Exemplar of bhagavata bhakti

September 29, 2022 04:49 am | Updated 04:49 am IST

The fight between Indra and Vritrasura is described in the Bhagavata Purana in detail. From this depiction, Vritrasura emerges as one who exemplifies the nuances of Bhagavata Bhakti that is held as the very essence of true bhakti, pointed out Sri Sankararama Dikshitar in a discourse. When the hostilities between Indra and Vritrasura reach a peak, Indra is advised to make the powerful Vajrayudha weapon out of the strong backbone of Sage Dadichi. So he approaches the sage and asks him to part with it. Though no one would willingly part with it, the sage is truly realised and gives up his life by controlling the prana, mind and senses through yoga. He then cuts off all worldly ties and gives up his body to help the devas. At the battleground when both are poised to fight, Indra is wonderstruck at Vritrasura’s spirit of devotion to the Lord. The asura predicts victory for Indra but promises that he would fight his best till the end. He claims that he beholds the very God ‘Hari,’ in front of him and offers the Lord his prayers. “Oh God, my past sins and my asura birth stand in the way of my desire to serve you in person.” Yet, he prays to the Lord in soulful terms to grant him the fortune to serve His bhaktas at least.

Kulasekhara Azhwar’s famous verse in the Mukundamala captures the spirit of service that is a sure route to reaching God’s feet. Azhwar prays, “Oh Lord, you gave me this birth. I should understand the aim of this manushya janma through your grace. My prarthana is that you should accept my service in the line of your bhaktas at least at the lowest rung. This will help me to focus my thought, word and deed on you and your lotus feet.” In this manner, Vritrasura surrenders to the Lord with all humility.

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