On the additional note, Aadi Pooram festival is also associated with Goddess Shakti. It is the day of Valaikaapu (baby shower) for Goddess Parvati. Devotees believe that the Goddess comes to earth on this day to bless her devotees.
There’s no need for an introduction about Andal’s love story - her love and bhakti (devotion) for Lord Ranganatha (a form of Vishnu) is a power of love.
According to legends, Periyalwar, an Alwar saint, was living in Srivilliputhur. Being childless, he prayed to Lord Vishnu to solve his misery. He fervently prayed to the Lord to bless him with a child. According to the legend, one day, while he was in the temple's garden, he found a baby girl lying amongst the flowers. Seeing this as a divine blessing, Periyalwar decided to adopt the child and named her ‘Kodhai’.
Kodhai grew up in a Vaishnava household, imbibing the devotion to Lord Vishnu from her father. Her love and devotion towards Lord Ranganathar (another form of Lord Vishnu) knew no bounds. She considered herself to be the bride of Lord Ranganathar and expressed her love by adorning the garland meant for the deity even before it was offered to the Lord. When her father, Periyalwar, discovered this, he was initially shocked and rebuked her for her audacity.
However, that night, Lord Vishnu appeared in Periyalwar's dream and revealed that he preferred to wear the garland after it was worn by Andal. The Lord instructed Periyalwar to take her to the Srirangam Ranganathar Temple, indicating His acceptance of Andal's deep devotion and love. Filled with joy and amazement, Periyalwar followed the divine instructions and took Andal to the temple.
As the legend goes, when Andal entered the sanctum of the Srirangam Ranganathar Temple, she merged with Lord Ranganathar, signifying the divine union of her love and devotion with the Lord's divine presence.
Andal is highly revered in South India, and her poems, known as "Tiruppavai" and "Nachiar Tirumozhi," are considered a treasure of devotional literature. Her intense love for Lord Vishnu and her longing for His divine presence have inspired countless devotees throughout the ages. The story of Andal's divine union with Lord Ranganathar is celebrated during the Vaishnavite festival of "Margazhi," which falls in December-January.
On that night, when Periyalwar was asleep, Lord Vishnu appeared in his dream and said he wished to wear the garland only after Andal wore it. The Lord also advised him to take her to the Srirangam Ranganathar Temple. Though filled with surprise, Periyalwar’s joy knew no bounds. Andal told her father that she would marry none other than Lord Ranganathar himself. It is believed that when Andal entered the sanctum, she merged with Lord Ranganathar (Lord Vishnu).
The connection between Aadi Pooram and the Valaikappu ceremony for Goddess Parvati adds another layer of significance to the festival. According to another legend, the day of Aadi Pooram is observed as the festival of ‘Valaikappu’ (bangle ceremony) for Goddess Parvati, the universal mother. The compassionate act of Goddess Parvati assisting the pregnant woman during her labor and the vow made by the woman to celebrate Valaikappu day annually in honor of the Goddess further enriches the festival's cultural importance.
In the Trichy district of Tamil Nadu, there was a festival conducted for Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. After the festival got over, the crowd started to disperse slowly. In the crowd, there was a pregnant woman who while taking rest to relax her aching body, was suddenly seized by labor pain.
There was no one around and after screaming for help for a while, she was about to faint when Goddess Parvati came to her rescue. She came in the disguise of a midwife and helped the woman deliver the child. But the woman recognized the Goddess and made a vow to celebrate that day as valaikappu day (bangle ceremony for pregnant women during the seventh month of pregnancy, like a baby shower) every year, for Goddess Parvati.
Over time, this story might have been passed down through generations, contributing to the tradition's continuity and significance in the local culture. Such stories of divine interventions often hold a special place in religious and cultural practices, and they serve as a reminder of the spiritual connections people share with their deities.
What a beautiful and heartwarming story of the divine intervention of Goddess Parvati in the life of the pregnant woman!
Benefits of Observing Aadi Pooram
Celebrating Andal and Goddess Shakti on this auspicious day can bestow the following benefits:
- Happy and prosperous life
- Progeny blessings and protection of the fetus from evil forces
- Blessing of a good spouse
Rituals during Aadi Pooram:
On this day, women of the household rise early and decorate their house beautifully with rangolis/kolams. Goddess Andal loves the lotus flower, the color red, and kalkandu rice. The women also prepare an elaborate meal which they offer to the Goddess.
Devotees also read the ‘Thiruppavai’ and ‘Lalitha Sahasranamam’.
Source: AstroVed, HinduPost