Faith

Renunciation liberates

Sastras advise that only through renouncing worldly comforts, enjoyments and attractions can one tread the path to salvation. An austere way of life helps to consolidate spiritual power in an individual in many subtle ways, pointed out Sri M.V. Anantapadmanabhachariar in a discourse.

When Hanuman sees Sita in Asoka Vana, he is overwhelmed by the divine couple who are well matched in all respects and whose love for each other shines most when they suffer the pangs of separation. He pays spontaneous obeisance to Sita’s unparalleled chastity, her Pativratya vrata. Though threatened by Ravana, Sita remains unfazed and warns him that she could easily reduce him to nothing by her chastity, but has refrained from doing so only to allow Rama to do that on her behalf as befitting a devoted wife. She even goes on to advise Ravana to hand her back to Rama and save himself, his people and kingdom. In her view, Ravana’s sin is less severe compared to that of Kakasura.

It is the same power of Sita’s chastity that has a beneficial effect when Hanuman’s tail is set afire. The fire on his tail remains cool while it burns the city of Lanka. Later, when Rama refuses to accept her and she decides to offer herself to fire, Agni is unable to bear the heat of her chastity and entreats Rama to accept the pure and unsullied Divine Mother.

Through the Tiruppavai songs, Andal too teaches the best values in life that are relevant at both the individual and collective levels and for the entire humanity and for all ages and times. Her advice on how to imbibe the values runs thus: listening to the words of the wise, seeking the association of the pious, leading an austere life by renouncing the pleasures and enjoyment of the world and seeking the feet of Narayana who is the means and the goal for liberation.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 3:38:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/renunciation-liberates/article22319706.ece

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