Translator(s): A K Ramanujan
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0144000105
The poems in this book are some of the earliest about Visnu, one of the Hindu Trinity, also known as Tirumal, the Dark One.
In many ways a companion volume to A K Ramanujan’s acclaimed Speaking of Siva, the eighty-three here are by Nammalvar, the celebrated saint-poet of the ninth century. Tradition recognizes twelve alvars, saint-poets devoted to Visnu, who lived between the sixth and ninth century in the Tamil-speaking region of South India. These devotees of Visnu and their counterparts, the devotees of Siva (nayanmar), changed and revitalized Hinduism and their devotional hymns addressed to Visnu are among the earliest bhakti (devotional) texts in any Indian language.
Nammalvar, the greatest of the alvars, composed four works, of which the Tiruvaymoli was the most important. In this selection from his works, the translations like the originals reflect the alternations of philosophic hymns and love poems, through recurring voices, roles, and places. They also enact a progression – from wonder at the Lord’s works, to the experience of loving him and watching others love him, to moods of questioning and despair and finally to the experience of being devoured and possessed by him.
Hymns for the Drowning is a worthy successor to Speaking of Siva.
The Works of Visnu-I
My Quite Contrary Lord
The Lord at Play
Love Poems: The Playboy
Love Poems: The Dark One
Waxing and Waning
Love Poems: You Too?
The Works of Visnu-II
Idiots, Monists, and Others
No More Kings
Love Poems: Four Returning Voices
My Lord, My Cannibal
Love Poems: A Case of Possession
Notes to the Poems