Archive for February 8th, 2021

February 8, 2021

OmniLight Invocations 365

A herd of elephants enjoying their dip in water on a hot afternoon in the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, Sri Lanka.

A Bornean Orangutan – Source: Wikipedia

A gorilla reaches for fruit in the Dzanga-Sangha Complex of Protected Areas in the southwestern Central African Republic. Photo: Chris Whittier

Arutperunjothi Agaval: Couplet: 383

துன்பளித் தாங்கே சுகமளித் துயிர்களை

அன்புறக் காத்தரு ளருட்பெருஞ் ஜோதி

Alleviate affliction,

And in its place,

Ensure ease,


Bestow the beneficial

On living beings,

OmniLight of Supreme Compassion!

Note: The word “அளித்தல்” (Alittal) occurs twice in the first line of this couplet. Ramalingam’s mastery of Tamil words is evident in his apposite use of two different meanings of this word in their recurrence in the first line. In the first sense, “அளித்தல்” means “to give or bestow”. In the second sense, it means “to protect, take care of, nourish”, or “to alleviate”.

It is used in the second sense in the phrase “துன்பளித் தாங்கே” at the start of this couplet. It is widely misunderstood in extant commentaries to mean “give or bestow affliction” which makes no sense at all in the context of this couplet. It is a petition or prayer to OmniLight for the protection of living beings.

Therefore, the word “அளித்தல்” (Alittal) is used in the phrase “துன்பளித் தாங்கே” in the second sense, “to protect, take care of, nourish”, or “alleviate”. The phrase means “alleviate affliction”, i.e., alleviate the afflictions, such as hunger, thirst, etc., which befall living beings.

In its second occurrence in the first line of this couplet, in the phrase “சுகமளித்து“, the word “அளித்தல்” is used in the standard sense of “give or bestow”. The phrase means “give or bestow the beneficial”. The good or the beneficial, in addition to ease or comfort, is also included in the meanings of “சுகம்”.

The Arutperunjothi Agaval is Ramalingam’s magnum opus of enlightenment poetry composed in 798 couplets in 1872. The meditative recitation of these prayers helps to develop compassion for living beings.

In later posts, I will offer commentaries on these verses.