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Essay, Biography or Paragraph on “Andal” complete biography for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Andal

An the history of Tamil literature, the period between 6th and 8th Centuries glows with the ecstasies of devotional poetry. During the 6th Century, there erupted in South India a widespread Bhakti movement. These devotional poets were either Vaishnavites or Saivites. The former

group was spearheaded by three saints, Pogai Alwar, Bhutattalwar and Pey Alwar. Of the later Alwars, Vishnuchitta, known as Periya Alwar was born in Srivilliputtur in Tirunelveli district. He was pious, learned and unassuming.

Periyalwar preferred the quiet of his home town and the pleasures of his garden wherein he grew a variety of flowers for making garland to the deity in Srivilliputtur temple. He lavished particular attention on a bed of

sacred basil, Tulasi, the favourite leaf-adornment of Lord Vishnu. Into this idyllic life came an excitement of great potency. One day when, in course of his morning exertions, Periyalwar came to the bed of sacred basil, he found a female child sleeping blissfully. He felt that the child was the Lord’s gift and took her home with tender care and loving devotion named her Goda or gift from mother Earth. She was also called Naachiyar and Andal. Modern scholars place Andal’s life about the middle of seventh century.

Considering the history of Southern India, some of the Pallava kings took an interest in the Alwars and Nayanmars, the religious teachers who preached a new form of Vaisnavism and Saivism based on the Bhakti Cult. Among the Saivas were Appar (who is said to have converted Mahendra Varma from Jainism) and Manikkavacakar. Among the Vaisnavas were Nammalwar and a woman teacher, Andal. The movement aimed at preaching a popular Hinduism, in which Tamil was preferred to Sanskrit, and emphasized the role of the peripatetic teacher. Women were encouraged to participate in the congregations.

Andal grew up at a time when the Bhakti movement was at its noon-day glory. The first group of Alwars had sung of the Lord in manifold ways, and the general public fondly repeated these songs as though they were the Tamil Version of the Sanskrit Vedas, for the songs were musical, literary and above all, embedded with the wisdom of the ages. To Andal and her companions, singing the pasurams must have been a favourite pastime. Andal, in Periyalwar’s home, grew up in silent and reverential admiration of the Lord as Krishna. Since Periyalwar’s favourite godhead was the Krishna avatara. Andal too was overwhelmed by unspecified visions of Lord Krishna. His life history depicted in the Puranas became familiar to her. And soon, like her predecessors in epic and legend — Rukmini and Radha and Satyabhama — Andal too fell in love with the divine human Krishna. She was constantly thinking of Him and speaking of Him and singing of him. She had a particular interest in the garlands her foster – father daily wove for Lord Krishna in the temple. Assailed often by doubts about her own beauty – whether she was a fit bride to the most beautiful of the world, the Bhuvana Sundara or not — she would take the garlands, wear them, and survey her figure in the looking glass.

Periyalwar was a loving father. He taught his girl all the rich religious lore of our land and felt immensely happy to see her grow into an intelligent and lovely maid. To his horror, he found one day a stray curl of hair in his fresh garland which he was taking to the temple. Soon he came to know of the strange preoccupation of his daughter. He berated her, and she refrained from wearing the garlands henceforth. But the Lord appeared in his dream at night and told him that he valued the garland already used by Andal and more fresh one The foster-father related the dream to his daughter and henceforth offered his garland to her for wearing, as directed by the Lord, before taking to the temple.

While asleep Andal also dreamt of Lord Krishna –He appeared to her as bridegroom. She was thinking hereself as Gopi of Vrindaban. To qualify herself for the companionship of Sri Krishna, she underwent the hardship of vows and penances. Periyalwar misunderstoad the signs. He asked Andal to indicate the chosen person, and he would gladly celebrate the wedding. But Andal would have none of the human bondage. Her chosen bridegroom was the Lord Himself. Periyalwar grew restless,. At last, the Lord came in his dream too and assured him that He would indeed marry Andal. Periyalwar was to bring her with due ceremony to the Srirangam temple on an auspicious day. The priests of Srirangam temple were also asked to do honour to the devotees from Srivilliputtur. Andal came to the temple, entered the inner shrine and was overwhelmed by the Divine Love. She became one with Him in a flash — her physical form was dissolved in her Lord’s body.

Periyalwar had a mixed feeling of joy and sorrow. An aerial voice assured him that Andal was indeed happily married now; Periyalwar should go back to Srivilliputtur  instal the image of Andal and Ranganatha, and have temple built for them. Andal typifies the highest aspiration of the human soul towards divinity.

Among the works of the Alwars, Andal’s song have a special niche of their own. She is the solitary woman-poet of them all, and if the other Alwars are rich in wisdom and ripe in experience, Andal’s poems win by their sheer simplicity and melodic beauty. Andal, for her inspiring spiritual quest and for the realisation of her goal, she remains a great and unique figure in the whole range of Tamil poetry and holds a sovereign place in the hearts of millions of devotees to this day.

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