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:

நாரணன் எம்மான் பாரணங்காளன்
வாரணம் தொலைத்த காரணன் தானே.

nāraṇaṉ emmāṉ pāraṇaṅkāḷaṉ
vāraṇam tolaitta kāraṇaṉ tāṉē.

English translation of verse 10.5.2:

Nāraṇaṉ, Our Sire, is Mother Earth’s loving Spouse,
The One Who did ordain this vast Universe,
Who destroyed the gigantic elephant
Set upon Him by Kaṃsa, the great tyrant.


The Āḻvār is now elaborating the meaning of the word ‘Nārāyaṇa used in a shortened form as ‘Nāraṇan’, in the preceding song. Mother Earth (Bhū Devī) is one of the three principal Consorts of Lord Nārāyaṇa and reference to Bhū Devī, in this song can be taken to include the two other Consorts as well, ‘Śrī’ and ‘Nīḷā’ Devis, in the Celestial setting. “Our Sire” would denote the ‘Lord’s sovereignty over the ‘Līlā Vibhūti’, the Sportive Universe, in which we all live. That means, the Lord is depicted as the Sovereign Master of both the ‘Nitya’ (eternal) and ‘Līlā’ (sportive) Vibhūtīs (worlds).

‘Tirumantra’ comprises three words, namely, ‘Aum’ (Praṇava) ‘Namaḥ’ and ‘Nārāyaṇāya’. Of the three letters, comprised in the first word, the first letter ‘A’ denotes the Lord Himself, the originator of the whole universe and the protector of all. ‘A’ is the very first of all letters and could thus symbolise the origin of the Universe, namely, the Lord and this is clearly brought out in this song. Derived, as it is, from the root ‘Ava rakṣaṇe’, ‘A’ means Protector and here again, it could appropriately denote the Lord, Who is the Protector of all. But then, when the Lord extends protection, the immediate presence of Mahālakṣmī, the Lord’s Divine Consort, is absolutely necessary and, in this context, her association with the letter ‘A’ as a protecting force, is to be thought of. Although the Lord is surely capable of protecting His subjects, all by Himself, yet the Sāstras say that He bestows such benevolent protection in the company of His consort, Mahālakṣmī Who is grace personified. “Lakṣmyā saha Hṛṣīkeśo Devyā Kāruṇyarūpayā, rakṣakas saiva sidhānte Vedāntepi ca gīyate” etc. This is just to eliminate the possible risk of the Supreme Lord being alienated from His subjects, on account of the innumerable lapses of the latter. Therefore, the letter ‘A’ has to denote Lord Nārāyaṇa, in close conjunction with Mahālakṣmī. That is why this conjunction is referred to, in this song.

The twin aspects of protection, extended by the Lord to His Subjects, are removal of all undesirable things and fulfilment of aspirations, as applied to individuals. The slaying of the formidable elephant, Kuvalayāpiṭam, referred to in this song, indicates how the Lord removes the evils, the impediments.

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