Home >

Scripture >

scripture >


Arputhath Thiruvandhathi

(As English Poetry)

English Translation Sri. T N Ramachandran Thanjavur

After my birth, since the hour I began to cultivate 
Words, I but contemplated Your roseate feet 
In excelling love. O blue-throated Lord-God 
Of the celestials, when will you uproot my misery?            1 
My misery He may not uproot; pity me He may not; neither 
May He reveal to me the way; yet for our Lord 
Whose form is Light, and who decked with bones, dances 
In the fire, my heart’s love shall never suffer decrease.        2 
In each birth we take we are His servitor alone; 
For ever our love is vouchsafed to Him only; we will serve none 
But Him, the One of dense, matted hair who sports 
An indivisible chip of the moon.  May You rule us for ever. 
Note: In this verse, Siva who is spoken of in the third  
person, is invoked in the second person towards the end.        3 
O Lord of long, ruddy and salvific form with a neck 
Divinely redeeming! O God who has us as His servitor! 
When we, Your servitor, make our grief known to you. 
How is it you turn a deaf ear? Lo, we are kin to none else.        4 
It is God who evolves into existence all lives; it is God 
Who resolves all existing lives; it is God who annuls 
The cruel misery when it assails us and when we hail 
Him thus: “O Father! O Mother!”                    5 
Let them say He is of the supernal world; let them say 
He is of Indra’s world.  He is truly the One of Gnosis. 
His throat is densely dark and effulgent, as, of yore, 
He quaffed venom.  I affirm thus: “He abides in my bosom.” 
Note:    The supreme one is sometimes indentified as Indra by the Rg Veda. 
I indeed am blessed with tapas; truly good is my heart; 
I indeed have contemplated birthlessness; I have truly become 
The servitor of him, the triple-eyed One who is adorned 
With the white ash and is mantled in the tusker’s hide. 
tapas :     Rigorous practice of religious austerities. This (in 
    the words of Shelley) can he achieved: 
    “………………. by dreadful abstinence 
And conquering penance of the mutinous flesh, 
Deep contemplation and unwearied study 
In years outstretched beyond the date of man.”        7 
That very day I became His bonded slave; 
The Lord-Ruler, in approval thereof received that day 
The pure-watered Ganga; this is thanks to His grace who holds the fire 
In His beauteous palm and who is like an auric mountain. 
Note :    Receiving water in one’s hand betokens acceptance  
of a gift.                            8 
It is Grace that rules all the worlds; if the grace of Lord 
Deigns to snap the cycle of transmigration, I will, by the grace 
Of Grace, be destined to behold the True Ens; 
For eve, it is Grace which is to me all things.                9 
He is my sweet Lord; He is God: it is Him I hold for ever 
As my embosomed treasure; even as I acknowledged Him 
As my Lord-God, I revelled in ecstasy. 
Is thee aught impossible for me?                    10 
I but contemplated one thing; to one thing alone I held fast 
Resolutely; into my heart I locked but one thing. Behold it! 
It is servitorship to Him of bright and beauteous hands 
Who in His radiant crown sports the Ganga and the crescent.    11 
THAT is the Lord who enslaves devotees; if henceforth 
We comprehend THAT, we will come to know the greatness 
Of THAT—the One who wears the moist wreaths and sports 
The peerless eye in His bright forehead.                12 
If He is truly great, it is nefandous on His part to suffer 
The snake to roam about His chest; should the huge snake 
That rolls freely, one day reach the Daughter of the Mountain, 
Ha, it will indeed be mighty sinful.                    13 
My peerless heart, of itself, will comtemplate Him 
Of the great snake that bedecks His radiant chest 
And emits venom like unto swelling flame. 
By itself my heart will save itself and gain redemption. 
Note :    The idea is that Lord Siva who shelters a venomous 
Serpent, will certainly offer refuge to a soul purged 
Of its venom.                            14 
The celestials gain not at-one-ment with His feet, though they  
Contemplate Him, adorning His feet with abundant blooms. 
I know not how He will grace me, the one that merely says: 
“O Lord of fulgurant matted hair!O Lord Brahmin!” 
Note :    The message is this: “How can lip-service succeed 
    Where manual service has failed?”                15 
From now on we stand redeemed; we are blessed with the grace 
Of the Lord; o heart, no more will we suffer; we have now 
Crossed the roaring ocean of interminable transmigration 
Which mothers the sea of Karma.                    16 
Hara who is the Primal Cause of the hoary world, can be 
Beheld by them that fold their hands in adoration 
And by them that eye Him in love; He manifests 
As light in their chinta who see Him with their inner eye. 
Chinta:      mind-heart.                         17 
With His unique toe He quelled the might of the Asura;  
Shall I call Him Hara or the Four-faced 
Or Hari the supreme one? Alas, I canst not, this day, 
Comprehend His (multifoliate) Godliness.                18 
He wears a never-ageing crescent; He becomes the worlds 
Three times seven; as of yore, He was beyond the ken 
Of Vishnu and Brahma’s comprehension; yet for us, 
He is easy of access even to this day.                    19 
He s the knower; He is the Paraclete; He is the Buddhi 
That understand; He indeed is the reality that is apperceived; 
He is sun, (moon), earth, (water, fire, air) and ether; it is  
Indeed He who is all these. 
Note :    It is Ashta Moorti—the God of Saiva Siddhantam--, 
who is hailed here and the succeeding verse.  Kalidasa 
holds Him as the Supreme Lord of the universe “who 
stands revealed in these eight forms.  Vide  
Sakunatala (Prologue).                    20 
He indeed becomes the two lights, the fire and the ether too; 
He, it is, who becomes earth, water and air; He indeed is 
The soul and the Ashta Moorti; truly it is He 
Who abides as the Lord of Gnosis.                    21 
O Lord whose neck is dark like a cloud that floats 
At night! O Lord, be pleased to scrutinize the intent 
Of this dazzling serpent! It means to devour this, 
The young crescent that rests in Your crest.                22 
Though the Lord who sports the crescent, the flood, the fire 
And the adder, pities us not, this heart inseparable 
From our Father will rest content as it is for ever bound 
In service to the blue-throated-- our Father.                23 
O Lord, You abide in my soul in a fulgurant form; 
It is this form which spins and irradiates thither; 
This indeed, O Lord, becomes Your divinely beauteous form; 
This indeed is the treasure—aidant and remediate.            24 
Our Lord, oblivious of His glory, goes abegging in sundry ways; 
At night when darkness swells, He dances I the crematory. 
Why does He do so? This we will probe into that day when 
We behold Him. Of what avail are our words now uttered here?    25 
The Lord’s curly strands of dangling matted hair flash 
Like the lightnings on the crest of auric mountain; 
On His golden chest-whose throat is blue, the dangling snakes, 
Amidst garlands of bones, dazzle like lightning on Meru’s sides.    26 
O One that destroyed the might and the three citadels 
Of foes with a single dart! Desist from wearing on Your chest 
A snake for jewel; deign to wear instead a jewel of gold. 
Do we not urge and hail you with this, our prayer, for days one end? 
He wears a killer-serpent for a jewel; He wears another 
As a bright girdle over His tiger-skin Vestment; 
He wears yet another on His beauteous and golden crown. 
Are these to jeopardize me—the senseless one?            28 
Others who behold his flower-red body bedaubed 
With ash, decked with bones and looking like a ghoul’s, 
Canst not comprehend the truth about Him. 
Are these to dispraise Him? Lo, discern the truth.             
Cf. “… Naanila Amanarar pazhipputaiyaro namakku  
Atikalaakiya Atikale? (Is our Lord-God to be sneered at  
By the shameless Samanas?)—ST. Sundarar.            29 
Wearing the bones of others, our Lord delightfully dances 
During night in the fire of the crematory witnessed by joyous 
And mighty ghouls; His greatness canst not be known 
By others; He is realized by devotees as the Great Consciousness.    30 
O bashful heart! He wears bones and is never selective 
About it; may you augment your love for His servitorship; 
Rejoice in this; you will thrive among the great; you have  
Indeed secured for yourself the great Palladium.            31 
Look well! The sacred thread on His chest—the Primal Ens, 
The triple-eyed that, of yore, gutted with fire the three citadels--, 
Is like a ray flowing from the young moon He wears 
On His effulgent and hirsutorufous crown.                32 
Let the ignorant lot rave bookishly; the greatness 
Of the Lord whose neck is sapphire-like is peerless. 
Whose performs whatsoever tapas to behold Him as he desires, 
It is He who manifests before him in the desired form. 
Cf. “Who is the Deity that you own? Know, it is but the  
Lord who is concorporate with His consort that visits you  
Assuming the form of your Deity.” 
        - Sivagnana Siddhyar, Supakkam, 115        33 
Abiding in the heavens, they failed to own themselves as His servitors 
And hail Him; with a single arrow He smote their three towns. 
Cruel Karma, irrespective of their station, will smite them 
Who fail to think of Him and gain His propinquity.            34 
The blue patch on the ruby-like neck of the Supreme One adorned 
With a hooded snake of beautiful neck and open mouth, 
Looks as though that murk afraid of its annihilation 
By the argent moon has found a secure refuge thither.        35 
O Lord with a blued neck! The young moon is scared 
Of the serpent on Your long matted hair, thinking 
That the serpent may slither with speed to seize and kill it any day. 
Alas! Day by day it is fated to wane and not thrive.            36 
He of the growing matted hair that sports a crescent, smote 
The three great citadels of Asuras who haild Him not; it men 
Consciously adore Him, never dispraising His skeleton-outfit, 
They will be free from embodiment with bones.            37 
Does not the sharp and shiny tusk of the black boar 
Adorning His bosom that has for garland a crawling snake, 
Look like the remaining digit of the moon of the bright sky 
That is being devoured by the dazzling serpent?            38 
The lovely coralline body of the handsome One who is  
Concorporate with Her—a flowery twig--, is like 
A beauteous hill of ruddy gold, when it is not adorned 
With ash; if adorned, it then looks like an argent hill.        39 
O fond heart! He wore the crescent as His chaplet, ignored 
By all others; contemplate the feet of them that are 
His servitors; do articulate their praise; beware the crowd 
That is unmindful of His servitorship; avoid it.             40 
O poor ones! You are unaware of the truth that it is easy 
To lead a life enshrining within you the bright 
And blue-throated Lord who adorned with a serpent, roams 
At will. Alas, alas, pity it is that you should be ignorant!        41 
On one side of Your body is Vishnu who measured the worlds; 
On the other is Uma; such is Your body that on neither of either 
Do we discern Your hue of redness. Is then Your hue of the lightning’s, 
Linked as You are with those two whose hue is those of the nimbus?42 
This is a body-crescent! Is it reduced to this 
Smallness, snake-bitten? Or did You slice it 
To this dinky size to suit Your crest? Alas, will it not, 
Like a healthy babe grow from strength to strength, at all?        43 
You are the omniscient Lord; You go begging 
For paltry alms; Devas of soaring lustre should hail You 
Thus: “O our Lord! Pray, seek not such alms.” If even they 
Canst not prevent You, are we valiant to forfend Your begging?    44 
He the glorious One, is sweet to our manam; He is the Consort 
Of Ganga; He is the celebrated One of incarnadine hue; 
He is the Lord of gods; unto Him am I a slave; He is my refuge; 
Him I serve; yet, how is it that He does not choose to grace me? 
Note :    Manam is not mind.  Manam is insentient.  Mind is  
    consciousness.                            45 
O ye that pursue the great path leading to the Lord’s darsha! 
O ye that seek but His great grace! If you ask: 
“Where may the Lord be?” I will say that He is poised in the chinta 
Of devotee like me; it is easy to behold Him through love.        46 
O fond heart! He is concorporate with Her whose twin eyes 
Like the two symmetrically-slit slices of a tender mango. 
The beatitude of gaining His divine feet is through His grace only. 
You, O fool, canst not reach them by your effort.            47 
Deeming it the crescent, the senseless serpent beholds 
One day the tusk on His divine chest; on another day, 
It eyes His beauteous crescent; however till this day, 
It knows not what indeed is truly the crescent.            48 
As on the crest of the Lord who alone is His equal, 
The rays of the beauteous and young crescent spread, 
Do not the strands of His matted hair look like 
The twisted threads of gold and silver?                49 
The dangling blue locks of Paarvati who is 
Concorporate with the Lord that wears on the right side 
Of His crest the lovely crescent, look like the fruit 
Of konrai with which the Lord adorns His matted hair.        50 
During the great night of Dissolution when You are  
To dance in the fierce fire of the great Crematorium 
Do not fare forth thither concorporate with the bangled 
Beauty whose plaited hair flows down Her nape.            51 
Should a myriad moons rise beautifully throughout 
The ruddy sky, that will not at all match the glory 
Of the chaplet of skulls worn on the hirsutorufous crest 
Of Him who has the red-eyed Vishnu as part of his body.        52 
The beauteous crown of our Lord who is cinctured 
With the cord of a belligerent serpent, teems with konrai; 
There, full of water, a river flows flooding; His crest 
Is a nimbus of the rainy season unto beholders.            53 
O our triple-eyed Lord whose throat is dark like a nimbus! 
He is part of Your body; his dark frame looks as though 
It were wrought of watery cloud; he is subsumed in you. 
Yet, how did You, of yore, remain unbeknown to him?        54 
You wear a scar on Your neck as you quaffed the venom 
Of ocean, of yore, whilst Devas witnessed it trembling. 
Lo, the milky moon on Your ruddy, matted hair where 
The snake crawls, eke doth wear a scar in its frame.            55 
O Lord whose hue is white like the burnt ash! O One 
That wears on the crown the white crescent! We have heard 
The dispraise that You eat Your alms from out of the white 
Stinking skull. Answer us: “Do You deem this blameless?”        56 
Even if You go abegging through the entire world, 
Do not fare forth with Your cruel snakes; if snakes 
Full of poison, dance on Your person, innocent women 
Will not give You alms scared by the snakes.            57 
Great crackling fire and abundantly swelling darkness, 
Even if juxtaposed, cannot match the glory of the Lord whose 
Matted hair is ruddy and whose beauteous body like 
Unto the crimson sky, is shared by Her of flowery locks.        58 
O triple-eyed and blue-throated Lord! O Rider of the Bull! 
You adorn Your person with the ash.  Is it on the side of Uma 
Concorporate with You or on the other side which is Vishnu’s? 
I know not on whose part it is! Deign to enlighten me.        59 
Even if lofty clouds gather and hide the effulgence of Meru 
That will not parallel the act of the Lord, who of yore, mantled 
His divine person with the dark hide of the bewildered 
And ichorous pachyderm of enormous trunk.                60 
Without beholding Your divine form, I—all unregenerate--, 
Became Your servitor that day; this day too, when I stand 
Redeemed I have not beheld it.  if men ask me: “What may 
Your Lord’s form be?” What can I say? What indeed is Your form 
Note :    This verse furnished the clue to St. Sekkkizhaar who  
affirmed that this “Antaati” was sung by St. Peyaar 
the moment she was blessed with the prayed for  
skeletal form.                            61 
When on earth that day You stood a hunter with a bow 
To fight against Arjuna, with what did Your form 
Of a fierce hunter agree or disagree? What did agree 
Or disagree with its nature? Who can tell?                62 
O Lord of ineffable effulgence! Does the crescent 
On Your crest, rivaling the ruddy and beauteous sun 
Roam about the live-long day a long distance 
Burning bright? Please enlighten me.                    63 
Will the serpent that enters Your crest which is 
Like the incarnadine sky endowed with the crescent, 
Go round and round the white-rayed moon, 
As on the day of eclipse, to seize it?                    64 
His body is resplendent like the morn; the white ash 
On his person is like the fierce day; the strands 
Of His matted hair are like the crepuscular sky; 
His neck is like the night of swelling darkness.            65 
O Lord, You hold the venom in Your neck; it Your chest 
With outspread hood the snake dances.  Did it come 
By venom in its throat by licking Your neck? Or does it  
By nature have a black neck? Please enlighten me.            66 
The snake, the crescent, the fawn the leaping tiger 
And the down-descending flood are borne by Him in amity. 
It is but fitting that the triple-eyed Lord of bright auric hue 
Should sport a beauteous heroic anklet above His divine foot.    67 
To appease Her bouderie who is ankleted, the Lord  
That wears a young crescent, falls at Her feet that are 
Dyed red with silk-cotton, and thrives; so it is that His crest 
Is more beautifully incarnadine than the russet sky.            68 
As we wear on our head the divine feet of the Lord who is 
Triple-eyed and whose crest sports a curvaceous crescent, 
We ignore Death; on earth with His servitorship we are 
Blessed; henceforth is thee aught of misery for us?            69 
Our Father whose fulgurant stands of matted hair wave ablaze! 
May You be pleased to reveal one day the place where You leap 
Amidst fire, and dance during densely dark night! 
This one great desire for ever haunts us.                70 
Note :    The place is the crematory at Tiruaalangkaadu. 
O triple-eyed Lord! You keep the crescent that rises 
In the spacious sky, near the bashful damsel Ganga; 
They are visible to us; we are unable to eye the Mountain’s Daughter 
In Your left; You alone are exclusively beholding Her.        71 
O One that wears a chip of the skyey moon! O Eye of Grace 
Unto the heptad of great worlds! If I canst not behold You, 
Hail You as Father and render You manual service, I desire not 
Heavenly life even if I come by it; this is my conviction.        72 
O heart, for ever and in love hail the lotus-feet 
Of Him who received on His crest the flood Ganga 
Of swelling waves; you will surely and squarely 
Come by all things sought after; this I affirm.            73 
Your spacious begging-bowl-the skull--, was not a whit 
Filled, by all the food that was cooked using the vast seas 
As boiling water; yet how came it to be filled when, unaware 
Of its greatness, innocent women poured their alms into it?        74 
Truly the flowing matted hair of the Lord—the abode 
Of all good--, is like the heaven as thither the muddy 
Ganga meanders, the bright moon floats and the snakes— 
Raku and Ketu--, crawl over His immense crest. 
Raku ( Pronounced Raahu) : The ascending node. 
Ketu : The descending node.                        75 
As the bright, auric and gem-inlaid crowns 
Of the Devas who are blessed to dwell in the supernal world 
Rub against Your lotus-like and beauteous feet, they are 
Full of scars and tender.  What a pity, O our Father! 
Cf.     “My father’s feet were nobly scarred, …… 
    Scarred with the crowns of vassaled heads…” 
            - Nala Venpa, Tr, Maurice Langton.        76 
O Lord, when You lift Yoor foot the nether world gets unhinged; 
When You shake Your head, the vault of heaven bursts; 
When You flex Your braceleted hand the great directions 
Are rent; the forum trembles; pray dance with care.            77 
O poor one, will the Lord who dances in the crematory of ghouls 
Gratuitously grant grace to all lives? If it be so, unto those 
That hail Him for many days, what beatitude will He not 
Grant? What worlds will He not bestow?                78 
My chinta is elated with pride. Is it because I bow  
At the feet of the Lord of spreading matted hair, 
Adorn them with blooms, hail Him and steadfastly 
Remain posed in His—our Father’s servitorship?            79 
His are the triumphant feet that kicked Death away; they crushed 
Straighaway the many-shouldered Asura who by pride upborne 
Durst uproot the Mountain; they were invisible to godly Maal 
And Ayan who to behold them hailed them in rapture.        80 
Getting attached to the lotus feet of Him who sped a dart 
That spat cruel fire and burnt and destroyed the three 
Beauteous citadels of the sky, we have conquered Death, 
Done away with cruel inferno and uprooted the twofold karma.    81 
The lightning-like lass affirms: “Truly understood the flame-hued 
One’s strands of matted hair which put to shame the ruddy rays 
Of the setting sun, are like auric shoots to those that take refuge 
In Him; to those who move away from Him, they are tongues of fire.    82 
If asked: “What will it be like when He of the fulgurant and ruddy 
Matted hair gets concorporate with Vishnu?” (The answer is) 
“It will be like the close and immense juxtaposition of the golden 
Mountain which is like Him and the mountain of sapphire.”        83 
The eyes of the Triple-eyed are Agni of swelling flame, 
Chandra of cool rays and Surya of painful and fierce rays; 
It is the eye in His forehead that witnessed the destruction 
By fire, of the three citadels of the cruel and hostile Asuras.        84 
If I behold the great Lord, will I eye Him longingly, 
Fold my hands in ardent obeisance and think on Him 
Impassioned? Will I hail Him thus: “O Dancer in the fire! 
O Lord of the Empyrean!” and feel ecstatic?                85 
He sports a vertical eye in His forehead revealing a little of it; 
We have become one among His lofty Bhootha-Host; 
Whether this beatitude lasts or not we desire not 
Aught else though we can come by it.                86 
If we deck the golden feet of our Lord with garlands 
Woven of hymns and blooms, and if we, by love, gain 
Peerless Gnosis, what will become of the murk that is  
Ever-assailing Karma? Surely it will cease.                87 
O Lord who blesses us with goodly grace! O One that sports 
The bright crescent on Your hirsutorufous matted crest! 
How shall I describe the blaze of Your neck? Is it the very form 
Of darkness, or a great nimbus, or a flawless sapphire?        88 
You looked the puissant Manmatan of bright bow 
Into cinders! You abide in clarified chinta! How is it 
That Your neck alone turned dark whilst the mouth 
That ate the bright venom is as it ever is? Unriddle this.        89 
O our Father, tell us what You will do when the billowy Ganga 
That rolls on drawing the white crescent and the bright, 
Fierce-looking, raging and crawling serpent, begins 
To swell and destroy Your cool crescent and overflow?        90 
Lo, as a servitor unto the roseate feet of Him in whose ruddy 
Matted hair, the billowy Ganga flows, chanting the mystic pentad, 
We comprehended Him; all things needed here and hereafter 
Are ours.  Why do you talk ill of us behind our back?        91 
He of the pure matted hair whose curls look as though they are 
Wrought of gold, is the One who is the treasure that dispenses 
Grace to the celestials; it is He who owns me; He, the one 
And only God, stands apart; He is unaware of His greatness.    92 
O goodly heart! It is He who is the Lord of the celestials; 
His complexion is like the beauteous coral; 
It is His neck that has a dark patch; unto Him, 
In true love, be ever linked.                        93 
O Lord who rides a cloud-like massive bull! You part not 
From the Mountain’s Daughter. Is it because of Her great longing 
For You? Is it because You have no place to go? Or does She 
Fear to remain alone, parted from You? Please enlighten us.    94 
She, the Lady of a great family, parts not from Your frame; 
So too is she who is Ganga. O Lord who is with white ash 
And bones adorned! You part from neither of them; 
Be pleased to tell us, who of the two, is closer to You in love?    95 
We have with the mantle of love concealed Him 
Who is Hara; by our glorious kinship and by gramarye 
We have, in our peerless heart, concealed Him from view- 
Who indeed can henceforth behold Him at all?            96 
At the end of Yuga You rage and burn up with swelling fire 
The universe; have You (now) kept the ruddy fire 
That invaded the three worlds, hidden in the seven worlds? 
Or with great valiancy do You hold it in Your palm? 
Yuga :  The aecon.                            97 
Holding fire You dance to the tinkling of Your heroic anklet 
In the fire of the crematory where ghouls dance. 
Did Your hand turn red as it held the fire? Or did the fire 
Grow ruddy from its contact with Your beauteous palm? Unriddle this. 
Cf.     Did the effulgence of your visage burgeon as that 
Of your crown’s? Did the effulgence of your feet burgeon 
As that of the blown lotus-pedastal? Did the effulgence 
Of your beauteous waist merge with the natural radiance 
Of your vestments and jewels? O Lord of Sri, clarify this. 
                - Nammaazhwar.        98 
O One who sports a five-headed serpent that spits venom 
With its mouth agape! Is it for the beholding of Her 
Of lovely young breasts or for that of the throngs of ghouls 
In the fiery crematory, that You dance? For whose sake this dance?    99 
O Golden-hued! When Your bull walks, earth trembles; ablaze is 
The direction when it looks thitherward; when it bellows 
The whole word gets scared. Is Your mount a lion of the mountain 
Or a skiey thunderbolt or truly a bull? Clarify this.             
Note :    In Tamil, YeRu means bull.  When this is suffixed to 
    urum (lightning) or idi (thunder), it means thunderbolt.    100 
They that hail this garland of anaphoretic venpa verses 
Woven with melting love by Kaaraikkaal Pey, will in love 
Insatiate, reach the presence of the merciful Lord 
And hail Him in unending devotion ever after.            101 
Sincere thanks to Sri. T N Ramachandran of thanjavur, who has translated this holy composition to English, for permitting English translation of Arpudhath Thiruvandhathi be published here.


அற்புதத் திருவந்தாதி (11th Thirumurai - Original Tamil Script)

Related Content

Thiruvalangattu Moodhtha Thiruppadhikam - 1

Thiruvalangattu Moodhtha Thiruppadhikam - 2