OTHERS

Almighty, accessible in His manifestations

CHENNAI, AUG. 31. The distinctiveness of the Supreme Being's incarnation as Krishna is His role of teacher to the world at large. His teachings have come down to us in the form of the Bhagavad Gita. Lord Krishna has promised ``The devotees who constantly think of Me and worship Me in a disinterested spirit, to those ever united in thought with Me, I bring full security and personally attend to their needs.'' The Lord points out that human life is not meant to be frittered away in materialistic pursuits. Instead, all actions must be oriented to the goal of realising God. The Lord provides for such a devotee.

Another uniqueness of this manifestation of the Almighty is the divine deeds Krishna performed during His childhood which have enduring appeal to devotees. They have become the focus of devotional literature. Besides, His quality of easy accessibility was fully manifest in this incarnation. Can the Supreme One stoop lower than taking birth in the cowherd community which tended cows for its livelihood, assuming the role of an envoy and a charioteer? One of the mystic saints, the Azhwars, says that by such acts the Lord's glory was only enhanced. As the transcendental form of the Lord is beyond the ken of human reach it was only during His incarnations that He was accessible.

In his Harikatha, Kalyanapuram Sri R. Aravamudan said many saints had been inspired by Lord Krishna's incarnation and composed hymns as a result of their spiritual experiences. Of them, the works of Jayadeva and Narayana Theertha, the Gita Govinda (Astapadi) and the Krishna Lila Tarangini, respectively are revered in the Bhajan tradition. Both these works have the distinction of having been attested by Lord Krishna Himself. Traditionally these saints are considered as reincarnations of Sage Veda Vyasa. The manner in which the Lord claimed Narayana Theertha as His own shows how he was singled out for His grace.

Named as Govinda by his parents at birth he was trained in the scriptures and music. The turning point came when he happened to cross a river in spate in his anxiety to reach his wife and had a brush with death. He was miraculously saved when he resolved to renounce the world and later when he did not keep his promise thinking that no one would know about it, the Lord interceded by giving him a chronic stomach ache and later curing it. He was initiated into a monk by Sivarama Theertha at Kasi to whom he was directed and later it was at Varahur that the Lord in the form of a boar (Varaha) bade him to compose songs about His Lila, the Krishna Lila Tarangini.