Father to the Universal Mother: Sri Periya Azhwar (Part II)
(Continued from The tale of the ‘one who had his mind fixed always on the Lord’…Sri Vishnuchitta )
Sri Andal, our universal mother, the one whose compassion flows constantly too was born and as in the case of Bhumadevi Taiyar in the Oppliappan Vaibhavam had to also get satsangam. As many great scholars have said, even if Mother Lakshmi were to come to the earth she would require satsangam, and true the beauty of satsangam is what even Godha Devi preached. All together reach the divine feet of the lord. We are one family and the family that prays together stays together in happiness.
If the mother of the universe had to choose a father, it had to be someone of that stature. He would a person who would eventually become the FATHER-IN-LAW to the Creator of creators, to the cause of all causes, to the existence of existence, to the father of the universe. This is the stature of who Periya Azhwar was. Periya not just because of his relation to Sri Ranganathan but also by his deeds that the mother of the universe decided she would call him appa.
Adi Pooram was the day in the nandanavanam, As usual one day while Perialwar was performing “Kainkaryam” in his Nandavanam in the early morning; there was a big lightning and spark seen in his Tulasivanam. On seeing this, Perialwar immediately approaches the Tulasivanam, and to his pleasant surprise and dismay, he finds a beautiful small baby girl at the Tulasivanam. It was in the Nala Year, month of Adi, on Tuesday in the Shuklapaksha Chathurthi in Pura Nashatram, Bhoomipiratti took birth.
Delighted with this boon which the Lord bestowed upon him Perialwar realizes: since he is devoid of having children, it is the Lord who has given this child and considers it as a divine gift. He immediately takes the child inside the hands over to his wife “Vrajai”. The couple bring up the child with all worldly and pleasures and comforts. They name her as “Kodhai” which means, “a girl baby dearly and heartily loved and liked’ and also “a girl having beautiful curly hair”.
From the age of five, Kodhai starts helping her father by going to the Nandavanam and making colourful garlands for Lord Ranganadhar. She goes with small containers to feed water to all the trees and plants in the Nandavanam along with her father. Also whatever she is capable and able to do to help her father in this activity.
Sri Goda devi is instructed and taught by her father about the lord about Vatapatrasayee and this delights the little girl. Her urge to marry the lord increases. Her father made the garlands and now Goda did it for him. He would take the garland to the lord. In her love for the lord she wishes to see if the garland she makes is perfect and therefore innocently wears the garland daily and then gives it to her father. When this incident is noticed by Periyazhwar he is upset and does not take the garland. Sri Goda is extremely unhappy but to her delight her father comes running saying that the lord wanted her garland (the bhattacharya swami in the temple is told by the lord that he wanted that garland), her love for the lord of srirangam grows a thousand bounds.
The nourishment of divinity comes from the companions you carry, even for the mother of all this nourishment was required and this nourishment came from none other than her father. It is noteworthy that even when her own mother got enraged with the world saying that Sri Andal had gone mad, Sri Periyazhwar did not stop his daughter because he genuinely knew that the lord would come for any devotee of his and that she was a divine soul.
He would teach her the tales of Sri Krishna and tell her stories from the avatars of perumal. He would spend time inculcating and developing the love for perumal in his daughter. Like any father he too was worried for his daughter with most of the world not understanding the emotional and mental state of the child. The world is too fickle to understand the level of great souls; it has to be a great soul who recognises another and here what better it was a father-daughter relationship.
It can be undoubtedly said that it was the upbringing of Sri Periya Azhwar which made Andal who she was, she is the mother of the universe but as a avatarm it has to be credited that our acharya was the one who induced the love for Perumal in his daughter and that is seen in the way Sri Andal presents her verses of love. It is further justified as Sri Andal herself in her pasurams Varanam Aiyram says that she was born to a great devotee and gentleman like her father and therefore the lord must come and perform all the rituals of a marriage and take her and cannot come like for Rukmini Taiyar, it’s a strong statement which platforms the greatness of Sri Periya Azhwar.
The worry of the father would remain, even if he knows his daughter is divine and so was with our Azhwar, he knew the Lord would come, how, when and where pondered always on his mind. So was it on that sunny day as Sri Azhwar sat the footsteps of his house pondering on the Lord when he notices a procession of royalty and utter brilliance march on in glee and joy towards his small house…this day would change everything in the life of the Azhwar…and for Srivilliputhur as well. The Lord is every benevolent and Sri Vathapathrasayee of Srivilliputhur has granted Sri Periya Azhwar and his daughter what they had asked for….
(to be continued..)