TAMIL NADU

True devotion does not seek anything

CHENNAI MAY 10. Saints in their hymns have adored the abodes of the Lord in His image form (Archa), which is one of the five forms of the Supreme Being. Those that have been glorified by the 12 Azhwars are hailed as Divyakshetras. One among the 108 Divyakshetras is Lord Venkateswara's at Tirumala sung by nine Azhwars. The preceptors and the Azhwars have shown how to progress spiritually by devotion to the deities in these temples, which are accessible to human beings unlike His other forms. There are some even among believers of God who will not accept anything on just faith and want the certitude of their own experience. While God can certainly be realised by the devout, till such time one has to progress towards the goal only with the guidance of saints and preceptors.

Bhutat Azhwar, one of the three Azhwars referred as Mudal Azhwars, in his work Irandam Tiruvandadi, makes copious references to Tiruvenkatam. He underscores that devotion and service to Him must be total encompassing all the human faculties - the mind, senses and the body. He describes the distinguishing traits of this deity who is adorned by His consorts Sri Devi and Bhu Devi. He identifies Venkatanatha as the Supreme Being whom the celestials and the Vedic seers worship.

In his discourse, Velukkudi Sri V.Krishnan said the name Bhagavan to denote the Almighty conveyed that He was the abode of infinite auspicious qualities. His qualities are of two types. Six basic traits refer to His essential nature while the rest are His distinguishing qualities. For instance, His quality of easy accessibility comes to the fore only in relation to human beings to whom He is inaccessible in His transcendental abode.

The Azhwar also draws attention to another important aspect of spiritual life. A devotee generally seeks material benefits, union with Him and liberation from God. But the highest form of devotion is when a devotee wants nothing in return but loves Him for His own sake. The Azhwar says that He is the Lord of the unfathomable Vedas. The Vedas themselves have declared that they have failed to exhaust His glory and hence have described the Supreme Being as infinite. Human beings with their senses and mind cannot know the Lord. So the Vedas are the source of knowledge for realising God. As it is not possible for human beings to realise Him in His transcendental form, He has deigned to come down to the world in image form to grace humanity.

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