WHO IS ANDAL?
Being the incarnation Bhooma devi(the earth goddess-second consort of lord vishnu), ANDAL is the only female among 12 alvars of vaishnava tradition. She is also known for the names of Kothai, Nachiyar and goda devi. She is known for her strong unshakable faith, bond, love and devotion to Lord Vishnu, which made her marry him and attain godliness in an easy way both physically and spiritually.
Besides Andal is considered as a great poetess (in 8th century)of tamil due to her remarkable works on tamil literature and a unique revolutionary feminist of that age who neglected the worldly life instead choosing a divine spiritual cosmic path of her own.
BIRTH OF ANDAL:
Andal is the adopted child of periyalwar (also called as vishnu sitthar) who found her under a thulasi maadam while he was carrying out his regular routine of making garland out of flowers for lord vishnu everyday. As he had no family and children he considered Andal as his own daughter and started to raise her with the name KOTHAI(which means beautiful girl with no mistakes).
He raised andal as an ardent devotee of lord vishnu from her childhood which made her to live for the lord itself. Once during his routine he found that andal was wearing the garland to be offered for lord vishnu and came to know that she is doing it regularly which made him upset. So lord vishnu came in his dreams and said that he would wish to accept the garland which she wore daily and this tradition is still in existence at temples. Hence she got the name “SOODI KODUTHA SUDARKODI”
Andal actually refused to marry a normal human as she fully devoted herself physically and mentally to lord vishnu and wished to accept himself as her husband. As a result of her strong determination she got married to ranganathar of thiruvarangam (one form of lord vishnu) got merged with him and dissolved under his divine feet.
TRAITS OF ANDAL:
Andal is portrayed as a teenage girl in love with lord Vishnu. She is found with a parrot on her left hand (raised by feeding milk). Andal is famous for her unique hair style(tuff on the front side head) and ornamentation which resembles the Kerala namboodiri priest style.
GARLAND RITUAL TRADITION:
Srivilliputhur (one among 108 Divya Desham) is the place where Andal was born and brought up. The main speciality of this temple is that it is the official symbol of the government of TamilNadu.
Considering the story of soodi kodutha sudarkodi, Andal’s garland from Srivilliputhur Andal temple is sent during Garuda Utsavam to Tirumala Venkateswara Temple during purattasi of tamil month(sep-oct). It is also sent to kal Azhagar kovil(Madurai) during the festival of Chitra pournami.
One more speciality of this temple is that the parrot which Andal holds is handmade stuff. It takes around 4 and half hours to create one parrot which is made in an eco-friendly way. Banana leaves are used to make this where pomegranate flower is used for its beck and mouth, Bamboo stick for its leg holding decorated with arali and nandiyavattai flower.
WORKS OF ANDAL :
She have created a two remarkable works of tamil literature known as “THIRUPPAVAI”
and “NACHIYAR THIRUMOZHI” which are on the praise of lord Vishnu.
- THIRUPPAVAI: This is her first work which is a collection of 30 verses, where Andal imagines herself as a Gopika(the cowgirls) and showers her infinite love towards lord krishna. It is a part of 4000 divya prabandham. Here he describes her longings to serve lord vishnu and achieve an eternity of happiness. It is considered that this is the essence of vedas which preach the moral, philosophical and ethical values, meaning of pure love, dedication and devotion, along with the ultimate meaning of life
- NACHIYAR THIRUMOZHI(The Sacred sayings of the Goddess): This is the second work of Andal which consists of 143 verses of poem. The term Nachiyar means “goddess” and Thirumozhi means “Sacred sayings”.This poem explains fully about her longings on lord vishnu which is an erotic genre of spiritual desires towards the lord.Hence it is not as popular as Thiruppavai.
This is a great epic and masterpiece poem in Telugu composed by Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagar dynasty. The term means “the one who wears and gives away garlands and explains about the life of Andal. It completely describes the pain of separation which Andal experiences and 30 verses of beauty starting from her hair till her feet.
SPECIAL DAYS OF ANDAL
AADI POORAM/ ANDAL JAYANTHI:-
Born under the star of pooram, the birthday of Andal is considered as Andal jayanthi or Aadi pooram festival. The term Aadi is the 4th tamil month and Pooram denotes the 27 nakshatras. This festival goes on for about 10 days and on the 10th day the marriage ceremony is celebrated for Andal and Ranganathar(Andal thirukalyanam).
This is also called as the festival of valaikappu where, glass bangles are offered in which the couples may be blessed with baby boons and pregnant ladies child would be protected from all kinds of evils. Red colour, lotus flower and kalkandu rice are presented as offerings.
Another auspicious occasion of andal is Margazhi (9th tamil month). It is considered as the holy month of prayer where andal performs the bathing rituals with her co friends. Thirupavai is sung during this month in an order of one poem on each day for a total of 30 days. This is done in order to win good husbands in future for girls.Lalitha sahasranamam can also be chanted to get positive benefits.
ANDAL GAYATRI MANTRA:
“Om Dhanur Dharrayi cha vidamahe
Sarva sidhdhayi cha dhimahe
Thammo dharaa prachodhayath”
“Om vishnu chiththa majaaya vidmahe
Ranga pathniyaicha dhimahe
Thano Godha prachodhayath”
PROCEDURE FOR CHANTING ANDAL GAYATRI MANTRA:
- Best day to chant: Wednesday and Friday.
- Best duration to initiate: Makar Sankranti, Aadi pooram, Aani Thirumanjanam, Margazhi.
- Best time to chant: 48 minutes to 1 Hour before sunrise.
- Count of Chant: 9, 11, 33 or 108 times.
- Who can do this: Anyone regardless of age, gender and so on.
- How to do this: Either with Andal photo or idol.
- Mantra Siddhi: 1008 times a day from starting till end of the month Margazhi.
- Naivedyam: Sweet pongal, Ven pongal and Sweetened milk.
- Direction to be faced: North and East.
- Japa Mala: Thulasi japa mala can be used.
BENEFITS OF PRAYING ANDAL:
- Prayers done towards Andal by young unmarried girls may be blessed with a good husband in future and get married soon.
- New couples prayers may benefit from getting offspring.
- Pregnant ladies will be blessed with delivery of a baby with good health.
- Brings positive mind set and clarity
- Spiritual realisation and inner peace