Devotional experience

CHENNAI: In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says that the truth of the Supreme Brahman can only be known intuitively, and adds that it is best learnt from those who have this intuitive perception of the Ultimate Truth (Tatva Dharsi). The Lord calls such a person a Jnani.

The uniqueness of the sacred hymn Narayaneeyam is that its composer Narayana Bhattatiri’s devotion has qualified him to perceive the Absolute Reality directly in the deity at the temple in Guruvayur, said Sri B. Damodhara Dikshitar in a lecture. The stamp of ardent devotion is unmistakable behind the tone of direct address with which he appeals to the Lord to cure his ailment.

In keeping with the belief that the Lord resides in the Archa form in the temples, staunch devotees such as the Azhwars, the Nayanmars, Narayana Bhattatiri and others were able to experience God’s presence in the deities and sing His glory in their fervent hymns. By familiarising ourselves with their spirit of devotion it may be possible for us to search for spiritual vibrations in the temple precincts when in the presence of the deities. Spiritual progress is proportionate to the increasing awareness of God and His magnificence in one’s consciousness.

The urgent need to strive for salvation through devotion during human birth is emphasised, since time is precious and once lost cannot be recalled. Realised souls have cried out in fervent devotion that even a minute not spent in the Lord’s thoughts will be a great loss and is a moment of sorrow; while those moments spent in His thoughts are indeed blessed. But the difficulty level of this effort is also stressed.

The very first verse is an exposition of Brahma Jnana. The Supreme Brahman is the embodiment of Truth and Bliss and is incomparable with anything that is to be known by the senses, intellect or mind. These are the limiting aspects of Prakriti and fail to convey the essence of the Supreme Brahman. Yet that elusive Being, out of compassion for the suffering Jivatmas, is present as a deity in the temple, making Himself available to those desirous of seeking Him. The liberated state is believed to be one of bliss and the urge to seek this happiness with determination is stressed.

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