Beginner’s guide – ANdAL

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ANdAL pAtti collects cow milk from the milkman in the early morning and brings it inside her house. After heating the milk, she gives it to vyAsa and parAsara. vyAsa and parAsara drink the milk.

parAsara: pAtti, on the other day, you said you will tell us about ANdAL later. Can you tell us now?

ANdAL pAtti: Oh, yes. I do remember telling you both. Sure, it is time that I tell you about ANdAL.

ANdAL pAtti, vyAsa and parAsara, all three sit in the lounge.

ANdAL pAtti: ANdAL was the daughter of periyAzhwAr, She was born in srIvillipuththUr, periyAzhwAr found ANdAL in the garden next to the temple near a thuLasi plant. She was born in Adi month pUram nakshathram. This days is greatly celebrated as thiruvAdippUram. Along with regular food periyAzhwAr also fed ANdAL with devotion towards perumAL.

vyAsa: Oh, that is nice pAtti. is it like you are teaching us now?

ANdAL pAtti: Yes. Infact more than this. Because periyAzhwAr was engaged in kainkaryam fully, he would always explain to her all the different wonderful aspects about kainkaryam to perumAL. And due to that even at a tender age of 5 years, she started dreaming that  perumAL would marry him and she would serve him.

parAsara: Oh. What was his main kainkaryam pAtti?

ANdAL pAtti: His main kainkaryam was to maintain the temple garden and prepare nice garlands for perumAL every day. He would make nice garlands, keep them at home, do his routines and then while going to temple, he would carry the garlands with him and offer the same to perumAL. While he was keeping the garland at home, ANdAL would put it on and see if she looks nice in that and imagine that perumAL looks at her with the garland with great love.

vyAsa: So, periyAzhwAr did not know this at all?

ANdAL pAtti: Yes. For many days, he did not know this. perumAL was also accepting the garlands with great joy since they were worn by ANdAL who is very dear to him. But one day, periyAzhwAr prepared a garland, kept it at home and went out. ANdAL as usual wore it on herself. Later, periyAzhwAr took it to the temple, but a string of hair was found in the garland and he brought it back to his home. He realized that his daughter might have worn it, so he prepared a new garland and took it back to the temple. perumAL refused the accept the new garland and asked for the one worn by ANdAL. periyAzhwAr understood the depth of bhakti of his daughter and the love of perumAL for her and came back with the garland worn by ANdAL. perumAL accepted it with great joy.

vyAsa and parAsara stood mesmerized listening about ANdAL and her love towards perumAL.

vyAsa: What happened after that?

ANdAL pAtti: ANdAL‘s devotion for perumAL increased very much day by day. At a very tender age, she rendered thiruppAvai and nAchiyar thirumozhi. During the month of mArgazhi, thiruppAvai is recited in all homes and temples. Finally, periya perumAL asked periyAzhwAr to bring her to srIrangam to accept her in marriage. periyAzhwAr happily arrived at srIrangam with ANdAL in a great procession. ANdAL went straight in to  periya perumAL sannidhi and  perumAL accepted her in marriage and she returned to paramapadham.

parAsara: She returned means? Was she originally from paramapadham?

ANdAL pAtti: Yes. She was bhUmi dhEvi herself. Unlike other AzhwArs who are from this world and were blessed by perumAL to become AzhwArs, ANdAL descended from parampadham to guide us in the path of devotion. Once her job was done, she returned to paramapadham.

parAsara: Oh, very nice to know pAtti. That is so kind of her.

ANdAL pAtti: Very good. Now, you both need to learn and practice thiruppAvai, so that you too can recite them during mArgazhi month which is arriving soon.

vyAsa and parAsara: Sure pAtti, let us start it right now.

ANdAL pAtti starts teaching them and the boys learn it very eagerly.

Author: jayakrishNan rAmAnuja dAsan, Edited by: sArathy rAmanuja dAsan

5 thoughts on “Beginner’s guide – ANdAL”

  1. Please let us know if this statement is really correct: “ANdAL pAtti: Yes. She was bhUmi dhEvi herself. Unlike other AzhwArs who are from this world and were blessed by perumAL to become AzhwArs, ANdAL descended from parampadham to guide us in the path of devotion.” I ask this because I had the understanding that all the alwaars are teh different paraphernalia and associates of the Lord. For eg. Thirumangai alwaar is Lord’s Sarangam. Please check and let us know. Thank you.

    • AzhwArs are “glorified” as amSams of nithyasUris. But in truth, our AchAryas have established clearly and in detail that nammAzhwAr was a samsAri (before) who was the target of emperumAn’s nirhEthuka krupA (unconditional grace). What is said for nammAzhwAr is applicable for other AzhwArs too. This is established by their own words in various dhivya prabandhams. nampiLLai’s eedu vyAkyAnam introduction ( azhagiya maNavALap perumL nAyanAr too explains this principle in great detail in AchArya hrudhayam. So, AzhwArs are glorified like that based on how emperumAn transformed them.

      But ANdAL, is different. She is bhUdhEvi herself, an eternal consort of emperumAn in paramapadham who descended to care for her children. This is also clearly established by our AchAryas. mAmunigaL also glorifies her in upadhESa raththina mAlai 22nd pAsuram (

      Hope this helps clarifying the issue.

      adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan


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