Andal

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Andal
The Saint Andal LACMA M.86.94.2.jpg
Born Kodhai
3004 BC
Srivilliputhur
Titles/honours Alvar
Philosophy Srivaishnava Bhakti
Literary works Tiruppaavai, Naachiyaar Thirumozhi
Andaal at Pundarikaksha, Perumal Temple, Tamil Nadu

Andal (Tamil: ஆண்டாள் Äṇţāḷ is the only female Alvar of the 12 Alvar saints of South India, who are known for their affiliation to Srivaishnava tradition of Hinduism.Accordingly, her date of birth is 8th of June 3004 B.C. 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. To know more information visit website www.srivilliputhurandaltemple.tnhrce.in 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. She was adopted by Alwar saint Periyalvar who found her as a baby girl lying under a tulasi (Ocimum tenuiflorum)plant in his flower garden. He named her Godai, or "gift of Mother Earth

Early life[edit]

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[1] 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.

Dedication to Vishnu[edit]

Kodhai was brought up by Vishnucitta. Kodhai grew up in an atmosphere of love and devotion. . 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 was devoted to Lord sri vishnu and was constantly thinking about marrying Him. [2] Vishnucitta(Periyazhwar) understood the Divine Love that existed between the Lord and his daughter. 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".

Andal's Bhakthi[edit]

In north india Radha rani is celeberated as Queen of bhakthi whereas in south india Andal is remembered for her pure love and devotion. In the Tiruppavai hymn where Andal, as a Gopi in Ayarpadi, emphaises the ultimate goal of life — to seek surrender and refuge at the Lord’s feet. Initially the Gopis request from Krishna the ‘Parai’ and other materials needed for their vow which they observe in the month of Margazhi. But towards the end of the hymn the request assumes philosophical proportions when she says their only wish is to serve Him at all times. The permanent bond between the Paramatma and the Jivatma is vividly described. The Gopis view Krishna is as the very Supreme Brahman(lord).

Andal extols Krishna’s Paratva which coexists with His Saulabhya when He is in the midst of devotees.

She praises Vamana for saving Indra, how He grew in size as Trivikrama ,how He measured the world with His auspicious feet. As Rama, He went to Lanka to kill Ravana and retrieve Sita. Now as child Krishna He saved Himself from the dangers posed by the emissaries of Kamsa who came to kill Him. He protected the entire Vrindavan people from all dangers ,how He saved the vrindavan from the torrential rains by holding the Govardhana hill as an umbrella at the tip of His little finger

Marrying the Lord[edit]

Here Parvathi and Andal are similar. They showed their extraordinary bhakthi and love when they were 4 years old. Parvathi was lord shiva's devotee. Andal was Lord vishnu's devotee. She spent her brief life only in thoughts of the Lord and composed 30 verses of the Tiruppavai and 143 hymns of Nachiyar Tirumozhi. She was 4years old when she started to compose hymns thiruppavai,nachayiyar thiru mozhi and vaarana aayiram. she looked periyaazhwar not only as a father but also a preceptor. Andal, like her father Periazhwar, sang a Pallandu to hail Him who is the unfailing protector of all of us. Her wish was that He should accept them as His servants though they are simple folk. This Dasya bhava is the trait of a true Bhakta and Andal taught us how to cultivate this bhava. All people started to comment and mocked Andal as insane but periyalvar supported and encouraged to be devoted to Lord sri vishnu. periyalvar played an important role in nurturing bhakti. Andal was in divine ecstasy. Even though born in brahmin family she thought herself as a Gopika. she dressed herself as a gopi. This shows her simplicity,humility ,pure love and devotion. One day she dressed herself as a bride ,looked herself in a mirror she wore the flower garland . Father Periyalvar was busy in his preparations to go to temple. He took the flower garland to temple. The temple priest saw the flower garland became annoyed. He noticed a strand of Godai's hair on one of the garlands. He said"oh!what is this? look this garland is used " . Periyazhwar was shocked . He came to know andal had worn it. Mean while Andal was happy that her Lord would have accepted the garland. Periyalvar said that "andal look what have you had done? see the garland". andal became depressed that Her lord refused to wear the garland . Then again Periyalvar tied new flowers , made fresh flower garlands for lord vishnu and went to temple but here the miracle happened. The Merciful Lord said that he wanted the garland which was worn by Andal. Periyalvar was puzzled ,immediately he rushed to the house and brought the old garland which was worn by his daughter Andal. Periyalvar was an incarnate of Garudan (the vehicle of lord sri vishnu). His wish was to marry andal only to lord sri vishnu. Andal narrated her dreams to her father that her lord came in an elephant . she composed her beautiful sweet dreams into poems as "vaaranam aayiram". Andal and Lord sri vishnu got married according to customs and rituals. she was taken to Srirangam temple as a bride, she entered the sanctum sanctorum and was gathered into the Lord’s presence . Periazhwar and others present were wonderstruck by this turn of events. Here wise periyalvar was balanced . The absence of his daughter never disturbed him and broke his heart. As a father he felt that his daughter was married and went to her husband's home. He implied that lord is the owner and master of all . we are all His assets and possesions. For periyalvar Lord Vishnu is supreme and the owner of all.

Literary works[edit]

Andal composed two works . 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 and impress readers till date.

Her first work is the Thiruppavai, a collection of thirty verses in which Andal imagines herself to be a Gopi, an eternal associate of Lord Krishna in the spiritual world as a cowherd girl. 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.It is said that Thiruppavai is the nectar of vedas and teaches the philosophical values, moral values, ethical values, pure love, devotion ,dedication ,single minded aim,virtues and ultimate goal of life. [3]

[4]

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[edit]

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 take place all over India. [5] 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.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ramanuja Darshanam" (PDF). ramanuja.org. Retrieved 2007-07-14. 
  2. ^ "Andal Biography". freeindia.org. Archived from the original on 2007-07-23. Retrieved 2007-07-10. 
  3. ^ "Life of Andal". thiruppavai.org tiruppavai.org. Archived from the original on 5 July 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-10. 
  4. ^ "Andal's Wedding". youtube. Retrieved 2013-04-20. 
  5. ^ "Āndāl, Saint Goda". womenshistory.about.com. Retrieved 2007-07-10. 
  6. ^ S., Manickavasagam (2009). Power of Passion. Strategic Book Publishing. p. 163. ISBN 9781608605613.