thiruviruththam – 57 – pulakkuNdala

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avathArikai (Introduction)

After being united with the nAyaki, when the nAyakan separated from her, his distress became more acute. Though he had to separate from her for a reason, just as it is mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNam sundhara kANdam 66-10 “na jIvEyam kshaNamapi” (I cannot live even for a moment without her), his distress in separation was very difficult for him. Looking at his distress in separation and a lack of liveliness in him, the nAyakan’s friend told him “The way you are distressed about one issue, without engaging with other matters, does not fit well with your leadership qualities” and tried to bring him back to normal situation. The nAyakan tells him “You are speaking like this since you do not know how those who have been the target of her glance have suffered. If you too experience her glance, you would not speak like this” denying his accusation.

Let us go thorugh the pAsuram and its meanings:

pulakkuNdalap puNdarIgaththa pOrkkeNdai valli onRAl
vilakkuNdu ulAginRu vEl vizhikkinRana kaNNan kaiyAl
malakkuNdu amudham surandha maRikadal pOnRavaRRAl
kalakkuNda nAnRu kaNdAr emmai yArum kazhaRalarE

Word-by-Word Meanings

pulam – visible
kuNdalam – having ear-rings
puNdarIgaththa – on the face which is like a lotus flower
pOr – engaged in a war
keNdai – eyes which are like fish
valli onRAl – with the nose which looks like a creeper
vilakkuNdu – being separated
ulAginRu – are roaming
vEl – cruel, like the weapon spear
vizhikkinRana – are looking
avaRRAl – through such activities
kaNNan – krishNa’s
kaiyAl – with divine hands
malakkuNdu – being agitated
amudham – nectar
surandha – secreted
maRi – throwing up waves
kadal pOnRu – like an ocean
kalakkuNda – agitated
nAnRu – during that time
kaNdAr – those who saw
yArum – whosoever
ennai – me
kazhaRalar – will not admonish

Simple Translation

The eyes of the nAyaki which appear to be battling each other, present on her lotus-like face having beautiful ear rings, are separated by the nose, which is like a creeper. The two eyes are moving around, looking in a cruel way, like a spear. Just like the ocean which was agitated by the divine hands of krishNa and secreted the nectar, I too am bewildered. Whosoever had seen me at that time, would not find fault with me.


pulakkuNdala . . . – The nAyakan’s friend had spoken about the condition of nAyakan without knowing the facts. The nAyakan tells him about the eyes of the nAyaki so that he will realise as to what would happen if he were to undergo a similar experience. He would then say “Oh my bad! What all did he suffer? How did he manage?” The ear rings of the nAyaki are capable of stealing all the sensory organs. They are present on her face which looks like a lotus flower. The term kuNdalam would also refer to a circular shape. If the text is polakkuNdalam, it would refer to golden ear-rings.

puNdarigaththa pOrkkeNdai – the eyes look like carp fish which appear to be fighting. The face is capable of making a person to become immobile, more than any other limb. The eyes are the most prominent part, on such a face.

valli onRAl vilakkuNdu – Just like keeping a cross-bar between two rutting elephants which are fighting, her nose is present [between the two fighting eyes]

ulAginRu – since the nose is there between them, the two eyes, which are like fish, are unable to engage in direct combat with each other. Due to the limitation set by sarvESvaran, they are unable to cross the ears too. Hence they are roaming between these two boundaries.

vEl vizhikkinRana – their glance is like a sharp spear, capable of piercing through the other side.

kaNNan . . . – the milky ocean was churned by the divine hands of krishNa such that the sand at the bottom was brought to its surface; the ocean gave him its life saving amrutham (nectar). The nAyakan’s majesty was similar to that ocean’s. The term maRikadal pOnRu is to be considered as maRikadal pOnRavaRRAl, thus bringing a distinction to the eyes (the eyes are like an agitating ocean). Once she looks at him, he too looks at her. Being engaged with his glance, she manifests her engagement with him, both inside her heart and outside, in her eyes. The nAyakan now reminisces that.

avaRRAl – those eyes create a scar in him, even now, through their glance.

kalakkuNda nAnRu kaNdAr – those who saw me that day when I was bewildered [by her glance]

emmai yArum kazhaRalarE – apart from you, a friend who knows my nature well, even those who have not known me, will not speak a word ill of me.

svApadhESam (distinguished meaning): SrIvaishNavas were fully engaged with AzhwAr’s SrIvaishNavaSrI (wealth of AzhwAr’s service). They could not be retrieved even by showing them matters relating to sarvESvaran. This pAsuram depicts such a position of SrIvaishNavas, who remained just like madhurakavi AzhwAr who said as in kaNNinuN siRuththAmbu 2 “dhEvumaRRaRiyEn” (I do not know of any deity other than nammAzhwAr). They will take a liking to matters relating to sarvESvaran only because AzhwAr liked them, just like the saying bhavatha: paramOmatha:.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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