7-8th Century A.D
|Literary works||Tiruppaavai, Naachiyaar Thirumozhi|
Andal (Tamil: ஆண்டாள் Äṇţāḷ, an 8th-century or earlier is the only female Alvar of the 12 Alvar saints of South India, who are known for their affiliation to Srivaishnava tradition of Hinduism. She is credited with the great Tamil works of Thirupavai and Nachiar Tirumozhi that are still recited by devotees during the Winter festival season of Margazhi. Andal is known for her unwavering devotion to the Lord Vishnu, the God of the Srivaishnavas. The Srivilliputhoor Temple is dedicated to her and marks her birthplace. Adopted by her father, the Alvar saint Periyalvar who found her as a baby, Andal avoided earthly marriage, the normal and expected path for women of her culture, to "marry" Vishnu, both spiritually and physically. In many places in India, particularly in Tamilnadu, Andal is treated more than a saint and as a form of God herself.
Andal is believed to have been discovered under a Tulsi(Basil) plant in the temple garden of Srivilliputtur, by a person named Vishnucitta who later became one of the most revered saints in Hinduism, Periyalvar. The child was named Kodhai. This is popularly thought to mean "a beautiful garland" in Tamil but it is unlikely as in ancient times this was a popular personal name even for men as evidenced by Sangam era male names such as Kodhai as mentioned in a Purananuru poem on a Chera king Ko-k-Kodhai. The name Kodhai is often Sanskritized as Goda. She has been accepted as a reincarnation of Bhumi Devi (the Earth Goddess). She is considered to be bhooma devi avatar just after that of Sita (wife of Lord Rama, an incarnation of Vishnu, as described in the epic Ramayana).The series of Bhumi Devi's incarnations start from the Varaha Puranam - In Hindu mythology, Vedavati is speculated to have been the spirit of Sita Devi, the wife of Lord Rama in the epic Ramayana. She was another avatar of Devi Lakshmi. Vedavati is the daughter of Brahmarshi Kusadhvaja, who is the son of Brihaspati, Lord-Guru of the Devas, the Gods. Having spent his life chanting and studying the sacred Vedas, he names his daughter Vedavati, or Embodiment of the Vedas, born as the fruit of his bhakti and tapasya. 
Dedication to Vishnu
Kodhai was brought up by Vishnucitta. Kodhai grew up in an atmosphere of love and devotion. Vishnucitta doted on her in every respect, singing songs to her about Lord Vishnu; teaching her all the stories and philosophy he knew; and sharing with her his love for Tamil poetry. As Kodhai grew into a beautiful maiden, her love and devotion for the Lord grew to the extent that she decided to marry none but the Lord Himself only. As days progressed, her resolve strengthened and she started to live in a dream world with her beloved Lord and was constantly fantasizing about marrying Him. 
Vishnucitta had the responsibility of delivering flower garlands to the Lord's temple, everyday. Kodhai made these garlands and sent it to her beloved Lord through her father. Eventually she started acting unusual by wearing the flower garland which was meant to be offered to the Lord. This is generally considered sacrilege in Hinduism because the scriptures teach the devotees not to offer to the Lord, a thing that has already been used by a human being. However, Kodhai felt she should test to see how the garland suited her and only if it did, she should offer it to the Lord. One day, she was caught red-handed by her father in this strange act, and as an orthodox devotee he was extremely upset. He rebuked her and told her not to repeat the sacrilegious act in the future. Frightened and apologetic, Kodhai made a new garland for the offering that day. Legend says that that very night the Lord appeared to Vishnucitta in his dream and asked him why he had discarded Kodhai's garland instead of offering it to Him. The Lord is believed to have told Vishnucitta that He had whole-heartedly accepted Kodhai's offering all this time. This moved Vishnucitta so much even as he started to realize the Divine Love that existed between the Lord and his daughter. From this day on, Kodhai is believed to have been respected by the devotees and came to be known as "Andal", the girl who "ruled" over the Lord. She is also known by a phrase Soodi kodutha Sudarkodi which means "The bright creeper-like woman who gave her garlands after wearing them".
Marrying the Lord
As Andal blossomed into a fifteen-year-old beautiful young woman of marriageable age (girls were married at a much younger age in those days), her father prepared to get her married to a suitable groom. Andal, however, was stubborn and insisted that she would marry only the Lord Vishnu. This perplexed and worried her father. However, the Lord appeared in Vishnuchitta's dream and informed him that He would marry Andal at Srirangam; the Lord simultaneously commanded the priests at Srirangam, in their dreams, to prepare for the wedding. Andal who was anxious to reach Srirangam was unable to control herself in her urgency to meet her beloved Lord. She ran into the sanctum sanctorum of the Lord Ranganatha and is believed to have merged with Him completely at that point.
S.Chandrasekar, Travel writer & photographer says that the descendents of Periyazhwar preserve to this day the padhuka, sacred beads and vastra used by Periyalvar and some ornaments of Andal at Srivilliputur. In Jan 2012, Vijay TV visited the ancient house where Periyazhwar lived with his daughter and interviewed the members.
Andal composed two works in her short life of fifteen years. Both these works are in Tamil verse form and are exceptional in their literary, philosophical, religious, and aesthetic content. Her contribution is even more remarkable considering that she was a girl of fifteen when she composed these verses and her prodigiousness amazes readers till date.
Her first work is the Thiruppavai, a collection of thirty verses in which Andal imagines herself to be a Gopi or cowherd girl during the incarnation of Lord Krishna. She yearns to serve Him and achieve happiness not just in this birth, but for all eternity, and describes the religious vows (pavai) that she and her fellow cowherd girls will observe for this purpose. 
The second is the Nachiar Tirumozhi, a poem of 143 verses. Tirumozhi, literally meaning "Sacred Sayings", is a Tamil poetic style. "Nachiar" means Goddess, so the title means "Sacred Sayings of the Goddess." This poem fully reveals Andal's intense longing for Vishnu, the Divine Beloved. Utilizing classical Tamil poetic conventions and interspersing stories from the Vedas and Puranas, Andal creates imagery that is possibly unparalleled in the whole gamut of Indian religious literature. However, conservative Srivaishnavite institutions do not encourage the propagation of Nachiar Tirumozhi as much as they encourage Tiruppavai. This is because Nachiar Tirumozhi is belongs to an erotic genre of spirituality that is similar to Jayadeva's Gita Govinda.
The impact of these works on the daily religious life of the South Indian has been tremendous. Just like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, the Thiruppavai is recited with great religious fervor by women, men, and children of all ages, particularly in Tamil Nadu. The daily services in most Srivaishnava temples and households include this recitation. Both of these works, particularly the Thiruppavai, has been studied extensively by innumerable scholars. It has also been translated into a number of languages over the centuries.
Status in the Society
Andal is now one of the best-loved poet-saints of the Tamils. Pious tradition reckons her to be the veritable descent of Bhūmi Devi (Sri Lakshmi as Mother Earth) in bodily form to show humanity the way to His lotus feet. She is present in all Srivaishnava temples, in India and elsewhere, next to her Lord, as she always desired. During the month of Margazhi, discourses on the Tiruppavai in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Hindi and English take place all over India.  The Andal Temple at Srivilliputhur is a twin temple, one of which is dedicated to Andal. Most of the south Indian Vishnu temples have a separate shrine for Andal. There are lot of festivals in the temple and other Vishnu temples in South India dedicated to her, the notable being the Pavai Nonbu in the Tamil month of Margazhi (December - January), Andal Thirukalyanam in Panguni, Pagalpathu, Rapathu, Adi Thiruvizha, when Andal is depicted seated in the lap of Ranganathar.
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