thiruviruththam – 16 – papapala UzhigaLAyidum

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avathArikai (Introduction)

The leading man separated from his lady after being united with her for a long time. As a result of this, the sorrow due to separation became severe. This pAsuram could be considered as the leading lady telling her friend or as the friend telling the leading lady.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings.

palapala UzhigaLAyidum anRiyOr nAzhigaiyaip
palapala kURitta kURAyidum kaNNan viNNaNaiyAy
palapala nALanbar kUdilum nIngilum yAm melidhum
pala pala sUzhal udaiththu amma vAzhi ippAyirulE

Word-by-Word Meanings

kaNNan – krishNa’s
viNNaNaiyAy – one who is enjoyable like paramapadham
anbar – the leading man who is affectionate
palapala nAL – many kalpams (kalpam is one day of brahmA, running to millions of years)
kUdilum – whether united
(during that time)
Or nAzhigaiyai – one nAzhigai (24 minutes)
palapala kURitta – broken down many times over
kURAyidum – will become infinitesimal
(time will fly like a fleeting moment)
anRi – otherwise
nIngilum – even (if the leading man) separates (for a moment)
Or nAzhigaiyai – one nAzhigai
palapala kURitta kURu – an infinitesimal moment by breaking down the nAzhigai
palapala UzhigaLAyidum – will become many kalpams
(it will grow like that over a very long period)
yAm – we
palapala – long time
melidhum – are suffering
amma – Oh mother!
pAy – expansive
i iruL – this darkness
palapala – many types
sUzhal – deceitful acts
udaiththu – has
vAzhi – let it live long
(this is termed as nindhAsthuthi – abusing, as if being praising)

Simple Translation

Oh one who is enjoyable like krishNa’s paramapadham! Even if one were united with an affectionate beloved person for a long time, that time would appear as fleeting as breaking down a nAzhigai (24 minutes) into infinitesimal parts. It would end that fast. However, if the same man leaves even for a brief time, even an infinitesimal portion of a broken down nAzhigai would appear to be as long lasting as many kalpams. I have been in such a sorrowful state, for a long time. This night, which brought my situation to this level, is full of deceitful acts. Let this darkness live forever.


palapala UzhigaLAyidum – After being together for a long time, if one were to separate for a short time, even that short span of time appears like eons.

anRi – instead of that

Or nAzhigaiyaip palapala kURitta kURAyidum – the time that they [the leading man and his lady] were together appears like an infinitesimal portion such as breaking down one nAzhigai (twenty four minutes) into a million parts and considering one such part. Even during such an infinitesimal length of time, instead of being united, they had spent it in knowing about each other. The time that they were together did not appear to be for enjoying but to create separation later.

kaNNan viNNaNaiyAy – this term could be considered as having been said either by the leading lady or by her friend. If it is considered as having been said by the leading lady, the meaning would be – “Oh my friend who is sweet and very dear, like paramapadham! I am existing only because you are near me like krishNa’s paramapadham. Just as the sorrows of samsAram will not go anywhere near those who are in paramapadham, despite all my sorrows in separation due to the cruelty of this time, if I exist it is only because of you”. If it is considered to have been uttered by the lady’s friend, the meaning would be – “Is it not true that those who are in paramapadham will never return from there? They will never separate from there, will they? Oh one who is dear like paramapadham! Is it possible for one who has attained you, to leave you? Could they exist, after separating from you?”

palapala nAL . . . . – If this is considered as having been said by the leading lady, the meaning would be – “Whether I am with him forever or separate from him for a very short span of time, it is not possible for me to be like him [the leading man], without any change. When I was with him, since I did not think of anything else, I felt like floating in the air and became emaciated; when I separated from him, due to the anguish of separation, I became emaciated; how strange is this!” If this is considered as having been spoken of by the friend, the meaning will be – “My friend, this leading lady, is totally weakened whether she is with her man or separated from him, without any distinction”. The term sUzhal refers to plotting. In other words, night time is plotting to hasten the time when the leading man and lady are together and to delay the time further when they are separated. Both the lady and her friend are feeling sad that they do not have the quality of plotting which the night has. The reason for both of them to feel sad is the separation from the man [leading lady is genuinely affected while for the friend it is because of seeing the lady feeling sad].

palapala sUzhal udaiththu – it is helpful when they are together and inimical when they are separated. Commentator cites a couple of examples to illustrate this – nAchchiyAr thirumozhi 12-3 “nandhagOpan kadaiththalaikkE naLLirutkaN” (reach me at the doorstep of nandhagOpan’s house before it dawns) implying that darkness is helping them to unite; thiruviruththam 72 “surungA iruLin karundhiNimbai” (breaking the hold of darkness) implying that night gets scared when they are separated.

amma – calling out to her mother

vAzhi – if this is considered as having been spoken of by the leading lady, this implies that she is paying backhanded compliment just like telling her brothers who had taken her possessions “Oh my brothers! May you live up to the age of hundred”; if it is considered as having been told by the lady’s friend, this would imply that the friend genuinely wishes her to get out of her troubles.

svApadhESam (distinguished meaning): this pAsuram conveys the unwillingness of AzhwAr to stay in samsAram (materialistic world)

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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