Every month has its own significance and divinity for people in the country to celebrate. When looking at the significance of the month of “Margazhi”, it is undoubtedly nothing but “Kothai” more popularly known as “Andal” and her significant literature on Lord Shri Vishnu which is a set of 30 pasurams (hymns) called “Thiruppavai” .
Andal is one among the 12 Alwars in the ancient south India, who dedicated themselves in their Bhakthi towards Shri Vishnu. (Vaishnavam)
Birth and Earlier life:
Kothai, who is considered to be a reincarnation of Bhumi Devi ( Mahalakshmi ) was discovered by Periazhwar, under a Thulsi plant of the temple garden in Srivilliputhur. He named her as “Kothai” which means a beautiful garland. As the daughter of Periazhwar, Kothai grew up with excellent knowledge and Bhakthi towards Lord Krishna like her father.
Her love towards Krishna:
As she grew older her Bhakthi and devotion towards Lord Krishna enhanced day by day. She experienced pure love and bliss in chanting the name , and thinking of Lord Krishna. She visualized herself as Gopikas who were with Krishna and lived with his thoughts each and every second. For her everything that appeared in front of her eyes were Krishna.
An important incident in her life made Periazhwar realize her unconditional love and bhakthi towards Lord Krishna. At her younger age, out of her pure and innocent love , Kothai dressed herself like a bride and wore the garland that was made by her father for Lord Vishnu. Kothai felt the immense bliss of wearing the garland which was made for Lord Vishnu and had great happiness that the same will decorate the shoulders off Lord Vishnu. Without knowing these incidents when Periazhwar took the garland to the temple and noticed a strand of Kothai’s hair in it, he took the garland back to Kothai condemning her act of love. But the miracle there was Lord Vishnu on the other hand refused to wear the new garland made by Periazhwar and insisted that He wanted only the garland which had been worn by Kothai. This incident symbolizes the true love of Kothai and she was referred as “Soodi Kodutha Sudarkodi”
Kothai – A symbol of Love and Bhakthi
Kothai developed desires to marry lord Krishna as she had unconditional and divine love towards him right from her young age. The manner in which she pursued her dreams to marry was totally different. On the month of Margazhi , she practiced “Paavai Nonbu” for a period of 30 days , recited “Thiruppavai” , a set of 30 pasurams and offered her prayers to marry Lord Vishnu. By giving us these literature, Kothai sets a glaring example for women today, and have shown this divine path through which we try to attend our dreams.
By practicing Pavai Nonbu , a women gives away consumption of many food items including Milk , Ghee etc. Such women cannot wear flowers during the period and will not beautify herself. She also needs to wake up early in the morning, and recite Thiruppavai and offers prayers. By forgoing all their personal interests and offering prayers in such a manner adds more power to the same.
Kothai – As an ancient poet and scholar:
It is very pertinent to note that, in our ancient age she was one among the 12 Azhwars and the only Female Azhwar. This vividly shows the high status of women lived in the ancient society and the recognition given to them as there was no difference between men and women existed in offering Bhakthi to God.
Her first work is the Thiruppavai, a collection of 30 verses in which was a pure dedication for her love towards Lord Krishna. In Thiruppavai, kothai visualizes herself to be a Gopika, and expressed her unconditional devotion to Lord Krishna. In these verses, she describes her yearning to serve Lord Vishnu and achieve happiness not just in this lifetime, but for all eternity.
Next comes the Nachiar Thirumozhi, a poem comprising 143 verses. This poem fully reveals Kothai’s divine love towards Vishnu.
Significance of Thiruppavai:
Thiruppvai is not mere songs that offer prayer towards Lord Vishnu but is a treasure that belongs to our Hindu culture and Heritage which should be praised with great pride.
Apart from expressing Kothai’s desire to attain her dreams of marrying Lord Vishnu, this literature enlightens us on our glorious philosophical, moral and ethical principles of life. It highlights the meaning and pure love and glorifies the significance of Bhakthi. It teaches the art of pursuing one’s dreams with complete dedication towards the same. The base line of this literature apart from Kothai’s Bhakthi towards Lord Vishnu is “Devotion and Dedication towards pursuing one’s dreams”.
Another wonder about this literature is the Kothai’s vision and the science involved in her literature. In simple poems, just by using few beautiful words, she explained many scientific concepts which are explained today by hundreds of books and theories. One among such significant poems is “Azhi Mazhai Kanna ” which is as follows :
“Aazhi Mazhaik kanna ondru nee kai karavel
Aazhi ullpukku mugandhu kodaarththeri
Oozhi mudalvan uruvam pol mey karuthu
Paazhiyan tholudai p padmanabhan kaiyyil
Aazhi pol minni valampuri pol nindr adhirndhu
Thazhadhe sarngam udiatha saramazhai p pol
Vazha ulaginil peydhidaay nangalum
Margazhi neerada magizhndelor empavai.”
In the above poem she explains about the science behind lightning and thunder as follows:
“ The Lord is going deep into the ocean, taking the water and rising high in the sky to deposit it in the magnificent black clouds to which in turn will precipitate into rain. His mighty and handsome shoulders are compared to the clouds. The sound of thunder to the sounds from His Conch (Valampuri Sangu) and the lightning is compared to the shine on the Lord’s Disc (Aazhi – Chakra). The resulting heavy rain is compared to the stream of arrows issuing out of the Lord’s Bow (Sarngam). Timely and adequate rain is referred to as the precursor of many gains and prosperity and the Lord Padmanabha as the master of that phenomena is offered prayers seeking that bountiful rain for the welfare of the devotees and all beings on earth.
From the fact that she gathered all the young women to form part of her worship, it is very evident that she wanted to share the bliss that she has experienced in chanting the prayers should reach others as well.
Thiruppavai is referred as “Vedam anaithirkum Vithagum Kothai Tamizh” which means this forms the base or rather the essence of all the Vedas. Apart from Margazhi, “Thiruppavai” is the only set of hymns which can be recited on all other months.
In the month of Margazhi, let us celebrate the divinity through chanting “Thiruppavai” which is offered by our mother heritage with great pride.