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Wednesday, December 20, 2000

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Man must always think of God

CHENNAI, DEC. 20. A constant tussle between the good and evil forces continues within a man and this lesson has been clearly brought out in our epics. Likewise, a battle goes on within him between the spiritual knowledge gained (represented by the Pandavas) and of ``violent feelings and ignoble sentiments'' (the Kauravas) (in the Mahabharata), while the mind (Draupadi) caught between the two stands affected. It is to keep the agitation within, that Divine grace and guidance are sought through devotion and worship. Man should try to escape from the influence of desires and his eagerness to possess all material comforts and enjoy them and fix his thoughts on God only. He therefore yearns to discard them and catch hold of God's feat. This attitude to turn his attention entirely on God is developed gradually. His anxiety to do so can be compared to that of a person admiring a fine portrait for a long time and then think of the artist who had presented it. By sincere efforts he realises that a supreme force has gifted everything to him.

On occasions circumstances favour him to resort to devotional steps and the Tamil month of Margazhi (December-January) is favourable for his pursuits. During this period, he experiences the necessary climate. Lord Krishna's statement in the Gita is an evidence. The festivals of reciting the hymns - Thiruppavai by Andal and Thiruvambavai by Manickavachagar - are being celebrated in this month. Vaikunta Ekadesi and Thiruvadirai occur in this month which are celebrated by Srivaishnavites and the Saivites respectively. While Srivaishnavism is clear that none other than Narayana should be worshipped by its followers and that they should serve Him alone, Saivism insists on its disciples to remain firm directing their attention to one and only God, though there is a slight variation in the methodology to seek His grace.

Prof. V. Rathinasabapathy, who explained the salient features of the garland of verses in Thiruppavai and Thiruvembavai, said in the former, Andal visualises how Krishna would have extended His grace to devotees and enacts the scene at her own place, Srivilliputhur. Observing certain discipline, her theme relates to marriage with God. It is an instance of bridal mysticism. But Saint Manickavachagar portrays devotees as wanting to get united with the messengers and servants of God and see God through them. His emphasis is more on the austerities relating to holy bath in early hours and other exercises. A similar annual festival is being conducted in Mayiladuturai to indicate that all souls are alike, in the Karthigai month when even a handicapped takes the holy bath on the last day.

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