Andal is a revered saint amongst the worshippers of the Lord Vishnu. It is believed she was an incarnation of the Goddess Lakshmi herself. Her story goes thus: Her adoptive father was a devotee of the Lord, and found her as a baby as he was about his morning routine of plucking fresh flowers to string a garland for the Lord. As Andal grew up hearing the tales of the Lord, she was completely besotted with Him. And one fine day, she tried on the garland her father had set aside, admired herself in the mirror and returned it to whence it came. While considered a form of blasphemy to enjoy what was made for the Lord, it is believed that the Lord loved Andal so, and in fact, favoured garlands worn by her. In time, she became one with the Lord, but not before she bestowed upon us a glorious collection of hymns that are sung to this day.
When the ringing sounds of Suprabatham are replaced by the lilting tunes of the Thiruppavai atop the Seven Hills, you’ll know that Margazhi is upon us.
The story of Kodhai, or Andal as she is better known, is a tale of love, respect and romance. And that we rejoice her union with God and play out her life for one month of every year, is a testament to the power of prayer. The Thiruppavai, written by her, is a set of 30 lyrical songs that talk about the cardinal principles of dharma – the path to salvation. The unique nature of these songs stem from the fact that they are not all about the Lord, but the playful yet significant tidings of everyday life.
By expounding the nature of something as simple as making a kolam, or taking a bath in the wee hours, she tells us that you can find salvation even in the small things. (A gentle reminder that life is made of micro-moments.) For the more spiritual among us, there are markers that indicate this is a time for balance and stability. Just as a planted seed grows slower in this season, our life force is also believed to come to an idling halt, a state of high inertia. Essentially, science and nature come together to re-energize us, just in time for the new year.
As the festivities begin, celebration and pomp through the fine arts are considered the ultimate show of faith and devotion. Music and dance are the highlights of this month, but theatre aficionados also have more to enjoy this season! So, if you find yourself with some time to spare on a cool Thursday evening, it might just be time to step out of your home, and jump into the world of Krishna, that Kodhai so lovingly built for us all to enjoy.
Some of the shows you won’t want to miss this season are: ● 3/12/18 – Narada Gana Sabha – Sridevi Nrithyalaya presents Srinivasa Kalyanam Dance Drama ● 9/12/18 – Narada Gana Sabha – Ranjani Gayathri, H.N. Bhaskar, K.V. Gopalakrishnan – Vocal Concert ● 16/12/18 – RK Convention Centre – Sudha Raghuraman followed by TV Sankaranarayan – Vocal Concert ● 22/12/18 – Sivagami Pethachi Auditorium – Malavika Sarukkai – Bharathanatyam ● 24/12/18 – Sivagami Pethachi Auditorium – Chitra Visweswaran & Chidambaram Dance Company present ‘Skandam’ – Bharathanatyam.