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Andal & Narasimha

From: M K Sudarshan (sudarsan_at_batelco.com.bh)
Date: Sat Jan 04 1997 - 04:12:15 PST

It was very interesting to read Sri.Mohan Sagar's references to Sri.Andal's
shrines in the temples of Sri.Lakshmi-nrsumhan in Andhra Pradesh.

I may be permitted to add here that there is also a very lovely but small
shrine of Sri.Andal in another famous Nrsumha temple in Andhra. I am
referring to the temple on Simhachalam hillock near Vizag.

This is also a magnificent temple.

As one who daily worships Lord Nrsumha and who enjoys greatly Desikan's
"Goda-stuthi" I am amazed to note that there is always some "connection" or
other between the Lord Nrsumhan and Goda-pirAtti !

Recently I learnt that there is a legend behind Verse # 2 of the Godha-stuthi:

   vaidEshikaha sruthigirAmapi bhuyasInAm
   varnEshu mAthi mahima na mAdhrshAm thE I
   iththam vidanthamapi mAm sahasaiva gOdE
   mounadruhO mUkharayanti gunAstvadIyAha II

In the above Swami Desikan says :

"Goda ! The Vedas themselves are speechless when it comes to singing your Glory!
Nothing therefore needs to be said about my pathetic and foolhardy efforts
to sing your praises!  And yet I can't help break my silence and sing your
endless line of virtues !!"

Swami Desikan spoke of his "breaking silence" in the above verse !!

There is a legend behind his breaking a "vow of silence" (mouna-vratam).

It is said that Swami Desikan reached Sri Villiputtur around dusk on a day
known as "trayOdasi" i.e. the 13th day of MahApradOsha. It is customary for
orthodox Sri.Vaishnavites to observe silence (mouna-vrtam) on such days and
worship exclusively Lord Nrsumhan. Desikan did set out to observe such 'vratam'.

However, that evening there was a great ceremonial procession of Sri.Andal
through the streets of Sri Villiputtur. As it passed by the house in which
Swami Desikan was lodged, he witnessed the grand spectacle and was lost in
deep contemplation of the deity's beauty !!

So enthralled was Swami Desikan that he forgot all about his "mouna-vratam"
and began to pour forth in a torrent of 29 exquisite verses (deliberately
made one short of the 30 of 'TirupAvai' by the poet in deference to
"nAchiyAr") the great "Goda-stuthi" !!

The Goda-stuthi is therefore a twice-blessed hymn !! Blessed by Sri.Andal
and blessed again by Lakshmi-nrsumhan !!

Nrsumha-priyan,
sudarshan.