Saint Andal also known as Nachiar and also as Kodhai was the daughter of Vishnu Chitta alias Nammazhwar of Srivilliputtur. She is one of the most important saints of Sri Vaishnavism. At an early age she well in love with Lord Krishna and because she used to wear the garlands meant for the deity before it is worn by the God, she was also called Chudi Kodutha Chudar Kodi. People believed that she was an avathara (incarnation) of Bhooma Devi. At the end of her life she left her ethereal body and mingled with her Lord.
Her most important poetic work is Thiruppavai. This extols the virtues of Lord Krishna and requests him for help and guidance in the worship of Goddess Pavai. The worship of this Goddess was very common in Tamil Nadu since ancient times. The worship was done by unmarried girls. They all used to take bath in the rivers daily early in the dawn, in the month of Margazhi(December-January) and worship the goddess by dance and music and observe very strict penance during the day.This it was believed would get them good husbands and would lead to a very happy married life. On each day one of the hymns are being sung during this month even today.
Her poetic works reveal her Nayaki-Nayaka bhava (Heroine-Hero feeling) and absolute surrender to the God. Surrender being the bed rock principle on which Sri Vaishnavism rested , she was revered very much. Her sentiments expressed in her pasurams(poems to God) found an immediate echo in the common man’s mind. Sri Ramanuja who was possibly the greatest saint –philosopher of Sri Vaishnavism , extolled her Bhakthi and sang all the thirty Thiruppavai pasurams every day. Because of that he was called Thiruppavai Azhwar.Also there is a practice to this day among Sri Vaishnavas that during the Poojas of God in any of their temples the last two stanzas of Thiruppavai are sung .It is also interesting to know that these two stanzas are also recited in Tamil during coronation of the kings of Thailand (Rama dynasty).
There are very many translations and commentaries available in English of Thiruppavai. But As far as I am aware no one has attempted to translate it in to English verse.By doing so, it has not been possible to include some mystical connotations of these verses .
This is a song which is a prelude to Thiruppavai and is generally termed as thaniyan or that which stands separately..
Andal from the swan filled Puduvai,
Sang she, in her sweet voice,
Several enchanting sweet odes,
For being sung during,
The worship and adulation of Pavai.
They are but a garland to him,
From her who wore them first,
Before presenting them to Him.
Each Pasuram(ode to Gods) of Thiruppavai is generally named by the first few words of the poem.These are given first and a translation in to verse given then:-