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A Saint who married God through her worship: Andal - Goda Devi

Updated on April 20, 2016
Venkatachari M profile image

Venkatachari is a spiritual minded Hindu, aged 63 years. He values morals, ethics, traditions and believes in God. A positive minded person.

Andal ( Goda Devi )

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Significance of Andal's birth

Goda Devi or Andal was the only female Alwar of the 12 Alwars of Sri Vaishnava sampradaya in South Indian Hindu Religion. She took birth around 3000 BCE and merged with God after her marriage with Him. She is believed to be the incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Earth just like Sita in Ramayan. She took birth as a human being to help people in solving their worldly problems and save them from evil deeds and bad thoughts and to lead them towards self-realization and spirituality so that they can live happily and attain moksha. Unlike Lord Sri Krishna, who always portrayed himself as a God and Saviour even in his human form by preaching Bhagavad Gita, Andal lived the actual life of a human being and showed people the path by herself becoming an example to them in reaching God.

Andal's Birth and childhood

Andal is said to have made her first appearance as a baby in the garden of a temple in Srivilliputtur under a Tulasi plant (known as holy basil) when another Alwar known as Vishnu Chitta was digging there for seasoning the soil. He considered it as God's grace and took the baby and grew her up in his house within that temple premises of Srivilliputtur. As Vishnu Chitta (also known as Periyalwar) was a great saint, he used to worship God in that temple by treating Him as his own son and doing every service since early morning to night with great love and affection. Naturally, that girl also learnt all those habits and developed an intimate attachment to God.

Location map for Srivilliputtur & Srirangam

show route and directions
A markersrivilliputtur -
Srivilliputhur, Tamil Nadu, India
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Birthplace of Andal

B markerSriranganathaswamy temple, srirangam, Trichy- 620006 -
Srirangam, Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu 620006
get directions

Andal married God Vishnu in the form of Sri Ranganathaswamy in Srirangam Temple.

Andal's attachment with God

As she began growing into teenage, Andal developed great attachment and longing for God. She used to think of Him throughout the day and talk about His beauty and glories and everything about Him. She began craving for Him very deeply. She used to wear herself the flower garlands prepared by her father for offering to God to see whether they are good and suitable to God. She used to see in the mirror and admire herself before offering them to God. One day, her father witnessed this and grew angry at her and threw the garland into dust bin and prepared fresh garland for God. But God appeared to him in a dream and asked him to bring only the garlands worn by his daughter as they are the true garlands offered with pure devotion and love. Then, Vishnu Chitta began knowing about her true love and attachment towards God. Andal began realising that she loves God and wants to marry Him and nobody else.

Andal

Andal looking into mirror
Andal looking into mirror
Andal's life incidents
Andal's life incidents

Tiruppavai & Dhanurmasa vratam

Andal comes to know of the method of Vrat or keeping austerity and fast by Gopis to attain Srikrishna. She also wants to possess the blessings of God and marry Him. So, she performs the vratam of Dhanurmasa during the 30 days period of the entry of sun in the Dhanur Rasi or Sagittarius till his entrance to Makar Rashi or Cancer. This period is considered as very much auspicious and liked by God as all angels worship him during this period (Margashirsha masa or month). This period generally falls during 16th December to 14th January each year. The last day is known as Makar Sankranti. Andal decides to keep fast all these 30 days and she composes hymns daily to worship Him with one hymn daily. These 30 hymns are known as Tiruppavai. God Vishnu gets pleased with her humble and sincere worship, dedication, and love. So He decides to grant her wish of marrying Him.

Srirangam Ranganathaswamy Temple

Srirangam temple entrance
Srirangam temple entrance | Source
Pillars in the Temple
Pillars in the Temple | Source

Andal's marriage with God, Sri Ranganathaswamy

On completion of the Tiruppavai & Dhanurmasa Vrat of Andal, God one night appears in the dream of her father Vishnu Chitta and asks him to come to Srirangam Temple along with his daughter. Then God tells his temple priests at Srirangam to bring Andal and her father with a full welcome to His abode by appearing in their dreams also. Immediately, the priests bring Andal fully decorated as a bride along with her father to the temple. Andal enters the sanctum sanctorum and the wedding ceremony takes place with full rituals by positioning Andal by the side of God. After the ceremony is completed, Andal also transforms herself into an idol to stay with God forever in that temple.

Srirangam Temple decoration & celebrations

Andal's message to humanity

Through her own way of life, Andal or Goda Devi showed the people how to possess God's grace with a true longing or desire, pure love, and devotion for Him.

  • She emphasized the need that each person should submit himself or herself before God like a lover. They should realise their soul wants union with the supreme soul of God.
  • He or she should surrender themselves to God and think and believe that God is the only way of their life. He is there to save them from all problems of their life.
  • In her hymns, Andal has incorporated all the essence of four Vedas, Puranas and all spiritual knowledge about God. Even though the hymns in Tiruppavai are only 30 in number, they contain the full knowledge of God's essence and means of attaining Him.

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    • Venkatachari M profile image
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      Venkatachari M 7 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      You are a blessed one to feel like that, Missy. It is a great virtue to desire God like that with some pure and innocent heart. I admire that feeling of yours and value your personality. I wish you get His grace and blessings always.

      Thank you for this nice and wonderful comment here.

    • Missy Smith profile image

      Missy Smith 7 months ago from Florida

      The Hindu religion has very interesting stories to tell. You told this one very well, Venkat. I believe I even related to it somewhat.

      When I was about 10, maybe a little older, I remember having a real desire to be Catholic, so I could be a nun. I was a very shy child, and back then God was probably my only true friend. I have always spoken with him often, but never reveal to others that I do. To this day, I still have a desire to give myself up totally to God that way. It's always been an interesting lifestyle to me; a purity of one with the master of all. It's really beautiful, and I think that's how I see your character in similarity to the nuns. They have only the desire to live and worship him. :)

    • Venkatachari M profile image
      Author

      Venkatachari M 19 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      Thank you, Phyllis. I didn't expect so soon a visit to my hub. She has been a great devotee and a great poet also. She was married to God in the end.

      Thanks for your visit and nice comment.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 19 months ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Such a lovely story of Andal. Her sincere devotion to God is very admirable and beautiful. I really like your photos and enjoyed learning about Andal. Thank you, Venkatachari, for sharing this story of a beautiful life with God.

    • Venkatachari M profile image
      Author

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Thank you, Lee, for your visit and comments.

    • profile image

      Lee Cloak 2 years ago

      A great hub, very very interesting, many thanks for sharing, Lee

    • Venkatachari M profile image
      Author

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Glad to see your worthy feedback. I read about Meera Bai also. She was also a great saint like Andal. But she is not regarded as God. She remained to be a great devotee who experienced God. Andal is regarded as Goddess Lakshmi taken birth to restore faith in God and to show the way practically to reach God.

      This is our Pongal month and I took the opportunity to bring forth her greatness to our viewers. Her marriage day is celebrated as Bhogi on 13th January each year.

      Thanks for your visit and nice comment.

    • Harishprasad profile image

      Harish Mamgain 2 years ago from India

      A great hub about a great saint and Goddess known as Sri Goda Devi or Sri Andal ! I had read stories of some alwars who were such great saints, one of them offered his own eyes to God. I was not aware that Sri Andal is one of them. In North India, we know a great saint by the name of Meera Bai who took the same path as Sri Andal did. Meera Bai also married God,but like Sri Andal she didn 't become a Goddess.

      Sri Andal 's life and Tiruppvai are two that are testimony to the unmatched worship of God. Though, I am finished with the fantastic read of this great and enlightening hub, flashes of Sri Andal with a flower garland in her delicate hands keep arising in my mind. You have brought forth a beautiful piece. Thank you.

    • Venkatachari M profile image
      Author

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Yes, Dana Tate. It is pure, unconditional and unselfish spiritual love that pleases God and grants bliss.

      Thank you for your visit and nice comment.

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 2 years ago from LOS ANGELES

      I understand her love for God like a "lover's love" it is pure, perfect and uncomplicated. Love for God is surreal in it's comparison to the way we love each other. They're no comparison's . Thank you for this enjoyable read.

    • Venkatachari M profile image
      Author

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Thank you Devika for your visit and nice comment. This is our month of Dhanurmasam (Pongal). So I thought of sharing this great story of God's worship.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      A very interesting insight to this different topic. I enjoyed reading about something new from you.

    • Venkatachari M profile image
      Author

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      You are welcome Alicia, and thanks for the nice comment.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is very interesting. I love learning about other people's beliefs and traditions. Thanks for sharing the information.

    • Venkatachari M profile image
      Author

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Thanks for your visit and leaving a nice comment. I got inspired by this and wanted to share with all my fellow hubbers.

    • word55 profile image

      Word 2 years ago from Chicago

      This was a great read. The love for God is a beautiful thing. Jehovah gives us His hedge of covering as we worship and glorify Him as men and women especially in marriage. Thank you Venkatachari M, for sharing such honor for God.

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