Sri Andal- A Brief Life-Sketch

Sri Andal (a female) is  one of the twelve Alwars  who appeared on this earth in 3000  B.C.  at Srivilliputhur near Madurai. Andal was found in the Tulsi garden, in the premises of the temple of Sri Vatapatra Sai. Peri alwar, her father, found her while tending the garden.

From childhood she used to listen to the pastimes of Lord Krishna with rapt attention and developed a deep love for the Lord. Andal helped her father in weaving flower garlands to offer to the temple Deity every day. One morning, Peri-alwar observed her wearing and adorning herself with the flower-garland intended for the Deity and herself looking into a mirror and enjoying it. He considered this as an act of disrespect and, with great anguish, did not offer the garland to the Lord on that day. The Lord appeared in his dream and informed him that He relished only the garland worn by Godai (Andal) and that in future flower garlands worn by Godai alone be offered to Him.

Peri-alwar realized the divinity of Godai(Andal), and from then she was reputed as “Andal” (one who ruled Bhagvan) and “Choodi Kodutha Nachiar” (patroness who would offer flowers after adorning herself). It became a routine for Andal to wear the flower garland prior to offering to the Deity. As Andal grew up, day by day, her love for Krishna also increased and she resolved to marry Him. When Andal attained adolescence, Vishnuchittar (Peri-alwar) was amazed at her conviction to marry Krishna. She was advised to observe Margali –bath rituals, which was a custom of yore for marriageable girls to have choice husbands.

Andal in the mood of gopi collecting all girls at Ayarpadi at dawn during the Margali month, day after day performing the ritual on the banks of the river Yamuna and bathing the Deity…this procedure, expressed lucidly in 30 Hymns, awakening her mates and proceeding to the river-bed, with Bhajan and Kirtan and to bath the Deity, is the topic of Tiruppavai. Apart from Tiruppavai , Andal also sung 143 hymns in Nachiar Tirumozhi in which her expression of intense love to Krishna, in varying moods of bridal love–tender  hope, utter dejection, joyful triumph, woeful sorrow and total surrender.

Lord Ranganatha came in the dream of temple chief and instructed him to bring Andal to Sri Rangam in bridal decoration. A palanquin, duly decorated, was sent from the Sri Rangam temple to Srivilliputhur. King Vallaba Deva made elaborate arrangements, decorated the procession route and greeted Andal with music and other paraphernalia for a Divine wedding. People cheered; King Vallaba also joined the bridal party.

Andal proceeded inside the temple of Sri Ranganatha and sat near the lotus feet of the Lord and disappeared from mortal vision and again joined the eternal pastimes of the Lord.

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