archAvathAra anubhavam - ANdAL anubhavam

srimathE rAmAnujAya nama:
srimadh varavaramunayE nama:
sri vAnAchala mahAmunayE nama:

In the previous article ( we observed periyAzhwAr's archAvathAra anubhavam.

Let us now see ANdAL nAchiAr's archAvathAra anubhavam.

In thiruppAvai 6000 padi vyAkyAnam, periyavAchAn piLLai first establishes the greatness of ANdAL over all other AzhwArs. He builds a beautiful layer of different categories of jIvAthmAs and shows the difference between each category.

  • The difference between samsAris (dhEhAthma abhimAnis - materialistic people) and the rishis who have realised the Athma svarUpam is similar to that of a small stone and a big mountain.
  • Difference between such rishis (who attain the knowledge by their own effort and at times fall down from their positions) and AzhwArs (who are divinely blessed by emperumAn himself and are completely pure) is similar to that of a small stone and a big mountain.
  • Difference between rest of the AzhwArs (who focus on svAnubhavam at times and mangaLAsAsanam at other times) and periyAzhwar (who is fully focussed on mangaLAsAsanam only) is similar to that of a small stone and a big mountain.
  • Difference between periyAzhwAr and ANdAL is similar to that of a small stone and a big mountain. The reasons for this are:
    • all AzhwArs were first divinely blessed by emperumAn and then they woke the samsAris up from their sleep, i.e., gave them the knowledge about emperumAn. but ANdAL, being an avathAram of bhUmi pirAtti, she herself went and woke emperumAn up from his sleep, i.e., reminded him about his responsibilities of protecting every one.
    • ANdAL being a woman, it is natural for her to engage in husband/wife relationship with emperumAn (unlike AzhwArs who had male thirumEnis) and it is shown that her love towards emperumAn is far greater than the love of AzhwArs.
mAmunigaL also glorifies ANdAL's greatness in upadhEsa rathina mAlai pAsurams 22, 23 and 24.
  • In the 22nd pAsuram, he becomes greatly emotional thinking about how ANdAL gave up her comforts in paramapadham and stepped down to samsAram to protect him (svAnubhavam) and took birth as the divine daughter of periyAzhwAr. Just like if a mother sees her child caught in a river, she also jumps into the river to save the child, ANdAL being the mother of all, she jumps into samsAram to save the samsAris.

  • In the 23rd pAsuram, he says there is no equal to the birth day of ANdAL "thiruvAdi pUram" just like there is none equal to ANdAL.
  • In the 24th pAsuram, he says ANdAL is the daughter of "anju kudi" and her activities are far greater than other AzhwArs and how she developed love for emperumAn right at a very young age. piLLai lOkam jIyar in his vyAkyAnam explains that "anju kudi" means:
    • descendant of the clan which contains all the AzhwArs just like parikshIth was the great descendant of the pancha pANdavas.
    • the descendant of AzhwArs who are part of the prapanna kulam
    • the descendant of periyAzhwAr who is always worried (achcham - fear) about emperumAn and performing mangaLAsAsanam.
Also, as we have seen previously ANdAL is purely in AchArya nishtai. It is because of periyAzhwAr's attachment towards emperumAn, ANdAL also developed attachment towards emperumAn and glorified him. This is seen from
  • her own words in nAchiAr thirumozhi, pAsuram 10.10, ANdAL says "villiputhuvai vittuchiththar thangaL dhEvarai valla parichu varuvipparEl athu kAnNdumE" (வில்லிபுதுவை விட்டுசித்தர் தங்கள் தேவரை வல்ல பரிசு வருவிப்பரேல் அது காண்டுமே). She says, if periyAzhwAr can convince his dear emperumAn to come here, she will worship him.
  • mAmunigaL in his upadhEsa rathina mAlai, after explaining the 10 AzhwArs, introduces ANdAL, madhurakavi AzhwAr and emperumAnAr together since all 3 of them are AchArya nishtars.
With this in mind, let us start diving into the ANdAL's ocean of bhakthi towards archAvathAra emperumAns.

vatapathrasAyi (srivilliputhUr)

periyavAchAn piLLai in thiruppAvai vyAkyAna avathArikai shows that ANdAL desired to approach kaNNan emperumAn based on what she heard from periyAzhwAr about him. But since it was not possible to have direct interaction with kaNNan emperumAn and because she was too young to travel to AyarpAdi, She starts thinking that srivilliputhUr as AyarpAdi, the srivaishnavis of that dhivyadhEsam as gOpis, herself as one of the gOpis, vatapathrasAyi as kaNNan emperumAn and his temple as nandhagOpan's thirumALigai. As a result we got the divine pAsurams of thiruppAvai which is called as "vEdham anaiththukkum viththu" (வேதம் அனைத்துக்கும் வித்து) - the essence of all vEdhas.

In nAchiAr thirumozhi pAsuram 5.5, ANdAL beautifully shows her attachment for the vatapathrasAyi emperumAn.

mennadaiyannam paraNthu viLaiyAdum (மென்னடையன்னம் பரந்து விளையாடும்)
villipuththUr uRaivAn than (வில்லிபுத்தூர் உறைவான் தன்)
ponnadi kAnNbathOr AchaiyinAl (பொன்னடி காண்பதோர் ஆசையினால்)
en porukaiyaR kanNnNinNai thunYchA (என் பொருகையற் கண்ணிணை துஞ்சா)
innadichilodu pAl amuthUtti (இன்னடிசிலொடு பால் அமுதூட்டி)
eduththa en kOlak kiLiyai (எடுத்த என் கோலக் கிளியை)
unnodu thOzhamai koLLuvan kuyilE! (உன்னொடு தோழமை கொள்ளுவன் குயிலே!)
ulagaLaNthAn varak kUvAy (உலகளந்தான் வரக் கூவாய்)

Simple translation:
I am unable to sleep due to the intense desire of my eyes to see the lotus feet of vatapathrasAyi emperumAn who is residing in srivilliputhUr (where it is filled with swans that walk stylishly). Oh dear cukkoo! please invite thirivikraman emperumAn to come here. If you did that I will give the friendship of my dear parrot which has been fed by nice milk and rice.

periyavAchAn piLLai shows some great meanings in is vyAkyAnam. Let us see a couple:
  • He shows one conversation between nanjIyar and nampiLLai. nampiLLai asks nanjIyar that it is meaningful if ANdAL says she cannot meet paramapadhanAthan, but why is she not able to meet the archAvathAra emperumAn who is so near? For that nanjIyar explains that, just like bharathAzhwAn who will faint immediately after seeing perumAL, ANdAL will also faint immediately after seeing vatapathrasAyi emperumAn. So, her friends and relatives, worried about losing her, does not allow her to meet vatapathrasAyi emperumAn. 
  • He identifies that the reason for ANdAL wanting to see thrivikraman is because, he was the one who freely touched every one's head without seeing if the head belongs to vasishtan or a chandALan. So, ANdAL is confident thrivikraman emperumAn will definitely come to see her.

In viNNeela mElAppu (nAchiAr thirumozhi 8th padhigam), ANdAL sends clouds as messenger to thiruvEnkatamudaiyAn. In the avathArikai periyavAchAn piLLai identifies a beautiful point. In rAmAvathAram, pirAtti sent Hanuman who is aindhra vyAkaraNa pandithan (great scholar), but here ANdAL is sending clouds as messenger that does not have any ability to really communicate. He explains that out of extreme love for emperumAn during her separation, she becomes bewildered and sends the clouds as messenger only because of their proximity to emperumAn in thiruvEnkatam (since both emperumAn and clouds stay on top of the hill).

Let us enjoy 9th pAsuram where ANdAL out of deep sorrow in separation, says that if emperumAn continues to avoid her, his fame and glories (that he protects everyone) will be damaged.

madhayAnaipOlezhuntha mAmugilgAL (மதயானைபோலெழுந்த மாமுகில்காள்)
vEnGkataththaip pathiyAga vAzhvIrgAL! pAmbanNaiyAn vArththai ennE! (வேங்கடத்தைப் பதியாக வாழ்வீர்காள்! பாம்பணையான் வார்த்தை என்னே!)
gathiyenRum thAnAvAn karuthAthu Or penNkodiyai (கதியென்றும் தானாவான் கருதாது ஓர் பெண்கொடியை)
vadhaicheythAn ennum chol vaiyagaththAr madhiyArE (வதைசெய்தான் என்னும் சொல் வையகத்தார் மதியாரே)

Simple translation:
Oh clouds that live in thiruvEnkatam who are risen as wild (tall) elephants! empreumAn who stays on the AdhisEshan has said tha "I will protect every one all the time". But if he himself does not protect me, the whole world will stop respecting him because of his act of torturing me (by avoiding me).

periyavAchAn piLLai's vyAkyAnam brings out the hidden glories of this pAsuram. Let us see a few here:
  • vEnGkataththaip pathiyAga vAzhvIrgAL - living is not just staying, it means vAzhchi (as in a glorious life). 
    • He says these clouds are not like mukthars who were in samsAram before coming to paramapadham, but they are like nithyars who have been with emperumAn in paramapadham since anAdhi (time immemorial).
    • On the other hand, he says staying in thiruvEnkatam itself is living (unlike other places where even living a nice life is just staying). He equates living here with living srirangam (nallArgaL vAzhum naLirarangam - நல்லார்கள் வாழும் நளிரரங்கம்).
    • He also identifies that bhagavath prAvaNyam (attachment towards emperumAn) is life (vAzhchi) and  vishayaAnthara prAvaNyam (attachment towards materialistic aspects) is death.
    • In this context, we can also recollect vaiyaththu vAzhvIrgAL (வையத்து வாழ்வீர்காள்) in thiruppAvai 2nd pAsuram, where it is explained that, even in this samsAram if we have attachment towards emperumAn and spend our time in bhagavath vishayam, that life is glorified.
  • For pAmbanNaiyAn vArththai - periyavAchAn piLLai excellently/humourously identifies that what is discussed in the bed will be known to closely related persons only (that is why ANdAL knows what is said when empermAn was on his bed - AdhisEshan).
  • For vadhaicheythAn - he explains that bhagavath vislEsham (separation from emperumAn) itself if vadham (torture) for ANdAL.
thirumAlirunchOlai azhagar

ANdAL's attachment towards azhagar is well known. She establishes the highest principle of kainkaryam in this padhigam (nAchiAr thirumozhi padhigam 9) for thirumAlirunchOlai. 

In srivachana bhUshaNa dhivya sAsthram sUthrams 283 - 287, piLLai lOkAchAryar identifies how kainkaryam should be done. Let us see the meanings briefly.
  • sUthram 283 - kainkaryam should be done as the goal instead of doing it as means to get something else.
  • sUthram 284 - that means instead of us desiring something from him, we should make emperumAn (who is naturally fully satisfied) to develop the attachment towards accepting kainkaryam from us.
  • sUthram 285 - Instead of we giving something to him and accepting something back from him, we should do kainkaryam to him and give some thing more to him for accepting kainkaryam from us. In the vyAkyAnam, mAmunigaL identifies that we should be like ANdAL who offered 100 plates of akkAra adisil (sweet rice) and 100 plates of butter in pAsuram 6 and says she will do 1000s more if emperumAn accepts the first offering in pAsuram 7.
  • sUthram 286 - if we did even small kainkaryams (kinchithkAram) like srI vidhurar, srI mAlAkArar or kUni, our svarupam will be sustained. It is explained in sAsthram that "akinchithkarasya sEshathva anupapaththi:" - the nature of jIvAthmA is sEshathvam (being sub-servient to empermAn) and that can only be sustained if the jIvAthma at least does some small kainkaryams.
  • sUthram 287 - srI vidhurar gave food without any expectation from kaNNan emperumAn. mAlAkArar gave a garland purely with the intention of just giving it to emperumAn. Same way kUni gave pure sandal wood paste without expecting any thing back in return.
Now, let us enjoy the most beautiful nAru narum pozhil pAsruam.

NARu NaRumpozhil mAlirunYchOlai Nambikku NAn (நாறு நறும்பொழில் மாலிருஞ்சோலை நம்பிக்கு நான்)
NURu thadAvil venNnNey vAy NErNthu parAvi vaiththEn (நூறு தடாவில் வெண்ணெய் வாய் நேர்ந்து பராவி வைத்தேன்)

NURu thadA NiRaiNtha akkAra adichil chonnEn (நூறு தடா நிறைந்த அக்கார அடிசில் சொன்னேன்)
ERu thiruvudaiyAn inRu vaNthu ivai koLLunGgalO (ஏறு திருவுடையான் இன்று வந்து இவை கொள்ளுங்கலோ)

Simple Translation:
In the placed with beautiful fragrant gardens named thirumAlinchOlai, for the emperumAn there, I offered (vAchikam only) 100 plates of butter and 100 plates of sweet rice. Will sriya:pathi emperumAn (whose thEjas is growing everyday) accept my offering?

Let us see some beautiful analysis from periyavAchAn piLLai's vyAkyAnam.
  • He identifies the incident of emperumAnAr offering 100 plates of butter and 100 plates of sweet rice to azhagar emperumAn since it is the duty of the family members to fulfill the commitments. 
  • nampiLLai asks nanjIyar, "emperumAn is satisfied with just accepting pUrNa kumbam (a pot of sanctified water), then why ANdAL is offering so much?". nanjIyar replies that "since she is thinking that she is a gOpi now, butter is available in surplus in AyarpAdi, so even large quantities of that is considered to be small for them".
  • periyavAchAn piLLai also identifies that when we look at upAyam we should be like pirAtti who said "let perumAL come and rescue me" and stayed where she was without making any efforts. For upEyam, we should be like iLaya perumAL who said "I will do everything all the time for perumAL and pirAtti" and did so much kainkaryam to the dhivya dhampathi.
  • vangip puraththu nambi says that "others identify different dhEvathas as brahmam, but we who are fully following vEdhas accept sriya:pathi because that is what is said in sAsthram - so our sidhAntham is the best".
And as we have already seen, ANdAL in the next pAsuram, explains that seeing emperumAn accepting her kainkaryam, she will do more such kainkaryam for him.


In nAchiAr thirumozhi 11th padhigam, ANdAL unable to bear her separation from empeumAn, starts glorifying his great qualities and sustains herself. In pAsuram 8.3, she says "en gOvindhan guNam pAdi ... Avi kathiruppEnE" - I will sustain myself by meditating/singing emperumAn's qualities - that she is doing it in this thiruvaranganAthan padhigam now.

In the 8th pAsuram, ANdAL says she tried to forget emperumAn but is unable to do it because of her attachment towards emperumAn.

pAchi thUrththuk kidaNtha pArmagatkup panNdoruNAL (பாசி தூர்த்துக் கிடந்த பார்மகட்குப் பண்டொருநாள்)
mAchudambil NIr vArA mAnamilAp panRiyAm (மாசுடம்பில் நீர் வாரா மானமிலாப் பன்றியாம்)
thEchudaiya dhEvar thiruvaranGgach chelvanAr (தேசுடைய தேவர் திருவரங்கச் செல்வனார்)
pEchiyiruppanagaL pErkkavum pErAvE (பேசியிருப்பனகள் பேர்க்கவும் பேராவே)

Simple translation:
Long ago, to rescue bhUmi pirAtti who was submerged in muddy waters and had dirt all over her, emperumAn took the form of a pig whose body is full of dirt and he is not shy about it. I am unable to forget the words of thiruvaranganAthan who has great thEjas.

A few points from periyavAchAn piLLai's great vyAkyAnam.
  • He establishes that since bhUmi pirAtti is the abhimani dhEvathai (controlling person) for bhUmi, bhUmi pirAtti and bhUmi has AthmA-sarIram sambandham. So when it is said that she has dirt on her, it means the dirt is on bhUmi.
  • He also identifies that rasikar (one who enjoys) will not take care of their body when their lovable ones are not well. So, emperumAn also took up dirt on his body when bhUmi pirAtti had dirt on her body.
  • for mAnamilAp panRi, periyavAchAn piLLai explains that, emperumAn gave up his IsvarAbhimAnam (ஈஸ்வராபிமானம்) and took a form such that other pigs freely mixed with varAha nAyanAr. When mArichan took the deer form, other deers ran away once they came close to that golden deer, since they could smell the rAkshasa nature.
  • ANdAL thinks that emperumAn descends to thiruvarangam to accept kainkaryam from ANdAL since he was unable to accept much kainkaryam from her during varAha avathAram.
  • Finally, she thinks in such a way that, even if emperumAn forgets his responsibility of protecting his adiyArs, she will never forget her svabhAvam of depending on emperumAn.

That periyAzhwAr finally gets the invitation to bring ANdAL over to thiruvarangam and emperumAn accepting her in thiruvarangam is all well known.

It is our great fortune that we are in this kulam which completely depends on emperumAn for everything and does not expect anything back from him other than kainkaryam. We are truly blessed and we should cherish this every moment in our life.

In the next article we will see thoNdaradippodi AzhwAr's archAvathAra anubhavam.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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