What is the only knowledge worth having? Brahma gnana would be the answer. Swami Desikan says that all other knowledge can only be a burden. But how does one acquire Brahma gnana? It is easy to say that the way to attain Brahma gnana is to tread the right path. But this again requires explanation, for it might be asked what the right path is. The right path is that which is shown by the Sastras, said Devanar Vilagam S. Padmanabhan in a lecture.
The Sastras, by definition, command and protect. In everyday life, we are advised to follow all kinds of rules and legalities. If we violate a law, we know that a punishment results. It is in our interest to adhere to the rules. So adherence has its rewards, and violation has its punishments.
If this is the case with man-made rules, imagine the consequences of violating the Sastraic rules laid down by none other than Lord Narayana Himself. So if we violate Sastraic rules, we will have to face the consequences of our actions. And if we adhere to them, we will not go unrewarded.
Parasara Bhattar says that God has given us a lamp, which will help us to know Him. The Sastras are the lamp that shed light on what is good and what is bad, and thus pave the way for understanding Him and reaching Him.
In the Ramayana, when Bharata goes to meet Lord Rama, Jabali wonders why Rama should continue to be in the forest, now that His father Dasaratha is dead. After all Rama's promise was made to Dasaratha, and with Dasaratha dead, Rama need no longer keep His promise. But Rama steadfastly refuses to go back, and rejects Jabali's arguments.
‘Bha' in Sanskrit means to be bright or luminous. Our country is called Bharat, because of the fact that Azhvars and Acharyas have lived in this country, making the land luminous through their presence. Those who have had God-realisation and God-love have lived here, and continue to live here. And that makes this land shine brilliantly.
Narayana reclines on a serpent bed in the milky ocean. And the saints He has sent down for our sake are oceans of mercy.