CHENNAI: One of the modes of devotional mysticism is the relationship between God and the devotee as that of the master and his servant. Such an outlook makes it easy for the devotee to attune himself totally in the loving service of the Lord by dedicating even mundane actions to Him as acts of service. When the significance of this bond dawns on the devotee in course of time it will become apparent that it is a privilege for which he should be beholden to God for it is He who endows him with the knowledge of the eternal relationship between them.
For the majority steeped in worldly power and pelf it will be difficult to accept this initially and it is by constant reiteration of the Almighty’s supremacy and unalloyed devotion to Him that the mind will achieve this turnaround. How then is it possible to express one’s servitude to devotees because it is natural to consider fellow human beings as equal? The hymns of the Azhwars are a case in point as they are replete with expression of service to devotees, which is one of the fundamental tenets of Srivaishnava theology.
In his discourse, Sri K.B.Devarajan said the only hymn of Madhurakavi Azhwar was an exemplar of total service to Nammazhwar, his preceptor and the foremost devotee in this tradition. Its inclusion in the body of the Nalayira Divyaprabandham is a testament to the importance of this doctrine in this philosophy. This can be appreciated if one understands that the Lord is beholden to His devotees, and hence those who hold His devotees in high esteem and serve them must be dear to Him.
The invocatory verse to this hymn declares that Madhurakavi did nothing other than singing Nammazhwar’s hymns by the merit of which he became his God. He was his sole refuge, which is evident from the fact that his hymn is totally in praise of Nammazhwar from whom he imbibed this knowledge.
Nammazhwar asks in his Tiruvaymozhi, “I only thought I would serve the Lord… But come to think of it, other than serving His devotees, can there be a greater wealth in the three worlds?” and declares that the wealth of the three worlds and the enjoyment of the Self put together will not equal the joy of serving His devotees here.