Bhakti

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Andal


Sri Andal, one of the twelve Alwars and the only female saintess, lived in the first half of 8th century A.D. Some scholars fix the possible date of Andal as far back as 3000 years B.C.
 Andal was born at Srivilliputhur near Madurai, in the Tamil month Adi, with the birth-star Pooram, on a Tuesday, on the fourth day of the bright fortnight.

Srivilliputhur is near to my village. In southern tamilnadu each and every one known about Andal’s history and thiruppavai. Andal wrote many verses in praise of Lord Krishna or Ranganatha, Thiruppavai is very popular with its 30 verses. It is a strong belief that young girls who recite these verses early in the mornings in the month of Margazhi.
Srivilliputhur is the birth place of two Alwars (Devotee of lord Vishnu) namely Periyalwar and Andal. Srivilliputhur (srivilliputtur or thiruvilliputtur) is one of the temple towns in Tamilnadu. It is located in Viruthunagar district, Tamilnadu. There are two big temples which are dedicated to Andal and Vadapadrasayi (lord Vishnu), located at the center of the town. Vadapadrasayi temple has the 2nd tallest tower in Tamilnadu. This tower (Gopuram) was built in 8th century. The temple car belongs to this temple is one of the largest in India.
The temple:
The temple tower was built in 8th Century and is one of the largest in the country.In 8th century inscriptions are seen in this temple which underwent extensive renovations during the Madurai Nayak period.. This temple has among the tallest towers in Tamilnadu. The 12 tiered Rajagopuram rises to a height of 192 feet. Exquisite carvings adorn the temple. The temple has two major areas; the north eastern segment is the Vatapatrasayee temple while the south western segment is Aandaal's temple. The flower gardens in between these two areas are said to have been maintained by Periyalwar. There are shrines to each of the ten avatarams of Vishnu. Andal's shrine is crowned with the gold plated Pranavakriti vimaanam with stucco work depicting themes from each of the 30 Tiruppaavai hymns.
Life of Andal :
The life of Andal is remarkable in its romantic simplicity. A devotee brahmin named Vishnucitta lived in Villiputtur, a town near Madurai. His daily duties included procuring flowers for the worship of the Lord at the local temple. One morning, as he went about his business, he discovered a baby girl lying under a tulasi plant in his flower garden. Having no family of his own, Vishnucitta felt it was God's grace that gave him this child and named her Godai, or "gift of Mother Earth." Filled with joy, he took her home and raised her as his own. Godai grew up in an atmosphere of love and devotion. Vishnucitta doted on her in every respect, singing songs to her about his Beloved Krishna, teaching her all the stories and philosophy he knew, and sharing with her his love of Tamil poetry. The love Vishnucitta had for his Beloved Lord intensified further in his daughter, and before long she was passionately in love with Lord Krishna. Even as a child, Godai made up her mind to marry none but the Lord of Brindavana, and refused to think of any human being in similar terms.
She imagined what it would be like to be His bride, playing the role of His beloved, enjoying His presence. Unknown to her father, she adorned herself daily with the flower garland he prepared for the Lord at the temple. After admiring her reflection and thinking of herself as His ideal bride, she would put the garland back for her father to take to the temple and offer to the Lord.
One day, Vishnucitta noticed a strand of Godai's hair on one of the garlands. Shocked and saddened by this desecration of what was meant only for the Lord, he scolded Godai for her misuse of the garland and discarded it. He carefully prepared a new one and offered it to the Lord, begging His pardon all the while.
That night, the Lord appeared to Vishnucitta in his dream and asked him why he discarded Godai's garland instead of offering it to Him. He told Vishnucitta that He missed the scent of Godai's body in the flowers, and that He preferred them that way. Would he please continue to give the garlands once worn by Godai? Overcome with emotion, Vishnucitta awoke and cried tears of both joy and remorse. It dawned on him that his daughter was someone whose love of God was so intense and pure that even he had not comprehended its extent. Her spiritual greatness was such that the Lord Himself wished to share her presence. From this day on, she became known as "Andal", the girl who "ruled" over the Lord.
Andal blossomed into a beautiful young woman as she came of marriageable age. When asked to marry, however, she stubbornly refused, saying that she would only agree to marry Sri Ranganatha, the Lord at the great temple town of Srirangam. Vishnucitta despaired, wondering what was to become of his daughter. One night, Lord Ranganatha appeared in his dream and asked that Andal be sent to Him in all her wedding finery. Simultaneously, the Lord appeared before the priests at Srirangam and asked them to prepare for the coming of Andal. Vishnucitta once again was filled with both joy and sadness; joy that his beloved daughter would attain her goal, but sadness at losing her at the same time. He made all the wedding preparations and arranged for Andal's journey in a palanquin to Srirangam.
Andal waited with excited anticipation as the wedding party approached Lord Ranganatha's shrine. As they entered the temple, she jumped out of the palanquin, unable to restrain herself any longer. Running into the temple sanctum, she embraced Lord Ranganatha and disappeared in a blaze of glory, having joined her Lord. She was only fifteen at the time.
Andal is now one of the best loved poet-saints of the Tamils. Pious tradition reckons her to be the veritable descent of Bhumi Devi (Mother Earth) in bodily form to show humanity the way to His lotus feet. She is present in all Sri Vaishnava temples, in India and elsewhere, next to her Lord, as she always desired.
Andal, known as Choodi Kodutha Sudarkodi, is considered an avatar of Bhooma Devi, who is one of the consorts of Lord Mahavishnu, the other one being Sri Devi. Andal wrote many verses in praise of Lord Krishna or Ranganatha, the deity at Srivilliputhur.

TIRUPPAVAI :

Her first work is the Tiruppavai, a poem of thirty verses in which Andal imagines herself to be a cowherd girl during the incarnation of Lord Krishna. She yearns to serve Him and achieve happiness not just in this birth, but for all eternity, and describes the religious vow (pavai) that she and her fellow cowgirls will take for this purpose.    Tiruppavai teaches us to feel emotion while praying to the Lord. It enables us to perceive the Prakriti, Paramatma and Jeevas merging with each other by Para Bhakthi

Among them the Thiruppavai is very popular with its 30 verses. It is a strong belief that young girls who recite these verses early in the mornings in the month of Margazhi (December - January), observing the 'nonbu' or 'vrat' will be blessed with a good husband. This practice is still in vogue. Andal also wrote the Nachiyar Thirumozhi in 143 verses. She attained the status of an Azhwar because of her total devotion to the Lord. Aadi Pooram is celebrated for 10 days in Vaishnavite temples.
kOdai piranda Ur, gOvindan vAzhum Ur, SOdi maNi-mADam tOnRum Ur — nItiyAl nalla pattar vAzhum Ur, nAn-maRaigaL Odum Ur, villiputtUr vEdak-kOn Ur !

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கலையாத கல்வியும் குறையாத வயதுமோர் கபடு வாராத நட்பும்
கன்றாத வளமையுங் குன்றாத ­ளமையும் கழுபிணியிலாத உடலும்
சலியாத மனமும் அன்பு அகலாத மனைவியும் தவறாத சந்தானமும்
தாழாத கீர்த்தியும் மாறாத வார்த்தையும் தடைகள் வாராத கொடையும்
தொலையாத நிதியமும் கோணாத கோலும் ஒரு துன்பமில்லாத வாழ்வும்
துய்ய நின் பாதத்தில் அன்பும் உதவி பெரிய தொண்டரொடு கூட்டு கண்டாய்
அலையாழி அறிதுயிலு மாயனது தங்கையே! ஆதிகட வூரின் வாழ்வே!
அமுதீசர் ஒருபாகம் அகலாத சுகபாணி! அருள்வாமி! அபிராமியே
- அபிராமி பட்டர்
“Learning that goes not awry, a life span that is not shortened, and friendship that knows no guile,
Prosperity that never diminishes, youth that does not whither, and a body that sees no disease,
A mind that is never vexed, a wife whose love wavers not, and children who never know disobedience,
Fame that never decreases, a word that I go back on not, and charity that has no hurdles,
Wealth that is not thieved, a government that is never Adhaarmic, and a life that knows no despair,
At your esteemed feet, you gave me love and support,
and made me one amongst the great people who serve you,
The sister of he who lies in sleep on the milk ocean, the one who lives in the town of Kadavoor,
Oh thee, who separates not from one side of the body of Amutheeswarar,
Oh Goddess with the hands that bestows boons, bless us with these, Oh Abhiraami”
- Abhiraami Bhattar

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