Tiruvaymoli (Thiruvaimozhi): English translation

by S. Satyamurthi Ayyangar | 388,514 words

This is the English translation of the Tiruvaymoli (or, Thiruvaimozhi): An ancient Tamil text consisting of 1102 verses which were sung by the poet-saint Nammalvar as an expression of his devotion to Vishnu. Hence, it is an important devotional book in Vaishnavism. Nammalvar is one of the twelve traditional saints of Tamil Nadu (Southern India), kn...

Tamil text and transliteration:

கூவும் ஆறு அறியமாட்டேன் குன்றங்கள் அனைத்தும் என்கோ,
மேவு சீர் மாரி என்கோ! விளங்கு தாரகைகள் என்கோ,
நா இயல் கலைகள் என்கோ! ஞான நல்ஆவி என்கோ,
பாவு சீர்க் கண்ணன் எம்மான் பங்கயக் கண்ணனையே!

kūvum āṟu aṟiyamāṭṭēṉ kuṉṟaṅkaḷ aṉaittum eṉkō,
mēvu cīr māri eṉkō! viḷaṅku tārakaikaḷ eṉkō,
nā iyal kalaikaḷ eṉkō! ñāṉa nalāvi eṉkō,
pāvu cīrk kaṇṇaṉ emmāṉ paṅkayak kaṇṇaṉaiyē!

English translation of verse 3.4.2:

I know not what to call kaṇṇaṉ, my lotus-eyed Lord,
Of qualities great and vast, could He be called
The aggregate of all mountains or the rains lovely
Or the bright stars or all that learning by the tongue cultivated
Or sweet sounds pregnant with meanings lofty?


(i) In this song, the Āḻvār sees the Lord in the several products of the various elements, referred to, in the previous song. Thus, the lotus-eyed Lord is also seen as the mountain range. It is the earth (Pṛtvi [pṛthvī]) that hardens into mountains, providing, in turn, stable support to the former. The rains pertain to the element known as water. Pleasant to behold, the rains provide all facilities to the denizens of the world and the rainclouds are also comparable to the Lord’s complexion.

The bright stars owe their structure, composition and luminosity to the element of fire, while all that knowledge imparted by word of mouth is rendered possible by the element called air. Transmission of sound is effected through the medium of space (ākāśa). If sound is looked upon as the body, knowledge is its soul. Sound becomes worth its while only when it conveys the right meanings and nourishes the soul with the right type of knowledge.

(ii) It only bespeaks the unlimited glory of the Lord and the immeasurable extent of His possessions, if even Saint Nammāḻvār, endowed with full and complete knowledge by the Supreme Lord Himself, should fumble and falter, unable to give adequate expression to the Lord’s attributes and acquisitions, His flooding fame etc.

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