Thiruppavai. More information from Times of IndiaJanuary 15, 2007 at 8:39 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
On December 19th, I posted an article on Thiruppavai, which was totally my own fabrication from unsupported memories. This morning I read an article in The Times of India, Hyderabad Edition, appearing today the 15th January, 2007, about Thiruppavai.
I have copied the article as it appeared in the Times of India, Electronic Edition, hereunder:
Times of India, Hyderabad Edition. Epaper. 15/1/2007.
THE SPEAKING TREE
Eternal Love: Story of Andal’s Devotion
In south India the month of Margazhi, from mid-December to mid-January, is popular for more than its pleasant weather. The just-concluded month marks the zenith point of spiritual quest when the seeker experiences spirit over matter. Neither long years nor fortunate ancestry is required to become immortal. What is required is the strength of conviction in the oneness of all beings.
The puranas narrate the story of a devout Brahmin, Vishnucitta, who found a beautiful girl child beneath a tulsi plant. Vishnucitta was delighted and carrying her home, named her Godai or Mother Earth’s gift. Soon Godai was old enough to help her father string the floral garland for the Lord every morning. But she would do s o m e t h i n g else too — she would try on the garland before it was offered to the Lord. Then she would peep into the well in the courtyard to take a look at her garlanded self. Will she make the perfect bride? Every morning when she saw her reflection in the water, she would also see the adorable Supreme waiting to receive the garland. So she would forget about how she looked. She was left admiring the one she wanted to marry.
One day Andal’s father picked up the dream-filled garland and found a strand of hair sticking to the flowers. He could not believe his eyes. Did this not look like a woman’s hair and who else touched the garland but Godai? He made a new garland and offered it to the Lord.
That night as Vishnucitta slept, the Lord came to him in his dreams. “Vishnucitta”, he called and the devout man wept with remorse for Godai’s folly. But the Lord was saying something quite different: He was saying that He would like to marry Godai.
A confused Vishnucitta led his daughter to Srirangam — at the appointed hour — where she ran to embrace her Lord in the sanctum sanctorum. She merged with the Supreme and could no longer be seen. She came to be called Andal for she was one who ruled even over the Supreme Love with her intimate love.
This story is immortalised in verses (Tirupavai) written by Andal herself. Depicted in sculpture with a parrot perched on one hand and her hair piled high on the left on her head, Andal is remembered for her 30 verses in a compilation called the Tirupavai and 143 verses in the Nachiyar Tirumozhi. In sensitive romance she has couched messages of how life should be lived — including refraining from speaking ill of others, strengthening oneself to overcome obstacles, practising universal amity and not giving in to failure.
The Tirumozhi begins with a prayer to the lord of love. Using the magic of love and walking the entire gamut of human emotions, Andal gently leads our consciousness towards a love that, by virtue of its unconditional nature, is infinite and blissful.
In the Tirupavai she imagines herself as a gopi in the time of Krishna. With an ode to the first day of the month of Margazhi, the Tirupavai exhorts us to get immersed in eternal love, the quintessence of spirituality. Margazhi is also the month when very elaborate and intricate artistic patterns are drawn at entrance to homes and the community gets together, sharing experiences and singing songs.
That is the article from Tmes of India, Hyderabad Edition of todays, the 15th.
The above is copied and pasted here, so that you will know about Thiruppavai better through others than through me. The above is a whole rendering of the subject as opposed to my fragmented, uninformed presentation. However, I have reported the article here so that Thiruppavai and Andal are presented in their proper perspective.
With this Post, I will be off to Madras, Thiruvannamalai and Pondicherry, and so I will not be submitting my posts till the 23rd, when I will return with a lot of things to share with the world at large.
In the meantime, I wish all Tamil people a Happy Pongal, All Andhras and Telenganas in A.P. and the world over a Happy Sankaranti, which also goes to all the people in all other parts of North India and South India. Pongal and Sankaranti are Harvest Festivals and as such this festival applies universally, and so I wish all Happy Harvest. Let Mother Earth give of hers abundantly, and let there be peace and prosperity in the world.