Faith

Immersed in devotion

Durga is one of the names of Goddess Sakthi in the Lalitha Sahasranama. As Durga, She revealed Her ferocious aspect and destroyed Durgasura. She thus assured Her devotees that She would always come to protect them. She showed that none could oppose Her and get away with it. But this protection that She offers Her devotees is seen not only when She manifests Her angry side, but also in the gentle ways in which She comes to the rescue of Her devotees. The story of Abhirami Bhattar illustrates this, said R.Narayanan in a discourse.

Subramania Iyer lived in the town of Tirukkadaiyur and was a devotee of Goddess Abhirami. When he worshipped Her in the temple, he forgot himself andhis surroundings. He was so immersed in his devotion. One day the King came to the temple and noticed Subramania Iyer, who was not aware of the King’s presence. The King asked Subramania Iyer what day it was. Without giving the question a thought, Subramania Iyer replied, “Today is full moon day.” But it so happened that it was new moon day. The angry king ordered that if the moon did not appear that night, then Subramania Iyer would be killed. A fire was lit and the bhakta was kept suspended in a swing above.

The devout man started singing in praise of Abhirami, knowing fully well that She would not let him down. As each rope that kept the swing suspended was cut, the swing kept getting closer and closer to the fire. But then the unexpected happened. The Goddess pulled off one of Her ear ornaments and flung it in the air. The dark night sky began to glow as if it were a full moon day. The king realised what a great soul Subramania Iyer was, and from that day onwards Subramania Iyer came to be known as Abhirami Bhattar.

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Printable version | May 15, 2021 2:37:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/immersed-in-devotion/article26411902.ece

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