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From: Velukkudi Krishnan (velukkudi_at_hotmail.com)
Date: Tue Aug 17 1999 - 12:26:42 PDT

Andal - tiruvadipoora utsavam

Andal - the only female alwar. The greatness of Andal is explained in many 
ways by our preceptors. Let me share with you some of them.

Andal was only a 5 year old child. Can we take her words as an authority ?

She is a female,one who are not supposed to learn the vedas. Can she ever 
deliver the meaning of vedas in her verses.

She has sung only in Tamil which is not a deva bhasha. Can it give the 
essence of veda/vedanta ?

These are all some of the often repeated questions on Andal. If we know a 
little about the cause for Andal's birth , we would be cleared of all these 
doubts.

BhUmAdEvi was submerged in the ocean by an asura called Hiranyaksha. Lord 
SrimannArAyana took the incarnation of a big boar (varAha) and went into the 
ocean to uplift up BhUmAdevi. She was lifted up and made sit in the lap of 
the Lord. Still bhUmAdEvi was shivering. Lord asked her for the reason. She 
replied politely :" O ! my nAthA! You have protected me . But still I am not 
satisfied, because our children in the samsArA are helpless. They cannot 
practice Gnana or karma or Bhakti yoga as preached by you in the vedas with 
their limited knowledge. So you must be kind enough to show them a simpler 
way to reach you " Lord understood the affection of bhUmAdEvi towards her 
children and gave a fitting reply:
"The simplest way to reach me is 'swasya ca kIrtanam, prapadanam, swasmai 
prasUnArpanam' " This means that with all three organs of senses(karanam) 
viz. manas , vAk and kAyam (speech, action and thought)we must surrender to 
the Lord. Think only about him, act only for his pUja, and speek only in 
praise of Him. Immediately bhUmipiratti grasped this easy means to reach the 
Lord and thought it fit to be preached to us in this samsAra.
So she incarnated as AndAl and descended in this world. Andal is none else 
but BhUmAdEvi herself. Swami manavAla mAmunigal says "emakkaga anro ingu 
andAl avatarittal ". It is for us she neglected her eternal bliss in 
paramapada and descended to this wretched world. Can we now question that 
she is only a girl or 5 years old or she has sung in tamil ?

The preachings of VarAha is enscribed in the 5th verse of tiruppavai 
"vAyinAl pAdi , manatinAl cindikka, tUmalar tUvi tozhudu" . This is the same 
as surrender with the 3 organs.

Can AndAl's verses be taken as pramAna (source of knowledge)? Why not ? Let 
us take an example. VAlmIki's itihAsa Sri RAmayana is nothing but vEda. 
(vEda pracedasadAsIt sakshAt ramAyanAtmana) No one question's its authority. 
Who is VAlmIki? - one who took birth from valmikam - an ant hill. Ant hills 
are the ears of Mother Earth - bhUmadEvi. Now , could you notice a subtle 
point here ? ValmIkam, which is a only a part of Mother Earth, gave birth to 
VAlmIki. His verses are unquestioned pramAna. If this is the case, when 
Mother Earth herself incarnates as AndAl , can we question the authenticity 
of her works ?

Thus we revere tiruppavai as "vedamanaitukkum vithu". Where are the meanings 
of vEdAnta embedded in tiruppavai? Swami Periavachan pillai and Nayanar 
beautifully explain all the hidden vEdantArthAs in each verse of tiruppavai.

adiyEn would continue with it in the next posting.

AndAl tiruvadigale Saranam.

Tiruppavai - "vedamanaittukkum vithu"

Let us have a glimpse of how AndAl embeds vEdAntartha in her first verse 
"mArgazhi tingal"

SAstram says that "nityO nityAnAm cEtanaScEtanAnAm ekO bahUnAm yO vidadAti 
kAmAn" meaning

"the perpetual brahmam to the perpetual jIvatmAs, the omniscient brahmam to 
the wise jivAtmas, the brahmam who is one, to the jivAtmas who are many - 
bestows them with his grace and fulfills their desires"

We get to know from the above words that 1. brahmam is one and unparalleled 
2. jivAtmAs are different from brahmam 3. jIvAtmAs are innumerable in number 
4. brahmam fulfills the desires of jIvatmAs.

ParmAtma is nitya:, cEtana:, and Eka: meaning perpetual, possessing total 
knowledge and only one, who fulfills the desires.
jIvatmAs have the same attributes but are many in number, whose desires are 
fulfilled.
SAstra has beautifully applied the singular and plurals to bring out all the 
above meanings.

AndAl at the end of her first verse says "narAyananE namakkE parai taruvAn". 
Let us superimpose all the above sanskrit words and meanings on these tamil 
words.

nitya:,cEtana:,Eka: - brahmam - "narayananE" - singular.
nityanAm, cEtanAnAm, bahUnAm - jIvatmAs - "namakkE" - plural.
vidadAti kAmAn - fulfills desires - "parai taruvAn"
(parai - purushArtha -end, objective )

AndAl exactly explains all the four points (iterated above) as said in the 
sanskrit pramAnam.

This concept of viSistAdvaita is also explained in the 2nd chapter 12th 
verse of gIta - "natvEvAham jAtunAsam..."

"O Arjun! I am everlasting (nityam), you are everlasting and all these kings 
are everlasting."
Krishna distinguishes between Him (the paramAtma), arjun (the jIvAtmA), and 
the kings ( amongst the kings who are many in number).
This shows the dualism between Krishna and Arjun and refutes the monism 
amongst jIvAtmAs. The pronouns used in this verse are "aham - singular - 
denoting Krishna paramAtma, tvam - singular - denoting arjun jIvAatmA, imE - 
plural - denoting all the kings - many jIvAtmAs.

So this goes to say that paramAtmA and jIvAtmA are not one and the same but 
are different and within the jIvAtmAs there are many.

Could you enjoy how SAstra, Krishna, and Goda have all sounded similar in 
explaining the concepts of viSistAdvaitA.

Now, we should know how AndAl has excelled SAstra and Krishna in her 
tiruppavai in the same phrase.

to continue in the next posting.

AndAl tiruvadigalE Saranam.


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