Ninaipadhellam Nadandhu Vittal ….

Normally, I sing a song without getting deeply involved in the lyrics because I give a lot of importance to the tune and the orchestration.  I have sung this memorable song of Kannadasan that begins with ” Ninaipadhellam nadandhu vittal” many times but never reflected on the core of it.

I do not know why but since last night the pallavi of this song has been haunting me and I could not sleep.  Rather than trying to get sleep, I decided to get up and here I am at 5 am writing this post.

Let’s look at the first line of the pallavi that packs in it the essence of life.

Ninaipadhellam nadandhu vittal deivam edhumillai

I am not going to dwell on the poetic aspects of this one line in this post but instead I am going to interpret them in a deeper manner.

The first word can be broken into 2 logical and significant components viz ninaipadhu & ellam which mean thought and all respectively.  Even this translation is not really accurate because it conveys only a portion of the original but then lets move on.

Implicit in the ninaipadhu are all the pronouns I, you, we & they because for a thought to occur there should be a thinker.  For eg.  Naan ninaipadhu or nee ninaipadhu or naam ninaipadhu or avargal ninaipadhu.  Kannadasan being a poetic genius has left it to the imagination of the reader or listener to decide what pronoun he or she wants to use.  For the purpose of this post, let us assume I or naan ninaipadhu or my thought.

There are different theories about the origin of thoughts.  Some say that thoughts are always floating around us and we attract the thoughts based on the moods that we are currently in or our vasanai (our aptitudes).  Some say that desires are the source of thoughts and there is lot of validity to it.

For example, I wanted to  write a post on this song and since the desire of mine is so strong, I am flooded with different thoughts in various dimensions.

And that brings us to desire.  A real visionary lady who lived many many years in this planet implored the people thus “Aram seiya virumbu” meaning “Have a desire to perform the right”.  Wow! just reflecting on these three words and the genius of Avvaiyar is leaving me dazed!!  Again, there is no real equivalent in English to Aram that I could come up with and “Righteous” is only an approximation and that too is a very contentious word.  Lets try and resolve this within the confines and the limitations of the language.

World War II could have been averted if Hitler followed this golden principle.  That is the power of this exhortation.  Many of us know what happened to the person who was under the thought fulfilling tree.  He asked for delicious food, tasty drinks and they materialized instantly.  Immediately, he was filled with fear and thought what would happen if a tiger would appear at that very moment and eat him up and that too became real!!  Anyway we are getting ahead of the game by talking about the outcome.

And if you closely observe, Avvaiyar has reversed the order, I guess, as a poetess and intentionally too!!  Thought leads to action which gives rise to a certain result but here result comes first followed by the action and then by the desire.  My contention is that Avvaiyar wanted the seed of Aram to be planted in the mind and hence started with that and lets remember that the first word has enormous power and impact.

Coming back to the song, (Naan) ninaipadhu can be beneficial or destructive (atleast to me).  If you wonder “Why will i think of something that is harmful or detrimental to my interests?”, recall the last time when you shouted at your child with anger.  All of us have heard the words “Now just get lost somewhere” (engayavadhu tholanju po) and we use it on our near and dear ones.  Is that good or is it not? At that moment, that is what I thought or wished.

I will skip a word in the poem and go to nadandhu vittal just to illustrate the power of this song.

Suppose the child really got lost instantly (my thought became real) imagine what would happen to us ?

That’s why “aram seiya virumbu”. That is why the learned sages and rishis advised us to have positive thoughts (thousands of years before Norman Vincent Peale and Dale Carnegie even appeared on the scene) and they used the  powerful metaphor of ashwini devas floating around us all the time saying “thathusthu” meaning “so be it”.

Tying all this, let us try and grasp the magnitude of a part of this song.

Even if one of  my thoughts became real (Naan ninaipadhu nadandhu vittal) let us see the consequences.  I wish something really bad and evil for someone close and when that happens I cry out and declare that there is no God because this should not happen to me, the most righteous person in the planet, forgetting the fact that my thought played a role.  So the conclusion is ” ninaipadhu nadandhal deivam illai”

Let’s go to the other extreme.  Let’s say that I think of this post as becoming the most read post of today and tomorrow I see the traffic figures as say 10287, then I will conclude that I am very powerful and that I am God and that there is  no other God.  So naan (nanraga) ninaipadhu nadandhu vittal (veru) deivam illai.  The same happened to Hiranyakasipu who on seeing that he was able to conquer the devas through a boon, thought he was God.

Look at it in a different way.  Let’s say that we despise a person and that fellow gets a lottery or wins an election.  We then proclaim that “deivam illai” because avan ninaipadhu nadandhu vittadal.  It is the same thing over and over again.

Either way, deivam illai and this is on the basis of just one thought becoming real.  Now let’s get the other dimension of all or “ellam” into the picture.

This delusion that “I am God” that occurs on account of one thought getting manifested will soon give away to there is “no god” if the next one turns sour.  But if all our negative thoughts become real, then we are fully convinced that “there is no god” .  Likewise, if all our positive desires manifest then we are God and hence there is no (other) god.

I have just touched the aspect of “outcome” (nadandhu vittal)  because that is a vast realm in itself. We will see the dimension of results in another posts.

And this is my strand of thought on “Ninaipadhu ellam nadandhu vittal Deivam edhum illai”.  Would love to know what you think!!



  1. Anirudh Badri said,

    December 1, 2011 at 10:58 am

    Really liked the post.

    True, if something bad happens, the first in line for blame is generally God and if something good happens, the time that something good happens, our thankfulness is something extremely shortlived, if not non-existent

    Looking forward to the sequel to this post

  2. December 12, 2011 at 4:01 am

    […] when I wrote the post on “Ninaipadhellam nadandhu vittal“, it was  a flow that was beyond the original scope and I enjoyed writing it.  I made the […]

  3. January 8, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    […] reception they receive.  For example, I wrote a post on Kannadasan’s immortal lines “Ninaipadhellam Nadandhu Vittal” and I thought it was a fab post that will have a viral effect.  To my dismay, there […]

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