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The Divine Dwellings

From: sadagopan iyengar (
Date: Tue Dec 18 2001 - 23:36:22 PST

                           Srimate SrivanSatakopa Sri
Vedanta Desika Yatindra Mahadesikaya Nama:
     The Divine Dwellings

   If we wish to see God, where do we search for Him?
This does sound to be a rather simplistic question
from a simpleton: - all the same, it is worth
pondering over. Where indeed do we find Him? What are
His known addresses where He is available?
If He were a local resident, we can find out from our
local Post Office, and if He resides abroad, the
Internet, with its far-reaching tentacles, should help
us find Him somewhere, somehow. Unfortunately, none of
these new fangled inventions seem capable of locating
the elusive Lord, for He is beyond the perception of
human faculties. Often, a search for Him, using our
frail intelligence and inadequate industry, is akin to
the search by a blind man for a black cat in a dark
room. To find Him, it would appear that our only
recourse would be to the old-fashioned sources-the
Scriptures, consisting of Vedas, Itihasas, Puranas,and

Let us first see what the Shruti has to say in the
         Defining the abodes of Sriman Narayana, the
Narayanavalli of the TaittiriOpanishad says
  “ambhasyapArE bhuvanasya madhyE nAkasya prishtte
mahatO maheeyAn”
      Ambhasi apArE- the endless waters of the ocean
are the favourite haunt of the Paramapurusha. The
first and foremost of the avatArAs, the MatsyAvatAra,
was enacted in the ocean. At the time of PralayA, Sri
Narayana reclines as an infant, on a small banyan leaf
in the swirling waters (“Alilai mEl anna vasam seyyum
aNNalAr”).   Sri VarAhAvatArA saw the Lord diving to
the bottom of the ocean to reclaim BhoomipirAtti
(“Masudambil neer vAra mAnamilA pandriyAm”). And for
good measure, in the KoormAvatArA too Emperuman stood
steady as a rock, in the form of a giant turtle, with
his feet firmly planted in the ocean bed, bearing the
Mantara parvatam on his broad back, to enable 
 dEvAs to obtain nectar. It would thus appear that the
ocean is indeed the home of the para vastu.
Tiruvaimozhi has innumerable references to Emperuman’s
residence in the ocean-    
        “kadal aazhi neer thOtri adanuLLE kaN vaLarum 
adalAzhi ammAn”
         “tAnOr peru neer tannuLLE tOtri adanuL kaN
vaLarum vAnOr perumAn”etc.

« Bhuvanasya MadhyE »-The Antariksham or the great
Universe (or, according to some, the Soorya Mandalam)
is also the abode of SrimanNarayana.   Azhwar
describes this thus-    “vAnatthum vAnatthuL umbarum
maNNuLLum maNNin keezh tAnatthum endisaiyum tavirAthu
nindrAn “
“Paranda andam idena nila visumbu ozhivara……engum

« NAkasya prishttE » “ NAkam » here denotes the suddha
satva maya nitya vibhooti, viz., Sri Vaikuntam. This
is ParamAtmA’s permanent address, so to say, and is
untouched by rajas and tamas. 

There is one more place where He resides- in our
hearts, as the antaryAmi. The Narayana Anuvakam says
that the heart is in the shape of an inverted lotus,
and in that, the Paramatma is ever present in a
microscopic form.( “TasyA: shikAyA madhyE paramAtmA
vyavastthita:”). Only Yogis, who have their minds
firmly fixed on Him, can see this inner dweller. It is
this form that is referred to in Sri Bhagavat DhyAna
SOpAnam as “madhyE Rangam mama cha hridayE vartatE
sAvarOdha:”  Here, discerning Rasikas would appreciate
the word, “sAvarOdha:”-while the Lord resides in
everybody’s heart, in Tooppul Pillai’s hridayam, he
resides with His Nachimars, because here is  a devotee
who cannot visualise Emperuman, even in His antaryAmi
svaroopam, without His Divine Consorts.

Swami Desikan queries Sri Varadaraja in wonderment, “
The sprawling Milky Ocean and the glittering
Paramapadam are your abodes.  With such vastly
superior places to reside in, how ever did you choose
this human body, with all its refuse, as your
favourite haunt, and that too, such a tiny place like
the human heart?”
“oudanvatE mahati sadmani bhAsamAnE 
  shlAghyE cha divya sadanE tamasa :parasmin
  anta :kaLEbaram idam sushiram susookshmam
  jAtam Kareesa katam AdaraNa Aspadam tE?”

This perhaps echoes the feelings of Sri Periazhwar-
“Panikkadalil pallikOLai pazhagavittu, Odi vandu en   
manakkadalil vAzhavalla mAya maNALA nambI
TanikkadaEle tanicchudarE taniyualagE endru endru 
UnakkidamAi irukka ennai unakku uritthAkkinayE ».

Other Azwars too confirm that the Lord of
TiruppArkadal, who resides forever in Piratti’s heart,
has made their (Azhwars’) minds His home-
“manattuLLAn mAkadal neeruLLAn, MalarAL danattuLLAn
tanduzhAi mArban” (Sri Peyazhwar)
“idam Avadu en nenjam indrellAm- andru pada nAgaNai
nediya mArku »(Sri Tirumazhisai Piran).
Another favourite haunt of Emperuman seems to be the
Vedas, and in particular, the Vedanta or Upanishads.
This is borne out by the following Sreesooktis-
“nangu Odu nAl Vedatthu uLLAn
 naraviriyum pongOda aruvi punal vaNNan »

« noorkadalum nuNNoola tAmarai mEl
pArpattirundAr manamum idamAga koNdAn kurundositta
GopAlakan »-Sri PeyAzhwar.
« Shruti sirasi videeptE BrahmaNi SrinivasE »-Sri
« ShruteenAm uttaram bhAgam VEgavatyAscha dakshinam
»-Swami Desikan (Sri Kamasikashtakam).

All this nice to read and write about: but are any of
these forms accessible to us? To quote Sri LokAchArya,
to a thirsty man, Paramapadanatan is like the
primordial waters surrounding this globe, and the
antaryAmi, residing in our heart, like the untapped
underground water: both are of no use in quenching
one’s thirst.

In their infinite mercy, Azhwars show us another of
the Lord’s dwellings, which is eminently accessible,
one we can visit at our convenience- the various
temples where He resides in the form of images duly
consecrated by Sages and sung by Azhwars-collectively
known as divya desams. The ArchaAvatAra Emperuman, in
all His soulabhyam, contracts His infinite form to
suit the images of stone and various types of metals
that His devotees make for Him. Sri Peyazhwar gives us
a sample of such divyadesams, where the Lord resides-
 “Chiranda en sindayum sengaN aravum, 
   nirainda seer neeL Kacchi uLLum-uraindaduvum
   Venkatamum VekkAvum VeLukkai pAdiyumE
    TAn kadavAr tanduzhAyAr »
 Sri BhootattAZhwar chips in with
“payindradu arangam TirukkOtti-pannAL
 payindraduvum VenkatamE pannAL-payindradu
aNi tigazhum sOlai aNi neermalayE
maNi tigazhum vaN tadakkai Mal »
Tirumazhisai Piran, who is enamoured of the Sleeping
Beauty, lists the divya desams where Emperuman is to
be found in a reclining posture, on Ananta-
“nAgatthaNai Kudandai VekkA TiruvevvuL
  nAgatthaNai Arangam PEr Anbil-nagatthaNai pArkadal
kidakkum Adi nedumAl
aNaippAr karrutthan AvAn”.

The Siriya Tirumadal and Periya Tirumadal of Sri
Kaliyan contain a big list of such divyadesams, which
the Lord has made His home. 
 To wind up this piece, let us find out what Iramanusa
Nootrandadi says in this regard:
Though Emperuman resides in the hearts of all Yogis,
Sri Tiruvarangatthu amudanAr makes a special mention
of the Lord’s most favourite abode-he says, ”Though
scholars say that the Lord resides in Sri Vaikuntam,
Tirumalai, TirumAlirum Solai, etc., He dwells with
happiness only in Sri Ramanuja’s heart”.
“iruppidam Vaikuntam Venkadam-Malirum SOlai ennum
  poruppidam Mayanukku enbar nallOr-avai tannodum
  iruppidam Mayan Iramanusan manatthu”.

Thus all Azhwars have been enthusiastic votaries of
the ArchAvatArA, and have lost themselves in the
Lord’s captivating form at the various divyadesams.
There is however a diametrically opposite school of
thought, which says,” pratimAsu aprabuddhAnAm,
sarvatra sama darsinAm” (Mature sages find Him
everywhere, not merely in His images)(Srimad
Bhagavatam). But then, this would be material for
another piece altogether.
Srimate Sri LakshmINrisimha divya paduka sevaka Srivan
Satakopa Sri Narayana Yatindra Mahadesikaya Nama:






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