Alavandar, in his Stotra Ratna (verse 27), says that Lord Narayana’s lotus feet shed nectar. When he can have access to the feet of the Lord, why would a man seek anything else, he asks. When pollen laden lotuses are easily available, will bees go to a water cress that yields no nectar? Alavandar points out to us the importance of doing anjali to the Lord. The gesture is simple — just the bringing together of our palms, and yet this act ensures that a man gets the Lord’s grace in full measure, said M.K. Srinivasan, in a discourse.
Like a fountain, good results gush forth when one does an anjali. Vedanta Desika wrote Anjali Vaibhavam, which explains the 27th verse of Stotra Ratna. The significance of anjali is that one can offer an anjali to the Lord in all yugas. For each yuga, different modes of worship are prescribed. But anjali is common to all the yugas.
Among all forms of anjali, the most significant is lifting one’s hands above one’s head, and then bringing the palms together. The Gopikas did this, during the Rasa Kreeda episode during the Krishna avatara. It shows total surrender to the Lord. The Lord makes us see, as He did in the case of the Gopikas, that the only thing we should seek is proximity to Him. We have a tendency to desire the impermanent, and not realise the value of that which is permanent. Our only true, lasting bond is the one we have with God. But since we cling to all the unnecessary things of life, the Lord has to coax us to seek Him, just as a child has to be coaxed to drop something it has picked up, say a knife, which can hurt it.
Anjali is the first step towards atonement. Those who are associated with a person who does an anjali also benefit. That is why we should be in the company of bhaktas, for their anjali will save us too. Vedanta Desika says that the Lord has mighty weapons, but he himself has an even more potent weapon, namely his anjali to the Lord. If he does an anjali to the Lord, the Lord’s weapons cannot harm him, says Desika.
We have the example of the Narayanastra, which Aswattama sent to kill Arjuna. All that Arjuna did was to fold his hands in supplication, at the instance of Lord Krishna, and the weapon was neutralised. Such is the efficacy of anjali.