Sant Andal

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

Sant Andal is one of the 13 Alwars.

Sant Andal, also known as Nachiar and Kodhai, was the daughter of Vishnu Chitta, also known as Periyazhvar of Srivilliputtur was one of the most important Sri Vaishnav saints. At an early age she fell in love with Lord Krishna and was often seen as wearing garlands meant for Him. As a result, she also became known as Chudi Kodutha Chudar Kodi. People believed her to be an avatar of Bhooma Devi.

Her most important poetic work is Thiruppavai. This Stotra extols the virtues of Lord Krishna and appeals to Him for help and guidance in the worship of Goddess Pavai. The worship of this Goddess, by unmarried girls has been prevalent in Tamil Nadu since ancient times. Girls used to bathe in the river at dawn, in the month of Margazhi (December-January) and worship the Goddess by dance and music and observe a strict penance during the day. A boon from Goddess Pavai will grant them a good husband and a very happy married life. While batheing in the river has been replaced by bathing at home at dawn, one of the hymns of Thiruppavai is still sung on each day of Margazhi today.

Her poetic works reveal her Nayaki-Nayaka bhava (Heroine-Hero feeling) and absolute surrender to the God which is one of the main Sri Vaishnav principles. Her sentiments expressed in her pasurams (poems to God) found an immediate echo in the common man's mind. Sri Ramanuja, one of the greatest Sri Vaishnav sants, extolled her bhakti and sang all the thirty Thiruppavai pasurams every day and as a result came to known as Thiruppavai Alwar. Sri Vaishnavs recite the last two stanzas of Thiruppavai during any puja. These last two stanzas are also recited in Tamil during the coronation of kings in Thailand. These kings are considered to belong to the Rama dynasty.