Today is Bhogi. Traditionally, this is the day Andal’s wedding with Rangamannar is celebrated. Other occasions Andal’s wedding is celebrated include Aadi Pooram (Andal’s appearance day), and Panguni Utthiram (Sri Mahalakshmi’s appearance day).
Andal’s wedding to Lord Krishna is unique. Amongst all of the Lord’s consorts, Andal holds a special position. Rukmini devi was kidnapped by Lord Krishna, whom she wrote a letter in order to be rescued from a loveless marriage to the wicked Sishupala. Lord Rama lifted, strung, and broke the bow of Lord Shiva, and won the hand of Sita devi at Janaka Maharaja’s svayamvara. Andal’s wedding was quite different from either of these. Andal’s devotion to Lord Krishna matured with Her singing of the Nachiyar Thirumozhi, culminating in the “Varanam aayiram” paasuram, where She tells her friend that she dreamt that She married Lord Krishna. So Andal’s wedding does not happen on the earthly plane, but Lord Krishna satisfies Her pure desire by marrying Her in Her dream. Sita devi was satisfied by Trijata’s dream of Lord Ramachandra. However, Andal’s satisfaction came from Her own dream of Lord Krishna
When Andal was taken by Her father to Sri Rangam, on the order of Lord Ranganatha, She went there, not as His bride, but as His wife. Their wedding had already occurred in the pure mind of Andal. Entering the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Ranganatha, Andal touched the Lord’s lotus feet, and vanished into a bright light, finally attaining her long desired union with Her beloved.
The following is a translation of the poetic verses of the Varanam aayiram paasuram by Sri Oopiliappan Koil Sadagopan…
“Oh my dear sakhi! I had this wonderful dream; I saw Naaranan (Sri Ranganathan), surrounded by thousands of elephants, going around Srivilliputtur. My father, Periyalvar, and the citizens of the village are ready to extend a grand welcome to Him with purna kumbhams (golden pots) placed on their heads. The whole village is decorated with toranams (streamers) to mark the festive occasion.
Andal continues describing the next scene in her dream: “Tomorrow is the day that has been fixed for the wedding; I saw a handsome young youth, who goes by the names Narasimhan, Madhavan & Govindan, enter the wedding dais, decorated with betel-nut trees, in order to participate in the niscitartha (finalization of the wedding between bride and groom) ceremony.”
“Indra and the other devas gather together and make the proposal to offer me in marriage to Lord Ranganatha. Then the sambandhis converse with each other to agree on all arrangements. Then Durga, Krishna’s sister, helps me wear the kuraippudavai (the sari worn at wedding time) and I am also decorated with exquisitely smelling flower garland.”
“Several brahmana sreshthas bring holy waters from all the four directions; brahma, Periyalvar and the sapta-rishis and vedic scholars take the water that has been purified with udakasanti mantrams and sprinkle it on my head and chant blessings for me. I see Lord Ranganatha, who stands like a sarvaanga sundaran, decorated with colorful garland. I saw in my dream, my hand and His hand being tied together with kankanam.”
“In my dream I saw many beautiful young girls, carrying mangala dipam-s which shine like the bright Sun and with golden kalasams. They were welcoming mathurai mannan (Kannan) who was walking with His sacred sandals on with the majesty and firmness that made the earth shake.”
Auspicious sounds were being played; conches were being blown; under the canopy that was decorated with low-lying pearl strands, Madhusudanan took my right hand into His and did panigrahanam; Oh dear sakhi! I saw this in my dream next.
“Chanting the vedas and reciting the appropriate mantras, the professional vaidhikaa spread the green grass surrounding the agni and placed the samit (wooden sticks) on them. Oh dear friend! I saw Kannan, who came majestically like an angry elephant, hold my right hand and circumambulate the Agni walking slowly.”
Andal describes the next part of her dream to her friend: “Narayanan, who is our protector for us in this birth and all the forthcoming births, and who is filled with kalyana gunas, held my right foot with His red-hued hands and placed it on the ammi (stone).”
“My brothers, who have attractive eye brows that look like bent bows, ignite the agni by adding samits and make me stand before the agni. They place my hands on top of the hands of Kannan (who has a majestic face like the lion’s) and put rice puffs (pori) in the agni and help me do the homam. I saw this poriyidal vaibhavam in my dream, oh sakhi!”
“I dreamt that a lot of kunkum and sandalwood were applied on our bodies, and Kannan and I were placed on top of the majestic elephant and taken in procession along the streets which had been decorated in celebration of our wedding, and then were given the holy bath with the sacred waters, oh sakhi!”
Andal, the daughter of Periyalvar, has sung these ten sacred paasurams in poetic Tamil, describing her divine dream about Kannan wedding her. Whosoever is able to learn and chant these paasurams, will be blessed with good progeny and prosperous lives with them.