TAMIL NADU

Merit of serving one's parents

CHENNAI MARCH 30 . The Supreme Being's accessibility to His devotees has been an abiding theme in spiritual tradition. It has been demonstrated in the lives of great devotees and saints, and it is not an exaggeration to say that the glory of the Lord in image form, in temples, has been enhanced by their devotion. The hymns of the Azhwars in the Nalayira Divya Prabandham are a case in point. The 108 abodes they have glorified have come to be hailed as Divyakshetras. Vedanta Desika waxes eloquent referring to the incident by which the Lord came to be named as Damodara, that the Upanishads (Lord Krishna) were bound to a grinding stone in Yashoda's house. Lord Panduranga at Pundarikapuram (Pandarpur), who is popularly addressed as Vithala in the tradition of Dasas, owes His glory to His devotee Pundarika.

Saint Tukaram hails this abode of God as Bhuloka Vaikunta. Pundarika lived during the advent of Lord Krishna. Born to Sage Jatva and his wife Satyaki, in his youth he led a licentious life causing untold agony to his pious parents. Praying to God that their only son should turn over a new leaf, they proceeded on a pilgrimage to Kasi. Pundarika was greatly relieved and did not have any remorse that he had neither accompanied them nor provided for their creature comforts.

In his musical discourse, Sengalipuram Sri Jayakrishna Dikshitar said as if in answer to his parents' fervent prayer Pundarika also decided to visit Kasi with his wife. He stopped at the hermitage of Sage Kukuda to ask for directions and the sage expressed his ignorance. Wondering how a sage did not know of Kasi he stayed nearby for the night. He was astonished to see the three rivers, the Ganga, Yamuna and the Saraswati, rendering service in his hermitage assuming the form of maidens. Learning the merit of serving one's parents from them as that sage did and his sins washed away by his contact with them, Pundarika repented his mistake. He searched for his parents and served them with love in their old age. Lord Krishna along with His consort Rukmini visited Pundarika after hearing about his singular devotion to his parents. As he was serving his parents then he asked them to wait offering two bricks to stand upon in his humble abode. It was only when he was blessed with the vision of Krishna's divine form that Pundarika realised who the guests were and begged their pardon for making them wait. The Lord granted his prayer to remain in that place till the end of this Kali age.

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