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:

அச்சுதன் அமலன் என்கோ, அடியவர் வினை கெடுக்கும்,
நச்சும் மா மருந்தம் என்கோ! நலங் கடல் அமுதம் என்கோ,
அச்சுவைக் கட்டி என்கோ! அறுசுவை அடிசில் என்கோ,
நெய்ச் சுவைத் தேறல் என்கோ! கனி என்கோ! பால் என்கேனோ!

accutaṉ amalaṉ eṉkō, aṭiyavar viṉai keṭukkum,
naccum mā maruntam eṉkō! nalaṅ kaṭal amutam eṉkō,
accuvaik kaṭṭi eṉkō! aṟucuvai aṭicil eṉkō,
neyc cuvait tēṟal eṉkō! kaṉi eṉkō! pāl eṉkēṉō!

English translation of verse 3.4.5:

Shall I my Lord, as Accutaṉ (the steadfast) call
Or the Immaculate or high class medicine delectable
That cuts out the devotees’ ills and evils
Or the nectar that came up the milk ocean fine or fix
Him as the cream delicious or the meal with tastes six
Or the honey as tasty as ghee or fruit or milk?


(i) True to the Upaniṣadik text, depicting the Lord as very delicious, the Āḻvār presents the Lord here as all those things that are juicy and appetising.

(ii) Cutting out the devotees’ ills and evils: The expression ‘Ills and evils’ is used in a comprehensive sense, covering the effective operation of both ‘Puṇya’ and ‘Pāpa’, as the former is a golden fetter and the latter, an iron fetter and thus both are impediments, seeing that a golden fetter is, all the same, a fetter. The Lord, on His part, will not confine Himself to a life of ease and peace, in the high heavens, but come down post-haste to the rescue of His devotees, as He did in the case of Gajendra, the elephant. Again, the ills He cures are not the ordinary bodily ailments but the much worse malady of the soul. The Lord is, therefore, referred to as the delectable medicine, easy to take and absolutely harmless even if the directions for its use are given the go-by or not closely adhered to.

(iii) The Lord is indeed far superior to the nectar that was obtained by churning the milk ocean. The Lord, the non-satiate nectar, will make Himself available to His beloved devotees without undergoing the rigours of churning the ocean.

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