Her eyes are like the sharp spear as well as like beautiful fish. They are pouncing on my life as if they wish to take it under their control. These eyes emit an effulgence similar to the one emitted by the arrows of the beautiful manmatha who looks divine. Moreover, these eyes are searching for nithyasUris who are in SrIvaikuNtam which is the abode of sarvESvaran who has a dark bluish form, emitting splendour. Are these, which appear like well grown-up fish, your eyes?


IrvanevElum anjElum – there are two interpretations to this term – one is taken as IrvanavElum anjElum and the other is taken splitting the two words as Irvana vElum and am sElum. In the first interpretation, the meaning is – manmatha’s arrows will break all the creatures in this world. They enter the creatures through the five senses. Her two eyes create the same impact which the arrows of manmatha create through the five senses. In the second interpretation, the meaning is – just as the spear will pierce enemies, her beautiful eyes which are like fish, will pierce the lives of people. Thus, two interpretations namely vaidhakdhyam and maukdhyam were described here. maukdhyam refers to saundharyam (overall beauty). This beauty was explained through the term am sEl (beautiful fish). Just as a spear will destroy an enemy without changing its form, her eyes will pounce on the person standing opposite them, without undergoing any change in themselves. Through the term IrvanavElum the commentator described in a distinguished manner, the entity which created an effect and he also described the effect.

uyirmEl miLirndhuhere, he describes the entity which is affected [by the eyes]. Even though her eyes pounced on the leading man like a spear, they did not create any injury on the body, unlike the spear. Thus her eyes, instead of hurting the body, which has being destroyed as its nature, desires to pierce the life, which has been termed in SrI bhagavath gIthA 2-24 as achchEdhyOyam (incapable of being split); in other words, it attempts to destroy life which is indestructible.

miLirndhu – just as the spear thrown at an enemy pierces him and stays there, her eyes also pierce the life and stay there.

ivaiyO – these (the eyes) are cruel

pErvanavO alla – once it pierces, the spear will not move. The person who flings the spear [to attack his enemy] will not throw it in such a manner that it could be removed [by the enemy] for treating the injured place. Her eyes too were similar; they stayed put on his life, without moving.

dheyvam nal vEL kaNaip pEr oLiyE sOrvana – her eyes, apart from being like spear or fish, have taken the form of the arrows of kAman (manmatha). Why are they taking different forms, like the sage saubhari? [sage saubhari, in order to marry the fifty daughters of King mAndhAtha, took fifty forms so that each daughter thought that he was spending time only with her). These eyes also emit the splendour of the arrows of kAman who is capable of acting well and who is beautiful.

neelach chuddar vidum mEni ammAn visumbUr thErvana – the word thErvana has two interpretations – to search out for those who are in SrIvaikuNtam. Also, to be sought by those who are in SrIvaikuNtam. Her eyes searched for the SrIvaikuNtam which belongs to sarvESvaran who has a divine form emitting bluish effulgence. The divine form of sarvESvaran is dhArakam and pOshakam (sustenance and nourishment, respectively) for nithyasUris.

ammAn – even if one loses out to his [sarvESvaran’s] divine form, one will still say that they had been won over by him. He is such a lord. katOpanishath 1-2-23 says thasyaisha AthmA vivruNuthE thanUm svAm (he manifests his divine form to one who he chooses to be apt to see his form)

visumbUr – this term refers to those who are in SrIvaikuNtam, viz. similar to the term manjA: krOSanthi (literally this means that the cot is making noise; however the noise is made by those who are lying on the cot and not by the cot itself). nithyasUris constantly envision emperumAn’s divine form and enjoy it.

thErvana – those who reside in SrIvaikuNtam will not leave that place. However, her eyes are such that even these people will come in search of her eyes, leaving the distinguished SrIvaikuNtam. After winning over leelA vibhUthi [materialistic realm], her eyes have set out to win over nithya vibhUthi [spiritual realm].

dheyvam annIra – these eyes are unlike what we see in this samsAram; they are aprAkrutham (beyond primordial matter). The word annIra refers to such distinction in her eyes. They are like that, being aprAkrutham.

kaNNO ichchezhum kayalE – makes one wonder initially whether they are eyes, but subsequently ascertain that they are fish only.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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