Sacred sayings of the The Divine Mother – Sri Andal


She surpassed all azwars by her supreme love and longing for union with Sriman Narayanan.

Sri Vishnu citta kula nandana kalpavallem | Sri rangaraaja harichandana yoga drishyam ||

Saakshaat kshamaam karunayaa kamalaamivaanyaam| godaam ananya sharanah saranam prapadye||  (goda stuthi 1)

Vedanta Desika, in his goda stuti, personifies Sri Andal as an incarnation of mother earth (Bhoo devi) and as an embodiment of patience and forgiveness.

Anju kudikkoru santatiyai azhvargal

tam seyalai Vinji nirkum tanmayalai —pinjai

Pazhutalai Sri Anadalai bhakiyudan nalum

Vazhutai maname magizhndu                     (upadesa ratina malai 24)

Sri Andal was born in the divine month of Adi in the star Pooram, as the only spiritual heir of the ten azhvar-s. To draw a parallel, if our of ten brothers only one had an heir, it is natural that he begets the wealth of all the ten. Spiritual knowledge and devotion was the abundant wealth of azhvar-s that was happily passed on to Sri Andal. However, in the above cited verse, anju kudi refers to the five azhvar-s who took birth before Sri Andal, namely, Poigai azhvar, Bhutat azhvar, Peyazhvar _known collectively as Mudal azhwar and therefore counted as one entity. Tirumazhisai azhvar, Nammazhvar, Kulasekara azhvar and Periazhvar. Sri Andal by birth was later to all these azhvar-s and by experience further junior. Neverthless, she surpassed all of them by her supreme love and longing for union with Sriman Narayana. She attained spiritual maturity at an early age and was unique in her dual role as an Azhvar and a consort of Krishna. She was revered as Paadavalla- nachiar, as she sung Tiruppavai and Nachiar Tirumozhi, and Chudikkodutta nachiar as she offered a garland to Vatapatrasayi, the presiding deity of Srivilliputur, after adorning herself with it. From all these sayings, one can easily infer that Sri Andal is held in esteem ahead of all the azhvar-s and even Goddess Sri Mahalakshmi as one can gauge front the verse of Sri Parasara Bhattar,

Lakshmim viraha rasikamiva rajahamsim | chayamiva abhyudayainim avantim ca tasya|| (Sri Rangaraja stavam 1 -63)

Srimahalakshmi is a beautiful swan playing in the pond, which is none other than Sri Ranganatha, and Bhoodevi is Her shadow While it confirms that Sri Devi is superior to Bhoo devi it also subtly connotes that the shadow is at times longer than the orginal.

Moreover, when we need shelter, it is the shadow where we can rest in peace and not on the original. Again, Sri Devi pleads to Sriman Narayana to forgive our sins, whereas Bhoodevi never even recognizes that we are sinners. Sri Devi, with a view to protecting us, argues with Her Master that there is no one in this Universe who is not a sinner, and therefore He should forgive everyone. On the contrary, Bhoodevi advises Her beloved that there are no sinners in this universe and so He should bless everyone.

The two works of Sri Andal were born in the Hemanta ritu (winter season), Tiruppavai during Margazhi (Dec’15 to Jan’ 15) and Nachiar Tirumozhi during Thai (Jan 15 to Feb 15). The term Nachiar stands for Sri Andal, known as Goda in Sanskrit. Thiru stands for divinity and Mozhi for sayings. The collection of 143 divine hymns of Sri Andal is known as Nachiar Tirumozhi. The superiority of Sri Andal over the other azhvar-s and Sri Devi is substantiated from Nachiar Tirumozhi. In 14 decads Sri Andal narrates the efforts taken by her to attain the Lotus feet of Krishna.

In the first decad (thai oru tingal) she falls at the feet- of Kama Deva, the God of love, and pleads to fetch Krishna as her husband.

thaiyoru thingaLum tharaiviLakki * thaNmaNdalamittu maasimunnaaL*

aiyan^uN maNaRkoNdu theruvaNinthu * azhaginukkalankaritthu anankathEvaa!*

uyyavu maankolOvenRu solli * uNnnaiyum umbiyaiyum thozhuthEn*

veyyathOr thazhalumizh chakkarakkai * vEnkatavaRku ennai vithikkiRRiyE.

It is pertinent to note here that Srivaishnavas follow a discipline — not to prostrate before any demi God other than Sriman Narayana. This is an essential quality glorified as Ananya daivatvam, inspite of Sri Andal daring to cross this yellow line and pleading to Kama and his brother Sama, she is revered as an azhvar Swami Periavachan Pillai, the Emperor of commentators analyses this in the preface to Nachiar Tirumozhi and reveals a startling truth. Pillai Lokam Jiyar in his commentary to the Upadesa rattina Malai says, this is precisely the reason for Sri Andal being hailed as superior to other Azhvar-s. For better understanding, assume an ambulance carrying a critical patient. Its only objective is to reach the patient to the safe hands of a doctor and in the process does not follow traffic rules.

Sri Andal’s aim is to unite with Krishna and so she does not mind the rules. We cannot extend this behavior of Sri Andal to us and fall at others’ feet. This exception applies only to devotees like Sri Andal who cannot bear separation. As the ten azbvar-s were men by birth, their suffering from separation is not as ripe as Sri Andars, who was a female by birth. They had the patience to follow rules. Moreover the other azhvar-s took on the mantle of a female and sang in the Nayika Bhava, but Sri Andal a born Nayika, did not have the patience to follow rules. Her longing earned her superiority over the other azhvar-s,

Blinded by profuse love, she falls at the feet of a non-sentient koodal in the fourth decad and pleads with them to unite as an auspicious sign for her union with Krishna.

theLLiyaar_ palar* kaithozhum thEvanaar*

vaLLal * maaliruNYchOlai maNaaLanaar*

paLLi koLLumidaththu* adi kottida*

koLLu maagil * n^ee koodidu koodalE!*

In olden days, forming an objective in their mind, girls drew circles and threw chozhi (shells) and other small objects at random onto the circles. If they came together in a particular pattern, it was assumed as a good omen that their wishes would get fulfilled.  A desperate does not mind falling at their feet too.

This is again unique to Sri Andal as compared to other azhvar-s. She continues her plea in the next decad requesting a cuckoo bird to sing and fetch Krishna.

The most precious gem  in the jewel Nachiar Tirumozhi, is the sixth decad, namely varanamayiram. These ten hymns are recited in every Srivaishnava wedding. This decad is recited by revered Srivaishnavas headed by the acharya while the bride and the groom pass coconuts between them (tengai uruatal). Sri Andal narrates her dream to her friend, wherein Krishna weds her, All the rituals like, decorating the bride, tying the sacred thread in the hand (kappu kattudal), the groom bolding the hand of the bride (panigrahana), going around the sacred tire (sapta padi), bride stepping on the stone mortar (ammi midittal) and finally the sacred bath are explained in detail in each verse.

vaaraNamaayiram * coozha valam ceythu*

naaraNa nambi* nadakkinRaan enRu ethir*

pooraNa poRkudam* vaiththup puRamenkum*

thOraNam naatta* kanaakkaNdEn thOzhee! n^aan*.

Sri Andal love towards Krishna was so boundless that she had to dream of the detailed wedding herself and narrate it to the world. In the last verse, Sri Andal blesses us stating that unmarried girls who recite this decad would get a husband like Krishna and married girls would get a son like Periazhvar. Can anything better be expected?

It is expected that a married bride and groom would certainly enjoy life, Sri Andal, now the authorized consort of Krishna, wants to know the fragrance of her beloved’s attractive lips and its nectar. She searches for someone intimate to tell the truth and spotted Sankha, the divine conch of Krishna with the view that none could he more intimate to Krishna than the conch in tasting the nectar of His lips. Sri Andal in her seventh decad lauds this wealth of Sankha, as –unparalleled.

karuppooram naaRumO?* kamalappoo naaRumO*

thirup pavaLac cevvaaythaan* thiththiththirukkumO*

marup pociththa maathavan than* vaayccuvaiyum naaRRamum*

viruppuRRuk kEtkinREn* sollaazhi veNsankE!*

In the same 7th decad Sri Andal criticizes the Sankha for having cornered all the wealth himself.

pathinaaRaamaayiravar* dhEvimaar paarththiruppa*

madhuvaayil koNdaaRpOl* maadhavanRan vaayamudham*

pothuvaaga uNpathanai* pukku n^ee yuNdakkaal*

cithaiyaarO unnOdu* selvap peruncankE!*.

O Sankha ! while all the 16100 consorts of Krishna are Ionging for the nectar from the lips of Krishna, is it right for you to corner all the nectar ? Are Krishna’s lips (spiritual enjoyment between a jiva and pararnatrna) not common property?

In this context , I cannot forget Sita’s words in the Ramayana. Sita, separated from Rama, laments in Sundara Kanda.

“I am unfortunate. Although Rama belongs to me, everyone else (rishi-s and vanara-s) is enjoying His company They are the blessed.”

Sita is envious that others are enjoying Her belonging, whereas Sri Andal is large-hearted, trying to restore Krishna as a common wealth to all the 16100 consorts.

In the 9th  decad Sri Andai is into divya desa anubhava. She is very fond of Tirumaalirunsolai Azhagar (sundara bahu). She wishes to offer 100 padis of butter and 100 padis of akkara vadisal (rice cooked in milk) This wish remained in words during the life of Sri Andal and it was Swami Ramanuja who fulfilled it physically. Sri Andal showed her gratitude to ramanuja by revering him as her annan (brother) to fulfill the wish of sisters.

n^aaRu naRum pozhil*  MAliruncOlai nambikku*

naan nooRu thadaavil veNNey*  vaayn^Ernthu paraavi vaiththEn*

nooRu thadaa n^iRaintha*  akkaara vadicil connEn*

ERu thiruvudaiyaan*  inRu vanthu ivai koLLunkolO!*.

In the 9th verse of the same decad, she wishes to listen to the resonant sound of Sankha and Sarnga

When Sri Devi incarnated as Sita and was jailed in Lanka, she wishes to listen to the sound of the divine bow that would bring solace. While she incarnated as Rukrnini, she wishes to listen to the divine conch of Krishna as an assurance that He has arrived to wed her. Sita and Rukrnini were satisfied with one — Sankha or Sarnga. But the spiritual thirst of Sri Andal would get quenched only when she listened to both the Sankha and Sarnga.

In the 10th decad, Sri Andal reveals the esoteric concept of Srivaishnava sampradaya —  aacharya katasham alone will get the feet of emperuman.

Frustrated  and despondent  that she had not succeeded in her desire to be united emperuman, kodai appeals peacocks, the rain, dark blue ocean to convey to her naaranan. Then she says two reasons to continue to live. The first was repeated declarations of Rama that he will never give up any one who is devoted to him ( this representing rama charama slokam) .

mullaip piraatti!*  n^ee un muRuvalgaL koNdu*emmai-

allal viLaiviyEl *  Azhin^aNGkaay! unnadaikkalam*

kollai yarakkiyai mookkarin^thitta*  kumaranaar-

collum poyyaanaal*naanum piRanthamai poyyanRE*.

In last pasuram of this decad Sri Andal states The second reason is her association with periyaazhwar , through which she is saying importance of aacharyan in attain him.

nalla _en thOzhi!*  naagaNai micai nambarar*

celvar periyar*  ciRumaaNnidavar n^aam ceyvathen?*

villi puthuvai*  vittu ciththar_ thangaL thEvarai*

valla parisu varuvipparEl*  athu kaaNdumE*.

11th decad is dedicated to express Her love to Lord of Srirangam

In one of pasurams, She says that in the past, when Mother Earth was submerged in water with moss covering Her all over, to get to Her in mud, Lord of Srirangam took avatar of Sri Varaha ( Wild Boar). He promised then to give protection to all His Devotees (varaha charama slokam). This promise can never be erased.

paaci thoorththukkidantha* paarmagatku*

paNdorun^aaL maacudambil neervaaraa* maanamilaap panRiyaam*

thEcudaiya thEvar* thiruvarangac celvanaar*

pEci yiruppanakaL* pErkkavum pEraavE*.

Also briefs the way rukmini Krishna marriage and also Krishna charama slokams in last 2 pasurams of the this decad.

In 12th decad Andal requests Her people to take Her to the place of the Lord (divya desams) and in 13th decad  Andal requests Her people to get Her the things connected closely to Lord (like vastram etc) so that Her sickness due to love is pacified.

Finally in 14th decad is like questioning and answering between Andal and her thozhi,  which describes how the lord was found in vridavan.  In very last pasuram Andal declares the benefit that will accure to those who chant this decad that came out as a result of extreme happiness from seeing her Kannan in vrudhavanam. “she says that these pasurams narrating how she discovered in vrindhavan, the same paraman who save gajendran.  Those who want to cross this samsara should keep these pasurams as their medicine. They will be associated with his great lotus feet forever and inseparably.”

parunthaatkaLiRRukku aruLceytha*  paraman thannai*

paarinmEl virunthaavanaththE kaNdamai*  vittu ciththan kOthaicol*

marunthaa menRu tham manaththE*  vaiththuk koNdu vaazhvaargaL*

perunthaaLudaiya piraanadikkeezh*  piriyaathu enRum iruppaarE*.

All the wealth in the nature are god’s blessing, these are meant to be used by people as fertilizers in growing the bhakti in the society ie to be used in his service and nothing else. That is what Sri Andal is pointing through her thirumozhi. Kodai who showed us that the only goal of life is to be united with emperuman, sang the praise of him and got the greatness of being permenantly united with him.



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