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Date: Wed Aug 06 1997 - 06:38:48 PDT

Dear Friends,

Today is Tiruvadipooram, the Tirunakshatram of Sri Andal. Andal was believed 
to have been born in the flower garden of Vishnuchittan (Periya Azhwar), who 
was childless. Amazed by this good fortune, Vishnuchittan adopted her and 
raised her as his own daughter. A lot has been written very eloquently 
about Sri Andal on this forum by scholars like Srimans Sadagopan, Sundararajan, 
Anbil Ramaswamy, Sampath Rengarajan, and KalaLe (recently sharing the beautiful 
write up by Sri Bhuvarahachariar Swamigal). Therefore, I shall not dwell too 
much on the Vaibhavam of the Azhwar (which is delightful) in this post. 
Instead, I shall try to present very brief highlights from her life and works.

Interestingly, Andal is the only female Azhwar among the twelve Azhwars.
She was the one of the two Azhwars, who attained unison with the Lord while 
standing in front of him (the other being Tiruppan Azhwar).
One aspect which sets Andal apart from the other Azhwars is that 
as the consort of the Lord, she awoke him and reminded him of his duty towards 
the universe. The other important feature of the Andal's works was that her 
pining for the Lord, on account of separation from him, came 
to her naturally because of her feminine form, whereas 
other Azhwars like Nammazhwar and Tirumangai Azhwar had to assume Nayaki 
Bhavam as Parankusa Nayaki and Parakala Nayaki, respectively to bring out 
the pain of a woman separated from her beloved (Lord Narayana). Another 
pleasing feature of her Pasurams in the Tiruppavai lies in establishing the 
concept of Trikala SmaraNam, i.e., taking the Lord's name at three important 
(1) As soon as one wakes up [cf: Pasuram: Marghazhi TingaL].
(2) While taking bath (Snanam) [cf: Pasuram: Ongi UlahalaNda Uttaman Perpadi].
(3) Before partaking of food [cf: Pasuram: Koodarai Vellumsheer Govinda!]
Indeed, Trikala SmaraNam is an extremely simple concept to practice. 

Finally, the most significant contribution of Sri Andal is the beautiful 
portrayal of the all pervasiveness of Lord Narayana through the salutations 
"UnnakkE NamAzhchaivOm" and "NarayaNanE NammakE ParatharuvAn". The inner 
meanings of the Vedas become apparent when one contemplates on the 
masterpiece of Andal's Tiruppavai consisting of thirty gems strung together 
in the form of a beautiful necklace. A testimony to her work is that even 
today it is her Pasurams that are recited during SaRRmurai Seva at Sri 
Vaishnava Temples (SiRRum Sirugale ... and Vangakadalhalainda Madhavanai 
Keshavanai...). Sri Vaishnava Acharyas have established in their Upanyasams 
that these two Pasurams pave the way for Moksham.

Andal TiruvadigaLe SharaNam,

Muralidhar Rangaswamy