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From: Bharadwaj, Jaganath (jbb0_at_nreca.org)
Date: Tue Dec 23 1997 - 11:14:18 PST
------------------------------------------------------------------------ The Almighty assumes different forms Date: 23-12-1997 :: Pg: 24 :: Col: c Cl: Religion 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.