Tiruppavai describes the ritual of the Gopis’ vow in the month of Marghazhi when they get up early, bathe and go to Krishna’s house to wake Him and seek boons from Him. In verses 6 to 15, the girls who are still asleep are woken up, and even chided for being late. The signs of daybreak are vividly described. The skies are brightening up fast. The birds have begun to search for their daily food. Is it not time to get up and finish the ablutions so that they could get immersed in the experience of Krishna?

The girls in Ayarpadi long to be in Krishna’s company always and have a strong preference to sing His praises. But Andal makes it clear that this same Krishna is also Rama and Narasimha, and in fact is the very Supreme Truth manifesting in the Para, Vyuha, Vibhava, Archa and Antaryami forms as well, pointed out Sri K. B. Devarajan in a discourse. Andal talks of the Lord’s anger against the wicked Ravana of Lanka who had abducted Sita by force and cunning. She eulogises Rama’s auspicious qualities that are exceptionally pleasant to one and all. Some interpreters see an allusion to Narasimha avatar in this context when His anger burst forth against the heartless Hiranyakasipu’s attempts to kill the child devotee Prahlada. There is yet another reading that attributes the anger to Krishna who killed Kamsa.

Andal then sings about Krishna’s killing of Bakasura who came in the form of a bird to attack them. But in the very next line, she talks of the killing of the rakshasa that won for Him undying fame. This could refer to Rama and Narasimha as well.

It is interesting to note that the deity in Srirangam is identified by Tondaradipodi Azhwar as Ayodhya’s Lord Rama; while Thiruppanazhwar sees the same deity as Krishna. Individual interpretations and preferences may lean towards Rama or Krishna but ultimately the truth of the Supreme Lord is hailed.

Andal teaches the ways to experience God. There is no end to the Lord’s glory, and His incarnations provide a rich fare in which the devout get immersed as did the Azhwars.

The thought that the Lord is always with us rids us of fear during our journey towards salvation.

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