thiruviruththam – 26 – nAnilam vAykkoNdu

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avathArikai (Introduction)

This pAsuram comes under the classification of puNarndhudan pOkku or nagarkkAttal (the nAyakan (leading man) guides the nAyaki (leading lady) to his dwelling place by foot. The distance is fairly long and the nAyaki could get tired. In order to keep her spirits up, the nAyakan encouragingly tells her ‘my house is very near’ so that she gets consoled). As they cross an arid land (desert) he tells her “Once we cross the arid land, we will reach the cool place which is green”

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

nAnilam vAykkoNdu nannIraRa menRu kOdhu koNda
vEnilanjelvan suvaiththumizh pAlai kadandha ponnE
kAnilandhOyndhu viNNOr thozhum kaNNan vehkA udhu am pUm
thEnalanjOlai appAl adhu eppAlaikkum sEmaththadhE

Word-by-Word Meanings

ponnE – oh one who looks like lustrous gold!
vEnil – having hot rays
am – beautiful
selvan – sUriyan (sUrya)
nAl nilam – earth, which is classified into four types [of lands]
vAykkoNdu – taking in his mouth well
nal – the essence
nIr – water
aRa – to be removed
menRu – chewing
kOdhu – residual matter
koNda – taking it (again), in the mouth
suvaiththu – sucking on it fully
umizh – spitting it out
pAlai – desert land
kadandha – has been crossed
viNNOr – celestial entities
nilam – on the earth
kAl thOyndhu – standing on their feet firmly
thozhum – worshipping
kaNNan – the noble place where kaNNan has mercifully taken residence
vehkA – thiruvehkA (a noble place in present day kAnchIpuram)
udhu – is nearby
appAladhu – what is seen after that
am – beautiful
pU – having flowers
thEn – with honey dripping
nalam – beautiful
sOlai – orchard
eppAlaikkum – in all states
sEmaththadhu – will be good

Simple Translation

Oh one with the complexion of gold! sUriyan, who is beautiful and who has fiery rays, started chewing this earth with the help of his hot rays, in his mouth, drank up all the water on earth and spat out the residue which is called as desert land. We have crossed that desert land. The divine land of thiruvehkA, in which kaNNan has taken residence mercifully and which is worshipped by celestial entities with their feet placed firmly on earth, is nearby. After that is the beautiful orchard which is full of beautiful flowers and honey, which will remove all sorrows and give happiness.


nAnilam vAykkoNdu – sUriyan takes earth which is classified into four types, through his fiery rays which are like his mouth. The four types are – kuRinji (mountainous region), mullai (forest region), marudham (agricultural region) and neydhal (oceans with their shores). thamizhars (people living in the land where thamizh is spoken) will add a fifth region, pAlai (desert region) and AzhwAr recognises this.

nannIr . . . . – sUriyan chews these four types of lands and removes water, which is the sustaining force in these lands, from them, thus rendering them as useless residue. This residue became desert land, devoid of any water. The heat of this desert land was so high that even sUriyan could not keep that residue in his mouth and spat it out.

kadandha – crossing samsAram (materialistic realm). In other words, crossing desert is similar to crossing samsAram.

ponnE – the nAyakan tells the nAyaki that he cannot feel the desert when she is with him. He addresses her as ponnE to remove her fear and to emphasise his presence to support her. She became fearful looking at the desert land since she thought that it will seize her life.

kAl nilam . . . .  – when residents of earth perform yagyams (ritual conducted where food is offered to celestial entities in the form of havis), the celestial entities will come to earth to accept the havis. However, being scared of earth, they will not come inside earth fully. Instead, they will stand at some distance away and accept the havis. However, thiruvehkA is such a noble land that even such celestial entities will come full inside, stand with their feet firmly on the ground. It is the place where nithyasUris will circum-ambulate and salute their most desired entity, sarvESvaran.

kaNNan – sarvESvaran. Where there is affection, shortcomings will not be evident. Shortcomings of earth will not be minded by nithyasUris since their most desired entity has taken residence here, mercifully.

vehkAvudhu – this is thiruvehkA. The term udhu refers to a place which is neither too far nor too close.  It is nearby. Is there an instance when a similar incident had occurred? SrI rAma shows ayOdhya to sIthAppirAtti when they were returning from lankA saying as in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 123-55 “EshA sAdhruSyathE ayOdhyA rAjadhAnI pithurmama | ayOdhyAn kuru vaidhEhi praNAmAm punarAgathA ||” (Oh sIthA! Here is seen the capital city ayOdhyA, of my father. Oh the princess of vidhEha territory! Having duly returned, offer your salutation to ayOdhyA).

appUndhEnalanjOlai appAladhu – it is a place which has orchards having beautiful flowers and honey. It is composed of several divine lands.

eppAlaikkum sEmaththadhE – it will remove all the sorrows created by the desert land and offer the protection that we need.

svApadhESam (distinguished meaning) – nammAzhwAr knows that samsAram is to be given up and bhagavath vishayam (matters relating to emperumAn) is to be attained. Since the attainment [of SrIvaikuNtam] is getting delayed, he feels distressed. SrIvaishNavas, who look at him, comfort him saying “It shouldn’t matter that samsAram has still not left; since divine lands are nearby, you are standing in SrivaikuNtam only”

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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