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few questions/ Andal kalyanam /kanu

vasu_at_religion.ufl.edu
Date: Thu Mar 25 1999 - 07:57:46 PST

Respected members of the bhakti list:
I would like to profoundly thank Sriman Sadagopan for his excellent posts on
the kritis of Rama and more recently in answering some of the questions on
kanu I had asked him earlier.  The answers were very thoughtful and I
learned a lot from this and all other posts in this list.  Thank you very
much for elucidating about bhogi and kanu.
	It may seem strange to talk about Lord Krishna on Sri Rama Navami day, but
when Rama comes, can Krishna be far behind?  I have, since I asked those
questions of Sriman Sadagopan, found out a few small details and would like
to share them.  There maybe more variations than what I give here and would
like further input from bhaktas.
	Andal's wedding is celebrated in temples on one of three days. It may be on
the 27th day of Margazhi, ie, kUTaravalli; or on Bhogi day; or on the first
day of the new month of Thai.  I heard different rationales to support the
choice of days.  Some people say that throughout the Tiruppavai, Andal has
observed a strict vratam not to adorn herself or eat rich foods (ney uNNom
pAl uNNOm) and this is stated clearly in verse 2.  In the 27th verse, she
talks about feasting with Krishna, eating a sumptuous dish with ghee flowing
down one's arm, and the gopis adorn themselves.  Thus, this intimate feast
indicates the happy culmination of the vratam.  Others say that the union
takes place only after she finishes the composition of the Tiruppavai, and
thus the wedding rituals are on the last day of the month.  Yet others say
that auspicious rituals (that is, auspicious in a worldly way) can take
place only in the month of Thai. 
The Venkateswara temple in Atlanta celebrated Antal's wedding on
kUTaravalli; and I thought from reading the archives (I have been travelling
and off this list for a while) the Bridgewater temple celebrated it this
year on the 16th January.  Was this because it was the closest weekend or
because it was the beginning of Thai?
	Kanu pandigai: the rice pidis on Kanu are arranged carefully on leaves but
as Sriman Sadagopan noted, we may note another ritual. In our weddings,
older women stand in front of the young couple, take fistfuls of cooked
rice, wave them in circles and throw them in various directions.  The
exercise, I have heard, is to ward off the evil eye from the young couple.
Maybe this ritual of protection was adapted for this occasion?  
	However, I do like Sriman Sadagopan's interpretation of Andal and Udayavar
better.  It adds to the rasa of the festival and brings out the enjoyable
traditions that are part of the Sri Vaisnava sampradaya.
	It may also well be that the young girls (kanni) who give the festival its
name are asked to do this ritual to pray for their own weddings.  Sri
Saranatha Bhattar, of the Pittsburgh temple, interprets this ritual as young
girls as praying for happiness in their own married lives. In a posting on
kanu day in 1997, Smt. Nagu Satyan reminisced and recalled how women repeat
the two lines ending with "kAkkAkum kuruvikkum kalyANam."  (It is a pleasure
to go back and read these postings).  At that time of kanu, the joy of
Andal's wedding is still fresh in our minds and maybe this is one possible
reason to pray for marital happiness? 
	We can also note that on that day in the villages of Tamilnadu, the bull
fight, the jallikaTTu is performed.  We may recall how Sriman Narayana, as
Krishna, played with and subdued the seven bulls in order to marry Nappinai
piratti.
	I recall that in some places that day is also saradu pandigai and married
women change their yellow threads that day.  They do this in the Atlanta
temple as well and I thought we read about it as having taken place in front
of the Lakshmi Haygreevar sannidhi in Nanganallur (Sri Jaganath Bharadwaj's
posting in 1997 or 1998).
	Maybe with Pankuni uttiram fast approaching, it is not out of place to have
discussed Andal's wedding after all! 
With many thanks, once again,
Vasudha Narayanan