On the day of Andal Thirunakstram, priests give us an opportunity to recollect her greatness as they chant the 108 divine names (Goda Ashtottara Shatanamavali). Each name reflects her personality or characteristics or spiritual values she practised or incidents in her life which put her in TOP position for supporting us through any kind of hardship.

One of those 108 names is: Yathiraja saho:dari (sister of Ramanujacharya). However, she was born in the year 93 of this current Kali Yuga and Ramanuja was born in the year 1017 of the Kali Yuga. With 924 years apart, how did they become siblings?

Ramanujacharya was greatly influenced by Andal’s teachings [that are available in the form of 30 pasurams(poems) of Thiruppavai and 143 pasurams of Nacchiyar Thiruvaimoji]. In those pasurams, she made a solemn vow to Sundarabahu Swami of Thiruma:lirumcho:lai that if she marries Lord Ranganattha, she would offer 108 bowls of porridge in addition to giving entire lifetime in God’s service.

A lady wishing to marry God!? This was close to a revolution in spirituality. What does it mean? Such entire episode is termed as Madhura Bhakthi (sweet devotion) where the seeker (soul) unites with God through love.

But, how did she fall in love with God? Her father (a great devotee himself, Vishnuchitthan) narrated stories of God (especially Krishna) as he brought her up. This inculcated deep love for God in her heart. Her love was so sweet and pure that God’s supremacy was neatly absorbed into it. This is the union, the wedding of her soul with God! Proving the truth in her love, God accepted her and made her available to all of us as Deity, so we can worship her for showing us a beautiful path to eternal bliss through love!

Coming back to her vow, it was Ramanujacharya who realised that she never got a chance to pay the vow she made at Thiruma:lirumcho:lai, he took responsibility and took it up on behalf of her. He offered 108 bowls of porridge to Sundarabahu Swami, and then reached Andal Sannidhi in Sri Villiputthur. He conveyed to Her that her vow was paid and offered his respects. She was immensely moved by his act. It is customary in our country that a brother pays all his sister’s debts (in absence of her parents).

Andal (in the form of Deity) moved forward from the garbha-griha (the main inner sanctuary) to a table-top in a mantap in front of the sanctuary and called him Annaaa….! (Annaa means brother).

It was a sight that awed the priests, the gathered devotees and the entire temple town that day greatly. Not just that day, till date the event is remembered with great significance as the priests refer Goda Devi as Yathiraja Sahodari, the beloved sister of Ramanujacharya! For the same reason, Ramanujacharya is referred to as Goda:graja (agraja means elder brother – Goda’s elder brother)

Yathiraja sahodari – The Beloved Sister of Ramanujacharya!

Andal (meaning the protector/saviour) wishes that we all receive the grace of God (whose eyes reflect tender compassion as lotus petals – kamala patra visalaksha). She wishes that we become eligible to attain the ultimate goal (purushaarth). Let us believe in the path she walked for our sake and become the proud recipients of the great wealth, Union with God.

….. i:rirandu ma:lvaraiththo:l
sengan thirumugaththuch chelvaththiruma:la:l
engum thiruvarul peththu imburuvaremba:va:i

From the discourse of Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swamiji
3rd August, Andal Thirunakstram, Divya Saketham

Goda Devi has the quality of daya (compassionately giving) as Lakshmi Devi and kshama (compassionately forgiving) as Bhu Devi, with a unique ability to express the essence of entire Vedic literature through beautiful poems. She is therefore worshipped as Dwibhuja Lakshmi in Govindaraja Swami temple at Thirupathi. The Madhura Bhakthi she propounded became a trend in those days! The feeling of Love for God took shape beautifully in many hearts. God became the most wished for by every woman. Kulashekar alwar dedicated her daughter Chera Kulavalli to Ranganattha. There are a few others whose names are not revealed or captured in historical texts, but kama (desire, directed towards God) became a beautiful path in attaining purusharth along with dharma, artha and moksh.

From the discourse of Dr. Samudrala Rangaramanujacharya
– JIVA Director, Heads Research of JIVA Publications

The glory of Goda Devi is seen as thousands of people poured into the temple even on a drizzling day from far distances. Her majesty lies in her devotion. She is by nature the most revered and worshipped by everyone. Her pasurams are sung in all temples such as Sri Rangam, Tirumala, Melkote all the 108 Divya Desams and many temples in almost every neighbourhood. Let’s open our hearts and seek her grace.

Yathiraja sahodari – The Beloved Sister of Ramanujacharya!

– From the discourse of Sri Krishnamacharya, Nepal
– A great scholar (Veda, aagama, Divya Prabandha, Ithihasa, Puranas)

Yathiraja sahodari – The Beloved Sister of Ramanujacharya!
Yathiraja sahodari – The Beloved Sister of Ramanujacharya!
Yathiraja sahodari – The Beloved Sister of Ramanujacharya!