Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Nammalwar – Thiruvai Mozhi – 3381

Oh Gods, what shall I do? This night stands like seven aeons
in front of me and weakens my soul;
My Kannan, with chakra* in his hands, hasn’t come too;
Caressing cool breeze singes me, hotter than a fiery blaze.

தெய்வங்காள் என்செய்கேன்? ஓர்இரவு ஏழ்ஊழியாய்
மெய்வந்து நின்று எனதாவி மெலிவிக்கும்
கைவந்த சக்கரத்துஎன் கண்ணனும் வாரானால்
தைவந்த தண்தென்றல் வெம்சுடரில் தான்அடுமே.

This is a verse from Nammalwar’s Thiruvai Mozhi. Nammalwar is the most prolific of the 12 Alwars (Vaishnavite Saints) and has penned 1352 of the 4000 verses in Vaishnavite canon.

In this set of verses he imagines himself as a woman in love with Krishna. She says “Oh Gods! What shall I do now. This night stretches like seven aeons in front of me. This night weakens my soul as Krishna, with Chakra in his hand, hasn’t come to meet me. Because of his absence, even this cool breeze singes me much hotter than a fiery blaze.”

தைவந்த – is interpreted as ‘caressing’ in Vaishnavite commentaries, though I can’t find that meaning in Tamil lexicon. My instict was to interpret it as ‘cool breeze in the month of Thai’. But I’ve gone with the standard commentaries.

ஊழி – aeon
ஆவி – soul / spirit
மெலிவிக்கும் – மெலிவு செய்யும் – weakens
தண்தென்றல் – cool breeze
வெஞ்சுடர் – fiery blaze
அடும் – burns

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3 thoughts on “Nammalwar – Thiruvai Mozhi – 3381

  1. Nice verse and nice translation. தை வருதல் = தடவிக் கொடுத்தல், (தலைமுடியை) கோதி விடுதல் etc. This is a classical usage.

    Please see Purananuru 235 which starts சிறியகட் பெறினே யெமக்கீயு மன்னே wherein you find this line ‘புலவு நாறு மென்றலை தைவரு மன்னே’ which is normally glossed as புலால் நாறும் எம்முடைய தலையைத் தடவுவன் அது
    கழிந்தது (Kazhagam commentary).

    On the road now. I’ll check if Purushottama Nayudu makes this reference. I think he does – that’s where I must have got it from originally. At least that’s I think.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the Puranaanooru reference. Didn’t notice that earlier.

      Purushottama Naidu too leaves it ambiguous in his commentary.

      “தைவந்த-தை மாதத்தில் வந்த. அன்றிக்கே, தடவுதலுமாம். சுடரில்: ஐந்தாம் வேற்றுமை உறழ்பொரு. ஒப்புப்பொருவுமாம்.”


  2. dagalti on said:

    This whole decad is excellent. Especially the one that immediately follows this one.


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