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Second Day of Dhanur Maasam : Tribute to GodhA Piratti

From: V. Sadagopan (
Date: Tue Dec 17 1996 - 18:31:41 PST

Dear Memebrs of the Bhakthi group :

Prior to writing about the GodhA Devi's celebration of 
the unsurpassed valour of Sri RamachandrA , I wish to share
with you the special and personal reasons for my reverence 
for  GodhA Piratti . It is  associated with my dear sister ,
Kaimkarya Sri PadmA Veeraraghavan .

My sister has been blessed to create a devout society of ladies 
in T.Nagar called " the GodhA PriyA Samithi " for the exclusive
purpose of performing Kaimkaryam to Nanda Nandana Sundari 
of Srivilliputthur . She has taught dozens and dozens of ladies 
GodhA sthuthi set in different RagAs and TaaLAs and collected money 
through concerts to create and  offer two Mutthu Kondais to Srivilliputthur
AndAL .. 
My sister has also been blessed to receive contributions from  
devotees  in this manner to commission and consecrate the Vigrahaas 
of AndAL and VeNugopalan with devis for the Nanganallur Temple .
She is now in the middle of generating funds for another kondai for
AndAL of Srivilliputthur known as RaaNi Mangamma Kondai . She had to
slow down somewhat because of the enormous effort that went behind the 
RathnAngi/Mutthangi Kaimkaryam for Sri Bhoomi Devi sametha 
Oppiliappan . She has given carnatic music concert in front of AndAL 
on Aadi Puram day at Srivilliputthur at the special invitation of the Bhattars
and Koil adhikAris . Her whole life is devoted to AndAL . This utter dedication 
of her life to AndAL of Srivilliputthur and the AndAL of Oppiliappan
Koil seems to have left its mark on me . 

I went with her to Srivilliputthur one time  and had a blessed darsanam of AndAL
and Rangamannar at the ardha mantapam , where she has stayed 
since coming out of the Garbha graham to meet her "elder brother /
GodhAgrajar " , Sri RamanujAr . Suddenly , the Archakar was inspired and 
"dragged " me into the garbha graham , where no one other than the 
Archakas are  allowed to enter . I was with a  trustee of the temple and he 
also had to join me. Later he said that in all his life as a native of
Srivilliputthur ,
he had never stepped beyond the Ardha Mantapam , where the Uthsava murthys are .
I had a wonderful darsanam of the Moolavar and even today I shudder at the
thought of the special bhagyam of being within two feet of the Moolavar. 
I am sure that I do not deserve this special maryAdhai , but I think 
AndAL out of her infinite mercy and compassion blesses even those
who have sambhandham with her Kaimkarya parAL . 

My sister went on to compose krithis on ThiruviNNagarappan and 
Bhumi Devi in 72 MeLa karthA ragas and completed that work 
a month ago . Some of them were released in Mylapore during 
July of this Year in a sadas presided by Sangeetha Kalanidhis 
Semmangudi SrinivAsa Iyer and K.V. NarayaNaswamy Iyer . 
Please forgive me for this display of pride in my sister . Her 
special and deep Bhakthi for AndAL has blessed me in many ways .
To my sister , BhumA Devi of Oppiliappan Koil and GodhA PirAtti of
Srivilliputthur are one and the same Vasudha saluted by Swami Desikan.

With this rather lengthy introduction , I will share with you the thoughts 
of Sri P.M. Saanthamurthy housed in a paper associated with the  1985 
special conference on  AndAl attended by great scholars like our own Sri Lakshmi
Tatachar of Melkote . He had contributed an article in the proceedings
of that conference  under  the title of " Concept of MangalAsAsanA in the works 
of AndAL . "  I will use that conference proceedings heavily to construct this 
series of postings and back them up with  other sources . 

The MahA veeran that AndAL visualized and saluted 
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Although AndAL considered herself as a Gopi of BrindAvanam 
and wanted the union with Govindha and prayed for that Bhagyam
and Nithya Kaimkaryam to Him as a sub-teen ager in her divine 
Thiruppavai and as a teen ager  in her NacchiyAr Thirumozhi , her affection
and revrence for Rama has a unique and different  flavor . 

Her extraordinary tribute to Raghuveeran is recorded at  three different 
Paasurams of Thiruppaavai :

1. SinatthinAl TenilankhaikkomAnai cheRRa , MANATTHUKKINIYAANAI 
paadavum nee vAi  thiravAi -- Pasuram 12 

2. pollA arakkanai kiLLIkkalaindAnai keerthimai paadippoY
-- pasuram 13 , a tribute to RavaNAri , who cut the ten heads 
of the evil ogre and showed unsurpassed heroism in the battle filed.

This tribute to the Mahaveeran comes right after the tribute to 
KrishNA , who killed the rakshasa , who had  assumed the form
of a huge bird . KrishnA's valour is described as " PuLLIn vAi 
KeendAnaippaadi. "

3 . senRangu tennilankhai seRRAi tiRal pORRi 
---- pasuram 24 

When one puts all these three tributes together, one
appreciates the depth and distinctionn of AndAL 's
bhakthi for Rama , the MahAVeeran, beomes clearer. 

The experience of AndAL reminds me of the Thirucchazhal 
pasurams of Thirumangai ( Periya Thirumozhi 11.5 ) . Here two
sets of gopis engage in a mock quarrel about the greatness
and otherwise of Rama and KrishNaavatharams . 

AndAL had described as a Gopi the torments of KrishNA 
and begged him not to destroy her sand castles . She had 
complained severely about his indifference and cried over her
unbearable anguish in being separated from him . 

AndAL however  had a great regard for the trouble that RamA took to 
recover SitA from the prison of RavaNA and his sense of 
inconsolable loss over separation from her as a result of the 
trecherous kidnapping by the cowardly RavaNA . KrishNA on
the other hand was always playing pranks with the Gopis and 
" tormenting "  them . He came near and then disappeared. 
RamA on the other hand was steady as a rock to the one and only
woman , whom he married . This certainly impressed AndAL
as a woman deeply in  love with the two avatharams of Sriman 
NarayaNA . In this context PeriyavAcchAn Pillai comments that 
RamA was ManatthukkiniyAn ( delectable to the mind ) compared to
the anxieties and sufferings caused by KrishNA . Hence the VyAkhAyana
chakravarthi says that AndAL enjoyed to her great satisfaction the 
story of RamA and his highest regard for woman kind . RamA to her was 
like cool and comforting breeze . He was like the cool touch of fragrant
sandal paste on a moon lit summer night. The eka patni vratham of 
Rama also appealed to her , when she had to compete for the 
attention of  KrishNA , who did not limit his attention to her or to
any other Gopis .

In tomorrow's posting , I will cover the other  Pasurams
of AndAL , wher she pays tribute to the other aspects of 
the multifacted embodiment of DharmA (viz)., Sri RamachandrA .  

Srimathyai GodhAyai Nitya MangaLam 

Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan