What is Andal Jayanthi?
Andal was one among the twelve Alwars. The Alwars were a group of saints who were ardent devotees of Lord Vishnu. Andal became a goddess after her union with Vishnu. The birthday of Andal is celebrated as Andal Jayanthi. Andal was known for the great love she felt for Lord Vishnu. She felt that he pervaded all aspects of the world. Her faith was such that he was moved to seek her as his consort. Andal Jayanthi is also known as Aadi Pooram after the Pooram (Purvaphalguni nakshatra) star day in the Tamil month of Aadi (the month when various aspects of Shakti are worshipped). This star represents the energy of the planet, Venus. The archetype who embodies this energy is Goddess Lakshmi. It is believed that Lakshmi incarnated as Andal in the household of a Vishnu devotee on this day.
Andal Jayanthi – Celebrating a divine love
Andal’s deep love for Lord Vishnu is expressed in her soulful compositions which fuse religion and poetry. The Thiruppavai has 30 verses and the Nacciyar Tirumoli, 143 verses. In the Thiruppavai, she describes her Lord as Krishna, Rama, Hari, Govinda, Narayana, and Vishnu and declares that none can sever the bond between mankind and the Lord. The second composition is full of her yearning for the Lord and describes all that she does to become one with him.
Mythology behind Andal Jayanthi
At the age of fifteen, Andal had expressed her yearning for Lord Ranganathar, who is the presiding deity in Srirangam, one of the most renowned Vaishnava temples in Tamil Nadu. She took a vow to marry Him and no one else. It is said that one day, Andal’s father had a dream in which the Lord instructed him to bring Andal to the temple of Srirangam, decked up as a bride. Simultaneously, the priests at the Srirangam temple too had a vision of the Lord asking them to make arrangements to welcome Andal. Andal, dressed as a bride, arrived at the temple. Then, to everyone’s awe and astonishment, she turned into a bright light before their very eyes and merged with Vishnu in the sanctum sanctorum. Since then, shrines to the couple Andal and Ranganathar, have come up in the village temple of Srivilliputtur.