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Divyamaana Desam

Date: Mon Aug 10 1998 - 18:02:54 PDT

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Kind Bhaktas of the KaruNAsindhu Bhagawan:

The recent emails about the Divya Desams have all been entrancing reading material. In this day and age, when thinking about the Lord of a particular Divya Desam is only one part of a person's focus (an assumption, untrue about some, perhaps), if this is the level of love and beauty in the thoughts and writings, it is no wonder that those for whom He and His abode occupied their every waking thought wrote absolutely dazzling poetry.....

I once read a Hindi poem called "Ttukra do ya pyaar karo". The poet wrote it in the voice of a very poor woman who comes to the temple carrying a single flower for the Lord. "Others have brought you bright jewels, I see", she says, "someone has adorned you in silk, a great "dhanwaan" (rich man) has given the money for your gem-filled crown, and you smile is beatific as they bathe you in milk....I stand on the edge of the crowd, bent over close to a pillar, hiding my simple offering in the "pallu" of my sari. Sometime, when they move away, I'll place this flower at your "charan" ("feet" does not quite capture it), Prabhu, Ttukra do ya pyaar karo... (it is upto You, then, to love my offering or reject it...)

In the company of all these incredibly learned people who've quoted pasurams and events in the lives of Acharyas to substantiate their various claims, who're so intimately attached to their history that they can lay out for others what must have been the thought-process of a particular Alwar when he said this, etc, one has the feeling of witnessing the Confluence of various rivers of thought as they merge in thoughts of Him. Amidst the roar of all these waters, a spray caught me by surprise and one little drop came to me. I submit it for your kind attention.

The memory cell is the Happiest Abode for our Lord.

I'm obviously not qualified to make it the 109th Divya Desam, but the basis for our love of the Lord is our memory of the Time when we were a part of Him, and the basis for anyone's (be it the most learned Acharya's or a passing traveller's) adoration of a particular Divya Desam is the memory of His/Her experience of it. While it may be obvious when it is our home-town in this life, sometimes we read of a bhakta who, all his life, longed to go to a particular temple he had "never" seen, or, having been to several temples, was particularly moved by one image over all others. Even then it is most likely due to the memory of loving that particular Archa Murthy in a past life.

It may be the most verdant foliage amidst gurgling waters, or green hills that take you higher and higher before you can see Him; He may be lying down (when you approach a Father in a traditional family, somehow, he seems more loving and approachable when he is lying down and not towering over you...), or He may look so magnificient standing up that your jaw drops and all thoughts fly out of your head (the sounds of "jaragandi" will wake you up soon enough, but for a brief moment in time you feel you are alone with that Great Presence); the Sthala PuraNam can be used as an argument for or against - for instance, the fact that He had to come to earth to re-unite with His wife who had left home in a slight huff can be used to point a finger (if one so dared) at the Lord of the Seven hills, or the fact that His very name (unlike other places where the name glorifies Him) in one place promises protection (Varadarajan Perumal) can be used as proof.

But if, while standing in front of the Sannidhi, one is thinking about some earthly concern, all the beauty of the Divya Desam is lost to one. These Gods are powerful, but it is the level of one's faith that helps one have a glimpse of that power. It's that "smaraN" of the Perumal that transports one from awareness of the earthly surroundings to the Divya Anubhavam of a Divya Desam.

 Some temples may be lesser known, but is He not the same there? I remember a childhood visit to Brindavan where, at dusk-time, all the little Krishna temples in the little by-lanes had their melodious bells ringing, and all around us Krishna bhajans were heard, with the sound of cymbals. I thought it was heaven. In Guruvayur, sometimes, long before the temple door opens, the fervent cries of "Narayana, Narayana" around you can get you emotionally overcome, and you almost don't care to push for your brief glimpse thru that small door.

I wonder if He too would say that He loves it best when He resides in the memory cell of a Bhakta? In the French story of Jean Val Jean and the priest, the priest transforms the ex-convict by letting him know the body is the "Temple of the Living God".....And then there is that story of Guru Nanak who was resting in a chowltry when he was awakened by some muslims. They were upset that his feet were pointed towards the Mosque in front. "Okay," Nanakji replied reasonably as he went back to sleep, "please feel free to pick up my feet and point them to where God does not exist..."

Having said the above, I hope that the discussion will continue, both because it expands our knowledge and because it has all the charm of little boys saying "Engappa than ongappaavavida periyavaa" (my dad's bigger than yours), except in this case He's everyone's Appa.

Radha jeevana smarane, RadheShyam!
Jaya Janaki jeevana smarane, Sitaram!
Bhama jeevana smarane, Govinda, Govinda!

Viji Raghunathan