God's compassion for humanity

CHENNAI, MAY 9. The entire creation of God is sustained by the moral order (Dharma). Time and again there is threat to it from different quarters and the Lord out of compassion for suffering humanity, manifests in the world assuming various forms to re- establish it. Punishing those who pose a threat to Dharma is thus only incidental during His manifestations. The Puranas delineate the major incarnations of the Almighty.

Besides His quality of compassion which plays a significant role in the redemption of man from bondage, His easy accessible nature (Saulabhya) came to the fore in His incarnations. It must be borne in mind that the Supreme Being is omniscient and omnipotent and thus can accomplish whatever He wills from His transcendental realm. If He deigns to manifest it is due to His compassion for mankind. So He makes Himself accessible to them.

In his hymn highlighting the Lord's compassion, the Dayasataka, Vedanta Desika highlights the instances of how Guha and Sabhari received His grace during His Ramavatara. The manner in which Lord Krishna assumed the role of an envoy for the Pandavas and later as charioteer to Arjuna during the war prove His Saulabhya.

It is not as if that only those who lived during the time of His incarnations were the beneficiaries of His compassion. Did Krishna not assume the role of a preceptor to Arjuna in the battlefield when He taught the most sublime truth and path to salvation with the entire humanity in mind? The Gita Charamasloka wherein He has assured protection to anyone surrendering to Him if he is unable to adopt other means to liberation, continues to instill hope in the heart of the worst sinner even today.

In another instance, the Almighty when He assumed the Varaha (boar) form, promised that He would redeem a man even if he fails to remember Him during his last moments, if he had during his lifetime surrendered to Him, just once. But the lures of worldly life are such that man forgets his goal and gets entrapped in material pursuits. It is to remind mankind of their destiny that mystics like the Azhwars were born in the world. Their hymns canonised in the Nalayira Divya Prabandham continue to guide devotees.

While the Azhwars were inspired minstrels of God, it was left to the Acharyas of the Srivaishnava tradition starting from Nathamuni who codified the Prabandham, to carry the torch forward. In the line of preceptors Ramanuja occupied the pride of place for the singular role he played in systematising the religious practices and philosophy of this tradition, said Sri K. A. Manavalan in his discourse.