Despite the assurances Lord Narayana gives us that He will save those who surrender to Him, we still tend to move away from Him. But because of His concern for us, He stops us and turns us back to Him.
There is no escaping His reach, and this proves beneficial to us. That He is all pervasive is something we know. But beyond being present everywhere and yet being invisible to us, He manifests Himself in idol form. We see Him in this form. In this visible form, He is present in the four directions, so that wherever we go, He is there to remind us of His mercy, which we should seek and be saved, M.V. Anantapadmanabhachariar said in a discourse.
In the extreme South, He is seen in a place called Tiruppullani. The deity here is Jagannatha. The place is closely associated with the Ramayana, for it is here that Lord Rama is seen reclining on kusa grass. The Valmiki Ramayana says Rama slept on a bed of kusa grass while He waited for the King of the Ocean to appear before Him. Tiruppullani has a further distinction. It was here that Vibhishana surrendered to Lord Rama.
If we move in the eastern direction, He is there as Puri Jagannath to give us darshan. The deities of Balarama, Krishna and Subhadra here are made of neem wood. In the west is the sacred pilgrim centre — Dwaraka. In Dwaraka, an important observance is on the day of Dvadasi. Keeping awake on Dvadasi, bathing in the Gomathi river and worshipping in Dwaraka are said to be important here. It is in Dwaraka that the Gomathi joins the sea.
In the north, the Lord is worshipped as Badrinarayana. Here, He is seen in Nara Narayana form, meaning that He is seen both as Narayana and as a human being. It is said that in order to learn how to be a good sishya, one must go to Badrinath, for here the Lord is seen as an Acharya, preaching to his sishya. The Nara form represents the sishya and Narayana represents the Acharya.
The Lord shows us in this kshetra that a sishya should always be with his preceptor. Thus, although in our ignorance, we turn away from God, He is present in all the directions and ensures that we get back on the right track.