Faith

Spontaneous bhakti

The Tiruvaimozhi hymns reflect how the true spirit of devotion takes root as spontaneous admiration and love towards the Supreme Lord in the jivatma. Nammazhwar alternates between contemplating the Lord’s Paratva which puts a distance between him and the Lord and His Saulabhya that is evinced in His vibhava, archa, antaryami forms. Interpreters of Tiruvaimozhi show how very clearly Azhwar reiterates the truth that the jivatma’s limitations as a ‘samsari’ in this world need not be a deterrent for him to seek His feet, pointed out Atthangi Sri Srinivasachariar in a discourse.

In the first Tiruvaimozhi pathigam, Azhwar explains the Lord’s Paratva; in the second, he asks us to sing His glories, pray to Him and worship Him; in the third, His accessibility is emphasised. His coming down to live among the simple folk in Ayarpadi and even His penchant for butter is only an excuse for showering Grace on the people. What ineffable compassion has He shown when He allowed Himself to be bound to a grinding stone by Yasodha, wonders Azhwar with a melting heart? Bhakti is an overwhelming experience of God’s very essence that makes the heart melt with love and devotion. Azhwar’s hymns have the power to stir the jivatma’s heart in this manner.

The Lord explains Bhakti Yoga in the Gita in great detail and describes its various stages to show that it has to be felt constantly in the consciousness of the jivatma. It is a form of penance, no doubt, but when His Saulabhya is the object of contemplation, it becomes most enjoyable. Bhakti motivates the prapanna to seek surrender at His feet, the ultimate protector of all. This act of ‘bhara samarpana’ in turn makes him stronger in His devotion. Azhwar also shows that the experience of bhakti is pleasing to the jivatma both in separation as well as in union with the Lord through the hymns sung as Parankusa Nayaki. 


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Printable version | Aug 8, 2022 4:02:20 am | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/spontaneous-bhakti/article65741212.ece