thiruviruththam – 40 – kOlappagal kaLiru

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avathArikai (Introduction)

She (the nAyaki), who had spoken about the supreme being who controls everyone and everything, has reached a stage where she speaks about one noon time.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

kOlappagal kaLiRonRu kaRpuyyak kuzhAm viriththa
neelakkangul kaLiRellAm niRaindhana nErizhaiyIr
gyAlappon mAdhin maNALan thuzhAy nangaL sUzh kuzhaRkE
Elappunanindhu ennaimAr emmai nOkkuvadhu enRu kolO

Word-by-Word Meanings

kOlam – being beautiful
pagal – sUriyan (sUrya – sun)
onRu kaLiRu – an elephant
kal – in the mountain of sunset
puyya – as it entered
kuzhAm – as a herd
virindha – expansive
neelam – blue coloured
kangul – called as night
kaLiRu ellAm – all the elephants
niRaindhana – abounded
nEr – being apt
izhaiyIr – those who have ornaments
gyAlam – for bhUdhEvi
ponmAdhu – and for SrIdhEvi
maNALan – Sriya:pathi, consort’s
thuzhAy – divine thuLasi
nangaL – our
sUzh – dense
kuzhaRkE – locks
Ela – ahead
punaindhu – stringing
ennaimAr – our mothers
emmai – us
nOkkuvadhu – protect
enRu kol – when will it be

Simple Translation

A unique elephant, called as the most beautiful sUriyan, entered the western setting mountains. Immediately, a herd of elephants, called as night, with dark bluish colour, filled up the entire place. Oh my friends who are donning apt ornaments! On which day will our mothers apply the divine thuLasi garland of azhagiya maNavALan, who is the consort of SrIdhEvi and bhUdhEvi, on our dense locks and decorate us?


kOlappagal kaLiru onRu kaRpuyya – A unique elephant called as noon, which gives happiness to those who see it, entered the setting mountains on the western side. The term noon refers to sUriyan. Why is the noon giving happiness? During noon time, each of the five senses is focussed on its work, enabling the person to sustain himself/herself since the person could bear the anguish of separation [when the senses are not united in torturing the person].

kuzhAm virindha . . . – just as a paramour enters the private quarters of the queen as soon as the king departs, night time, in large gathering, entered as soon as sUriyan left. Since the five senses now get together and torture the person, reminding her of separation from her nAyakan, AzhwAr refers to the night time as elephants. But why refer to them [elephants] in plural? Since a night extends to many kalpams, when in separation, he refers to them in plural.

nErizhaiyIr – Oh those who have donned distinguished ornaments! When the nAyaki is in distress (having been separated from her nAyakan) will her friends who have come to console her, bedeck themselves with ornaments? She is like a helpless woman who has been stomped by the elephant called as night. Her friends are coming to encourage her to sustain herself [till her nAyakan returns]; hence they dress themselves up nicely with ornaments etc.

gyAlappon mAdhin maNALan – if he were alone, I can feel distressed thinking that there is none to recommend to him about me. However, I am in a sorrowful state despite the eminent bhUdhEvi and SrIdhEvi being together with him. When someone is wealthy, they will be without fear since they have enough wealth to take care of their expenses. In the same way, the nAyakan feels that even if the nAyaki is not around, he has bhUdhEvi and SrIdhEvi with him.

mAdhin maNALan – he is in a bewildered condition since he has bhUdhEvi who gives him all that he enjoys. The nAyaki feels that the he will have bewilderment towards her too, just as he has towards bhUdhEvi.

thuzhAy . . . – the nAyaki does not desire the garland which he had donned as a bachelor. She covets the divine thuLasi garland which has got fully wrinkled in the union between sarvESvaran and bhUdhEvi. She is just like a prince who would dip flowers in a fragrant material to enhance its sweet smell. chAndhOgya upanishath says of him that he is  sarvagandha: sarvarasa: (he is the repository of all that is fragrant and all that is tasty). She is referred to in thiruvAimozhi 10-10-2 as “vAsam sey pUnguzhalAL” (it is pirtAtti who gives fragrance to flowers and thuLasi). Thus the nAyaki desires the garland which has been wrinked in the union of the dhivyadhampathi (divine couple).

nangaL sUzhkuzhaRkEA Elappunaindhu – there is no other remedy for her. She wants to don that garland before her existence is destroyed.

ennaimAr – she is looking up to her mothers who are keen on separating her from her nAyakan to get her the remedy which she needs to sustain herself. It is similar to asking for water from a person who is shutting the channel which brings in water.

emmai nOkkuvadhu enRu kolO – he [AzhwAr in feminine mood] is asking as to when he will get the protection which he needs.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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