The only woman among twelve Alwars,
Vaishnavite saints of South India, Andal
Had lived in the 8th (9th)century AD.
Andal, also Kodai, was found as a baby
By Perialwar, under the shrub of basil.
The brahmin priest had her as his daughter.
She would deck herself with the garlands made
By him for the Vishnu Idol, to his frown.1
The girl grew up as madly devoted
To Ranganatha (Vishnu)and resolved to marry
None other than Him lying on His serpent
In the Srirangam Temple, and as bidden
In the dream, she was taken by palanquin
From Srivilliputtur to Trichinopoly,
Where, when she stepped out and went to the temple,
She disappeared, having joined her Lord.2
Andal sang thirty stanzas, putting them
Into the mouths of milkmaids, as rousing
Lazy lie-abeds to come out and bathe
In the cold mornings and after the bath
To go to the temple and rouse Krishna
Sleeping there. They are the Thiruppauvai.
They are lyrical and dramatic in tone,
Chiding her maids and appealing Krishna. 3
‘Favouring Margazhi's Full Moon is here-——
Maidens bejewelled, keen on bathing, come out!
Darling girls of the cowherd clan, wake up.'
‘Narayana himself has offered
His gracious drum all for us to sing
His praise and gain the world's of his.'
Thus, Andal calls her maid friends to wake up
So as, on bathing, to rouse Krishna.4
‘If we, all clean, adore him with flowers,
Sing full—throated: give him our minds,
Our sins both past and yet to come
Will all be burnt like cotton in the fire! ',
With this assurance, she called her maids.
Reaching, she pleaded in many words with
Nappinna, thebeloved of Krishna,
To let them have the vision of Krishna.5
‘For ever and ever, your slaves praising you,
We have come today for your grace, Krishna,
Won't you relent? ', Andal addresses Him
And insists Him to remove their sorrows.
‘But you must take us in your own employ.
Not only for today do we seek your drum
But for ever and ever, seven times seven births!
Would be one with you, work only for you—'6
Andal's erotic composition comes
As Nachiar Thirumozhi in fourteen sets,
Ranging from little girls building sand castles
To a woman much frustrated in love,
Calling her lover with all bitterness
To account him for having led her on
And betrayed her. Her womanly passion
For lover is classic and erotic.7
‘If I should meet that Govardhan
Who cares not if she lives or is dead,
Who inly melts and is worn out
All for that mischievous bandit's love
I shall pluck my useless breasts
From their roots and fling them
On his chest, and so put out
The raging fire of my love.' 8
In all her frenzied love of Krishna,
Andal does not lose sight of the external world
Around her - the clouds, the birds, trees and flowers.
Only, all of them are related, or made
To relate to her and her passion in all.
Her love born of her libido is strong
And in disguise diverted and directed
Towards her mentor, Lord Ranganatha.9
‘O Manmatha, I worship you with tender rice!
Grant that I get fame on earth as the one
Whose splendid belly and breasts were caressed
With love by Lord who thrice measured the world.
Take note of the penance I undergo———
My body unwashed, hair unbound, one meal a day.
That my womanhood may not be a waste. Grant me this,
My life's aim, that I become Kesava‘s maid. 10
O Kama, I have shown on that wall your ancestry;
From my childhood I have dedicated
My surging breasts to the Lord of Dwaraka
Alone-— Join my destiny quickly with his.
Kama, I will not live If, as an offering
Set apart for the gods is seized by a Jackal,
My broad breasts surging, set apart for him
Are noised about as meant for a man. 11
O rogue, Kesava, don't you have any eyes?
With small white sand we have made these houses
Even if you destroy them, though our hearts will break
And melt, won't be filled with anger against you!
Must you enter our courtyard unbidden,
And break not only our houses, also our hearts?
What will those around us say if they saw us?
Don't ruin our sand-houses; don't ruin our hearts. 12
Before the cock could wake us up, we came
To plunge in this pool.0 you have humbled us,
Made us your beggars—- We shall not come here-
My friend and I will raise our hands, Give us back our clothes.
We will never consent to that, Child, you must wait.
If our mothers should see this, they won't let us in.
Perched on that tree you don't think of the scandal
We will give you all you want-—— Give us our clothes. 13
If I'll have the fortune to touch and fondle
The feet of the God whom many pure devotees
Worship with raised hands, if he'll run to me
And take my hand with a fond embrace, and
If he will come who from of old is the Vedas'
Essence, the lovely one embedded
In the hearts of pretty milkmaids,0 loop
I draw, come out aright and show my luck. 14
‘The Spotless One, conch in hand, will enter me,
Watch my woe and lead me an endless dance.
Bones melted, spear-long eyes unsheathed
These many days plunged in a sea of sorrow
I struggle for lack of the Vaikuntham.
My two eyes like carp—fish at war won't close
Because I yearn to see his golden feet
Which stay stuck in Villiputtur', longs she.15
‘I have lost the beauty of my pearly smile,
Of my red mouth and breasts because of the cruel
Heart Thief' Andal points out Krishna to Koel,
‘Through my greed to embrace the one on the milky sea,
My surging breasts in their ecstasy melt
And distress my soul. What do you gain, Koel?
If you coo and bring to me the one with the conch
And mace, you will get a place in heaven. 16
‘My friend, I dreamt that Naranan, ' says she,
‘With a thousand elephants came in a procession,
That tomorrow being fixed as my wedding day,
And entered like a bull to take my hand.
That numerous priests brought water for sprinkling
From the four corners and raising Vedic chants,
Knotted the guardian string round my wrist17
That I may wed Kannan the pure. And he,
An elephant in must, took my hand in his
And we both walked around that holy fire.
Naranan caught hold of my foot and put it
With his lovely hand on the grinding—stone.
I dreamt I was smeared with sandal and saffron paste,
And the two of us taken on an elephant
Through decorated streets in a procession. 18
‘That the tears from my eyes should drown these hills,
My breasts! Does it become his greatness to kill
A woman‘s essence thus? ', she asks of clouds
She asks the clouds to tell Venkatam's Lord,
That day after day ‘I yearn that my own body
With its young breasts should clasp his body bright
My humble plea— let him enter me but one day
And wipe away my breasts' saffron, and I will live.19
‘Have a look at these breasts of mine meant
For Govinda alone, which will not look at anyone's face
But his with the fliscus in hand.', assures she.
Andal believes He alone can cure her love sickness.
‘My changed complexion, depressed mind, pale lips
And shamelessness, ‘No taste for food and sunken
Spirits will be cured when the sea—hued one crowns me
With a Chaplet of cool basil.', says she. 20
‘To the sight of that black god called Kannan
I'm an addict; Don't stand aside and mock
Me pouring acid on my wound; Take from the room
Of that great Lord to whom a woman's woe is nothing.'
‘I was caught in the net of that great Lord
Who slept on a banyan leaf; Don't drill holes in me
With a spear by saying whatever you please;
With green basil, deck my soft hair on fire! '21
‘My parrot in its cage cries, Govinda!
It wants it to be taken to Dwaraka.'
‘If through secret service now 1 can't gain
Govinda's love and quench the ardour of my breasts
What use of future penance? ' has she asked.
‘Bind my pair of innocent breasts to his shoulders
Palm tree—like so that the guilt of his betraya1
By that bondage is atoned.', demands she. 22
Why don't you, rain, come crowding and pour him
Into me so that I may embrace him
Caught for ever in my heart to adore?
Sea,0 sea, tell him who entered you,
Churned and took your nectar away,
That he entered my body as well
To stir, churn and deprive me.
Can you carry all my sorrows To Him? 23
The lord of Srirangam, where the Cauvery flows.
Has taken all my goods and now my body too!
With his lovely hair, his lovely mouth
His lovely eyes and the lovely lotus
From his belly button—‘— My husband
Has my loose bangle made me lose indeed!
He has made his possessions Now complete
With the bangle which I wore on my hand!24
Who in this world is there to console me
Unstrung and broken by that black bull
Of the cattle-yard, who lorded it over all?
Bring the nectar which never sates from his mouth:
Don't let it go dry,0 feed me with it,
And make me get well. Bind my innocent breasts
To his shoulders so that the guilt of his
Betrayal by that bondage is atoned.25
"Did you see the god who caught with his eye
in a raincloud me, poor fish, to play and twirl
And drag me along wherever he goes"?
"Did you see that mischievous wretch
Who does not know propriety, brows lovely bent
Like his own bow, his nature never consistent"?
Where else other than in Brindavan can he be?
Thus, Andal's libido met its catharsis.28
(Translation of Mr. P S Sundaram was based on.)
(7)Measured the world: Vishnu as Vamana the Dwarf bepged for three feet of around from Mahabnli the Asura Emperor, and having obtained it stretched himself into a super-colossus, measured off a." earth with one foot, the skv with another, and for the third foot due to him he put his‘ foot on Maha— Dali's head and sent him to the nether world.
Vaishnavite - the worshiper and follower of God Vishnu, who is represented by Krishna, Kesava, Narayana, Ranganatha, Kannan and Govinda
Margazhi' - Name of 9th Tamil month corresponding to Dec 15th - Jan 14th
Srivilliputhur - a town in Pandya kingdom near Mudurai. Here Andal was found and brought up.
Srirangam in Trichinopoly in Chola Kingdom is the Vaishnavite shrine, the abode of Lord Ranganatha.
Manmatha, Kama are the names of God of love in mythology
Vaikuntham. The heaven after death to Vaishnavites
Topic(s) of this poem: legends
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.