From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Tiruppāvai literally means ‘holy vow’.

This is a very famous poetical treatise in Tamil composed by Āṇḍāl or Godādevī. There are thirty pāśuras or verses. Aṇḍāl imagines that she is one of the gopīs performing the special Kātyāyanī-vrata to get Kṛṣṇa as their husband. In her imagination, Srīvilliputtur[1] becomes Nandagokula and the temple of Vaṭapatraśāyin (Viṣṇu) becomes Nanda’s palace. She goes about the streets of the town in the early morning, waking up her girl-friends, to go to the Yamunā river for bath and worship.

This highly poetical treatise is centered round Kṛṣṇa-bhakti, love of Kṛṣṇa as one’s lover and husband. This work has been commented upon by innumerable scholars. All the verses have been set to music and are very popular. Singing with discourses on them during Dhanurmāsa or Mārgaśira, usually in December- January, has become a tradition among the Śrivaiṣṇavas.


  1. It is her little town.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore