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Tiruppavai & Andal story

Tiruppavai is a sacred poem composed with utmost love and devotion By Sri Andal at the young age of 15 years of age in praise of the Lord Vishnu (also known as Perumal, Sri Ranganath). These are 30 Stanzas known as Pasurams that are written in Tamil (South Indian Language) and is also considered as a part of the 'Divya Prabandha' (Holy Texts) compiled by the twelve Alvars of Vaishnava (Followers of Vishnu).

Tiruppavai is recited during the sacred month of Margashira (also known as Marzazhi in Tamil), that is in the Auspicious month of Dhanur masa. Dhanur masa is considered so Holy and sacred that during this month, no Vydic Hindu marriages take place as every one want to devote all their energy and time in the Holy name of the Lord Sriman Narayana.

Andal is an 8th century Tamil saint and one of the twelve Alwars (saints) and the only woman Alwar of  Vaishnavism. She wrote the great  Tamil works of Tiruppavai (30 verses) and  Naacchiyaar Tirumozhi (143 verses). Andal is known for her unwavering devotion to Lord Vishnu.

Andal was discovered under a Tulasi plant in the temple garden of Srivilliputtur, by Vishnuchitta who was one of the most revered saints in Hinduism, Periyalwar. She was named Kodhai or Goda.  As she grew, her love and devotion for the Lord grew to the extent that she decided to marry none but the Lord Himself. She started to live in a dream world with her beloved Lord and was constantly fantasizing about marrying Him. Goda made flower garlands for her beloved Lord at the temple. She started wearing the flower garland which was meant to be offered to the Lord before sending it to the temple. One day, she was caught red-handed by her father. The Lord appeared to Vishnuchitta in his dream and told him that He whole-heartedly accepted Goda' s offering. From this day on, Goda was respected by the devotees and came to be known as "Andal", the girl who "ruled" over the Lord. She is also known as "Soodi kodutha Sudarkodi". Periyalwar took Andal to Srirangam to marry Her to the Lord Ranganatha. She entered the temple sanctum and became one with him.  

Andal is an 8th century (or even earlier) Saint & Poetess and is the only female Alwar (Vaishnava Gurus & Saints) of the 12 Alwar saints, who are known for their Utmost love , affection and deep devotion to the Lord Vishnu and have merged in to Him. Devi Andal has contributed one of the greatest Tamil works of Tiruppavai and Nachiar Tirumozhi that are recited by the devotees during the month of Margashira (Dhanrumadsam) of Margazhi. Andal is known for her unwavering devotion to the Lord Vishnu. The Srivilliputhoor Temple is dedicated to her and marks her birth place. Adopted by her father, the Alwar Saint Periyalvar who found her as a baby, Andal avoided earthly marriage, the normal and expected path for women of her culture, to "marry" Lord Vishnu, both spiritually and physically. In many places in India, particularly in Tamilnadu, Andal is treated much more than a saint and as a form of Goddess herself.

Devi Andal was discovered under a Tulsi(Holy Basil) plant in the temple garden of Srivilliputtur, by Vishnuchitta who later became one of the most revered saints in Hinduism Known as  Periyalvar. The child was named 'Kodhai'. Which means - "a beautiful garland" in Tamil. Hence the name became and came to become 'Goda Devi". The name Kodhai has been changed according to  Sanskrit as Goda. Kodhai was raised with much love affection by Vishnuchitta. Kodhai grew up in a holy atmosphere of love and devotion for the Lord Ranganadha as Vishnuchitta himself was Lord' s ardent devotee. Vishnuchitta doted on her in every respect, singing songs to her about Lord Vishnu; teaching her all the stories and philosophy he knew; and sharing with her his love for Tamil poetry. It was as if the both the father and daughter were constantly and continuously enveloped in Lord Vishnu. As Kodhai grew into a beautiful young maiden, her love and devotion for the Lord grew to the extent that she decided to marry none but the Lord Vishnu Himself. As days progressed, her resolve strengthened and she started to live in a dream world with her beloved Lord and was constantly fantasizing about marrying Him.

Vishnuchitta was working in the Ranganatha Temple (Sri Rangam). His job was delivering flower garlands to the Lord Daily. From young age even Kodhai was trained to make these garlands. Kodhai sent these flower garlands to her beloved Lord through her father. She started wondering how the garlands would look when decorated on her Lord and she started wearing them herself first and looked herself at the mirror and danced. Her young & innocent mind wanted to attract Lord Vishnu attention and win his affection by being very unique and different from other. Hence she started to wear her hair style differently to one side.

Eventually she started acting unusual by wearing the flower garland which was meant to be offered to the Lord. This is generally considered sacrilege in Hinduism because the scriptures teach the devotees not to offer to the Lord, a thing that has already been used. However, Kodhai felt she should check to see how the garlands suited her Lord and only if she thought it did, she would offer it to the Lord. This she did innocently and with pure and good intention only. But one day, she was caught red-handed by her father doing this and as an orthodox devotee he was extremely upset. He rebuked her and told her not to repeat the sacrilegious act in future. Frightened, sad and apologetic, Kodhai started making new garlands for the Lord. But that very night the Lord Vishnu appeared to Vishnuchitta in his dream and asked him why he had discarded Kodhai' s garland instead of offering it to Him. The Lord is believed to have told Vishnuchitta that He had whole-heartedly accepted Kodhai' s offering all this time. This moved Vishnuchitta so much even as he started to realize the Divine Love that existed between the Lord and his daughter. From this day on, Kodhai is believed to have been respected by the devotees and came to be known as "Andal", the girl who "ruled" over the Lord. She is also known by a phrase 'Soodi kodutha Sudarkodi' - which means "The bright creeper-like woman who gave her garlands after wearing them".

As Andal blossomed into a fifteen-year-old beautiful young woman of marriageable age (girls were married at a much younger age in those days), her father prepared to get her married to a suitable groom. Andal, however, was stubborn and insisted that she would marry only the Lord at Srirangam. This perplexed and worried her father. There was some controversy from the public then. Then Andal took an oath and started to compose Sacred Tiruppavai for a whole month 1 day each Pasuram.  In the mean while Vishnuchitta had a vision given by the Lord, in which he was instructed to send Andal to Srirangam. Simultaneously, the Lord commanded the priests at Srirangam, in their dreams, to prepare for the wedding. As the Tiruppavai was completed she got married (Merged in to the Lord Sri Ranga) to the Lord to the dismay of all.

Andal composed two works in her short life of fifteen years. Both these works are in Tamil verse form and are exceptional in their literary, philosophical, religious, and aesthetic content. Her contribution is even more remarkable considering that she was a girl of fifteen when she composed these verses and her prodigiousness amazes readers till date.

Her first work is the Tiruppavai, a collection of thirty verses in which Andal imagines herself to be a Gopi or 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 vows (pavai) that she and her fellow cowherd girls will observe for this purpose.

The second is the Nachiar Tirumozhi, a poem of 143 verses. Tirumozhi, literally meaning "Sacred Sayings", is a Tamil poetic style. "Nachiar" means Goddess, so the title means "Sacred Sayings of the Goddess." This poem fully reveals Andal' s intense longing for Vishnu, the Divine Beloved. The impact of these works on the daily religious life of the South Indian has been tremendous. Just like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, the Tiruppavai is recited with great religious fervor of all ages, particularly in Tamil Nadu. The daily services in most Vaishnava temples and households include this recitation. Both of these works, particularly the Tiruppavai, has been studied extensively by innumerable scholars. It has also been translated into a number of languages over the centuries.

Andal has been since then till now one of the best-loved poet-saints of the Vaishnavites. She is present in all Sri Vaishnava temples, in India and elsewhere, next to her Lord, as She always desired.

It is considered ideal to perform this Sudarshana Homa on any Ekadashi, Dwadasi and Pournami Tithis that fall on Wednesdays and Saturdays for yielding most effective and favorable results. It is recommended or advised that every person should do this at least once in a year.
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