Today's Beautiful Gem: `Tiruppavai' by Andal (tenth century).

"ungaL pulzhakkaDait toTTattu vAviyuL
sengalzhunIr vAy negilzhndu Ambal vAy kUmbina kAN
sengaR poDik kUrai veNbal tavattavar
tangaL tirukkoyil sangiDuvAn pOginRAr
engaLai munnam elzuppuvAn vAypEsum
nangAy elzundirAy nANAdAy nAvuDaiyAy
sangODu sakkaram Endum taDakkaiyan
pangayak kaNNAnaip pADElOr embAvAy"

"The lotus is greeting the rising sun and the lily has closed its petals;
Wearing their saffron robes and ashes, the ascetics are on their way to
the holy temple to sound the auspicious conch;
O talkative girl, you, who boasted that you would be the first
to wake us up, why don't you get up!
We will sing the praises of the brave and the beautiful Lord bearing
the conch and the wheel."

Note: Among the woman poets of the world, Andal (ANDAL) occupies a unique place. Born in the present Srivilliputtur in the Ramanathapuram district of Tamilnadu to devout parents, she decided to marry Lord Vishnu. She used to string garlands and wear them first before dressing the Lord with the same. Sri Krishna uttered thus in the Gita:
mAsAnAM mArgas'IrSohaM [Among the months, I am the month of Margasirsha].

That is why Dec-Jan is generally attributed as God's month. It is usual to recite Andal's Tiruppavai (thirty in number, one for each day) during this month. I still remember my childhood days when I used to go to the temple early in the morning to receive a hot ball of Pongal as the prasAdam! I hope a few among you had similar experience.

A REQUEST: May I request a reader in Madras or has Madras connections to kindly supply me the phone number of a friend of mine: A. Venkata- narayanan, 21 Parthasarathyswamy St, Triplicane, Madras 600 005. This is rather urgent. Thank you in advance.

Om s'aantih: Peace! - J. K. Mohana Rao