Andal-The Poet , The Saint , The Goddess

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There is so much written and spoken about Andal and her poetry that it almost feels pointless for me to put these words down

Her second and the last work Naachiar Tirumozhi (the sacred songs of the lady) is a set of fourteen poems (Paasurams) in which she speaks at length using strong and passionate emotive language filled with depth charged metonyms and beautiful imagery about her spiritual and sexual congress with lord. In these fourteen poems she questions all moral and societal boundaries. This was not ordinary bhakti poetry. These were not poems about submission or surrender.

Instead they had energy ,passion and sometimes violence . She chides and shames god many times for neglecting her. She warns him and asks him what the world will think of him for causing her such agony.

She asks various dhootas (messengers)- the lord’s son Kamadeva, lord’s conch , the dark monsoon clouds, kuyil birds ,Garuda and her own father, to ferry her message and bring her lover to her .
Hers was not just just poetry of her soul,spirit or mind but it also rooted firmly on her body and desires of the body.
Probably this is why her work has been considered as “Transgressive” by many for a long time and was never discussed publicly and was never given the due it deserves.. But was it really trangressive ? Was it considered trangressive in her times ? Or is it our collective ideas of morality and purity that have decayed over centuries?

She was only fourteen when she wrote them and she probably didn’t even know that she was doing something radical. What she was doing though was being absolutely honest about her innermost feelings and express them so beautifully in her work and probably that’s how her work should be viewed.

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Untitled trans
Nachchiyar Thirumozhi #7 KaruppUram nARumO -Tamizh

uNbadhu sollil ulagaLandhAn vAy amudham
kaNpadai koLLil kadalvaNNan kaiththalaththE ||
peNpadaiyAr un mEl perum pUsal sARRuginRAr
paNpala seyginRAy pAnjchasanniyamE ||

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Nachchiyar Thirumozhi #7 KaruppUram nARumO -English

Thanks for reading!

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