Aandal, Personified Devotion and the Ultimate Lady Saviour!
Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swamiji presided at Divya Saketham during Aandal Thirunakstram celebrations with utmost reverence and gratitude. Swamiji said, ‘Sri Krushnadevaraya’s Amuktamalyada, official state symbol of Tamil Nadu, lakhs of people observing a penance called Dhanurmasa vratham every year, several scholars learning the quintessence of Vedas through the songs she wrote, Tirumala temple receiving a garland from Sri Villiputtur once every year on this day are all indicators of the greatness of our lady saviour, Aandal.’
Sri Samudrala Rangaramanucharya varu, Sri Krushnamacharyulu, Sri Ahobila Ramanuja Jeeyar Swamiji graced the Aandal Tirunakstram at Divya Saketham, JIVA.
Sri Samudral Ranga Ramanujacharya varu said, ‘In order to fly happily in the sky of life, one needs to be a bird with two strong wings like Goda Devi. She has the right knowledge (knowledge about the nature of soul, God and the entire existence) that she beautifully put in practice. She did not make any conscious effort to put her knowledge in practice, it was natural for her! That is why, her conduct itself is a divine literature that can be followed by all of us without any second thought.’
Sri Krushnamacharyulu varu said, ‘Aandal shows the last step of devotion, i.e. being devoted to the devotees. All the alwars were only a step below where they were only devoted to God. Her life showed devotion in two stages, both bhakti and prapatti and stands as a leader for all of us in the path to bliss!’
Sri Ahobila Ramanuja Jeeyar Swamiji said, ‘The prasad, porridge given to all the devotees today indicates how one should be fully immersed in the divine qualities of God, like the rice flakes in milk. Then devotion to such divine qualities is the sweetness in the porridge making life happy and the porridge tasty!’
Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swamiji narrated the entire life story of Goda Devi, Aandal primarily to Netra Vidyalaya students, the visually challenged students. He said, ‘Aandal showed everyone a way to lead life that not only benefited herself, but everyone around. Not only every human being around, but also every being in the nature! How can a normal girl be married to God in Deity form? Is this something we can imagine? But, it happened. Her immense and pure love for God showed us that it is possible. She now stands next to God in all Vishnu temples’
Swamiji added, ‘Aandal did three great deeds, for which we should all be ever grateful to her:
She woke up God reminding Him of His main task, to forgive us all and protect us.
She said, ‘Oh God, even if we forget you while amid these mundane activities, you need to remind us of our main goal’
She decorated herself with garlands prior to even offering them to Deity of Sri Villiputthur, Vatapatrasayi to check if she is suitable when she is with God.
We may wonder, Is God not as compassionate as Aandal? We should remember, they are together in the mission of protecting us from two directions, one teaching us how to lead a righteous life and another forgiving for past wrong-doings. While God is the one who liberates us from hardships, it is the compassion of Aandal that works from both sides to make the task easier and faster! She is considered an avatar of Bhudevi herself. That is why we see one form of ammavar, Lakshmi devi such as Padmavati on one side of God in temples and another side stands the beautiful and all-rounded lady, Aandal. She is renowned to be a great poet, her Tiruppavai and Nacchiyar thiruvaymuji are two jewels in poetic literature across the world! They depict the essence of Vedas in a form that flow as a happy story and can be sung beautifully. Her work is part of Dravidian divine literature which is sung by priests walking in front of the Deity, and Vedam is sung by the priests walking behind the Deity during a procession in temples!
-From the event at Divya Saketham, JIVA under the guidance of Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swamiji,