thiruviruththam – 59 – aLapparum thanmai

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avathArikai (Introduction)

In the previous pAsuram, AzhwAr was joyous, praising the incarnation of thrivikrama, by saying “sarvESvaran, who is difficult to attain in SrIvaikuNtam, incarnated here and made himself easily approachable”. While his separation from sarvESvaran when he was in SrIvaikuNtam did not trouble him much, AzhwAr felt very sad due to his separation from sarvESvaran despite his coming here and taking residence. He attained the state of a pirAtti (AzhwAr in feminine form). Though there was a connection with sarvESvaran, since he did not come to see the nAyaki (AzhwAr in feminine form) during night time, which is the apt time for being together, she was unable to bear the distress of being separated from him now, after being united with him earlier. Her cry of “This night is harmful to me” is recited by her mother, in this pAsuram.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

aLapparum thanmaiyavvUzhi angangul andhaNNandhuzhAyk
kuLapperum kAdhalil nILiyavAyuLa Ongu munnIr
vaLapperu nAdan madhusUdhanan ennum valvinaiyEn
thaLapperu nINmuRuval seyyavAya thadamulaiyE

Word-by-Word Meanings

val – being cruel
vinaiyEn – as my daughter, who has sins
thaLam – like jasmine buds
peru – having greatness
nIL – without limit (being enjoyable)
muRuval – having soft smile
seyya – reddish
vAy – having lips
thadam – expansive
mulai – she, who is having bosoms
aLappa – to measure
arum – difficult
thanmai – having nature
avvUzhi – more than that kalpam (a day of brahmA)
am – beautiful
thaNNam – being cool
thuzhAykku – for divine thuLasi
uLa – formed in (my) heart
peru – huge
kAdhalil – more than desire
nILiyavAy – being bigger
uLa – is present
(ennum – she will say so)
Ongu – being well grown
munnIr – made of three types of water
vaLam – having richness
peru – being expansive
nAdan – one who has land
madhusUdhanan – destroyer of demon madhu
ennum – she will say so

Simple Translation

(The mother is speaking with reference to the state of her daughter)

My daughter has cruel sins, greatness of a soft smile similar to jasmine buds, reddish lips and expansive bosoms. She says “The night times, which are more cruel than kalpams which are very difficult to measure, are longer and bigger than my desire which is present in my mind for the cool, divine thuLasi. madhusUdhanan has the expansive earth which is surrounded by ocean, which is formed from the three types of water and which is huge”.


aLapparum thanmaiyavvUzhiyam kangul – night times, which are as long as praLayam (deluge) are difficult to measure even for sarvESvaran who measured with his divine feet the immeasurable entities too. If it is possible for him to measure them, wouldn’t he have appeared during the night? These nights have as their nature, the quality of being immeasurable.

Uzhiyam kangulUzhik kAlam (deluge) is the proof that this night is indeed of long duration.

vyAkyAthA raises a query: Is it not possible to recite a pAsuram on that which cannot be measured? He answers that himself, saying . . .

andhaNNandhuzhAy . . . . – Just as it has been mentioned in thiruvAimozhi 10-10-10 “adhaniR periya en avA” (you, with your desire, surrounded me who has a huge desire to attain you). AzhwAr’s desire pervaded even sarvESvaran. vEdham returned empty handed, after trying to measure the joy of sarvESvaran, as mentioned in thaiththirIya upanishath “yathO vAchO nivarthanthE”. The same is true of this [measuring the length of night] also. bruhadhAraNya upanishath could only say in the negative when trying to describe sarvESvaran, saying “nEthi nEthi” (he is not like this), but could not define clearly that he is like this. andhaNNandhuzhAy – the garland on his divine shoulders. Those divine garlands have the power to control over everything in my mind. These nights are larger than the affection that I have for those garlands.

Ongu munnIr vaLapperunAdan madhusUdhanan ennum – am I distressed because I am outside his boundaries of reign? Am I distressed because he is powerless? He is the lord of the opulent land which is surrounded by ocean which contains three types of water (water from rivers, water from springs and water from rains).

madhusUdhanan – he is the destroyer of demon madhu who was like a weed for the entities which were to be protected [sarvESvaran’s followers]. Am I suffering because I am not connected to sarvESvaran? Am I suffereing because he is incapable of destroying my enemies?

valvinaiyEn – if her beauty [these are the words of nAyaki’s mother] were to be considered, there is no need for being distressed like this. The reason for her suffering, when actually it should he who should be suffering for not being together with her when she is so beautiful, is only because of my sin. This is similar to bharathAzhwAn feeling distressed about what happened in ayOdhyA which resulted in SrI rAma leaving for the forest, said that this is “math pApam Eva” (only because of my sin).

What is the reason for the mother saying that it is her sin which is the reason for the nAyaki’s suffering?

thaLapperu . . . – Is there any deficiency in the nAyaki’s physical form? thaLappu has got shortened to thaLa. thaLappu denotes something similar to the buds of jasmine, something which is difficult to obtain. Just as it has been mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNam AraNya kANdam 64-77 “purEva mE chAru dhathim” (sIthAppirAtti who had a beautiful row of teeth), it is the smile which is desired by the nAyakan and which melts his heart wherever he goes.

nIL muRuval – it is not the boisterous laughter of narasimhap perumAL; it is the gentle smile of a lady. However, an entity must be available like this. The word nIL refers to the enjoyability of that smile.

seyya . . . – having reddish lips which will be suitable for that gentle smile. Alternatively, since the next word spoken about is thada mulai, referring to the hugeness of her bosoms, the word seyyavAy could be added to thadamulai to make it as seyyavAy thadamulai as a single word, in which case it would refer to the straightness of the bosom.

thadamulaiyE – due to the separation from sarvESvaran, the bosom appeared like the ear of corn which has drooped. It appeared that the time frame set by the nAyakan was insufficient.

svApadhESam (distinghished meaning) – this refers to the words of SrIvaishNavas who speak of the distress of separation caused by the incongruence of the connection and knowledge of true nature of AzhwAr with the time suitable for enjoyment.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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