Faith

Faith | Importance of Acharyas

Alavandar’s Stotra Ratnam is about Lord Narayana. But it begins with worship of Acharya Nathamuni. In a work about the Supreme One, how can one begin with praise of an Acharya, we may ask. The answer lies in the fact, that without an Acharya, there is no way we can attain moksha.

It is his guiding hand that shows us the right path, said Valayapet Ramachariar, in a discourse. Milk has a natural sweetness. But add some jaggery, cardamom and saffron to it, and it tastes even better. Similarly, worshipping God becomes even more delightful, when it goes hand in hand with worship of an Acharya. If we are present in a temple, when an Acharya does a mangalasasana of the deity, then is not our joy doubled? Paying obeisance to one’s Acharya pleases the Lord. But is there any precedent for such worship? Sage Maitreya fell at the feet of sage Parasara, and asked for advice. Parasara then told him the Vishnu Purana. So Alavandar is only following what had already been the practice, namely paying one’s respects to an Acharya, when one seeks knowledge about Bhagavan.

An Acharya is put on a pedestal — Acharya devo bhava — an Acharya is equal to God. Chandogya Upansihad says Acharyavaan Purusho Vedah, that is, only a man who has an Acharya has proper spiritual understanding. So, we can see that the Sastras lay stress on Acharya bhakti. Only with Acharya’s help, we can understand Vedantic texts. And the beauty is that a person who has studied under an Acharya, also comprehends that which has not been taught to him. It may not be possible for a sishya to study all literature. His Acharya may teach him only a few. But when he later on reads whatever has not been taught, he still is able to understand the meaning, because of Acharya’s grace.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 8:57:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/importance-of-acharyas/article31157950.ece

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