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:

வீவன்நின் பசுநிரை மேய்க்கப் போக்கு வெவ்வுயிர் கொண்டு எனதுஆவி வேமால்
யாவரும் துணைஇல்லை யான் இருந்து உன்அஞ்சன மேனியை ஆட்டம் காணேன்
போவதுஅன்று ஒருபகல் நீஅகன்றால் பொருகயல் கண்இணை நீரும் நில்லா
சாவது இவ்ஆய்க்குலத்து ஆய்ச்சியோமாய்ப் பிறந்த இத் தொழுத்தையோம் தனிமை தானே.

vīvaṉniṉ pacunirai mēykkap pōkku vevvuyir koṇṭu eṉatuāvi vēmāl
yāvarum tuṇaiillai yāṉ iruntu uṉañcaṉa mēṉiyai āṭṭam kāṇēṉ
pōvatuaṉṟu orupakal nīakaṉṟāl porukayal kaṇiṇai nīrum nillā
cāvatu ivāykkulattu āycciyōmāyp piṟanta it toḻuttaiyōm taṉimai tāṉē.

English translation of verse 10.3.3:

When into the fields the cattle You follow, my life shall be gone,
The hot sigh of grief burns out my Soul,
Companion have I none but I keep lingering still,
I see not the movement of Your form of collyrium complexion,
When you are away, the day looks like ages drawn,
Tears swell up my eyes, may these lowly ones,
Born as shepherdesses in this clan,
Be rid of the pangs of separation!


(i) Kṛṣṇa: “You, girls, want me to stay at home all the time, but how can I do so, without discharging my duty, as a shepherd, namely, tending the cattle?”

Gopī: “Could you, in the discharge of your so-called duty, kill us? Killing women is even more heinous than slaying men. Separation from you means certain death for us and perhaps, You, who slew Thāṭakā and Pūthanā, do not mind killing us, as well. You would surely realise our plight if you did but once behold your exquisite form, standing in front of a mirror”,

(ii) “Companion have I none”: “Our unique guide, friend and companion that you are, You do not oblige us with your company; my mates are withering away like me while the Koels and peacocks are out to kill me.”

(iii) “I keep lingering still";: When the Lord is away, the Gopī just lingers behind, worn-out and emaciated. It was Lord Kṛṣṇa’s presence, by his side, that crowned Arjuna with fame and victory. But after the Lord went back to the Celestium, poor Arjuna, the famous archer, who was known to wield Gāṇḍīva, the bow, with great ease and success, could not even lift it and fared miserably in an encounter with some robbers. The ambidexter, that he was before, he has now lost the power of his arm with Lord Kṛṣṇa no more by his side.

(iv) “Let us be rid of the pangs of Separation”: The Gopīs display the same ingenuity as Sāvitri did. When asked by Yama to demand anything except handing back Satyavān to her, Sāvitri outwitted Yama by making him grant her the boon of begetting a hundred sons through Satyavān, regaining her husband, Satyavān, in the process. Even so, the Gopī tells Kṛṣṇa: “It is up to you to graze the cows or stay at home. I don’t want to impose any condition and all that I want is that we, damsels, born in this clan of Yours, should be rid of separation from You”.

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