thiruviruththam – 3 – kuzhaRkOvalar

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

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avathArikai (Introduction)

In the previous pAsuram, unable to bear the pain of separation from emperumAn, the leading lady had assumed the pathos of her friend; she assumed the shyness typical of a girl and mentioned about her sorrows. Since she is sure that she can sustain herself only if she speaks to her friend, she asks her “My heart has gone behind him. Will it return or will it stay there itself?”

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

kuzhaRkOvalar madappAvaiyum maNmagaLum thiruvum
nizhaRpOlvanar kaNdu niRkungol meeLungol thaNNandhuzhAy
azhaRpOladum chakkaraththaNNal viNNOr thozhak kadavum
thazhaRpOl sinaththa appuLLin pOna thani nenjamE

Word-by-Word Meanings

thaN – being cool
am – being beautiful
thuzhAy – divine thuLasi
azhal pOl – like hot
adum – roasting
chakkaram – having sudharSana disc in his hand
aNNal –  sarvESvaran, who is the lord
viNNOr – nithyasUris (permanent dwellers of SrIvaikuNtam)
thozha – to be worshipped
kadavum – conducting
thazhal pOl – like fire
sinaththa – having anger
appuLLin – behind that garuthmAn (garuda)
pin – following
pOna – one who followed
thani – without any support
nenjam – mind
kuzhal – having locks
kOvalar – born in cow-herd clan
madam – being obedient
pAvaiyum – nappinnai pirAtti (neeLA dhEvi)
maNmagaLum – SrI bhUmi pirAtti
thiruvum – and periya pirAtti (SrI mahAlakshmi)
nizhal pOlvanar – being like shadow (to followers) (and invigorating)
these three pirAttimArs,
kaNdu – after seeing them
niRkungol – will it stay there itself?
meeLungol – will it return?

Simple Translation

One who dons the cool and beautiful divine thuLasi garland, one who has the chakrAyudham (weapon in the form of disc) which roasts enemies like fire, is worshipped by nithyasUris. garuda is conducted by such emperumAn and his anger is like fire. My mind went behind such garuda. After seeing nappinnaip pirAtti who has beautiful locks and who incarnated in the clan of cowherds, bhUmippirAtti and periya pirAtti, will my mind stay there itself or will it return to me?


kuzhaR kOvalar madappAvai – cowherds with flutes. Just like brAhmaNas will carryout sandhyAvandanam (worshipping the conjunction of day and night) as their norm, this (playing of flutes) is typical of cowherds. Alternatively, this term would refer to nappinnaip pirAtti, who has beautiful locks and was obedient towards them.

maNmagal – SrI bhUmip pirAtti

thiru – periya pirAtti.

periya pirAtti will condone the faults of those who attain her. SrI bhUmippirAtti will say “Why should one look at the faults and then condone them? It is better not to look at the faults”; nappinnaip pirAtti will be the epitome of forbearance and forgiveness. She will make emperumAn not to look at our faults. periya pirAtti is the repository of all of emperumAn’s wealth.  bhUmippirAtti is the land where this wealth is nurtured. nappinnaip pirAtti is the one who makes emperumAn to enjoy the wealth.

nizhaR pOlvanar – these three pirAttis are like shadow for emperumAn, never separating from him. Alternatively, they will be shadow for one another; another interpretation – they will be shadow (a source of invigoration) for their followers.

kaNdu niRkungol meeLungol – After looking at emperumAn and his consorts in this condition, will my mind stay there permanently, taking them as its refuge? After looking at their greatness etc, will be mind be tossed about, just like a piece of crumb is tossed about by the waters of an ocean?

thaN am thuzhAy azhaRpOl adum chakkaraththu aNNal – one who has the divine thuLasi which emits coolness and sweet fragrance and who also has the divine disc which emits hot winds like fire. Due to her separation from emperumAn, even the cool thuLasi appears like fire, burning her. As an example for the emission of heat from thuLasi, she cites the divine disc which is fiery. In other words, even while citing an example, she could only think of entities which are closely connected to emperumAn. She cannot think of anything other than matters related to him. The divine disc does not distinguish between followers and enemies. While it will be a decoration for followers, it would be a weapon for enemies, hurting both, one through its beauty and the other, through its state of weaponry. In the case of divine thuLasi, it will be apt for followers. The lady says that even thuLasi is hurting her, like the divine disc.

aNNal – by holding the divine disc such that it does not slip out of his hands, he made me submit to him totally.

thazhaRpOl sinaththa – having an anger which appears like a raging fire

viNNOr thozhak kadavum – emperumAn conducts periya thiruvadi (garuda) such that they [nithyasUris] worship him (emperumAn). They are the ones who worship and he is the one who is worshipped. Their sustenance is through worshipping emperumAn.

appuLLin pOna – she is not worried about her difficulties. She is celebrating the fact that there are those who are concerned about emperumAn. She says that her mind went behind that garudan rather than behind emperumAn himself, since he is loving towards emperumAn. The commentator cites reference to periya thirumozhi pAsuram 11-1-9 “keNdai oN” whose meaning is as follows: My eyes which are like carp (a kind of fish) will sleep and my complexion will be healthy only when beetles blow on me, the fragrance of thuLasi from the garland submitted by SrIvaishNavas who are ananyaprayOjanars. The term ananyaprayOjanar refers to those who carry out activities without expecting any benefit or those who do not know what benefit they will attain. Why should this term be brought in here? This is to emphasise that while there are many who are loving towards her beloved [emperumAn], there are those, like the beetle, who are caring towards her without expecting any benefit.

thani nenjam – independent mind. Even when she tells it “Do not go behind emperumAn” it goes behind him and does not return.

svApadhEsam (distinguished/internal meaning of the pAsuram): By referring to pirAttimArs and nithyasUris, she [AzhwAr in feminine pathos] affirms the superiority of emperumAn and says that affection towards SrIvaikuNtanAthan (the lord of SrIvaikuNtam) was created in her.

In the next article, we will see the 4th pAsuram.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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