TAMIL NADU

Unique idol of the Lord in Ahobila Math

CHENNAI, JAN. 21. The question whether God, the Supreme, has a form or is formless had been a subject for discussion. Sacred literature consists of statements which refer to both and some commentators have rendered arguments in favour and some against it. But almost every one revels in adoring the forms given to God and presented to devotees as idols. Perhaps, in the context of the situation that prevailed in ancient days when the Vedas were not accepted or the utterances therein doubted, some favoured a formless God. But in their private life, they did acknowledge that He has a form. Worshipping them in private or in temples where consecrated images are installed, they had feasted their eyes on them. Sages, saints and mystics have, in their outpourings, painted glorious versions of the Lord's charm. One of them had sung that witnessing the idol makes him go ecstatic like having taken a cup of pure milk to which had been added sugar candy. Seeing pictures of the Lord having punished Ravana and quelled the terror created by a deadly poisonous snake, an Azhwar has regretted he would have preferred birth as a Ravana or a Kaaliyan as that would have made him feel the God's touch. Another saint had enjoyed the vision of the Lord assuming the special man-lion form and slaying the demon, keeping him on His lap.

The Jeeyar Swami of the Ahobila Math, in a discourse, explained how the Lord took a peculiar incarnation as ``Narasimham'' in response to the appeal of celestials and devotees who could not bear the tyranny unleashed by a demon emperor who, by his penance, had secured a boon not to be killed at all excepting under special circumstances. To save a child which had pinned its hope on the Lord, He assumed the man-lion figure and emerging from a pillar, destroyed Hiranyakasipu. The demon's question about God's quality of omnipresence was fittingly answered and asking his child ``where is He'', the latter gave a reply ``everywhere'', and the Lord exhibited His supremacy and unlimited powers. A lesson to be learnt from this event is that God will ignore even the insults hurled at Him by some misguided men but will never be kind to those who cause injury to His disciples who depend on Him for protection and guidance. The centuries-old idol of Lakshmi Narasimha belonging to the Ahobila Math is somewhat unique in that it is being taken to every nook and corner of the country to enable devotees to worship Him unlike the idols which are permanently installed in shrines.

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