Sri Andal – Life of Alwars

Sri Andal – Life of Alwars

Sri Andal who was the incarnation of Bhumi Devi (mother earth) was found and raised by Pariyalwar. Sri Andal was the only lady alwar. As Pariyalwar always used to make a garland out of flowers for the lord he did that practice daily.

As Sri Andal grew up she started the practice of waking up early in the morning, take bath in the river and go to the temple. Pariyalwar used to send the flower garland with Andal and tell her to put it to the lord. But did Andal do it? Well that is a yes and a no.

Andal used to think this will look very nice on the lord but how will it look on me? Andal used to put the garland made by her father Pariyalwar on herself every day. Then thinking if my father (Pariyalwar) comes he will scold me badly and used to put it on the lord.

One day Andal was so drenched in thoughts of how beautiful she looked and she forgot the time. What else do you think would happened, Pariyalwar came and Andal tried to quickly put the garland back on the lord without her father noticing but she got caught.

“so I see what you are doing at the temple every day you are wearing the garland and then you are putting it on lord before I come” said Pariyalwar and made a new one out of fresh flowers as the other one cannot be used to God no more. Then Pariyalwar put the flowers to the lord. As soon as Pariyalwar put the garland the lords eyes filled with tears.

Pariyalwar noticed this and Lord said, Pariyalwar I want to wear the garland that Andal has wore. Pariyalwar removed the garland, put it on Andal’s neck and then put it to the lord. The lord the way he always looked and Pariyalwar also understood the devotion of Andal.

Andal’s first work is the Thiruppavai, a collection of 30 verses that is part of 4000 Diya prabandham in which Andal imagines herself to be a Gopi, one of the cowherd girls known for their unconditional devotion to Lord Krishna. Here, she describes her yearning to serve Lord Vishnu and achieve happiness not just in this lifetime, but for all eternity. She also describes the religious vows (pavai) that she and her fellow cowherd girls will observe for this purpose. Thiruppavai is also believed to be the nectar of Vedas and teaches philosophical values, moral values, ethical values, pure love, devotion, dedication, single-minded aim, virtues, and the ultimate goal of life. Later Andal marries the Lord Ranganatha and merges in him.

This proves that devotion is the greatest quality in us. If one can earn this quality of devotion he/she can attain the ultimate goal of life (being with Maha Vishnu and his companions) and be free from this cycle of birth and death.


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