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SrimatE Raamaanujaaya Namaha //
SrimatE Nigamaanta Mahaa Desikaaya Namaha //
SrIman! SrI Ranga Sriyam anupadravam anudhinam Samvardhaya/
SrIman! SrI Ranga Sriyam anupadravam anudhinam Samvardhaya//
KAvEri VardhathAm kAlE, kAlE varshathu vAsava: /
SrI RanganAthO jayathu Sri Ranga Sri cha VardhathAm//
SRI RANGA SRI VOL.07 / ISSUE # 06 dated 15th December 2005

[This posting has become a bit too long because it comprises the contents of 
2 lectures on Avatarikai. Sorry for the inconvenience]

So far, 182 Regular issues of SRS have been released apart from Special 
27 Issues of Vol. 1
15 Issues of Vol. 2
42 Issues of Vol. 3
35 Issues of Vol. 4
28 Issues of Vol. 5
30 Issues of Vol. 6 and
05 Issues of Vol. 7

Dear Bhagavatas:

You will remember that during the month of Maargazhi ? Thai last year, 
Bhaagavatas living in and around Atlanta area arranged for 9 of my lectures 
on Tiruppavai through Conference call. They were delivered at 9 week ends, 
each covering about 5 pasurams + 2 Avataarikai at the beginning and 
concluded with 2 more dealing with Nachchiyaar Tirumozhi and Bhoo Sooktam, 
Bhoo Sthuthi, Goda Sthuthi etc. Quite a few of you joined the Conference on 
most of the occasions and favored me with your kind feedback.

The lectures were recorded and hard copies thereof printed out. By way of 
refreshing the memories of those who joined and by way of making available 
the material for those who could not, we propose to post them in ?Sri Ranga 
Sri? Journal ? on ?one-a-day? basis from tomorrow starting with Paasuram # 1 
?Maargazhi ThingaL?.

Along with the above, we will also provide an English Verse translation of 
each Paasuram by Ms. Shobha Ramaswamy from her booklet ?Sri Andal?s 
Thiruppavai- The Song of the Maidens? sponsored by Coimbatore Thiruppavai 
Committee and Surya Prabha Mills, Coimbatore. The author in her preface says 
that ?Bhavan?s Journal? also serialized the whole work during December 1996 
and January 1997.

Asmad Acharyan, Srimad Andavan, Poundarikapuram Swami Asramam, Srirangam had 
earlier presented a copy of this publication for being featured in ?Sri 
Ranga Sri?.  I am sure you will enjoy the translation as well because ?it 
retains the lyrical purity and spiritual tone of the original?.

Today, we present the Avataarikai part (Introduction dealt with in Lectures 
1 and 2) for your kind perusal.

Hope you will enjoy the same and send me your valuable feedback. It is 
proposed to bring out the series in a booklet format for sale later. The 
entire sale proceeds thereof will be donated to Divyadesams consecrated by 
Azhwars but which are today languishing for want of funds even for Deepam, 
Vastram and Naivedhyam etc.

Anbil Ramaswamy
If Bhagavad Geetha is called ?GeethOpanishad?, Andal?s Tiruppavai is 
?GOdhOpanishad?. If Sri Andal merged with Lord Sri Ranganatha at Srirangam, 
let us at least enjoy immersing ourselves in her great Tiruppavai, the ?Song 

In another sense also, it is appropriate because both the Upanishads 
proclaim the secret and efficacy of ?SaraNAgathi?- the former in BhagavAn?s 
words and the latter in Bhagavathi?s words.

As Swami Desika has mentioned: ?mounAn mukharayanthi GuNAs TvadheeyAh?, the 
perennial spring of Anubhavams that gushes forth when we experience the 
profound esoteric content of Andal?s Tiruppavai , even a mute person like me 
feels compelled to place before you a few ramblings on the subject!

Anything that is correctly stated is due to the grace of my Achaaryas, H.H. 
Srimad Gopala Desika Maha Desikan Swami of Poundarikapuram Andavan Asramam 
and Prakritam H.H. Azhagiya Singhar of AhObila Mutt who initiated me into 
these studies. All errors of commission and omission are entirely mine and I 
seek your indulgence in forgiving me for the same.

As I commenced writing about Andal, I was so daunted by the explosion of 
informational, inspirational and interpretational material gathered over a 
whole lifetime ?

(i)     From the 'in camera closed circuit' KAlakshEpams from our Achaaryas 
H.H. the Jeeyar, Ahobila Mutt, Srirangam Srimad Andavan (Tirukkudantai) and 
Andavan Swami of Paundarika puram Asramam (both in their Purva ashramam and 
after their Sannyasa Sweekaranam) explaining the inner meanings,
(ii)    From the religious Pravachanams of scholars like Abhinava Desika 
Uttamur Swami, Srivtasaankaachaariar Swami, Santhana Gopaalaachaariar Swami, 
Tirukkallam Swami, Prathivaadi Bhayankaram Swami, KarappankaaDu 
VenkaTaachaariar Swami, VelukkuDi Varadaachaariar Swami and
(iii)    Through the more open   ended Hari Katha KaalakshEpams of Srirangam 
Sadagopaachariar Swami, Embaar Vijaya raghava chaariar Swami, Annaaswami 
Bhagavatar (with Chapplaakattai, Jalra, Harmonium / Tamboor, Assistant 
singer ? Pinn-paattuk-kaarar et al).

It is impossible to cover all of the above due to the vastness of resource 
and absolute lack of my capacity; it is proposed to bring to light some of 
the nectarine Nirvahams of Poorva and Prakritam Acharyas on the nuances 
contained in this masterpiece of spiritual outpouring.

Diwali and Holi may be the time for revelry and merriment but the whole of 
Margazhi is surcharged with an aura  sober and serene, and an era of 
spiritual awakening and awareness.

Come Margazhi! In almost all temples in every county of every town or city 
in the whole of the Tamil speaking world, the morning air is filled with a 
spiritual resurgence, what with the recitation of Tiruppavai (and as a late 
and perhaps an 'after  thought addition', of Tiruvembavai also) reverberate 
through loudspeakers, broadcasts and telecasts and Bhajans by groups of 
devotees moving from street to street in the neighborhood.

Though regarded as a ?Sunya Maasam? when routine study of scriptures is 
suspended, only Tiruppavai is exceptionally allowed. Breathtaking 
expositions of the esoteric meanings of the work explained by experts fill 
the day deep into the late hours. Students of our religious classes would 
form into groups to attend these discourses in various locations and 
overlapping timings with tape recorders, notebooks etc (like news 
reporters), pool the materials and compare the information in joint studies. 
That is real and fruitful utilization of one's time   REAL Kaala-kshEpam.

Oh! How we miss the thrill and joy of these experiences!

Tamil literature bristles with love lores employing techniques such as 
Thoodu and MaDal. MuthoLL Aayiram and Sanga literature which depict the 
distinguishing feminine aspects as Achcham (fear), NaaNam (shyness), MaDamai 
(Innocence) and Payirpu (Exclusive single minded devotion), the physical 
changes wrought by the joys of union with and the pangs of separation from 
the beloved etc and even Srimad Valmiki's Ramayanam takes a back stage in 
relation to the portrayal in the Divya Prabandhams which exalt love and 
ennoble the soul, combining linguistic, scenic and sense effects and 
blending the mundane with the divine.

Devotional poetry spontaneously emerging from a God  infatuated heart like 
that of GOdha, the sweetheart of Krishna, is sure to contain much more than 
what appears on the surface. In Tiruppavai and Nachiar Tirumozhi, 
generations of Acharyas and other scholars have been and still are seeing 
new meanings and fresh beauties. And, the two provide an inexhaustible 
goldmine of such delectable material and an incomparably rich fare.

What is said of Vaalmiki applies with equal force to Godha  .
"Tad Upagatha Samaasa Sandhi Yogam,
Sama Madhuropana Artha Vaakhya badham"

For her, the words fall in place so inimitably, that you cannot alter even a 
comma or a semicolon without damaging the beauty and style of poetry or the 
depth and sense of the sentiments expressed.

We are simply carried away by the torrential flow of Nachiyaar expressions 
into the unfathomable depths of her love; she not only loved also wedded the 
Lord. Nachiyaar sways our emotions so much that
    when her heart throbs, our hearts throb too in unison!
    when her mind melts, our minds melt with empathy!
    when she entreats the Lord, we entreat too!
    When she enjoys the Lord, we share the enjoyment equally!

Here was an Andal; Where comes such another?

GOdha indeed stands out as the outstanding exponent of bridal mysticism and 
in this is regarded as setting a model for the Azhwars themselves. Unlike 
the other Azhwars who were all males and had to simulate a ?Naayaki bhaava? 
(the role of a lady love), since she was herself a woman, the bhaava came to 
her naturally. Her only ambition was to marry Lord Ranganatha.

While Nammaazhwar's four works are said to be the essence of the four Vedas, 
these 30 verses of Andal constitute the very seed of ALL the Vedas (vEdam 
anaithukkum vithu Aagum)
What it does?
It can destroy all our sins (pAthakangal Theerkkum)
It can show us the way to Moksham (Paraman aDi kATTum)
- All in simple, chaste, Tamil.

Since we are now in the month of "MArgazhi" celebrated by our
dear ANDAL in her Srisookthi, "TiruppAvai", we wish to attempt a
comparison of "GitAmrutham" with "GOdhAmrutham"- to wit -
between "Bhagavad Gita" and "Bhagavathi Gita". 

Some of you will probably remember that under this latter title, I had posted a 
few articles on 20th and 21st December 1999.

(You may view them at Sls.8717, 8718 and 8722 of Bhakti issues and
Malolan net issues # 916, 917 and 919)

The expression "Bhagavathi" was first used by Swami Desikan, while
referring to Bhoomi Devi who was saved by the Lord in VarAha AvatAra.
Since, ANDAL is the reincarnation of Bhoomi Devi; she is referred to
as "Bhagavathi" in DasAvatAra StOtram ?

"brahma sthambam asou dasou "bhagavathi" musthEva viswambarA"

MahAvidwAn Sri Perukkaranai ChakravarthiAchariar Swami in his work on
TiruppAvai has brought out a comparison (sAmyam) of the two works, as
summarized in his translation by SrimAn Sadagopan. In this article,
we wish to bring out some contrasts between them.

You will remember that during August 1998, we had a lively and
welcome debate on the most favorite of the Divyadesams. (Vide Bhakti
archives Nos.5154, 5221, 5233, 5243, 5266, 5271,5281,5285,5299,5304,
5307, 5346, 5348, 5349, 5391, 5393, 5401, 5403 etc)

Several Bhagavatas advanced arguments in support of one or the other
of the Divya DEsams. This did not mean that the other Divya DEsams
were of no importance at all. In fact, all are equally important but
some would seem to be "more equal than the rest"; some
considered "primus inter pares".

When someone says his / her favorite AvatAra is say, Nrisimha or Sri
Rama or Sri KrishNa, which does not mean that the others (not chosen
as favorite) are unimportant.

e.g. when NammAzhwAr is described as ?krishNa thrishNa
tattvamivOdhitham" - as the personification of thirst for Sri
KrishNa, it does not mean that he did not consider Sri Rama AvatAram,
for example, as any less important than Sri KrishNAvatAram.

Again, when Swami Desikan while referring to Sri KrishNAvatAra in
DasAvatAra StOtram says "nAthAyai Eva nama: padam bhavathu" meaning

"our prostration in "namah" be ONLY (Eva) to Lord KrishNa", he did
not mean any disrespect to the other AvatAras, all of which he has
saluted in this StOtra.

It is in this spirit that the present write up is presented. It is
meant to highlight the specialties of "Bhagavathi Gita" and it should
not be construed as belittling the importance of the other.

In fact, "Bhagavathi Gita" is itself dedicated to the
very "GitAchAryan"- the beloved of the bridal mystic, ANDAL, - a
dedication so unique and incomparable that takes "GOdhAmrutham" to
rank higher than "GitAmrutham" itself.

1. There is a slOkam which says-

VasudEva sutham dEvam kamsa chANura mardhanam/

Devakee paramAnandam KrishNam vandE jagatgurum// meaning-

" I salute this divine KrishNa, son of vasudEva and the delight of
Devakee, and who killed Kamsa, ChANura et al, and who is verily the
great world teacher" (Jagadguru). This depicts the "GitAchAryan" as
an "AchAryan" who sought to "teach" Arjuna,

"GOdha" out of natural, infinite, maternal love (vAtsalyam) as
Goddess Mother earth, literally wrested a promise from the Lord that
He would remember the jiva (soul) even if it were to forget Him at
the time of its death, if only it had remembered the Lord but once
sometime, anytime - during its lifetime. Vide VarAha Charama slOkam:

stithE manasi sukhasthE sareerE sethi yO nara:

DhAtusAmyE sthithE smartha visvarupam cha mAm ajAm/

ThAsas tham mriyamANAnAm thu kAshTa pAshANa sannibhAm

Aham smarAmi madbhaktham nayAmi paramAm gathim//

2. We all know that the mother is ranked first, then only comes the
father and only after him - the teacher vide the saying-

"mAtru dEvO bhava, pitru dEvO bhava, AachArya dEvO bhava" etc.

Thus, "GOdhAmrutham" takes the pride of place relegating the role of
the teacher to a third place!

3. For the reason that KrishNa was a 'teacher',

(I)"Bhagavad Gita" is 'Instructional' whereas "Bhagavathi Gita"
is "Inspirational";

(ii) The former appeals to the "head" while the latter appeals to
the "heart";

(iii) The former addresses the "intellectual understanding" while the
latter flows towards "emotional acceptance";

(iv) The former is "peremptory" while the latter is
definitely "pellucid".

4. Only after Arjuna pleaded with him as His "disciple' and begged to
be "instructed"-

Yath srEya: syAth nischtham broohi that mE /

SishyasthE aham sAdhi mAm tvAm prapannam // (2.7)

Even then, in "Bhagavad Gita", the Lord literally takes Arjuna
through labyrinthine chain of conversation presenting him with a
veritable, smorgasbord, a la carte of philosophical fare, with long
winding and arcane, obscure and occult, mysterious and mind-boggling
arguments through concepts like "karmayOga".?jnAnayOga", "BhaktiyOga" and 
what not.

And, He winds up leaving Arjuna in an intellectual quandary by
bidding him to adopt whatever he found fit at his discretion when He
said -"JnAtvA sAstra vidhAnOktham karma karthum arhasi" (16.24)
and "vimrusyaaithad asEshENa yathEchasi tathA kuru" (18.63)

'Only when Arjuna pathetically pleaded his helplessness, did the Lord
come up with the CharamaslOka in which He revealed the "Prapatti

"GOdhAmrutham" on the other had, is direct and empirical, practical
and pragmatic, simple and straightforward - showing the Royal road
of "SaraNAgathi" as the "One and Only" means, with a clarion call of
ANDAL to her companions to think (Oore) and accept (yEl) and dive
deep into "KrishNAnubhavam" euphemistically referred as bathing
(neerADal). No debate, no discussion, no goading, no persuasion was
needed, since this experience (anubhavam) came by out of natural

5. If "Bhagavad Gita" was in the form of a conversation, so
was "Bhagavathi Gita". But, it is a short and sweet one. (e.g.) In
verse 15 - "yeLLE iLam kiLiyE" the core and cardinal doctrine of
behavior of a Prapanna (SrivaishNava lakshaNam) is encapsulated with
such a telling effect viz., the readiness with which a Prapanna is
expected to own responsibility for any lapse he / she may be accused
of undeservedly, even when one is not guilty of the same - Vide" -
the words - "nAnEthAn aayiDuga.

6. "Bhagavad Gita" courses through a gargantuan and prodigious 700
odd slOkas with so many roller-coaster arguments and counter-
arguments for or against one or the other means of "Karma", "jnAna'
and "Bhakti" etc.

But, "Bhagavathi Gita" epitomizes the essence of the whole Gita in
just 30 nectarine verses in lucid and laconic, simple and terse, in
an inimitable and incomparable way with unsurpassed clarity.

7. Another point to note is that in "Bhagavad Gita", both the teacher
and the taught were male. "Bhagavathi Gita" was the torrential
outpour of the God-intoxicated bridal mystic with a single-minded
devotion and dedication - a trait that can come in naturally only in
a woman. We are simply carried away by the torrential flow of
NachiyAr's expressions into the unfathomable depths of her love; she
not only loved but she also wedded the Lord.

NachiyAr sways our emotions so much that - - -

? when her heart throbs, our hearts throb too in unison! - -

? when her mind melts, our minds melt with empathy!; - -

? when she entreats the Lord, we entreat too!; - -

? when she enjoys the Lord, we share the enjoyment equally!

Here was an ANDAL; Where comes such another?

GOdha indeed stands out as the outstanding exponent of bridal
mysticism and in this is regarded as setting a model for the Azhwaars
themselves. Unlike the other Azhwaars who were all males who had to
simulate a ' NAyaki bhAva' (the role of a lady love), since ANDAL was
herself a woman, the bhAva came to her naturally. Her only ambition
was to marry Lord RanganAtha.

On the other hand, we see Arjuna exhibiting his weakness and
faltering foibles as revealed in the "Arjuna vishAdha yOgam" despite
being a man and a Kshatriya at that.

8. If "GitAmrutham" is the essence of the Vedas
(VedasAram), "GOdhAmrutham" is the very seed from which the entire
gamut of the Vedas sprouted. One of the Tanians of TiruppAvai says -

" TiruppAvai will obliterate all sins and show us the feet of the
Lord; it is the very seed of all the Vedas. Those who do not know the
5 x5 + 5 (i.e.) 30 verses of TiruppAvai are indeed an unnecessary
burden whom the earth carries in vain"

Pathakangal Theerkkum Paraman Adi KATTum /

Vedam Anaithukkum Vithu Aagum-/

Kothai Tamizh Aiy Aiyndum Aiyndum /

Ariyaadha Maanidarai Vaiyam Sumappadum Vambu/"

While NammAhzwAr's four works are said to be the essence of the four
Vedas, these 30 verses of ANDAL constitute the very seed of ALL the
Vedas and what it does?

--It can destroy all our sins;

--It can show us the way to MOksham - all in simple, chaste, Tamizh.

--It is the very seed of the Vedas

--It is doubtful whether there are any comparable statements relating
to "Bhagavad Gita".

9. No doubt, there is a slOkam, which says

"All the Upanishads represent the cow; KrishNa, the darling of the
GOpaala is the milkman; Arjuna is the calf; and the milk is the nectar
of Gita enjoyed by the wise"

sarvOpanishad gAvO dhOgdhA gOpAla nanadana: /

pArthO vatsa: sudheer bhOkthA dhugdham GitAmrutham mahath //

If GitAmrutham is "Cow's milk", then "GOdhAmrutham" is "Mother's
milk" which we all know gains precedence over cow's milk because it
is scientifically proved to contain all the nourishing ingredients.
Also, mother's milk is so rich in content and easily digestible that
it can be enjoyed by everyone including dumbos, not merely the wise.

10. Let us see to whom "Bhagavad Gita" was advised. It was for one
person, Arjuna. with utmost caution that the supreme secret, the most
esoteric of all truths was advised to him because he was extremely
dear to KrishNa.

"sarva guhya thamam bhooya: sruNu mE paramam vacha: /

ishTOsi mE dhriDam ithi tathO vakshyAmi thE hitham // (18.63) and

that the secret should not be revealed to one who lacks penance, nor
to one who is wanting in devotion, nor even to one who does not lend
a willing ear and in no case to one who is jealous of the Lord.

Idam thE nAtapaskAya nAbhakthAya kadhAchana /

na cha susrooshavE vAhym na cha mAm yObhiyasooyasthi //

It is only by extension and extrapolation that we claim that under
the pretext (vyAjam) of Arjuna, Lord KrishNa was advising all mankind.

On the other hand, "GitAmrutham", was advised to the lakhs of GOpis
(shODasa Stree sahasreshu) in the spirit of "kooDi irundhu kuLirndhu"
as a kind of community or social service. It would be more
appropriate to hold that "GitAmrutham" was truly meant for a
considerably broader spectrum of audience including the infinite
generations to come, including us.

11. Let us take the message that runs through the "Bhagavad Gita".
Basically, it was a call to Arjuna to "Kill the enemies". In
Bhagavathi Gita", KrishNa appears as "kooDArai vellum Seer GOvindan" -
(winning over enemies). The same KrishNa in "Bhagavad Gita" appears
as "kooDArai kollum GOvindan" (destroyer of the enemies). In fact, He
himself admits that He had already killed them all and Arjuna was
supposed to take the credit for the killing.

12. Let us consider the location where "GitOpadEsa" was delivered. It
was right in the midst of tumult and turmoil of a rambunctious,
boisterous, battleground at the time of the great Armageddon - a
situation least conducive for any fruitful and meaningful
philosophical deliberations.

The advice in "Bhagavathi Gita' took place in the halcyon hamlet, in
the serene and sylvan surroundings of AayarpADi - where peace and
tranquility prevailed - an ideal situation for any advice to get
registered in one's mind.

13. "Bhagavad Gita" was primarily meant for Arjuna, the bellwether
Kshatriya who had to be reminded of his duties as a warrior who came
obviously to fight but would not.

"Bhagavathi Gita" was meant for the rustic, bucolic folk, so innocent
as literally not to know the distinction between the left and right
hands (iDakkai valakkai ariyAtha iDaippeNgaL). Their only thought and
preoccupation was the remembrance of KrishNa (KrishNa smaraNam). Like
NammAzhwAr, ?the food they ate, the water they drank and the betel
they chewed everything was KaNNan" (uNNum sOrum, parugu neerum
thinnum vetrilaiyum ellAm KaNNan). It is said that when they were out
to sell their wares (yogurt and milk) they used to say - "Anyone home
to buy KaNNan, to buy GOPAlan", while all they meant was 'yogurt and
milk". They were so engrossed in the thought of KrishNa; absolutely
no harm to anyone ever crossed their minds.

14. In a sense, we may say that "Bhagavad Gita" emphasized the
negative aspects arising out of dereliction of duties.

"Bhagavathi Gita" resounds with positive and optimistic thought
throughout- a cornucopia of fecundity and utmost felicity.

Some people gleefully criticize ours as a religion of abnegation, of
escapism, a negative religion of the recluse which always emphasized
on the ' other worldly' with scant regard for what we need ' right
here and now in this world '. They fancy that ours is a religion of
rigor, regret, remorse, repentance and renunciation that takes away
all the joy out of life rendering it a saga of ' sack cloth and
ashes ' all the way.

We would advise them to read ANDAL's Tiruppavai.

TiruppAvai shows how ours is the first and foremost religion, which
has the practical wisdom and pragmatism to recognize the purpose of
life both ' here and the hereafter'. TiruppAvai laid down the
principles and practices to make life on earth enjoyable, meaningful
and worthwhile - while unfolding the 'after-life' scenario in equally
vivid expressions.

Let us see some of her positive expressions-

Selva Sirumeergaal: Dear darling prosperous girls;

Vaiyathu Vaazhveerkaal : You who have come to live and prosper in
this world;

Neengaatha Selvam Niraindhu : Securing bliss that does not diminish;

Vaazha Ulaginil Peithidaai: Rains that pour life into us ;

Poya Pizhaiyum Pugu Tharuvaan Ninranavum Theeyinil Thoosu Aagum: The
Sanchita and PrArabda Karmas extinguished like dirt burnt by fire;

ULLam Pugundhu KuLirndu: Entering the mind to make it cool and

Naayakap Penn PiLLAi : O! Leader among womenfolk;

Tesam Udaiyaai: O! Shining one;

KOdhukalam Udaiya Paavaai: Lady full of hope and enthusiasm;

Selvap Pendaatti: Dearest spouse;

Nar Chelvan Nangaai: Daughter of the prosperous one;

POdharik KaNNinaai: O! You who have eyes like the honeybees lying on

Elle! ILam KiLiye! : O! Parrot like beauty!

TiruThakka Selvamum Sevakamum Yaam Paadi Varuthmum Theerndu Magizhndu

By praying for undiminishing wealth and eternal service, we can get
rid of our grief and enjoy happiness;

Koodaarai Vellum Seer GOvinda! : GOvinda who can win over even

Unthannodu Uravel Namakku Ingu Ozhikka Ozhiyaadu: Our relationship
with you here and hereafter can never be severed;

Enraikkum Ezhezh Piravikkum Unthannodu UtrOme AavOm: We will be with
you ever and anon through any number of lifetimes;

Engum Thiru Varul Petru Inburuvar: You will obtain the grace of
Mother Goddess MahAlakshmi and enjoy life forever.

15. In "Bhagavad Gita", having exhausted all arguments and
explanations, the Lord had to reveal His universal form (Viswaroopam)
to convince and pressurize Arjuna to come around. Only after
witnessing this with the divine vision (divya chakshus) granted to
him, did Arjuna actually surrender. No such gimmicks, no such
stupendous feats were needed for the GOpis who had acquired natural
realization with aplomb and spontaneity.

16. Thus, it was with great difficulty that the Lord could careen
Arjuna into dedicating himself to the Lord's will and was practically
forced to surrender after much argument. For "GOdhapirATTI", this
dedication came naturally by without any inducements, asservations
and cajoling.

17. In "GitAmrutham", the Lord gave Arjuna '"friendly advice" as
a 'mentor' to his "chela".

In "GOdhAmrutham" the friendly advice was absolutely convivial and
endearing as between peers.

18. In "GitAmrutham", the Lord had to wrap up his peroration with a
promise that He would free Arjuna from all shackles (aham tvA sarva
pApEbhyO mOkshayishyAmi) and further reinforce it with a
reassurance " Do not grieve" (mA sucha).

In "GOdhAmrutham" ANDAL literally compelled the Lord to keep up His
plighted word (nennalE vAi nerndhAn etc), perhaps, a promise she as
Bhoodevi had wrested from Him in VarAha AvatAra.

19. Is not Lord KrishNa considered as "MArgazhi" among the months?
ANDAL and her companions commence their vow (vratham) celebrating
this very "MArgazhi". To what end? To lead them on to "Thai" month,
which is said to open up the way to liberation "Thai pirandhAl vazhi
pirakkum") is a popular saying.


Veda VyAsa, after describing the Gita in the MahAbhAratha, said in
the end

"The Gita should be "carefully studied" (i.e.) after reading the
text, its meaning and its ideas should be gathered and held in the
mind. It emanated from the lotus-like lips of BhagavAn VishNu Himself
from whose navel sprang the lotus. What is the use of studying the
other "elaborate" scriptures?"

(Vide page 5 of "The greatness of the Gita" by Sri Jayadayal Goyandka
in "The Bhagavad Gita, the Song Divine" published by Gita Press,
Gorakhpur, India, 29th Edition in 1992)

GitA sugitA karthavyA kim anyaih: sAstra vistharaih: /

YA swayam padmanAbhasya mukha padmAth vinisruthA //

There are several points to be noted in this connection:

(i) Veda vyAsa was cautioning against the study of other elaborate
scriptures, not this sweet, short, pithy, delectable Srisookthi of

(ii) The very same Lord has also said that His Bhaktas are dearest to
Him, indeed His very own Self.

tEshAm jnAni nitya yukthaEka bhakti visishyathE /

priyO hi jnAninOthyartham aham sa cha mama priya: //

ANDAL is the foremost jnAni and Bhaktai of the Lord and, therefore,
dearest to Him. He cannot be jealous about any praise to her. On the
other hand, this would make Him proud to hear the glory of His
Bhaktai. This once again proves that "BhAgavata AbhimAna" is more
welcome to the Lord than "Bhagavad AbhimAna". Did not Swami Desika
hold that "BhAgavata kainkaryam" is the farthest aspect of "Bhagavad
kainkaryam" in the "PurushArtha kAshTa AdhikAra" of his Srimad
Rahasya Traya sAra?

(iii) ANDAL is not only His Bhaktai but is also His Consort,
BhoodEvi. Bhagavathi is thus equal to BhagavAn Himself. Therefore,
the Lord would only be proud to hear about the glory of His Consort.

(iv) ANDAL is also an AchArya in her own right, if the word is taken
to mean "one who not only removes the darkness of ignorance
(gu =darkness +ru = destroyer) but also one who shows right conduct not by
precept alone but by setting an example (Acharathi).

Thus, ANDAL combines in herself a happy blend of the roles of
Bhagavathi, BhAgavathai and AcAryatva - all woven into her
personality, so that it becomes not only our privilege but also our
duty to celebrate Her glory.

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