Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I heard my father calling my name “Godai”. I loved to hear my father call my name. His voice was so tender and full of love and affection. I loved nothing more than to hear him sing praises before his beloved Lord Vadabhadra Sayi.
Everyone admired Vishnuchittar and his intense devotion of Lord Vadabhadra Sayi. I could stand for many hours listening to my father sing in front of his favorite deity. My father had explained the circumstances how he had adopted me and I could hear the story over and over again. My father’s voice calling my name again brought me out of my reverie. He was bidding me good-bye as was leaving for the temple.
I did not follow him to the temple though my heart desired it so. I had many chores that needed to be done at home. I handed over the garland I had made for my Lord Vadabhadra Sayi and resumed my chores.
Each morning it was my privilege to make the garland for my Lord. I would spend the whole day trying to decide which flowers to use and how to make the garland. Many times a day I would have to be at the garden watering plants or cleaning the yard. My mind would then wander in free abandon in search of all the pretty flowers that would suit my Lord.
Today I had made a garland of blue periwinkles. The blue clustered flowers with white jasmines strewn in between were so breathtaking and so beautiful. I could not resist wearing it on my shoulders. I knew I dare not tell my father that I had worn them on myself.
After I had got lunch cooked for my father, I went into the garden to decide on the flowers for the garland for the next day. I spotted some deep pink Oleander and I thought that and the jasmines would make a beautiful combination.
When my father came back for lunch, he was all praises for my blue periwinkle garland. He said the Lord Vadabhadra Sayi literally glowed beneath the garland. It brought out his majestic beauty and my father was overawed by the Lord Vadabhadra Sayi’s incredible stature. He then said I should make the garlands hereafter and I simply nodded.
The next day I chose the best flowers from the Oleander tree and the jasmine tree and 
wove it into a very beautiful and enticing garland. Full of curiosity I tried it on myself. I felt I was ready as a bride to meet the groom. My love for Lord Vadabhadra Sayi shined through my self and adhered itself onto the garland. Even I could see the garland glow with love.
I heard my father calling “Godai” and I knew it was time for me to remove my garland and reluctantly I handed it over to him. As he was appreciating the beauty of it, his sharp eyes fell on a strand of hair. My hair that had got caught by the garland when I was trying it on.
Immediately the kind and loving father I knew disappeared and a strange and menacing look came over my fathers’ features. I was so shocked I stood rooted to the spot. My father was initially overcome by wrath that I would do such a sacrilege act upon God. He then became overcome by grief that he had to scold his beloved daughter. Not knowing what to do, he left the garland in my hand and headed over to the temple to talk to his only friend in this world, his beloved Lord Vadabhadra Sayi. On his way out he took the ordinary marigold garland he had made that morning. His walk reflected his sadness and his agony over the crime I had committed.
For a long time I just stood at the same spot still holding the precious garland I had made for my Lord. My heart was crushed and even tears failed me. I felt like a huge wave had smashed me to the floor and I was numb after the shock. Never had I seen my father other than the loving person he had always been. The fact that I had caused him so much anguish suffocated my breath. It still did not occur to me that I had done anything sacrilege as I always knew I am the bride of Lord Vadabhadra Sayi. My only regret was causing my beloved father so much grief.
I went inside our tiny hut and sat in front of our own deity. I still held my garland in my hand. With tears blinding my eyes I begged my Lord Vadabhadra Sayi to explain it all to my father. Meanwhile I knew my father was performing his duties while his mind begged forgiveness.
That night my father had a strange dream. He told me early next morning, even before day break about his dream. In his dream he saw Lord Vadabhadra Sayi who asked Vishnuchittar why he had not brought to the temple the garland that Godai had worn on herself. The Lord explained that he wanted to wear the garland that Godai had once worn on her ownself. The Lord also explained that he missed the scent of Godai on the flowers and he preferred to have the garland worn by Godai.
My father was beside himself in love and happiness. He was relieved that the Lord had accepted the garland and he even preferred it. He was proud of his daughter. Above all he was overjoyed that his intense devotion was only matched in equal by his daughter.
From that day I was called “Andal”. Now I could devote my time and heart again to the Lord Vadabhadra Sayi and immerse myself in making of garlands for my beloved Lord.

No comments: