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January 12, 2006

ஆண்டாள் (Andaal)


"பச்சை மா மலை போல் மேனி, பவழ வாய் கமல செங்கண்,
அச்சுதா அமரரேறே, ஆயர்தம் கொழுந்தே என்னும்,
இச்சுவை தவிர யான் போய் இந்திர லோகமாளும்,
அச்சுவை பெறினும் வேண்டேன், அரங்கமா நகருளானே!
"

"Now say it again with me, child", Vishnuchittar turns to his daughter and she sings the verses flawlessly, not once faltering, eyes closed, a mischievous smile playing on her lips.

It seems just like yesterday that Bhoomadevi blessed me with this angel...and here she is now, singing in so mellifluous a voice...", he looks at the Lord and folds his hands in gratitude...

***

Dawn, a time most auspicious, a time to surrender completely to Him, a time when the golden rays of the sun and the fresh green of nature mingle to create heaven on earth, when peace and clarity fills the soul...it was dawn that a pious brahmin in Villiputtur (near Madurai), Vishnuchittar (Periyazhwar) found a beautiful girl child nestled among the tulasi plants in his garden. Being childless, Vishnuchittar and his wife considered the child, Kodai (daughter of earth), a gift from Bhoomadevi.

Vishnuchittar, being an ardent devotee of Lord Krishna imparted to Kodai, his own love for Lord Krishna. Each day, he went to his garden and collected flowers to adorn the Lord and Kodai would prance along with him delighted at the prospect of seeing the Lord. Each day, as Vishnuchittar sang in praise of Lord Krishna, as he told her stories of Lord Krishna, the child's fascination for the Lord grew.

Lips as red as corals, eyes as beautiful as a lotus...

And each day, the Lord would grow more beautiful in her eyes, each day she would long to see him, to praise him and to be with him. Each day, before her father came to adorn the Lord with the flower garlands, she would don it on herself and look at her reflection in the mirror - Lord Krishna will wear this very same garland..., she would think to herself and smile, happy to be near anything that will adorn her dear Lord. That day, Vishnuchittar happened to come to the temple earlier than expected and he was shocked to see Kodai wearing fresh flowers meant for the Lord.

"Kodai, what have you done? How will the Lord forgive me now? These are flowers meant only for Him! Now, I shall have to go get some more flowers for Him...what have you done?"

Kodai could not understand why her father was so upset. She was sad to see her father adorn the Lord with flowers that she had not worn on herself.

That night, as Vishnuchittar fell into a troubled sleep, the Lord appeared in his dream, "அவள் சூடிக் கொடுத்த சுடர்க் கொடி! அவள் ஆண்டாள்! அவள் என்னை ஆண்டாள்!"

Hearing the Lord declare that he considered the flowers worn by Andal and Andal herself more precious to him than anything else, Vishnuchittar realized that his daughter is perhaps destined to be more than what he gave her credit for. From the next day, he let Andal wear the flowers and then he would offer them to the Lord.

As Andal thought about Lord Krishna day and night, Lord Krishna started appearing before Andal and playing with her - he would kick the mud castles that she would build and tease her, he would disappear suddenly, as she cried, "கண்ணா! உன்னை காண வேண்டும் போல இருக்கிரதே கண்ணா!" and then He would appear behind her and hug her from behind and console her...Andal's childhood was thus filled with His games and mischievousness.
***

As she grew up to be a beautiful young woman, her love for the Lord grew stronger until one day, she resolutely declared to her father that she would marry none other than the Lord himself.

"I belong with him!", she declared and Vishnuchittar worried about his daughter. That night, the Lord appeared in his dream again and told him that his daughter was destined to be His bride.

Vishnuchittar was at the same time happy to see his daughter's dream come true and sad that she would no longer be with him - a father's mixed feelings. The next day, Vishnuchittar took Andal, in full bridal glory, to SriRanganathar at SriRangam. And Andal became one with the Lord that day (Koodaravalli).

***

A post for the month of Marghazhi :) Many thanks to my mom and dad for their stories and enthusiasm (the mistakes are all mine though!) :)

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice post, Ramya. I enjoyed every bit of it. But Meenakshi photo-va pottu
relationship-a confuse pannitaiyey ;)..

-Vasu

thennavan said...

Did you check out my post on this? My parents have sung this :-)

RS said...

Vasu - Thanks :) pretty sure it's Andal, if you notice closely, the whole story is in this one picture - vishnuchittar finding andal, the young girl growing up thinking of Lord Krishna - closea paaru :)

thennavan - Yes :) I did listen to both their renditions - soulful :)

The site you mentioned is the one am looking at for the thirupavai verses everyday too :)

Anonymous said...

Oh, Yes , You are right .

-Vasu

Anonymous said...

hi ramya, one more day left in the month of margazhi & u have nicely broughtforth the story of 'andal'. Enjoyed every part of ur narration:). Good keep it up.

kamal said...

Seems, like this story is more like "scene 3 from my head".

Something about the way your mom/dad told you the story, and the way its embedded in your brain. Its pleasant.

Good Narration.

Now, I know what my children's favorite bed time story is gonna be ;)

BUS said...

good story to read on a Friday morning!

Kumari said...

Wonderful narration :)
Reminds me of all the times i spent at Tirunelveli listening to my grandparents narrate stories...sigh, i miss that life.

Zeppelin said...

nice story RS.. vaguely remember all the stuff my mom/dad told me ...sooooooooo long ago... :)

piggy said...

Nice narration. The irony is that I had never been to Andal Kalyanam in Srirangam even after being there until I went to BITS.

TJ said...

Surprising post from RS!!
All said, the best part i like in Koodaravalli, is the Akkaravadisal that is given as prasadam in the temples as against 29 days of ven pongal. :)
Yum yum..

RS said...

jaya, bus, kumari, arun, - thanks :)

kamal - :)

piggy - thanks, You must post the rest of the translations - great job with your blog :)

tj - and here, I imposed my chakara pongal on my friends, best I could do :)

Ardra said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ardra said...

I live in Srirangam- and have been waking up daily to the strains of "nagara sankeerthanam"-this last month of Maargazhi- helped in the colorful "kolam' proceedings- and this coming weekend we're having "Radha Kalyanam" in our colony-

somehow, a tinge of jealousy rears up when I read abt Andal/Manjula ( a devotee in Guruvayur)
Radha/Meera-

Anonymous said...

A decent post. My two cents to improve the readability, especially on topics like these - consider writing the names of the characters as closely as you possibly could to the way they are actually pronounced.

Ex:
Kodai - Kodhai
VishnuChittar - VishnuChithar

sb said...

RS,
great effort!! I exactly know how much of an effort would have gone into it.
i apicheti your effort to learn thiruppavai, make kamal also learn it.
appadiye konjam horizontal orientation vandha innum nalla irukkum. :-)

RS said...

ardra - I hope to visit Srirangam the next time I come to India :)

sb - thanks. Considering the amount of knowledge you seem to be having about horizontal orientations, I should probably consult you before writing one based on it :)

Anonymous said...

Kodai mazhai pol kanamae vandhu
Kodai vallal pol kangal thirappinum
Kodhai, Kodai saaindhaalae!

RS said...

Anon: Beautiful.

I cant write like this but am glad I got to read it and understand it atleast (with some help :))

Anonymous said...

Appreciation appreciated. To hint at phonetic handicaps of languages and the need therefore, to consciously adjust for it was the aim. Fortes fork and talents never tally. My attempts at "Whimsical Raconteurs" would most certainly be "himsical". Keep the good work up.

RS said...

Anon: :) I was amused at the many meanings the word "kodai" donned in your previous verse. Also did not realize how each word was pronounced until I clarified with my mom.

I doubt your attempt would be anything close to "himsical", I, for one would be interested in reading more verses such as these.

Priya said...

ramya
arumaiyaa irundhadhu!!but why no mention abt how she gathers people while singing thirupaavai

Anonymous said...

Wow.. words elevated to "verse"hood. Thanks. Don't let a stray strike of serendipity stumble you and usually, its easier to comment than to commence. I'll be on the lookout though.

RS said...

Priya

Thanks - adutha postla :)

anon - :)

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