Vishnuchitta, a pious Vaishnava collected flowers & made garland to offer them to Sri Ranganatha at Srirangam. This was his daily routine, once while at the garden he heard a murmur sound. He found a little smiling girl under a tulasi plant. Being childless he took her home thinking it was the gift to him from Him. He named her Godha (from earth) but fondly called her Kodai, for she had curly hair.
Over a period of time, the pious atmosphere at home, the regular making garlands, listening to Krishnaleela were embed in Kodai’s mind. She too started to make garland to Sri Ranganatha along with her father. Her love for her Lord became such a force that filled all her being. She decided that He alone was her Lord & no one else.
One day she thought, “If I were to wear this garland & put it back into the basket, then the priest at the temple will adorn it to the Lord. It will be as if Ranganatha & I have exchanged garlands. Isn’t exchange of garland one of the most important rituals at weddings?” She wore the garland & looked at her reflection in the mirror, she visualised how it would look on her Lord. She then put it back into the basket. Vishnuchitta took the basket to the temple & offered the garland to the Lord, unaware of what his daughter had done.
At the temple when the garland was offered the priest noticed a long strand of hair in it & understood that someone had worn it. He gave the garland back to Vishnuchitta saying, “This garland is already used by someone get me a new one.” Vishnuchitta made another garland immediately & handed over it to the priest. When the priest tried to adorn it to the Lord, he heard a voice, “Why have you not brought me the garland worn by my Godha. It has the fragrance of her love that makes it special. I don’t want any other garland!”
Stunned Vishnuchitta rushed back home & hugged his daughter & called her “Andal” (the one who rule the heart of the Lord). Godha too got the confirmation that her love was accepted by Him. She now requested her father to let her marry Ranganatha.
Was it possible, wondered Vishnuchitta.
That night Vishnuchitta had a dream; it was the wedding of his beloved daughter Godha with Sri Ranganatha. The whole village had gathered to witness the wedding. He overheard some people talk, “How did this poor man managed to strike such a divine alliance?” Vishnuchitta felt his existence as human had got its fulfilment.
Soon the wedding was over & it was time to send off his daughter with Ranganatha. He led her to the palanquin & the procession started to go towards Srirangam. As the procession reached the temple sanctum sanctorum Sri Ranganatha, the bridegroom walked in & merged with the idol. Godha was dumbstruck! What should she do? In a flash it occurred to her that now she was His wife, she had every right to be with Him! She gave a quick smile & climbed onto the idol of Ranganatha to sit beside Him. In a blinding flash of light, she disappeared.
Vishnuchitta who saw this was in tears. He was not sure whether the tears were of joy or sorrow. Joy of begin the father-in-law of the Lord or sorrow of losing his daughter forever. As his thoughts raced from one emotion to another he heard a voice, “Vishnuchitta, don’t worry. Your daughter is with me & shall always be by my side. & you too shall always be close to me as the father of my Kodai & also as my special devotee. Spend the rest of your days by making garlands to me as always & then you too shall soon reach me.”