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:

உகக்கும் நல்லவரொடும் உழிதந்து உன்தன் திருவுள்ளம் இடர்கெடும்தோறும் நாங்கள்-
வியக்க இன்புறுதும் எம்பெண்மை ஆற்றோம் எம்பெருமான் பசு மேய்க்கப் போகேல்
மிகப்பல அசுரர்கள் வேண்டுஉருவம் கொண்டு நின்று உழிதருவர் கஞ்சன் ஏவ
அகப்படில் அவரொடும் நின்னொடு ஆங்கே அவத்தங்கள் விளையும் என்சொல்கொள் அந்தோ!

ukakkum nallavaroṭum uḻitantu uṉtaṉ tiruvuḷḷam iṭarkeṭumtōṟum nāṅkaḷ-
viyakka iṉpuṟutum empeṇmai āṟṟōm emperumāṉ pacu mēykkap pōkēl
mikappala acurarkaḷ vēṇṭuuruvam koṇṭu niṉṟu uḻitaruvar kañcaṉ ēva
akappaṭil avaroṭum niṉṉoṭu āṅkē avattaṅkaḷ viḷaiyum eṉcolkoḷ antō!

English translation of verse 10.3.9:

My Lord, we are not the jealous sort that shall disdain
Your making love unto others; when you do in their company revel,
Elated we too shall be; You shall, therefore, refrain
From grazing the cows, there is also the lurking evil
Of Kaṃsa’s agents roaming about in forms unknown,
When You are with them in encounter locked, what will happen,
Alas! I can’t say; do not follow the cows, unto my advice do listen.


(i) Kṛṣṇa was in no mood to swallow the Gopī’s statement, in the preceding song, that she would allow Him to flirt with other ladies, right in front of her. He thought it was a mere ruse to keep him back, as it was against their grain to suffer gladly Kṛṣṇa making love to other ladies, and that too, in their presence. He put it straight to the Gopī that He couldn’t bring Himself to believe their so-called tolerance and accept their statement, at its face value. The Gopī now avers that the pleasure, derived by beholding the bliss enjoyed by Him in the company of those other ladies, was indeed much greater than what they could have by their union with Him. If the Lord takes greater delight in mingling with those other ladies than with the Gopīs, the latter would also share the Lord’s delight which is paramount. In short, the Lord’s delight is theirs and they have no delight of their own. It is of course a natural failing of any woman, judged by common place standards, to be terribly intolerant of her Lord sharing the connubial love with any other lady. But here, in the case of the Gopis, their God-love transcends their feminity when the latter clashes with the Lord’s own delight which, it may be reiterated, is of paramount consideration. So then, here again is a clear enunciation of the highest moral value, in its crystallised form, vide also II-9, III-3 and VIII-10. These have been juxtaposed in aphorism 211 of Ācārya Hṛdayam.

(ii) Kṛṣṇa, however, insisted that He went into the forests to graze the cows, purely as a matter of religious duty and that He had no love-affair with any one on the way, as they apprehended. The Gopīs were sporting enough to accept the Lord’s statement and even so, they could not but emphasise the danger to His life at the hands of Kaṃsa’s aides, as Kaṃsa deployed agents all over the place, capable of assuming, at will, any form by way of eluding Kṛṣṇa, their target. The Gopīs would want Kṛṣṇa to stay back, at least on this ground.

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