thiruviruththam – 23 – punamO punaththayalE

SrI:  SrImathE SatakOpAya nama:  SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama:  SrImath varavaramunayE nama:

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avathArikai (Introduction)

In the previous pAsuram, the nAyaki (leading lady) and her friends had posed a few questions to the nAyakan (leading man). In this pAsuram, the nAyakan poses a few questions to them.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

punamO punaththayalE vazhi pOgum aruvinaiyEn
manamO magaLir num kAval solleer puNdarIgaththangEzh
vanamOranaiya kaNNan kaNNan vAnAdamurum dheyvaththu
inamOranaiyIrgaLAy ivaiyO num iyalvugaLE

Word-by-Word Meanings

am – beautiful
kEzh – having complexion
puNadarIkam – lotus flower’s
Or – being distinguished
vanam – with forest
anaiya – being similar
kaNNAn – having eyes
kaNNan – krishNa’s
vAn – being enjoyable
nAdu – in paramapadham
amarum – dwelling
dheyvaththu – nithyasUris’
inam – with their clan
Or anayIrgaLAy – being similar in a way
magaLir – Oh girls!
num kAval – to be kept under your protection
punamO – are they, the fields?
punaththu – fields’
ayal – near
vazhi – in the path
pOgum – one who is going
aruvinaiyEn – one who has cruel sins, my
manamO – is it the mind?
solleer – please tell me
num iyalvu – your nature
ivaiyO – is it this?

Simple Translation

Oh girls who are in a way similar to nithyasUris who live in the enjoyable paramapadham of krishNa, who has eyes similar to the colour of a forest of lotus flowers! Should the fields be kept under your protection or should it be the mind belonging to me, who has cruel sins and who is going in the path near the fields? Please tell me.


punamO – why is the nAyakan calling himself as a sinner [this comes later in the pAsuram]? He feels that had he been that field itself, he would have had the fortune of being looked at by the girls continuously (since they are standing guard over the fields). Instead of that, he is a human being, a sentient entity. A doubt arises here: it was only in the previous pAsuram that the nAyaki had fully seen him holding foliage in his hand. Why then is he wailing that he would have been looked at by the nAyaki had he been the field? The reason perhaps is that the nAyakan is longing for her side-glance instead of a straight forward look at him.

punaththayalE vazhipOgum – Did I come inside your field? Is there no fence for your field? I had merely passed by the path near your field. It seems that whichever place he has to go to, he has to pass through the path near the fields which they are guarding.

vazhi pOgum – are we not going in our path? Should people go through forests and thorns? It appears that for him, places other than the place where they are present, are forests, full of thorns.

aruvinaiyEn manamO – I have sinned so much that wherever I go, the path has to be through the fields. piLLai thirunaRaiyUr araiyar, one of our preceptors, had once said “While all the dhivyadhESams are there, why should one incur a sin of having to go through thirunagari?” The meaning of this is that if people engage with matters relating to bhAgavathas and that is deemed as a sin, then the remedy is to engage with an act of virtue, which is engaging with matters relating to bhagavAn. Instead of that, if they were to engage fully with bhAgavathas, they will immerse in it and find it difficult to extricate themselves and this will be like a sin to them.

num kAval – are you guarding the fields or are you guarding my mind?

magaLir – the reason for addressing them in the plural is that they are all similar in making him [nAyakan] feel distressed. Their thoughts gel together.

solleer – even when they are not responding, he is imploring them to respond to his questions. If one were imprisoned, woudn’t those who had imprisoned him serve food to sustain that person?

puNdarIgaththangEzh . . . . – just as it is mentioned in chAndhOgya upanishath “thasyayathA kapyAsam puNdarIkam Evam akshiNI” (emperumAn’s eyes are like lotus flowers which blossom under sunlight).

angEzh – eyes are like a forest of beautifully complexioned lotus flowers. Or refers to the fact that the eyes are unique, distinguished. Even the forest of lotus will to an extent only equal the eyes and not fully. Or would also refer to a limb.

kaNNan – this term refers to simplicity. Through terms such as puNdarIkam, the beauty of emperumAn’s divine form was narrated.

vAnAdu amarum arum dheyvaththu inam Or anaiyIrgaLAy – rig vEdham says “sadhA paSyanthi sUraya:” (nithyasUris keep having dharSan [vision] of emperumAn constantly in SrIvaikuNtam). Even if all the nithyasUris get together, they will equal these girls only to an extent. In other words, if all the happiness of the nithyasUris, who enjoy emperumAn constantly in SrIvaikuNtam, gets added, it would not equal the happiness of these girls. The reason for this is that if one were to enjoy samsAram, it cannot offer sufficiently for that one person to become fulfilled while if all the nithyasUris were to enjoy the happiness in paramapadham, the entity which they enjoy is such great that more people will be needed to partake of that happiness.

anayIrgaLAy ivaiyO . . . . – is this your true nature? You enslave me somehow but do not offer anything for my sustenance. Is this your nature? Even after laying siege on my mind, you are not uttering a word. Is this your nature?

svApadhESam (distinguished meaning): Looking at the affection of nammAzhwAr towards nithyavibhUthi, these are the words spoken by SrIvaishNavas.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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