You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : December 1996

Sixteenth day of Dhanur Maasam: Reflections on GodhA PirAtti

From: V. Sadagopan (
Date: Tue Dec 31 1996 - 19:11:19 PST

Dear Members of the Bhakthi Group :

I will continue with the tribute to GodhA Devi from 
where I left prior to my trip to Buffalo. I think I posted 
one for the 9th day ( Dec 24 ) and went away for the 
Sathsangam. Please remind me if I had posted any 
for the 10th or 11 th day before the halt. I thought I posted one 
on Artha Panchakam . I do not seem to find my copy. Today ,
I will post  an article on the adoration of  AndAL outside the 
Tamil country .


Sri GodhA Piratti worship in KarnAtakA and Andhra Pradesh
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Our group is blessed to have many members from KarnAtaka and 
AndhrA regions of our home land. Thanks to Sri Ramanuja's visit to
KarnAtaka and stay there for a few years , there is a strong community
of SrivaishNavAs , who celebrate the glories of AzhwArs in general and 
AndAL in particular. 

Although there were VaishNava temples in KArnatakA prior to 
Acharya RamAnujA's visit , It was his extended stay in KarnAtakA 
that created the strong community of SrivaisNavAs practising 
the tenets of Bhagavadh RamAnuja Siddhantham . South of the river 
Tungabhadra and in the southern districts of old Mysore  State 
-- Especially Mysore, Mandya, Hassan , Bangalore and Kolar --
one finds the concentration of SrivaishNavAs following the rich
sampradhAyam of Acharya RamAnujA . In the districts north of
the river TungabhadrA , there does not  seem to be such a strong 
presence of SrivaishNavA communities. The presence of ParakAla
mutt in Mysore has also helped to strengthen the roots of SrivishNavism 
in KarnAtakA state. 

In this posting , I will summarize the research studies of 
Dr.B.R. Gopal of Mysore on the subject of Sri RamanujA in KarnAtakA 
to develop the information points on the celebration of Adi Pooram ,
the Janma Nakshatram of AndAL and the observance of Thiruppavai
vratham during the month of Margazhi in KarnAtakA . 

The VishnavA caves of Badaami and the ealier Halmidi epigraphs
date back to the Kadamba and subsequent periods ( 4th to 5th
centuries ) . The Chola kings were ousted by HoysalAs during the 
beginning of the first millienium . This was the time of CholA king,
Raja RajA I . Sri RamAnujA , who had difficulties with the Chola 
King of his time left Tamil Naadu and came to HoysaLA country 
in 1138 A.D and stayed in KarnAtakA for 12 years until  1150A.D.
He stayed mostly in the villages of SALigram, TonnUr and Melukote 
during his stay. He laid down the rules of temple worship , arrangements
for the recital of Thiruvaimozhi and other Divya Prabhandhams .
Early morning services in adoration of AndAL during the month of 
Margazhi started during the stay of Acharya RamAnujA in KarnAtakA .
Thus the recitation of Thiruppavai and Dhanur Maasa Aaradhanam
has a history of 858 years in this region.

Epigraphic references to the name of AndAL 
It appears that during RamanujA's time , the name AndAL
was a popular name given to girls . For instance, the name of 
the wife of Kuresa was AndAL . Dr. Gopal points out that there 
are epigraphic records at TonnUr ( KutthAndi ViNNagaram/
Yadhava NarayaNa -ChathurvEdimangalam ) temple dedicated 
to Virrurindha PerumAL . The epigraph relates to one Kodai-AndAL 
Ammai ,  a donatrix  . She was a pious individual and in all
probability a  domicile of TamiL Naadu , whose family resided 
in the border region . This and another record at  Tonnur going back
to 1136 A.D about another donatrix with the name of AndAL of
MattiyambAkkam suggest that the name of AndAL was popular 
even before RamunujA's arrival in KarnAtakA due to the earlier
influence of ChoLA kings and Tamil Culture. A KannadA epigraph 
associated with the Vijayanagara king (SadAsiva RAyaa) dated 1564 A.D
mentions the donation of a village as Raaja Maanyam  for the 
celebration of Chudikuduttha NaacchiyAr Thriunaksthram festival at
Melukote temple. After the  elapse of  four centuries , the tradition
of naming girls Chudikudattha Naacchiyar and referring the nadavanams
of temples as Kodai AanndAL Nandavanam continues even today 
in KarnAtakA .

Temple Architecture and ANdAL in KarnAtakA

Following the traditionn established by RamAnujA , there is a 
shrine of AndAL in Belur temple for Kesava . The sculpture 
with in the shrine has been  pointed out to be of the Vijaya Nagara
style, where as the walls and the basements of this shrine are 
decorated with the beautiful sculptures of the Hoysala craftsmen .
This fusion of  styles is associated with the Vijayanagara king's 
penchant for using material from ruined hoysala temple buildings
in their new shrines.Other temples for AndAL are found in the following 
temples according to Dr . Gopal:

1. Gunja NarasimhA temple at Thirumakoodal Narasipur associated with
the period of KrishNa Deva RayA 

2. YoganarasimhA temple at SaaLigramam(Late VijayanagarA period)

3.VenkataramaNA  temple Navaranga at Huliganamaradi ( Small
hill about 4 miles from Terakaanaambi) 

4 . Lakshmi NarasimhA temple at Holaya NarasipurA , 
Ranganatha Temple at Srirangapattanam , ParavasudevA
temple at Gundulpete ,Shrine at Kalale , the home town of 
our own  Sri Krishna Kalale of San Diego . 

AndAL and Literature in KarnAtakA

The Mysore WodeyArs were ardent followers of 
SrivaishNavism and were patrons of great scholars
like ChikkupadhyayA (300  works to his Credit ! ) . Many 
of his works deal with SriviashnavA philosophy. He  was 
a poet and teacher of King ChikkadevarajA .His famous work
" Divyasuricharitha " derived its inspiration from the Sanskrit
works (Prapannamrutham and Divyasuricharitham ) or Tamil 
versions of GuruparamparA prabhAvam (Tenkalai and Vadagalai
Versions ) .This work was completed during 1678-79 A.D according to
Dr.Gopal. This work in champu style contains AndAL's charitham in the 
sixth of the 14 AasvaasAs . In this champu , the poet covers the 
Vaibhavam of Chudikoduttha NacchiyaarammA in 62 verses. 

Impact of AndAL's poems in Andhra Pradesh

Dr. K . Suprasannaacharya of Warangal has made an excellent 
study of this subject. According to him , the Acharyas of Kanchi 
and Srirangam schools came to parts of AndhrA during the 14th century 
and established Sri vaishNavA traditions of Tenkalai and Vadakalai .
Two hundreds years prior to that , Thiruppavai seems to have been
recited at Tirumalai (technically a part of Tamil Naadu ), Simhaachalam,
Nellore and Srikurmam temples . At  the RanganathA temple 
at Edulabada , AndaL is the main deity and that is  a rare instance 
in AndAL worship . Even at Srivilliputtur , She shares the honors 
with Vatapatra Saayee and RangamannAr . 

SuvAsini (Sumangali ) worship is the age old practise in
AndhrA on Adi Pooram, the birth day of AndAL . In the marriages and 
the NiscchyathArtham (Vadhu NirNayam ) , the inclined tuft (Kondai )
of AndAL is worn by the brides in memory of AndAL , who described 
her dream of marrying Sriman Narayana in VaraNamairam pasurams.
ChinnannA , the grandson of TaLapAkkam ANNamacharyA is the 
author of Parama Yogi Vilasam and he has covered the Vaibhavam
of AndAL in that great work. There are also 40 transaltions
of Thiruppavai in Telegu .

The emperor poet KrishNadeva RayA of 16th century , a contemproary
of ChinnannA wrote his classical Aamuktamalayada ( Godha Devi 
or Chudikoduttha NaacchiyAr ) . He had  a dream at SrikakuLam 
( a town on  the banks of River KrishNA ) . In that  dream, the 
presiding deity of the town, Andhra VishNu commanded the king 
to write a poem on Chudikoduttha NaachiyAr in Telegu . The king
obeyed the Lord's command and wrote a beautiful poem along
the lines of the charithram of AndAL described in Guruparamparaa
Prabhavam. He differed however in two regards from the source
literature: (1) He described AndAL as an incarnation of Bhu Devi ,
which is different from the version that she is the incarnation of 
Sri Devi (2) Her marriage was conducted in Srivilliputthur at 
PeriyazhwAr's house . This differs from the version , where 
She merged with Sri RanganathA at Srirangam after her marriage
with Him there. 

KrishNa Deva RayA's AamukthamAlyada according to Dr C.R .Sarma 
is a masterly poem displaying the full skills of a descriptive poet.
The king's poem reveal his keen sense of observation of life 
and his mastery of of the Telegu language. 

In summary , the adoration of AndAL during the month of 
Marghazhi has an ancient history going back to the times 
of Acharya RamanujA and his Dig Vijayam outside the TamiL

Sudikoduttha NaacchiyAr ThiruvadigalE SaraNam.

Oppilaippan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan 

P.S : Sri Ub.V Uttamur SwamigaL was a Professor at 
VenkateswarA University in Thirumalai /Thirupathi and 
had many disciples from the Telegu speaking community .
He was also instrumental in bringing the powerful message 
of AndAL and AzhwArs to the Telugu Desam .