CHENNAI: The purpose of sacred texts is to sensitise humanity to goals that are higher and far superior to worldly pursuits that preoccupy most of the lifetime of many. Lord Krishna and Andal incarnated to lead exemplary lives and thereby teach people the way to salvation through their lives and works. The Bhagavad Gita is a philosophically rich text that was taught to Arjuna in the battlefield; whereas Andal sings the glory of the Lord in the stance of a devotee to inculcate in the common man the desire to seek God in all sincerity, pointed out Sri M. V. Anantapadmanabhachariar in a lecture.

While practice of Karma, Jnana and Bhakti are shown to be efficacious in the path to salvation, the Bhakti Bhava is not easy to attain and demands absolute sincerity and humility. Much emphasis is laid on the oneness in thought, word and deed. Hence, a devotee’s prayers have to spring from the heart. Lord Krishna speaks highly of the truly devout who seek Him with unconditional faith and asserts that these people are very dear to Him. Believed to be an incarnation of Bhu Devi, Andal’s life and works provide valuable guidelines to the practice of Bhakti. In the Thiruppavai, a poem of 30 verses in Tamil, Andal recreates the Ayarpadi of Lord Krishna’s youth and her yearning for the Lord is symbolic of the Jivatma’s longing for the Paramatma.

The act of waking up the young women in the morning to sing the Lord’s praises is the wake-up call to cultivate devotion. The verses highlight the glory of the Supreme Lord and entreat the Jivatmas to seek salvation by taking refuge in Him. The name Narayana can alone give salvation. That the Lord is the means for the spiritual quest and also the end to be attained is clearly shown in this work.

Andal’s plea shifts from the material (the items that were to be used for the Nonbu undertaken during the month of Marghazhi) to the spiritual when she wishes for God’s grace that can confer the best fortune of eternal service to Him, not merely in this birth but for all time. Once this realisation is fixed clearly in one’s consciousness the path of devotion automatically becomes easy.