Saturday, 15 August 2015

Sri Andal Thiruvadipuram 2015 (A Devotee who attained God – ‘Andal’)

‘Andal’ or ‘Godha’ is one of the most extraordinary personalities, who was devotion (bhakti or pure love) personified.   She was born to  a devout person named ‘Vishnuchittar’ who lived in Villiputtur, a town near Madurai in South India.  The name ‘Vishnuchittar’ means one who has the Lord Vishnu in his mind (chitta) always. His daily duties included procuring flowers for the worship of the Lord at the local temple.
One morning when he was in the garden, he hears the melodious cry of a baby. He discovered a baby girl lying under a tulasi plant in his flower garden. Having no family of his own, Vishnuchitta felt it was God’s grace that gave him this child.  Since she was a ‘gift of mother Earth’, he named her ‘Godha’.
Godai grew up in an atmosphere of love and devotion. Vishnuchitta doted on her in every respect, singing songs to her about his Beloved Lord Krishna, teaching her all the stories and philosophy he knew.  From a very young age, Godha was passionately in love with Lord Krishna. Even as a child, she made up her mind to marry none other than Lord of Vrindavan, Sri Krishna and refused to think of any human being in similar terms.
She dreams of being Krishna’s wife & thinks about Him in every breath of hers.  She imagined what it would be like to be His bride, playing the role of His beloved, enjoying His presence. She writes “ Oh water filled clouds! instead of taking the water from the sea, please take my tears & when you rain down Lord Krishna tell Him that the pain of separation (viraha tapa) unable to bear the pangs of His separation.”
She did know how to bridge the gap between herself (Jeevathma) & the Lord (Paramathma). So she adorned herself daily with the flower garland her father prepared for the Lord at the temple, without his knowledge. After admiring her reflection and thinking of herself as His ideal bride, she would put the garland back for her father to take to the temple and offer to the Lord. This to her would signify exchange of garlands, a gesture of acceptance of one another.
One day, Vishnuchitta noticed a strand of Godai’s hair on one of the garlands. Shocked and saddened by this desecration of what was meant only for the Lord, he gets angry with Godha for her misuse of the garland and discarded it. He carefully prepared a new one and offered it to the Lord, begging His pardon all the while.  The Lord appeared in Vishnuchitta’s dream that night & says He wants the very garland worn by Godha, His favorite devotee. Vishnuchitta awoke and cried tears of both joy and remorse. It dawned on him that his daughter was someone whose love of God was so intense and pure that even he had not comprehended its extent. Her spiritual greatness was such that the Lord Himself wished to share her presence. From this day on, she became known as Andal“, the girl who “ruled” over the Lord.
When Andal hears about her dad’s dream, she is ecstatic knowing that she has been accepted by the Lord, she waits for Him day after day.
The Lord Narayana appeared before the priests at Srirangam temple and asked them to prepare for the coming of Andal. Simultaneously, the Lord appears in Vishnuchitta’s dream & asks for his daughter’s hand in marriage.  Vishnuchitta once again was filled with both joy and sadness; joy that his beloved daughter would attain her goal, but sadness at losing her at the same time. He made all the wedding preparations and arranged for Andal’s journey in a palanquin to Srirangam.
Andal waited with excited anticipation as the wedding party approached Lord’s shrine. As they entered the temple, she jumped out of the palanquin, unable to restrain herself any longer. Running into the temple sanctum, she embraced the Lord (Ranganatha) and disappeared in a blaze of glory, united  with her beloved Lord forever.