To think of one’s parents as worthy of worship is a part of the Hindu tradition. In fact, worshipping one’s parents acquires the status of an injunction, as it has been mandated in the Upanishad.
The Taittriya Upanishad’s statements like ‘Matru Devo Bhava,’ are well known and make it clear about whom we should honour. We must honour our mother, father, Acharya and the Lord’s devotees. These thoughts are echoed in the works of the Azhvars too, said Kidambi Narayanan.
Madhurakavi Azhvar, for example, did not sing in praise of God, but only in praise of his Acharya Nammazhvar. Andal calls all devotees of Narayana to participate in the worship of the Lord, showing the importance of devotees in Sri Vaishnava tradition. But to understand the verses of the Azhvars and to interpret them requires more knowledge than most of us have. This is where our Acharyas help, for they explain the meaning of the verses, thus helping us see the Truth.
Alavandar demonstrated the significance of the Upanishadic statements through his works. His works show the importance of honouring the Universal Parents: Lord Narayana and His consort. Alavandar’s ‘Catusloki’ shows Goddess Mahalakshmi’s greatness and his ‘Stotra Ratna’ shows the greatness of the Lord. If we pause to think of how much a mother cares for her child, we will realise how much more the Universal Mother cares for all of Her children.
An example can be cited to explain a mother bears with the difficulties patiently for the sake of her child. We appreciate the beauty of a dress and remark on how well it’s been tailored. But before the dress materialises as a dress, think of all the stages the cotton has to go through, starting from the moment it is harvested: it has to be made into yarn, and this yarn goes through the warp and weft of weaving before emerging as cloth, which has to pass through further stages of dyeing and printing, before it becomes the dress.
Just as the cotton allows itself to be pulled and twisted, so that the product may be a good one, so does a mother go through travails and difficulties, so that her child’s future is sculpted into a success.