Faith

Andal’s sister-in-law

Vasudeva takes Krishna to Gokula while everyone is asleep. He picks up the girl born to Yasoda, leaves Krishna beside Yasoda, and departs for Mathura. When Vasudeva had to take Krishna to Gokula, the chains binding him had fallen off. When he returned to the prison, the chains automatically bound him again. There is a symbolic message here, said V.S. Karunakarachariar in a discourse. When the Lord is with us, the bonds of samsara can be broken easily. When He is not with us, we remain bound by worldly ties.

As soon as Vasudeva gets back, the sleeping guards wake up; the baby cries, and Kamsa is informed about the birth of the child. Devaki begs Kamsa not to harm the child, for it is not a male child as had been predicted. But Kamsa picks up the child by its legs, ready to smash its head. The child escapes from his hands, goes up, and says, “I can kill you easily, but I never kill anyone who has held my feet. So I am sparing your life. The One who will kill you is safe. Stop torturing gentle people like Vasudeva and Devaki.” The child up in the sky transforms into eight-armed Durga, seated on a lion. Because Durga, who is the Lord’s Yoga maya, protected Him when He took the Krishna avatara, there is a separate shrine for her in the Thirukkovilur temple. Thirumangai Azhvar, while singing of this temple, praises this Durga too. Because Durga was born to Yasoda, Krishna’s foster mother, she was Krishna’s sister. Andal speaks of her as her sister-in-law! Because Yoga Maya went up to the sky (antariksha), Andal refers to her as antari. It is the tradition for the groom’s sister to help the bride drape the wedding saree. Andal dreams of her marriage to Krishna, and she says that in that dream, she saw antari (Durga) help her wear the wedding saree!


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Printable version | Jul 29, 2021 11:45:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/andals-sister-in-law/article34870888.ece

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