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Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Margazhi Blogotsavam: Day 1: The Sacred Garland: Andal’s Bhakti

Vishnuchittar was a devout Brahmin living in Villiputtur, near Madurai in Tamil Nadu. His life was devoted to serving in the temple of Sri Vatapatrashaayee – that is, Sri Krishna in the form of a baby lying on a banyan leaf.

Pic courtesy: Chinnajeeyar.org at shorturl.at/lzLQR
One morning, as Vishnuchittar gathered flowers for the Lord’s worship, he heard a baby’s cry. Lying below a Tulasi plant was a beautiful baby girl. Thinking of her as God’s gift, Vishnuchittar took the baby home, named her Godai (“Gift of Mother Earth”) and brought her up as his own daughter.

Raised in an atmosphere of Krishna-bhakti, listening to her father’s stories and songs praising Lord Krishna, it was no surprise that Godai grew up with an intense love for Sri Krishna. 


Constantly chanting His name, Godai would string flowers into a garland to be offered in the temple. Then, imagining herself as Krishna’s bride, she would wear the garland, and stare at herself in the mirror, wondering if she looked good enough for Him. Poor Vishnuchittar knew nothing of his daughter’s doings and would offer the garland she made to Sri Vatapatrashaayee. 

Pic from shorturl.at/ahUY1
One day, he found a strand of hair in the garland, and Godai’s secret tumbled out. This desecrated offering would not do for the Lord! Vishnuchittar scolded Godai and praying for the Lord’s forgiveness; he himself prepared and offered the Lord a new garland. Everyone felt the Lord looked listless that day!

That night, the Lord appeared in Vishnuchittar’s dream. And said:

"I Want Only Those Garlands That Have Been Worn By Godai!"

The father’s eyes were awakened! How blessed must his daughter be, and how pure her love for Krishna, that He asked for the garland she had worn! Godai now began to be called as “Andal” – the one who “ruled” the Lord.

As Andal grew into a young woman, she refused to marry anyone except Sri Ranganathar of the Srirangam temple. As Vishnuchittar fretted over this, Sri Ranganathar appeared in a dream, and told him to bring Andal to Srirangam, and wed her to Him!

Decked in her wedding finery, Andal was carried in a palanquin to the Srirangam temple. Rushing inside ahead of everyone else, she ran into the sanctum sanctorum, embraced her Sri Ranganatha, and disappeared into Him.

Sri Ranganathar’s voice then rang out, proclaiming that Andal was his consort Bhudevi, who had come to this world to show mankind the ways to reach the Lord’s lotus feet….

As a young girl, Godai had imagined herself to be like the gopis of Vrindavan, and performed the Katyayani vratam to win Sri Krishna. The 30 songs she sang then, comprise what we now call “Thiruppavai” and these verses are said to contain the very essence of the wisdom of all the Vedas and Upanishads.

Every year, during the month of Margazhi that ranges roughly from mid-December to mid-January, the Thiruppavai is sung in homes and temples, to commemorate the bhakti that Andal had for Sri Krishna.

Can we follow at least one of the 3 ways shown by Andal to worship the Lord?

Think of Him at all times – not only when we are in trouble! 


Chant His Name always – keep unnecessary, draining, and negative thoughts at bay! 


At the very least – offer something to Him – a flower, leaf or fruit or a shloka or a small prayer – with a heart full of gratitude for all the things we are blessed with!


For more information about Andal, do visit the pages listed below.

References

https://ramanuja.org/sv/alvars/andal/

http://godharangan.blogspot.com/2010/12/bride-is-born-wind-swayed-trees-in.html 




30 comments:

  1. Beautifully written.very informative. had heard of Andal.got to know more from u.thank u

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    1. Anu very nice. Actually, today morning , Vinay's father in law , Raghu Anna told me about Andal and this holy period. I will forward your story to him.He will be happy.

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    2. Thank you, Dr. Sunayna!

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  2. Very nice anu. So crisp & clear. Message at the end also very nice.
    May your blogitsavam foster bhakti in the hearts of your readers.

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  3. Forget kids, I enjoyed this myself. This is pure love and bliss that Andal had for Sri Ranganathar Swamy. Hari Om!!!

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    1. πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ™πŸΌGreat! Thank you!

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  4. Very simple easy to understand naraative

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  6. Very nicely written

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  7. Very beautifully narrated. Loved reading it.

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  8. Very very nice ..... I wish the transcendental experience is bestowed on each of His lovers ......

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  9. Murthy Dakshina Somayajula18 December 2019 at 22:49

    Very nice and thanks for sharing this...

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  10. It is very beautifully narrated. May Andal bless you and all the devotees with .NEENGADASELVAM NIRAINDU ELOREMPAAVAI.

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    1. Thank you so much for your blessings πŸ™

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  11. Hi Anu, had missed out the reading. realised that I am blessed to read this particular blog.Very well written. Hari OmπŸ™

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  12. Lovely �� nice story from were do you get these stories aunty
    ��������
    By Badri
    Bhanu'son

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    1. Thank you, Badri. I'm happy you liked the stories. Some stories I knew myself because my mother had narrated them when I was a kid. Other stories I had read in some comics and books. A few, I found recently through Google!

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  13. I really enjoyed reading it, thanks for sharing this beautiful story πŸ˜„

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