The Esteem Of Bhagavathas In Azhwars’ Outlook - 1
It is no exaggeration to say that Bhagavathas are the cornerstone of our Sampradaya. How dear to the Lord they are has amply been spelt out by the Lord Himself in His Gita. Hence it is hardly surprising that our Sampradaya holds them in such high esteem.
We have, to an extent, seen in Note No. 12 the exalted status of Bhagavathas. In this series, we shall delve some more into the aspect, with exclusive reference to Azhwars’ outlook. As such, this one can be regarded as an extension of the earlier Note.
There are umpteen number of references in Divya Prabandham which bring out the glory of Bhagavathas — from sporadic and passing ones to dedicated exclusive Dasakams. We shall take up the latter and study briefly the impact the concept has made in the minds of Periyazhwar, Kulasekhara Azhwar, Thirumangai Azhwar and Nammazhwar.
There are as many six Dasakams which are totally devoted to the Lord’s devotees and need for us to be devoted to them in turn. They are:
- Naavakaariyam (Periyazhwar Thirumozhi 4-4);
- Thettarum Thiral (Perumal Thirumozhi - 2);
- Nannaadha Vaalavunar (Periya Thirumozhi 2-6);
- Kansora Venkurudhi (Periya Thirumozhi 7-4);
- Payilum Sudaroli (Thiruvoymozhi 3-7);
- Nedumaarku Adimai (Thiruvoymozhi 8-10).
1. Naavakaariyam (Periyazhwar Thirumozhi 4-4):
An eloquent exposition and expression of extreme sentiments mark ‘Naavakaariyam’. It is significant and fitting that the Azhwar chose ThirukKottiyur where Ashtaakshara Upadesam by Sri Ramanuja was to unfold a few thousand years later. In this Dasakam, the Azhwar first up denounces in five verses those who had not taken to the Lord’s service before proceeding to singing the praise of Bhagavathas in the next five. For the sake of brevity only the crux of the meaning relevant to the topic has been given.
Azhwar’s disposition towards the two extreme situations offers interesting insight into the vigour of his own devotion.
Censure of non-devotees:
- Wonder how the Creator ever made the sinners who never ever think of the Supreme Lord who regulates the three principal works (creation, sustenance and destruction)!
- Those who do not worship the gem-hued Lord surely have born to inflict a terrible disease on their motherís womb.
- Alas, they don’t even think of Him but stuff their unwashed nasty mouth with food instead of using the fingers for counting His names!
- Even the water one drinks and the cloth one wears have done sin if he does not call out the name of the ‘destroyer of hell’.
- Those who don’t even think of the discus-wielding Lord are hard-hearted ones. Take away the food they eat and stuff their mouths with hay stuff!
Praise of devotees:
- The touch of the dust on feet of those who sing the praise of Nrusimha makes the world sacred.
- What kind of penance have the people done to live in the midst of these devotees in ThirukKottiyur who worship the dark cloud-hued Lord?
- Even the demons will not steal the paddy and pulses of those devotees in ThirukKottiyur who praise the virtues of Govinda.
- When I see the devotees in ThirukKottiyur who faithfully sing Nrusimha’s praise, I think of them as the Lord’s own symbols and fulfil my yearning.
- Even the servants of the Lord’s devotees who chant ‘Kesava!’, ‘Purushoththama!’, ‘Radiant Lord!’ and ‘Manikin Lord!’ are entitled to sell us as bonded serfs.
As can be seen, in the case of non-devotees, it goes beyond mere dissent or disapproval and enters into the realm of scorn and disgust. The under-current here is the anguish over the fact that such people even exist.
Similarly, in the case of devotees, it is shown that any praise or reward cannot be too high and that the devotees are equal to the Lord Himself.
We shall see the rest one by one in the coming Notes.
‘Weekly Paasuram Quest’
The new programme ‘Weekly Paasuram Quest’ is slated for launch on May 9 (Sunday) and a new contest will be uploaded every Sunday. The concise meaning of a Paasuram from Naalaayira Divya Prabandham will be given and the participants have to identify the Paasuram. Regular and correct entries will be rewarded.
Meet you in the next Note.
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