The first step towards moksha is to know the Supreme One. The Taittriya Upanishad says that he who has realised God is one who possesses food. It also says he who has realised God is one who has enjoyed food. What is the reason for the repetition of the word ‘food’ and what do the statements mean?

Nandagopa, Krishna’s foster father illustrates the concept of one who enjoys food. Vasudeva, Krishna’s biological father is an example of one who possesses food, said M.A. Venkatakrishnan, in a discourse. But why the distinction? Did Vasudeva ever get to enjoy any of Krishna’s delightful pranks? All of these were enjoyed only by Nandagopa. So, while Vasudeva may rightly be termed one who had a claim over Krishna, by virtue of his being the Lord’s father, Vasudeva was the one who was blessed to enjoy the Supreme One’s childhood.

God is equated with life sustaining food. Nammazhvar goes one step further and says that Krishna is the food one eats, the water one drinks, and even the betel leaf one chews. The Lord doesn’t readily give Himself to everyone. It is said that He gives Himself to those who adore Him. He is not impressed or moved by the debating skills or oratorical skills of a scholar. Nor will He reveal Himself because of someone’s recommendation. He reveals Himself only to those who He thinks are worthy of this honour. Who are the people who meet with His approval?

For an answer to this question, we must read the Tamil Divya Prabandha verses. Clarity comes from Nammazhvar’s words. The Azhvar says that He is easy of approach only to those who have bhakti. For others, He remains a mystery.

But this bhakti should be accompanied by humility. We must not have pride in our bhakti. So He is easily approached by those who are humble and devoted to Him. The Vedas and other Sanskrit texts are difficult to follow. That is why one has to seek the help of the Divya Prabandha to understand the esoteric meanings of Vedas and Upanishads, said Vaishnavite Acharya Vedanta Desika.

That is why Vaishnavites treat Sanskrit texts and the Tamil Divya Prabandha as equally important.

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