Chapter 4 – The divine marriage of Sri Andal with Lord Sri Ranganathar!
Once Lord Kallazhagar from Thirumaaliruncholai came to Andal’s home in the form of a kurati (mountain gypsies) and offered to reveal Her future. Upon hearing the mother’s woes regarding her daughter’s poor health and mental state, the kurati revealed “Godhe is in love with someone! He is not an ordinary mortal Thayee! With just three steps of His, He possessed the whole world to Himself! Is His courage and valor any less? Single handedly He destroyed Lanka once! As a small child He lifted a mountain with His small finger to save the people of Gokulam from the lashing rains! He churned out the ocean to retrieve the Amrut for the devas. Even after all this, He reared cows just for His pleasure! The whole world is inside His stomach! Even then He complained of hunger to His mother and when denied butter, He stole the butter and angrily broke the butter pot! He playfully attacked and brought down the kottam of deadliest serpent Kaaliya! He is none other than the Lord Sriman Narayana! He has stolen the ‘Chittam’ of Godha now and made Her fall desperately in love with Him!!! ” The kurati further promised to Andal that Lord Ranganathar will come and take Her as His bride soon. The kurati left the house and Periyalwar was immensely assured that it was none other than Lord Himself who has visited His home.
One night Andal had a vivid dream in which the Lord came in person to marry Her. On behalf of Lord Sri Krishna, Devas have come home to ask Her hand in marriage with their Lord. With the consent the bride’s father Periyalwar, the marriage preparations have begun. The groom Lord Sri Ranganatha, has arrived with 1000 elephants in a grand manner. The Devas have arrived from the Heavens with golden pots of precious and auspicious items. Andal’s house has been decorated in a grand manner for the wedding by the devas and sprinkled with Holy waters on all four corners. With Vedic chants, the elders tie a ‘kaappu’ for Sri Andal. Amidst all auspicious settings and Vedic chants, Her Saree is worn to Her by Her Sister in Law Goddess Parvathi and The Lord Sri Ranganathar holds Her hands and She steps on the ‘ammi’. Then after the ceremonies The divine couple is made to sit on an elephant and taken for ‘Veedi ula ‘ – ceremonial rounds around the town of Srivilliputur!
Andal shared this dream of Hers with friends with great joy!
As days passed by, Periyalwar became increasingly worried about the delay of the Lord in actually reaching out to Andal. The common folks made fun of their situation mocking that Gods do not come down to marry humans. But The Lord Sri Krishna did. Knowing that He no longer can make Her wait, Sri Krishna set out with 1000 elephants and enquired about the way to Periyalwar’s house, just like what occurred in Andal’s dream. The town folks were bewildered by the beauty and grandiose of the enquiring stranger and set about thinking who this could be. The sadhus understood that the enquiring stranger is none other than The Bhagawan. Others thought this could be rich businessman and yet some thought this could be king from far off. But Periyalwar and Sri Andal instantly recognized The Bhagwan who has arrived. He knows whom He should reveal Himself to – and thus sets out to explain Himself only to them.
In a grand and auspicious setting, Periyalwar gave away Sri Andal in marriage to Lord Ranganathar. After marriage, the couple with family, set to the town of SriRangam – the hometown of the groom , thought the town folks. Little did they know even then that it was actually the Lord Ranganthar who has married Sri Andal.
As the divine couple entered the temple and sanctum sanctorum of the SriRangam temple passing through the ‘Garuda Mandapam’, ‘Sandana Mandapam’, ‘Dvayanasantana Mandapam’ and the ‘Gayathri Mandapam’ in fast strides that even the bride’s father Periyalwar could not match with the speed of their movement. Glories Glories to The Lord, the groom merged with the ‘Archavataara’ deity moorthi of Lord Ranganathar and Sri Andal followed Her Husband, The Lord, to merge with the deity moorthi too!!! All around witnessed this sight and stuck with divinity of the proceedings.
Overcome with happiness that his Lord had accepted his daughter Sri Andal and sorrow that his daughter had left him, Periyalwar returned back to Srivilliputtur and wrote thus on his divine daughter ‘Oru Magal Thannaiudayen Ulagam Nirainda Pugazhal Thirumagalpol Valarthen Senkanmaalthan Kondu Ponaan’!
(A loose interpretation of the tamil stanza above – ‘I had a daughter whom I brought like The Goddess Herself and whom the world praised – then the Lord came and took her back’). !!
An excerpt from Poojya. Poorniamji’s discourse on one of the best prayers to The Lord – Andal’s prayer for surrender to Him!!
In one of the verses Sri Andal beautifully tells the Lord “yaam vandha karyam araindhu arulelor empaaavai”
She requests the Lord to inspect the prayers that one is putting forth to the Lord, and requests him to grant the wish only if he thinks it is good and worthy for oneself. That is the prayer Sri Andal prays in front of the Lord and it is indeed the same path that all Mahatmas advocate.
Even if one sees the Lord in front of him, one should know what to ask him. In Srimad Bhagavatam, Lord Narasimha requests Sri Prahalad to ask for a boon. He requests the lord to bestow him with a boon to not have any desires to ask for any boon in all his life! Even though one cannot be like Prahalad, Sri Andal urged one and all to request for a boon at the lotus feet of the Lord and then leave it to the Almighty to grant the boon only if He thinks it is good for us. Sri Andal doesn’t stop here! In her later verse, she says -
“Chitram chiru Kaalai Vandunnai Sevithu
Un Potramaraai Adiyae Potrum Porul Kelaai”
She says that she comes to the temple early in the morning to worship the lotus feet of the lord. When she worships him, she has a prayer in her heart and earnestly requests the lord to hear it.
“petram meyththu uNNum kulaththil piRandhu nee
Kutreval engalai KoLLamal Pogaadhu”
Sri Andal made a wish to be in servitude of the lord forever and urged the lord to bestow her with the wealth of unstinted service. She pleads to the Lord that even if she had some other worldly desires, she asks him to annihilate them and direct them towards His service. That’s exactly what happens when we really decide to serve the Lord, even if we have some desires that would otherwise make us one to do something in the worldly plane, the very same desires will be directed towards serving the Lord. That munificent wish was what Sri Andal requested the Lord to grant her. She pleads him to confer this boon not for that particular birth but for all her future births!