thiruviruththam – 50 – oNNudhal mAmai

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avathArikai (Introduction)

In the previous pAsuram, he had mentioned about how he had not seen a long night and suffered distress like this. Just as it is said in bhagavath gIthA 10-9 “bodhayantha: parasparam” (enlightening one another), the nAyakan comes to console her. The distance which SrI rAma had covered only by walking for fourteen years, was covered by him in one afternoon time when he realised the agitation that bharathAzhwAn had. In the same way, the nAyakan is coming with a great urge. He tells the charioteer certain words then.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

oNNudhal mAmai oLi payavAmai viraindhu nam thEr
naNNudhal vENdum valava kadAginRu thEn navinRa
viNmudhal nAyagan nINmudi veN muththa vAsigaiththAy
maNmudhal sErvuRRu aruvi seyyA niRkum mAmalaikkE

Word-by-Word Meanings

valava – Oh charioteer, who is strong!
oN – beautiful
nudhalnAyaki who has a forehead, her
mAmai – complexion’s
oLi – radiance
payavAmai – before it gets discoloured
thEn – like honey
navinRa – referred to as
viN mudhal – for vibhUthis such as paramapadham
nAyakan – one who is the lord, his
nIL – long
mudi – on top of the crown
veN – white
muththam – pearls’
vAsigaiththAy – arrangement
maN mudhal – earth which is primary (for him)
sErvuRRu – to reach
aruvi – having rivers
seyyA niRkum – flowing in abundance
mA – huge
malaikku – for the thirumalai hill
viraindhu – quickly
nam thEr – our chariot
kadAginRu – conducting
naNNudhal vENdum – we should reach

Simple Translation

The nAyakan tells his charioteer “Oh charioteer who is strong! Before the complexion of nAyaki, who has a beautiful forhead, changes colour, drive the chariot fast [to her place]. We should go fast towards thirumalai hills which have the character of the whitish pearls which are present on the long crown of the lord of paramapadham and which have rivers which start from the peak and flow abundantly towards earth”


oNNudhal mAmai oLi payavAmai – the beautiful complexion of nAyaki who has a beautifully radiant forehead. Radiance is the brightness in the complexion. Before that radiance becomes dull …

oNNudhal mAmai – the nAyakan and the nAyaki are like SrI rAma and sIthAppirAtti who had separated from each other for ten months. During the period of separation, the nAyakan was thinking about nAyaki’s beauty and sustained himself. As an example of such behaviour, the vyAkyAthA cites the words of SrI rAma in SrI rAmAyaNam chandhrakAnthAnanAm subrUma – ability to attract like the moon. The nAyakan thought that he cannot be patient should he lose that beauty and that he could not retrieve the radiance of that beauty should it become dim.

viraindhu nandhEr naNNudhal vENdum – our chariot should reach her fast. Help me in reaching her fast so that she doesn’t blame me in case she loses her complexion.

valava – the activity of the charioteer is similar to that of the charioteer in mahAbhAratha war.

kadAkinRu naNNudhal vENdum – our chariot should reach her with your ability to conduct the chariot.

thEn navinRa . . . –  the nAyakan tells the charioteer that the place where they are going to would be beneficial for the charioteer too; that place, thirumalai, will be like that. The verse could be read as either thEn navinRa mAmalaikkE or thEn navinRa viNmudhal nAyakan. In the former case, the word thEn would refer to beetles and navinRa would refer to the humming sound made by them. In other words, the beetles are singing in thirumalai after drinking honey from the flowers there. In the latter case, just as it has been mentioned in SrI vishNu sUktham vishNOr padhE paramE madhva uthsa: (honey is flowing from the divine feet of sarvESvaran), it is the viNmudhal nAyakan who has been referred to as shedding honey.

viNmudhal nAyakan – he is the lord of paramapadham which is referred to as viN. Alternatively, he is the lord of all vibhUthis including viN (paramapadham).

nINmudi . . . – you would see that the place (thirumalai) is such that it would remove all the difficulties suffered during the time of separation. SrIvaikuNtanAthan has a long crown; the crown has white pearls; thirumalai has the quality of those pearls. SrIvaikuNtam could be considered as a simile for the greatness of thirumalai. Compared to this place (thirumalai) which could be seen by the eyes, SrIvaikuNtam is a step lower. Since the greatness of thirumalai could be experienced through the eyes, its true nature will be clear to the eyes. Even though authentic texts confirm that such greatness is there in SrIvaikuNtam too, one could only hold a strong belief that the feature exists; only this [thirumalai] could be experienced through the eyes.

maNmudhal sErvuRRu – approaching down to the earth

aruvi seyyA niRkum malaikkE – all our difficulties will be removed once we reach there. nAchchiyAr thirumozohi 8-3 says kuLir aruvi vEngadam – thiruvEngadam (thirumalai) which is with cool streams.

svApadhESam (distinguished meaning): looking at the anguish of AzhwAr in separation, the followers of sarvESvaran come quickly to console him. Just as pirAtti (SrI mahAlakshmi) forgot all about mithilA after attaining SrInivAsan who is standing amidst cool streams, AzhwAr also forgot about [AzhwAr]thirunagari and the followers are rushing to see him in this state.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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