by Koyil T. S. Sundara Rajan
August 1, 1997 - Extract:
The asterism 'tiru-aadi-pUram'
(which falls in July-August) marks a fragrant day in our calendar, as
the 'tiru-nakshatram' of Andal.
This blessed day is highlighted by Sri Manavala Mamunigal in the 'Upadesa
periyAzhvAr peNpiLLai-yAi ANDAL piranda
tiruvADip-pUrattin SIrmai, oru nALaikku
uNDo? manamE uNarndu pAr, ANDALukku
uNDAgil oppu idaRkum uNDu.
On this day, the 'rathOtsavam'/'tiruttEr'
(car) festival is celebrated in Srivilliputtur, when Andal in her bridal
finery and her winsome consort Sri Rangamannar mount the imposing 'ratham'
(the loftiest in the country), to course through their domain. This is
verily a heavenly celebration of the profoundest of mystical and
literary traditions of the country.
Andal is venerated as divinity per
se. The great hagiographer Pinbazhagiya Perumal Jiyar affirms this by citing the
mahishIm divyAm AdAu gOdAm upAsmahE |
yan-mAuli-mAlikAm prItyA svIkarOti svayam prabhu: ||
It is said that for the mental peace
of a disciple who confessed to restlessness, Sri Parasara Bhattar composed two
the first one, "bhUtam saraScha mahadAhvaya..." naming the
ten 'divya suri' (Alvars) and Sri Udaiyavar [Ramanuja],
and the second one, "nILA-tunga- stana-giri-taTI-suptam..."
exclusively devoted to the 'daivatam' (Andal).
These two slokas constitute important 'taniyans' to 'aruLic-cheyal anusandhAnam'
(recitation of 'divya-prabandham').
'kOdai' was the first name
Periyalvar gave to Andal. This Tamil word stands for 'a string of flowers'.
In the golden quadrangle of Tirukkurungudi, Vanamamalai, Alvar Tirunagari and
Srivilliputtur, girl-children were commonly named 'mAlA-nAcciyAr'.
When the Tamil name was Sanskritised as 'gOdA', it yielded a rainbow of
meanings. In Sanskrit, the root 'gAuh' means, inter alia, the 'vEdam';
hence, 'gOdA' signifies one who gives of the 'vEdam'.
anaittukkum vittAkum kOdai tamizh" is how Sri Vedappiran
Bhattar affirmed Tiruppavai's scriptural status. As Sri Parasara Bhattar
perceives it, Andal in her Book seems to instruct Isvara Himself on his
majesty, on the several proofs of the Sruti, in his being One without a
second: "kRshNam pArArthyam svam Sruti-Sata-Siras-siddham
adhyApayantI". This was no parochial or denominational
It was given to Sri Kanchi (prativAdi-bhayankaram
aNNA) Svami of blessed memory, to identify the several Vedic sources of
not only Tiruppavai but of Nacciyar Tirumozhi as well. In the best of
poets' traditions in all climes and languages, the Andal Book registers
many an echo of revelations in the smRti as well. The well- known line
"achalAm Sriyam ApnOti" (in the 'sahasranAma phalaSruti')
reads as "nIngAda Selvam niRaindu" (in the 'Ongi ulakaLanda...'
matvA prasabham yad-uktam...
ajAnatA mahimAnam tavEdam... tat kshAmayE...
(from Srimad Bhagavad Gita
11:41-42) reads as
piLLaikaLom, anbinAl untannai
SiRu-pEr azhaittanavum SIRi aruLAdE,
in the 'kaRavaikaL...'
Please read the complete
article at: http://www.ramanuja.org/sv/alvars/andal/thoughts.html