When one reads verses that express the outpouring of bhakti, one is actually reading the record of a bhakta’s bliss on experiencing God. Such verses serve to reassure us that we too can reach God through bhakti. Bhakti literature points to us the path we should take to reach the Supreme One, said D. Gnanasundaram, in a discourse.

God is not difficult to reach, if we know the right path. But it is knowing the right path that is difficult. How do we find the path that leads to Him? Do we get it by reading religious books? One may study even the Vedas, and still not realise Him. We may listen to religious discourses time and again, and yet not get one inch nearer the right path. Why then should anyone bother to study religious texts or to listen to discourses?

The suggestion is not to shun such study or to shun discourses. In fact, one should study religious texts and one should listen to discourses. But one must keep in mind that these alone cannot enable one to reach God. These are purifying methods which keep our minds free of other thoughts, and steer us towards bhakti, which is the only way in which we can reach God. If there is no bhakti in our hearts, God will remain elusive.

The Sastras are like a board that one sees at traffic intersections, indicating different roads. The board merely points to various roads. Can we reach our destination merely by reading the board? Should we not either walk, or board a vehicle to traverse the distance to get to our destination? In the same way, the Sastras are like sign boards. They show us the path we have to take to reach God. But if we read a signboard and then do not move at all, we cannot get to our destination. Likewise, if we merely study the Sastras and do not have bhakti in our hearts, we will not reach God.

Manickavachagar says that to reach Lord Siva’s feet, His mercy is the only means. In other words, our goal is to reach His feet, and the means to reach His feet is His mercy. Without God’s blessings, our efforts to reach Him will be in vain. If we approach Him with bhakti, His mercy is vouchsafed to us, and then reaching His feet becomes easy.

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