thiruviruththam – 20 – chinmozhi nOyO

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avathArikai (Introduction)

This pAsuram belongs to the classification of veRivilakku in thamizh literature. Concerned with the illness of the nAyaki (leading lady), the mothers engage fortune tellers to tell them the reason for her state. They say that it is because of (a lowly) deity. Believing that, the mothers engage in remedial activities to rid the nAyaki of her illness. The lowly deity, seeing all these, possesses a person in the crowd, making him to go into a frenzy. The nAyaki’s friend tells the mother to stop all these and drives away the one who is in frenzy. This is called as veRivilakku.

Looking at the clouds surrounding, both the nAyaki and her friend became bewildered. The nAyaki’s mother became very saddened on seeing this state. Determining that this is the correct time, those who worship deities other than emperumAn, came there and started giving remedial measures to improve the situation of nAyaki. The mothers too started carrying out such remedial measures. Another friend of the nAyaki’s, who knew the real reason for the nAyaki’s sorrow, came there at that time. She told the mothers “When a beautiful garland is given to you, with water sprinkled on it to freshen it up, you act as if you want to throw it into fire. Don’t destroy her svarUpam (true nature) by indulging in these remedial measures”. She explained to them the reason for her illness, the antidote for that illness and the method to remove that illness.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

chinmozhi nOyO kazhi perum dheyvam innOyinadhenRu
inmozhi kEtkum iLam dheyvam anRu idhu vEla nil nI
en mozhi kENmin en ammanaimIr ulagu Ezhum uNdAn
sonmozhi mAlai andhaNNandhuzhAy koNdu sUttuminE

Word-by-Word Meanings

chinmozhi she, who speaks (illegible) small words , her
nOy – illness
kazhi – very much
perum – huge
dheyvam – happened due to such supreme entity
innOy – this illness
inadhu enRu – resulted due to lowly Gods
inmozhi – non-existent (false) words
kEtkum – feeling happy on hearing
iLam dheyvam – a lowly God
idhu – this illness
anRu – did not result
vEla – Oh vEla (subrahmaNya)!
nI – you
nil – stand at a distance
en ammanaimIr – Oh my mothers!
en mozhi – my words
kENmin – do listen to
ulagu Ezhum – the seven worlds
uNdAn – one who ate
mozhi – divine names
sol – recite
am – beautiful
thaN – cool
thuzhAy – strung with divine thuLasi
mAlai – garland
koNdu – bring
sUttumin – adorn

Simple Translation

nAyaki’s friend tells her mothers “The reason for the illness of this girl, who talks only a few words, is the supreme entity who is huge. Her disease has not been caused by any lowly God, as said by some people. Oh subramaNya! Go far from this place. Oh my mothers! Do listen to what I am saying. Keep reciting the divine names of the supreme entity who ate up the seven worlds. Offer her a garland strung with beautiful, cool, divine thuLasi”.


chinmozhi – there are two interpretations: one who uses very few words because of her young age or one who uses few words because of deep sorrow. The commentator uses the former meaning. If one were to consider this as a case where the girl is so young that she cannot even repeat the words spoken of by others, one would wonder as to how such a person became engaged with emperumAn to such an extent that she suffers in separation. The commentator gives reference here to SrI rAmAyaNam bAlakANdam 18-27 “bAlyAth prabhruthi susnigdha:” (lakshmaNa was very affectionate towards SrI rAma from infancy stage).  In the same way, the nAyaki too has been affectionate towards emperumAn from a young age. However, the illness which she exhibits is not congruent with her age. Does it not come after observing many deeds? Is it proper to term the love that one shows towards emperumAn as illness? Since it is a state which one takes upon oneself, it is apt only. The svarUpam (true nature) of the person is such that it becomes difficult to sustain himself/herself when separated from emperumAn.

nOy O – she is amazed that it is not the illness which befalls a person at such an age. She says that one can even make a payment in order to get such an illness. It is that good. One’s inability to sustain oneself during separation from emperumAn is the svarUpam of the AthmA.

kazhi perum dheyvam – the term kazhi refers to abundance. Here, it refers to a huge deity or one who has such greatness that he cannot be described by words. Several references are cited: purusha sUktham “pathim viSvasya” (lord of all the worlds); pathim pathInAm – superior to all the kings of the world; tham ISvarANAm paramam mahESvaram – one who is his own lord [he does not worship any other lord] and is the lord of all other deities; thaiththirIya upanishath yathO vAchA nivarthanthE – words return unable to describe the supreme entity.

innOy inadhenRu – [it is difficult to say] that this is the illness that she is suffering from or that this is the medicine or method to get rid of that illness

inmozhi – the lowly words which convey the meaning that this illness was caused by a lowly deity who wishes to listen to meaningless words such as “This disease was caused by such and such lowly deity”. Here, inmozhi refers to meaningless words.

kEtkum iLam dheyvam anRu idhu – all the lowly deities are happy and they celebrate when the people praise them ascribing non-existent greatness to them. However, the deity who caused her the illness is not one such deity. This is not the deity who grants people their wishes, expecting in return, words of praise from such people.

inmozhi – as far as other deities are concerned, their greatness will not equal the words spoken in their praise. However, in the case of bhagavath vishayam (matters relating to emperumAn), his greatness will be such that no words of praise can truly reflect it.

vEla nil nI – on hearing the words spoken by the nAyaki’s friend finding fault with the fortune tellers who were praising him, vElan (one who has spear, subrahmaNya) started getting jittery. Through the fortune teller, who he had taken possession of, he started blabbering “We will protect her as our child” etc. But the friend told him “We will not allow you to enter this place. Just as it has been said in thiruppaLLANdu engaL kuzhuvinil pugudhalottOm, we will not permit you to enter our group. Just as thiruvAimozhi 6-6-1 says kUrArAzhi veNsangEndhi, we are waiting to see sarvESvaran with his divine hands carrying divine disc and white conch. But you are standing here with your spear. Leave this place at once”.

enmozhi kENmin enammanaimIr – the nAyaki’s friend tells them “Oh mothers! Listen to my words”. Normally we see people instructing those who are younger or disciples or children. We do not come across younger people instructing elders. piLLai lOkAchAryar says that this is similar to the words spoken by Sukra to pithrus (forefathers) who had incurred a curse from brahmA. The remedy for the curse is for them to approach Sukra. Sukra comes there and tells them “puthrakA ithihOvAcha”. However, there, Sukra addresses the pithrus as puthrakA (children) whereas here, the friend addresses them as “Mothers!” which appears to be incongruent. There is a difference between the two incidents. In the case of Sukra, the pithrus were ignorant; hence he addressed them as puthrakA. Here, the mothers are aware of bhagavath vishayam. They appear bewildered on seeing the condition of daughter who is separated from emperumAn. Thus, it is not incongruent here.

ulagamEzhum . . . . – She tells them to recite to the daughter the divine names of the entity who had protected the worlds from the dangers of deluge by keeping them in his stomach. The mothers counter this saying “He will protect if there is danger to the worlds. For this girl alone, will he come and protect?” The friend responds saying “He protected the worlds as an equivalent of ridding her of her disease. You could consider that her illness is similar to the illness of all the worlds”.

mAlai andhaNNandhuzhAy koNdu sUttuminE – ensure that the divine, cool, beautiful thuLasi garland on his divine shoulders touches this girl’s form. The commentator says that sonmozhi (reciting the divine names of emperumAn) is internal medicine while thaNNandhuzhAy koNdu sUttumin is external medicine for her illness.

svApadhESam (distinguished meaning) – for nammAzhwAr, connection with other deities and their followers is harmful while connection with emperumAn and his followers is the reason for his sustenance.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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