Andal: The Autobiography of a Goddess

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Priya Sarukkai Chabria, Ravi Shankar
Zubaan, Mar 11, 2016 - Poetry

Ninth century Tamil poet and founding saint Andal is believed to have been found as a baby underneath a holy basil plant in the temple garden of Srivilliputhur. As a young woman she fell deeply in love with Lord Vishnu, composing fervent poems and songs in his honour and, according to custom, eventually marrying the god himself. The Autobiography of a Goddess is Andal’s entire corpus, composed before her marriage to Vishnu, and it cements her status as the South Indian corollary to Mirabai, the saint and devotee of Sri Krishna. The collection includes Tiruppavai, a song still popular in congregational worship, thirty pasuram (stanzas) sung before Lord Vishnu, and the less-translated, rapturously erotic Nacchiyar Tirumoli.

Priya Sarrukai Chabria and Ravi Shankar employ a radical method in this translation, breathing new life into this rich classical and spiritual verse by rendering Andal in a contemporary poetic idiom in English. Many of Andal’s pieces are translated collaboratively; others individually and separately. The two approaches are brought together, presenting a richly layered reading of these much-loved classic Tamil poems and songs.

Published by Zubaan.


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Translators Note
am Called Periyalvar and How My Daughter became

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About the author (2016)

 Priya Sarukkai Chabria books include speculative fiction, cross-genre non-fiction, a novel and two poetry collections.

Ravi Shankar is an award-winning poet, author, translator, and founding editor of Drunken Boat (

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