Periyāḻvār Tirumoḷi | Periyāḻvār


Periyāḻvār Tirumoḷi

We already discussed recently the biography of Periyāḻvār – or Āḻvār ‘the Great’ – at length – on a separate page, as also Periyāḻvār’s most popular work - Tiruppallāṇdu – which can roughly be translated as “Be forever our Lord!” – however – it was only the first chapter of a much larger work called Periyāḻvār Tirumoḷi or the Holy Verses of Āḻvār the Great.

Here you can read it in full, the work Periyāḻvār Tirumoḷi, consisting of 473 verses and 43 smaller divisions according to subjects, as translated into English from the Tamil original.  I hope this would help those who are not able to read and understand Tamil.

Although, the Periyāḻvār Tirumoḷi can be divided to many smaller subjects – the main message is one – the favourite Divine incarnation of Periyāḻvār was the small Krishna, whom he calls differently – as Krishna, Nārāyaṇa, Kaṇṇaṉ, Māyaṉ, etc. –

and most part of the poem is dedicated to stories from life of toddler Krishna, the love of His mother Yaśodā and later of Gopīs, the small cowherdesses to Him, Krishna’s victory over demons and so on.

There are also shorter fragments from Periyāḻvār’s stories about several other Divine incarnations – as Rāma and as a dwarf Brahmin Vāmana.

But the foremost message of the work, often repeated – is to chant Om Namo Nārāyaṇa mantra. Also there is an advise to name children in God’s names, not those of worldly people. And many other interesting things in between.

P.S. Indeed, if you know very little about Periyāḻvār, I recommend you to acquaint yourselves with the Biography of Periyāḻvār; it’s a very interesting story. He was also the foster-father of another famous female Āḻvār - Aṇḍāḷ.

The all work comprises 10 pages in a following way:

1-50 verses (this page)   51-100 verses 101-150 verses   151-200 verses   201-250 verses  

251-300 verses   301-350 verses   351-400 verses   401-440 verses 441-473 verses

1. Tiruppallāṇdu


Let us praise the god and say, “Pallāṇḍu! Pallāṇḍu!”
You conquered your enemies with your strong arms.
You have the colour of the blue sapphire.
We praise you forever, forever and forever
and for many crores of years.
Protect us as we are beneath your divine feet.


Let us praise the god and say, “Pallāṇḍu! Pallāṇḍu!”
Let us live never apart from your devotees and you.
Let us praise you.
Let us praise the beautiful Lakshmi
who lives on the right side of your strong chest.
Let us praise the beautiful shining discus
that you carry in your right hand.
Let us praise the Pañchajanya conch
that you blow on the battlefield.


Let us praise the god and say, “Pallāṇḍu! Pallāṇḍu!”
O devotees, if you wish to serve the god
come and carry sand and fragrance in his festivals.
If you concern yourself only with food,
we will not include you among our devotees.
We are from families
that have not sinned for seven generations.
Let us praise the god who fought and destroyed
the Rākṣasas and their land Lanka.


Let us praise the god and say, “Pallāṇḍu! Pallāṇḍu!”.
Come and join us to do service to the god.
If you realize always that your soul is god
there is nothing you need to think of to go to him.
Praise, singing, “Namo, Nārāyaṇa!”
in all towns and in all countries.
O devotees, come and praise the god with us.


Let us praise the god and say, “Pallāṇḍu! Pallāṇḍu!”
O devotees, worship and praise Hrishīkesa,
the king of the whole earth.
He destroyed the Rākṣasas and their large clan.
Give up your old ways and join us
and recite the thousand names of the god.
Bow to his feet and say, “Pallāṇḍu! Pallāṇḍu!”


Let us praise the god and say, “Pallāṇḍu! Pallāṇḍu!”.
My father, his father and his grandfather, for seven generations
they all worshipped him and served him.
He took the form of Narasimha
on the evening of Śravaṇa Nakṣatra day
and destroyed Hiraṇya.


Let us praise the god and say, “Pallāṇḍu! Pallāṇḍu!”
We brand our shoulders
with the famous divine discus that shines like fire.
We join the temple and serve the god for many generations.
The strong god fought with Bāṇāsura
who had a thousand arms and a magical army
and destroyed him with his discus
making all his thousand arms bleed.
Let us praise that strong god and say, “Pallāṇḍu! Pallāṇḍu!”


Let us praise the god and say, “Pallāṇḍu Pallāṇḍu!".
O divine god, you gave me prasādam with good ghee,
betel leaves and nuts, ornaments for my neck,
earrings to decorate my ears, and sandal paste to smear on my body.
You gave me your grace
so that I would become pure and wise and serve you.
Let me praise the god who holds the Garuḍa banner
and say, “Pallāṇḍu! Pallāṇḍu!”


Let us praise the god and say, “Pallāṇḍu Pallāṇḍu!”
We are your devotees.
We wear the silk clothes that you have worn.
We put on the Tulasī garland that adorned you.
We eat the food that is left over after you have eaten.
We do the services that you want us to do everywhere.
On the day of Śravaṇa festival,
we praise the god who sleeps on the snake bed
and say, “Pallāṇḍu! Pallāṇḍu!”


Let us praise the god and say, “Pallāṇḍu Pallāṇḍu!”
From the morning of each day we serve you as your slaves
and we will do the same in all our lives and in future generations.
Release us from birth and give us moksha.
You were born on auspicious Śravaṇa day.
You broke the bow of Kamsa in northern Madhura,
and danced on Kālinga the five-headed snake.
Let us praise and say, “Pallāṇḍu, Pallāṇḍu!”


Let us praise the god and say, “Pallāṇḍu! Pallāṇḍu!”
Dearest god, I am an old devotee of yours,
like Abhimanadungan, the king of beautiful Koṭṭiyur
where there is no injustice.
You are pure in all ways.
Devotees praise you with many names and say,
“Namo Nārāyaṇa” with love.
I will praise you and say, “Pallāṇḍu Pallāṇḍu”


Vishṇu-Citta of Villiputtur praised the highest god,
the pure god who carries the bow Śārṅga.
Those who recite these poems and worship the god
saying, “Namo Nārāyaṇa”
will be with the highest god, praising him always
and saying, “Pallāṇḍu! Pallāṇḍu!”

2. The birth of Kaṇṇaṉ


Kaṇṇaṉ, Keśava, the lovely child,
was born in Thirukkoṭṭiyur
filled with beautiful palaces.
When the cowherds sprinkled oil
and turmeric powder mixed with fragrance
on each other in front of Kaṇṇaṉ’s house
they made the front yards of the houses muddy.


When cowherds heard that the divine child was born,
they ran, fell and shouted in joy.
They searched for the baby and asked everyone,
“Where is our dear one?”
They beat the drums, sang, danced
and joy spread everywhere in their village.


When the glorious child was born
the cowherds entered with love into Yaśodā’s house,
saw him and praised him, saying,
“See! Among all men there is no equal to this child.
He was born under the Thiruvoṇam star
and will rule the world.”


The women of the cowherd village
took the pots from the uri,
rolled them in front of their houses and danced.
The fragrant ghee, milk and yogurt spilled all over
and they became crazy with joy
and their thick soft hair became loose.


When the cowherds who carry the uri,
sharp mazhu weapons, staffs for grazing the cows
and who have palm-leaf beds to sleep on
heard the divine child was born,
they joined happily together
and laughed with their jasmine flower-like teeth.
They smeared oil on themselves
and jumped into the water to bathe.


The cowherdess Yaśodā massaged
the baby’s hands and legs
and gently poured fresh turmeric water on his body
from the pot and bathed him.
When she cleaned his lovely tongue,
he opened his mouth
and she saw all the seven worlds inside.


The beautiful cowherd women
who saw the worlds in his mouth
wondered and praised him,
“This is no cowherd child.
He is the supreme god.
This wonderful child is really is a Māyaṉ!”


The cowherds planted poles of victory
in all directions on the twelfth day after the child was born
and gave him a name of the god
who lifted up the huge Govardhana mountain.
They carried him in their arms and rejoiced.


Yaśodā said, “If I put him in the cradle,
he will kick and tear the cloth of the cradle.
If I take him in my hands, he will hurt my waist.
If I embrace him tightly, he will kick my stomach.
I don’t have strength anymore to deal with him.
I am tired, my friends!”


Viṣṇu-Citta who wore a shining sacred thread
composed the poems that describe
the birth of omnipresent Nārāyaṇa, Puruṣottama
in Thirukkoṭṭiyur, surrounded with flourishing paddy fields.
All the sins of the devotees
who recite these poems will go away.

3. Yaśodā and other cowherd women describe Kaṇṇaṉ from his feet to his head.


Come and see the lotus feet
of the innocent child of Devakī
who was given to Yaśodā by Devakī, his mother,
and who is as sweet as the nectar
that came from the milky ocean.
He puts his lotus foot in his mouth and tastes it.
See, you have mouths red as coral.
Come and see his lotus feet.


Come and see the ten perfect toes
of the sapphire-coloured child
that look like an ornament studded
with pearls, jewels, diamonds and pure gold.
O girls, you have shining foreheads,
come and see his perfect toes.
Come and see his toes.


Come and see the child’s ankles
that are decorated with shining silver ornaments
as he drinks milk from Yaśodā's breasts
embracing her and sleeps peacefully.
O beautiful girls,
come and see his ankles.


See the knees of the child
who ate fragrant ghee from all the pots
that Yaśodā had filled doing hard work.
He was beaten with a rope by Yaśodā
and crawled away from her in fear.
O girls with bud-like breasts,
come and see his knees.


Come and see the thighs of the child
who pretended to sleep
after drinking the milk from the breasts of the cruel
demon Pūthanā and killing her.
He split the chest of the heroic Hiraṇya.
O girls with round breasts!
Come and see his thighs! Come and see him.


Come see the mutham of the child Achudan
who was born ten days after the star Astham
from the womb of Devakī
who is always in the heart of her husband Vāsudeva,
the lord of many elephants that drip ichor.
Come, see the mutham of our dear child.
O girls who smile like blooming flowers,
come and see it!


Come and see the waist decorated
with strings of coral and beautiful pearls of the highest god
who killed the mighty-trunked rutting elephant Kuvalayabeeḍam
and took its ivory tusks and ran away.
O girls, you have shining foreheads,
see his waist, come and see!


Come and see the lovely navel
of the cowherd chief Nandi’s son
who is as strong as a white-tusked elephant.
He plays mischievously with a group of children
and gives them trouble.
O girls, you are decorated with shining ornaments,
come and see his navel!


Come see the stomach of the child
whose colour is as dark as the roaring ocean.
The cowherdess Yaśodā fed him sweet milk
from her breasts and then tricked him
and tied him up with an old rope without worrying about him.
O girls, you are decorated with shining bangles,
come and see his stomach!


Come and see the chest
decorated with the shining Kaustubha ornament
and studded with large diamonds
of the child who pulled the big mortar
between two marudam trees and made them fall
when I, Yaśodā tied him to the mortar.
O girls, you are decorated with precious ornaments,
come and see his chest!


Come and see the arms of the small child
who kicked and took the dear life of Śakaṭāsura
who came in the form of a cart.
He killed Pūthanā who has sharp sword-like teeth
when he was only four or five months old.
O girls, you have curly hair, come and see his shoulders.
Come and see.


Come and see the hands
of the dark-blue-coloured child with beautiful hair
who carries in them the conch and the discus
that is smeared with oil.
Yaśodā’s dark eyes are decorated with kohl
and she is raising Kaṇṇaṉ, the beautiful child.
O girls, you are decorated with precious ornaments,
come and see his hands.


Come and see the neck of the small cowherd child
who is being raised by Yaśodā.
She has lovely hair, decorated with flowers
swarming with bees.
See his neck that swallowed all the worlds and the sky.
O beautiful girls, see his neck.
Come and see.


The cowherd women
who have mouths red as thoṇḍai fruits
kiss his red mouth, drink its nectar, and embrace him, saying,
“O you who are a lion and have a mouth
as sweet as a thoṇḍai fruit, come.”
O girls, you are decorated with lovely ornaments!
Come and see his mouth red as a thoṇḍai fruit.
Come and see.


Come and see the tongue of the child,
that Yaśodā lovingly cleans
with turmeric powder and then bathes him.
Come and see his eyes, mouth, teeth and nose.
O girls whose hair swarms with bees,
come and see.


Come and see the eyes of the child
who was born on earth as the son of Vāsudeva.
He was brought up to destroy the strong Asuras,
and remove the suffering of the gods in the heavens.
O girls, you are decorated with beautiful bangles,
come and see his eyes. Come and see.


Come and see the eyebrows of the dark child
who shines like a dark jewel
and came to save the world.
He was born to Devakī, beautiful as Lakshmi.
She gave birth to a child
even though she was too young to give birth.
O girls with breasts decorated with ornaments,
come and see his eyebrows. Come and see.


Come and see the beautiful emerald earrings
of the child who happily swallowed
the earth, hills, oceans and all the seven worlds.
O girls who are decorated with beautiful ornaments,
see his lovely emerald earrings.


When small girls carrying a winnowing fan and a small pot
wander holding a Pūvāy bird on their wrists
and make play houses,
the dear child of Yaśodā grabs the birds from their hands
and runs away.
Come see his forehead.
O girls, you are decorated with precious jewels.
Come and see his forehead.


Carrying a beautiful golden stick
in his hands he runs behind baby calves
as the lovely sound of his anklets spreads everywhere.
O girls who have round breasts, come and see his curly hair.


Yaśodā, who has dark curly hair
described the beauty of her child from his feet to his head.
The poet Puduvaippaṭṭan of the southern Puduvai,
composed poems with Yaśodā’s words.
The devotees who recite these twenty-one poems
will go to Vaikuṇṭha and remain there.

4. Yaśodā sings a lullaby to Kaṇṇaṉ.


Nāṉmukaṉ made a beautiful gold cradle
studded with rubies and diamonds and sent it to you with love.
You went to Mahābali in the form of a dwarf.
Thalelo, you measured the world, thalelo.


Kabali, Shiva who rides a bull,
sent you a golden ornament
studded with precious diamonds for your waist
and a beautiful garland that was tied together
with pomegranate flowers for a waistband.
You are the god who holds all lives within you.
Do not cry, do not cry. thalelo,
you measured the world for Mahābali, thalelo.


O dear god,
the goddess Lakshmi stays on your beautiful chest.
The king of the gods Indra brought musical anklets
for your lovely fragrant lotus feet,
gave it to you and stood nearby, thalelo.
Your eyes are as beautiful as lotuses, thalelo.


Your body is dark as a cloud.
Your eyes are beautiful.
The gods in the sky came and gave you
a valampuri conch, musical kolusu for your divine feet,
round bangles for your beautiful hands,
a sacred thread for your chest and a waistband.
O you lion-like son of Devakī,
thalelo, thalelo.


As Vaishravana, Kubera
who gives generously to all without discriminating,
thought that a beautiful aimbaḍaithali
and a necklace would be suitable
for your beautiful chest where Lakshmi stays.
He brings them, stands away from you
and worships you.
Thalelo, your body is as beautiful as a blue sapphire, thalelo.


Varuṇa thought that a necklace
made of shining pearls born in a roaring ocean,
precious high quality coral,
and bangles made of singing conches
would be suitable for you and sent them to you.
You are decorated with a shining crown, thalelo!
You have handsome arms, thalelo.


The divine Lakshmi who stays on a lotus that drips honey
sent you a garland of forest Tulasī
and a garland of karpaga flowers
that bloomed in the fertile grove in the sky
to tie around your forehead.
O king, do not cry, do not cry, thalelo,
you sleep on Ādiśeṣa in Kuḍandai, thalelo.