Sri Godha Natchiyar fondly known as Andal is considered as the incarnation of Boomadevi (mother Earth). She was born in Srivilliputtur, Tamilnadu as a daughter of Periyazhwar. Andal is revered as the youngest Azhwar and the only woman among the 12 holy saint poets. Thiruppavai, the renowned work of Andal, eulogizes Sri Mahavishnu and recited in Sri Vaishnava temples across the globe. Furthermore, it is considered as the essence of Vedas. The famous king of Vijayanagara empire Sri Krishnadeva Rayar has penned “Amuktha Malyatha”, which describes the glorious life of Andal.
It is also interesting to note that in Thailand, Thiruppavai pasurams are recited during the coronation ceremony of their kings. Devotion, spirituality and divine ecstasy fill our hearts as we chant the pasurams of Andal. Nevertheless, as a literary connoisseur when we look into the pasurams, one is sure to appreciate the nature lover in Andal.
Right from the very first pasuram in Thiruppavai, Andal brings out the picturesque beauty of nature. She paints the picture of a cool full moon in the first pasuram. “Ongi ulagalantha”, the third pasuram is a perfect picture of fertile land explaining in detail about the well grown tall crops, fishes swimming in the paddy fields and the drowsy bees swarming the flowers after consuming their rich nectar. She also describes the generosity of the magnanimous cows which fill the huge pots with milk.
Andal was a little girl of 5 to 6 years of age when she wrote these pasurams. It is enthralling to note that at this tender age she describes water-cycle combining the scientific facts and the spiritual wisdom. Evaporation of water from the oceans, condensing into dark clouds resembling the dark hue of Srikrishna with striking lightening just like the glorious luminescence of the Sri Sudarshana chakra. The sound of thunder resembling the sound emanating from the Panchajanya – holy conch of Purushothaman and the downpour of rain reminding the shower of arrows from Sarngam, the holy bow of Sri Mahavishnu.
Andal seems to be an ardent ornithologist. The graceful beauty of birds and their activities are vividly captured in a poetic way by Andal. In the sixth pasuram she directs the attention of her friends to the movement of birds to indicate that it has dawned and they should wake up to join her to take bath and worship Sri Krishna. Anaichathan is a species of cuckoo which is one of the first larks to start chirping early in the morning. In the seventh pasuram she talks about these early risers who sing the praise of Krishna. It is the power of her imagination which makes her to state that these birds chirp the petname of Krishna as “Keech Keech”.
Andal’s great love for cattle is clearly visible in many of her pasurams. In the eighth pasuram she ventures to quote about the brightening up of the horizon by the early rays of the sunrise. Buffalos start munching the grass near their houses to satisfy their hunger before they are taken to the meadows for grazing. In the twelfth pasuram cows by the mere thought of their calves start exuding the milk which makes a milky sludge in the soil.
Andal is truly a multi-faceted person. The dramatist in Andal takes the upper hand in many of her poems. In the ninth pasuram “thoomani madattu” she sets the stage of an exquisite villa embellished with dainty bells and she makes us visualize a pleasantly lit room filled with the aroma of incense sticks and her friend sleeping in a cozy mattress. The scene begins with Andal requesting the girl to open her door. As she doesn’t receive any answer she calls out to her mother. Andal frantically questions her mother if her friend is not able to speak or hear or is she under a spell of magical sleep. As a clever poetess she makes us to assume that the friend wakes up to ask the reason of their morning call. She astutely wraps up the poem by quoting the three important qualities of the Paramatma with the three holy names – Mamayan which indicates the soulabyam (easily accessible to devotees) Madhavan – referring to Sriyampathithvam (consort of Mahalakshmi thayar); Vaikunthan – denoting the Parathathvam (omnipotent, omnipresent); Sriman Narayanan declares himself in the tenth chapter of Shrimad Bhagavad Gita that he is Margashirsa among the months. It is a blessing for us to have the opportunity to ponder about Thiruppavai in this holy month.
Sanathana dharma is a way of life in which the spirituality is entwined with nature. To enjoy a holistic and harmonious life let us fervently adhere to our traditions and immerse ourselves in the opulent pasurams and walk in the path shown by our adorable Andal.
Let us surrender at the lotus feet of Andal (Andal thiruvadigale saranam!!!)
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