Tiruvāymoḻi II.4 (144-154): āṭi āṭi akam karaintu

II.4.1 She dances, dances dissolves. Sweetly
she sings, sings. Her tears flow. Everywhere
she searches, searches calling “Narasiṅkā”
She shrinks, shrivels, this girl with a bright forehead.

II.4.2 This girl weakens, longing to see you
You who cut Bāṇaṉ’s mighty arms
won’t show yourself.
You have no pity.

II.4.3 Her heart melts, like wax
held too close to a flame. You have no pity.
What can I do, lord
who ruined Laṅkā?

II.4.4 ‘You raised your banner over ruined Laṅkā’
she says. Her heart swells, her breath
burns, she weeps, bewildered
she stands, hands pressed in worship.

II.4.5 Night and day, she’s delirious. Her eyes
wet with tears are like cool dark lilies.
You won’t give her the tuḷasi she wants,
perfect lord, is this your compassion?

II.4.6 ‘You’re perfect, the one I desire’
‘You’re my life’s nectar’
she says all this,
dissolves inside.

II.4.7 Her life’s parched, she wilts.
‘Generous one, Kaṇṇaṉ’ she says,
then, ‘You rest on the white ocean’
what deceit has touched my clever girl.

II.4.8 ‘Deceiver’ she cries, then joins her hands
to pray. Her cool heart burns, she sighs
says ‘You tricked Kaṁsaṉ’
see how she suffers for you.

II.4.9 She knows neither night or day.
but she asks for your cool sweet tuḷasi.
Lord with the sharp flaming disc
what do you intend for this poor girl?

II.4.10 Night and day tears spill
from the bright eyes of this foolish girl.
You ruined Laṅkā, burned its boundless wealth
don’t wreck this girl’s beauty too.

II.4.11 These ten from the proper thousand,
sung by generous Śaṭhakōpaṉ
on Vāmaṉaṉ of endless fame
are a fitting garland for his feet.

Tiruvāymoḻi II.5 (155-165): antāmattu

II.5.1 In that place he loved me
fused with my breath.
the lord who wears lovely garlands,
a crown conch disc thread jewels:
His large eyes like a pool of lotuses
his lips red lotuses, his feet too lotuses,
his red-gold body glows.

II.5.2 His body glows like the sun
his eyes and hands bright as red lotus
Śrī rests on his chest
Ayaṉ is in his navel
Araṉ takes every other place.
He’s within me, mingled
leaving not a whit of space.

II.5.3 The one who’s in me, all mixed in
his mouth a red lotus, his eyes feet hands
all lotuses too,
is a great bright mountain.
The earth, the seven worlds are in his belly
there’s nothing not mingled in him
there’s nothing outside of him.

II.5.4 He is all things, him
a dark emerald mountain, his eyes
feet hands red lotuses in full bloom.
In every moment, in every day
in every month and year, in every age,
age upon age, for all time
he is my nectar that never sates.

II.5.5 The nectar that never sates
mixed himself with little me.
Kaṇṇaṉ is like a dense dark cloud.
Coral can’t equal the redness of his lips
nor lotus the brightness of his eyes feet hands
my lord wears a tall crown, the sacred thread,
and jewels of every kind.

II.5.6 His jewels are many, his names are many
his luminous forms are many.
To think of his nature
is to know the many pleasures
of seeing eating hearing touching smelling
him. Vast is the wisdom
of the one who rests on a serpent.

II.5.7 He rests on a serpent on the ocean of milk
He killed seven bulls for Piṉṉai,
her shoulders slim as bamboo
In a honey-sweet grove, he pierced seven trees
He’s a fierce fighting bull, this one
whose radiant crown is circled
with cool tuḷasi.

II.5.8 My lord, a fierce fighting bull
wears a radiant crown and cool tuḷasi
His four shoulders are broad,
He has no end. Thinking nothing
of my lowliness, he mingled with me.
I have no words for him.
What can I say? Tell me.

II.5.9 Tell me about my lord
the spirit of my spirit
my brilliant dark jewel of infinite greatness
sweet nectar,
the release difficult to attain,
fragrant as the alli in bloom
is the one who is neither male nor female.

II.5.10 Not male not female
neither both
the one who can’t be seen
neither is nor is not
taking the form you desire
and not that either
how difficult it is to speak of my lord.

II.5.11 Kurukūr’s Śaṭhakōpaṉ spoke
of the pot-dancer, the lord
difficult to describe
in these ten verses part of an antāti
of a matchless thousand.
Those who master their recitation
will reach Vaikuṇṭha.

Excerpted with permission from Endless Song (Tiruvāymoḻi), Nammāḻvār, translated from the Tamil by Archana Venkatesan, Penguin Books India.