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From: Ram Anbil (Ramanbil_at_hotmail.com)
Date: Wed Jul 25 2001 - 09:12:55 PDT

SrIman! SrI Ranga Sriyam anubadravam anudhinam samvardhaya/
SrIman! SrI Ranga Sriyam anubadravam anudhinam samvardhaya//
KAvEri VardhathAm kAlE, kAlE varshathu vAsava:/
SrI RanganAthO jayathu SrI Ranga SrIs cha VardhathAm// 
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SRI RANGA SRI VOL. 2/12 dated 24th July 2001 
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SPECIAL ISSUE CELEBRATING TIRUNAKSHATRAM OF ANDAL
==============================================================
It is customary to celebrate the time and place of any auspicious event. 
Today is one such auspicious day being the Tirunakshatram of the bridal 
mystic – Andaal.

Let us enjoy her Vazhi Thirunaamam.
The first line reads:
“Tiruvaadip Poorathu Jagathudithaal Vaazhiye”
Meaning that she was born in the month of Aashaada in the constellation of  
Poorva Phalguni. This was about 5000 years ago (7C Ad). When Swami Desika 
visited Srivilliputtur (Sridhanvinayapuram), it was a “Mahaapradosham” day. 
He used to observe silence during “pradosham” But, he made an exception and 
suddenly burst into a panegyric to Goda in his “Goda Sthuthi”, when he 
witnessed in the main streets of Srivilliputtur the grand procession of Goda 
Rangan.  He surrendered immediately at the lotus feet of Goda, the 
quintessence of mercy and forgiving saying-
“Saakshaath Kshamaam karunayaa kamalaamivaanyaam
Godaam ananyasarana: Saranam prapadhye”
In the very next Sloka, he gives the reason why he broke his silence. It was 
her overwhelming quality of “daya” that made him loquacious despite his own 
limitations (mounaan mukharayanthi gunaa: tvadheeyaa:)

Referring to the direction of her birthplace, he observes in the 11th stanza 
“Oh! Gode! By your birth the Southern direction itself became blessed as the 
best of directions, so that even while asleep, Lord Ranganatha looks at your 
Avatara Sthalam.
Dik dakshinaapi pari pavitram upalabhyaath
Sarvottaraa bhavathi Devi thava avataaraath /
Yatraiva Rangapathinaa Bahumaana purvam
Nidraalunaapi nisatham nihitha: kataakshaa: //
Thondaradippodi Azhwaar described the supine posture of Lord Ranganatha 
saying that the Lord had His head on the West, feet in the East, showing His 
back to the North, but was looking at the South. But, he gives a different 
reason for this, saying that HE was looking at Lanka, the land of 
Vibheeshana.
“Kuda dhisai mudiyai vaithu Guna disai paadam neetti
Vada dhisai pinbu kaatti then dhisai Ilangai nokki
Kadal nira kkadavul enthai aravanai thuyilumaa kandu
Udal enakku urugumaalo! Yen seigen ulagathhre!”

Swami Desikan, however, felt that the Lord could not take His eyes off the 
birthplace of His beloved Andal and therefore, was facing South.(Before the 
Rajagopuram of Srirangam was built, the Rajagopuram of Srivilliputtur was 
considered the tallest).
The Lord also seems to be enjoying the cool, refreshing and soothing 
Southern breeze called “thenral”.

Veda piraan Bhattar celebrates:
“godai pirandavoor Govindan Vaazhumoor
Jodhi manimaadam thonrumoor – needhiyaal
Nalla patthar vaazhumoor naan marai Odhumoor
Villiputtur Vedakkonoor”
Meaning
“Srivilliputtur is the birthplace of Goda: Lord Govinda (Vadapatrasayee) has 
His abode here: here are gem studded uprising palatial mansions: great 
devotees of the Lord live here chanting the 4 Vedas; and, this is also the 
abode of the great Bhattarpiraan (Vedakkone)”
Though Govindan was born in Mathurai, brought up in Nandagokulam and ruled 
from Dwaraka, His final abode (as Vatapatrasayee) is the birthplace of Goda 
(Govindan Vaazhum oor)

Swami Desikan celebrates thus:
“ Veyar pugazh Villiputtur Aadip Pooram
Menmelum miga vilanga Vittuchittan
Thooya Thirumagalaai vandu arangarkku
Thuzhaai maalai mudi Soodik kodutha maadhe!
Neyamudan Tiruppavai Paattu Aaraindum
Nee uraitha thai oru thingat paamaalai
Aaya pugazh Nootrunaarpattu moonrum
Anbudane adiyenukku arul sei neeye
Meaning
”Oh! Goddess Gode!, the one who has offered to Lord Ranganatha of 
Srivilliputtur the garland of Tulasi (holy basil) after wearing it (the 
garland) on the locks of your tresses being – as ayonijaa (Nat taking birth 
from the garbha of any mortal being) – the benign foster daughter of Sri 
Vishnuchitta at Srivilliputtur on the Poorvaphalguni constellation of 
Aashaada (Aadi) month – doubly making auspicious and lustrous birth, (both 
Aadipooram and the sacred town of Srivilliputtur) which are hailed by the 
cowherds and other devotees of the Lord!. May you lovingly and 
affectionately shower your graceful blessings on me, your humble servant so 
that I will understand the quintessence of your two great compositions – 
Tiruppaavai consisting of six pentads (30 verses)and Naachiyaar Tirumozhi, 
the garland of songs beginning with “thai oru thingal” consisting of 143 
verses” *

Praising the 30 verses of Tiruppaavai, Vaazhi Tirunaamam says –
Tiruppaavai muppadhum cheppinaal Vaazhiye”
These are not ordinary literary verses. They have layers and layers of deep, 
deeper and deepest meanings and messages for liberating our souls. Let us 
see what they can do?
“paathakangal theerkkum”- They will remove all our sins that stand in the 
way of moksham. (Cf Poya pizhaiyum pugu taruvaan ninranavum theeyinil 
thoosaagum)
“Paraman Adi Kaattum”: They will show us the means to reach the divine feet 
of the Lord (Paraman)
“Vedam anaithukkum vithu aagum”: they are the very seeds of the Vedas. 
Nammaazhwaar’s Srisookthis may be the essence of Vedas, Mahaabhaarata may be 
the fifth Vedam, But, Tiruppaavai is hailed as the very seed from which the 
Vedas sprouted.

What happens to those who do not know these 30 verses? They are verily a 
burden on mother earth Remember that Goda is Herself Bhoodevi (mother Earth)
“Godai tamizh aiyaindum aindhum (5x5+5=30) ariyaadha maanidarai vaiyam 
sumappathum vambu”

The 3rd line says:
“Periyaazhwaar petredutha pannpillai Vaazhiye”
meaning that she was “born” to Periyaazhwaar. But, is this true?
She was an “ayonijaa” as already mentioned. She took Her Avataara as the 
“just born” baby girl in the muddy pit of the holy basil nurtured by 
Periyaazhwaar. So, elders would say that it would be more appropriate to 
describe Her Avataara true to fact as “Periyaazhwaar 'pEtru' edutha penn 
pillai Vaazhiye” - the one who was picked up when the mud in the pit was dug 
up!

Like the holy basil with its natural fragrance right from its sprouting, 
Andal was immersed in the fragrance of Bhakti right from the moment of Her 
appearance at the pit.

The 4th line reads: “Perumpudur maa munikkup pinn aanaal Vaazhiye” meaning
“She became the younger sister of Perumpudur Maamuni (Bhagavad Ramaanujar). 
The period of Andal was in 7c AD. The Sage lived from
1017 to 1137 AD. Is it not anachronism to call him the elder brother of 
Andal? This expression is not historical but is figurative. It is said that 
Andal desired to offer the Lord of Tirumaalirumsolai, a 100 vessels of sweet 
pudding (Akkaara adisil). Bhagavad Raamaanuja is said to have fulfilled her 
desire by actually offering the same on her behalf. The general practice in 
those days was that the elder brother is the one who usually fulfills the 
desires of his younger sister. Thus, Perumpudur Maamuni is deemed 
figuratively to be her elder brother.

The 5th Line says: “oru nootrunaarpathu moonru uraithaal Vaazhiye”
meaning that She composed a poem of 143 verses. This is “Naachiyaar 
Tirumozhi” which contains details of every step of her “Dream Wedding” with 
the Lord.The portion called “Vaaranam aayiram” is recited in the weddings of 
Srivaishnava girls even to this day.
How and why this practice?
Sastras declare:  ”Jaamaathaa Vishnuvath  Poojya”. The word
“Jaamaathaa” means both Son-in-law and the Lord. At the time of wedding, the 
bridegroom is deemed to represent Lord Vishnu and the bride as Andal. Even 
today, we see the bride being decorated like Andal under the wedding canopy.

The 6th line says: Uyar arangarkkE kanni uganthu alithaal Vaazhiye” meaning
“She happily gave Herself up to Ranganatha, the Supreme Lord”.
Andal hoped; She dreamed; She persevered; Now, Her hour of triumph had 
arrived. Indeed, Her prophetic “dream came true”. She married Lord 
Ranganatha. She offered not only the garland of flowers (poomaalai) and 
garland of poems (paamaalai) but also She gave Herself up to the Lord.

The 7th line says “maruvaarum tirumullai valanaadu Vaazhiye” meaning
" Hail the prosperous land (Valnaadu) permeated by fragrance of flowers” 
This refers to the prosperity of Her birthplace and the fragrance of Bhakti 
that filled the air there. “maru” means “fragrance’ and “Valanaadu’ means 
Land of abundance”

Andal Herself refers to this prosperity of Srivilliputtur (which She 
imagines to be Ayarpaadi itself) in several verses (cf Selva Sirumeergaal, 
Narchelvan nangaai, Vaiyathu Vaazhceergaaletc).

The last line reads: “Vann Pugazh nagar Godai malar padangal Vaazhiye” 
meaning
“ Hail the lotus feet of Goda of the prosperous city of Puduvai" (here, 
means Srivilliputtur).

Varavaramuni celebrates Her Avataaram in 3 verses as below:
Inro Tiruvaadip ppooram, namakkaaga
Vanro ingu Andal avatharithaal – kunraadha
Vaazhvaan vaikunta vaan bhogam thanai igazhndhu
Aazhwaar Thirumagalaai
Meaning
Today is Tiruvadippooram. Forsaking the pleasures of Paramapadam, She 
descended “down to earth” for our sake as the daughter of Azhwaar.

Pariyaazhwaar penn pillaiyaai Andal pirantha
Tiruvaadip poorathin seermai – oru naalaikku undo maname! Unarndu paar
Andaalukku undo Oppiu itharkku
Meaning
Today is the Pooram day in the month of Ad when Andal appeared on earth. Oh! 
Mind! Understand this. Is there any other day any more auspicious than this? 
Is there any one comparable to Andal?

Anju kudikku oru santhadhiyaai, Azhwaargal
Tham seyalai vinji nirkkum thanmaiyalaai
Pinjaai pazhuthaalai Andaalai Bhaktiyudan naalum
Vazhuthaai maname Magizhndhu
Meaning
Andal is the single descendent of the five great families of Azhwaars. But, 
she excelled all of them by ripening even while being a tender unripe fruit. 
Oh! Mind! Pray to Her with delight and devotion daily.
Who are the five Azhwaars? The three mudal Azhwaars together are the first 
family Tirumazhisai, the second; Nammaazhwaar and Madhurakavi (together form 
one family),the third; Kulasekarar, the fourth and Her own foster-father, 
Periyaazhwaar,the fifth. Other Azhwaars viz. Tondaradippodi, Tiruppaann and 
Tirumangai Azhwaars were born much later after her. Still, Andal is 
generally considered as the inheritor of the traditions of all the Azhwaars.

Soodikkodutha Sudarkkodi Andal Tirvadigale Saranam

Dasoham
Anbil Ramaswamy
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*(Translation by Sri V.K.S.N. Raghavan,
Reader, Department of Vaishnavism, University of Madras)
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