Faith

Worship through mind, body, words

In his Abirami Andadi, Abirami Bhattar recalls the kindness of Goddess Parvathi who fed Gnanasambandar Her milk. The child was crying in hunger, and the Goddess, Universal Mother that She is, fed the crying child. As a result, Gnanasambandar became a jnani even in his infancy. Bhattar prays that Goddess Abirami should appear before him, with her pearl strands, Her bow made of sugarcane, Her arrows made of flowers, and Her smile. If this verse of Abirami Andadi is recited before children leave for school, it will help them do well academically, explained M.A. Manickavelu in a discourse.

Whatever activity we may be engaged in, our thoughts must be of Her. We should think of Her whether we are standing or are seated, says Bhattar. Whenever we are awake, obviously, we are aware of our identity, of who we are. But what is more important than this, is for us to identify ourselves as Her children. After telling us about worship with one’s manas, Bhattar talks about worship with one’s body. We must use our hands to do an anjali to Her and to offer flowers to Her. We must use our legs to circumambulate Her. One’s head must be placed at Her feet. Not only should the manas and body be pressed into worship of Ambal, but our words too must be in praise of Her.

Bhattar does not directly talk of worshipping through one’s words. But he speaks of “ezhudaa marai.” That means the unwritten sacred works, which is a reference to the Vedas. Education does not lie in mere reading and writing. It lies in using words to praise Her. Bhattar here emphasises that the Goddess is the essence of the Vedas, which must be studied. The oral tradition of teaching and studying the Vedas is an example of the use of words to worship Her. Goddess Abirami is the embodiment of daya.


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Printable version | May 20, 2022 6:23:58 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/worship-through-mind-body-words/article65439012.ece