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Article in the Hindu

From: muralidhar rangaswamy (rangaswamy_m_at_hotmail.com)
Date: Tue Dec 23 1997 - 07:04:41 PST

Dear Friends,

I am attaching an article from today's Hindu. 

Namo Narayana,

Muralidhar Rangaswamy


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                             [THE HINDU]

                     Tuesday, December 23, 1997
                       SECTION: Miscellaneous
















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            The Almighty assumes different forms

            Date: 23-12-1997 :: Pg: 24 :: Col: c

            CHENNAI, Dec. 23.

            The Supreme Being takes innumerable forms because the
            transcendental form is beyond the ken of human reach.
            According to Srivaishnava religion the Almighty who is
            Sriman Narayana in His eternal abode, Srivaikunta, when
            He deigns to create this universe assumes the reclining
            form on the milk-ocean (Kshirabdhisayi, Anantasayana).
            This is the form from which the Vyuha forms of the Lord
            responsible for creation emanate.

            In the Tiruppavai, Andal points out this fact in the
            opening verses where she identifies Narayana as the
            Almighty and subsequently refers to His form on the
            serpent couch to point out that from the standpoint of
            the devotees this form is more important. Further it is
            made clear that it is out of compassion for the sages
            and His devotees that the Lord assumes this form.

            In his discourse on the Tiruppavai the Jeeyar Swami of
            Parakala Math said, the role of Sri as the mediator
            (Purushakara) became prominent in His Kshirabhdhisayi
            form. While describing the details of the Pavai nonbu
            which Andal undertakes with the object of performing
            service to Lord Krishna, she stresses that Sri had to be
            propitiated first thereby underlining the fact that the
            Divine Mother is the very embodiment of Lord's
            compassion and grace and that it is possible to approach
            Him only through Her intercession.

            A legitimate doubt which can arise in this context is
            (why Andal should describe the transcendental and Vyuha
            forms) when she had undertaken the performance with Lord
            Krishna as the end to be attained instead of addressing
            Him directly. The commentators have pointed out that it
            is to clarify that the Supreme Being had incarnated as
            Krishna in Gokul that Andal addresses these forms first.

            In the second verse of this hymn Andal points out that
            those who are born in this world are most fortunate in
            that they have been given an opportunity to express
            their devotion to the Lord. There are two aspects to
            spiritual practices. There are certain observances which
            have to be followed and some which have to be abstained
            from. By this process the spiritual aspirant does not
            lose sight of the goal to be attained.

            That the Nonbu described in the Tiruppavai is for the
            sake of spiritual progress and not for any material gain
            is another point made right at the outset. All the
            rituals described and the actions of the devotee must be
            dedicated to the Lord and must be undertaken only for
            His pleasure as service to Him. That the Lord can be
            approached only through the mediation of the preceptor
            is stressed right at the outset.

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