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The Mind of the Azhwars

From: Srikanth R. (srik_at_iiap.ernet.in)
Date: Mon Feb 14 2000 - 13:49:21 PST

Hi,

The following lines of Swami Vivekananda, excerpted from his "Bhakti
Yoga", shed some light on the intensity of the Azhwars' and Swami Desika's
feelings for Sri Hari. I hope Bhakti list members find it insightful!

Regards
Srik

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"[After the ordinary, paternal, servantlike and friendly types] of love is
what is knows as vatsalya, loving God not as our father but as our child.
This may seem peculiar, but it is a discipline to enable us to detach all
power from the concept of God. The idea of power brings with it awe. There
should be no awe in love. The ideas of reverence and obedience are
necessary for the formation of character; but when character is formed,
when the lover has tasted the calm peaceful love and tasted also a little
of love's intense madness, then he need talk no more of ethics and
discipline. The lover says he does not care to conceive of God as mighty,
majestic and glorious, as the Lord of the universe or as the God of gods.
It is to avoid this association with God of the fear-creating sense of
power that he worships God as his own child. The mother and the father are
not moved by awe in relation to the child. They cannot think of asking any
favour of him. The child's position is always that of the receiver; and
out of love for him the parents will give up their bodies a hundred times
over. A thousand lives they will sacrifice for that one child of theirs.
And therefore God is loved as a child.

"There is one more human representation of the divine ideal of love. It is
known as the madhura, the sweetheart relationship, and is the highest of
all such representations. It is indeed based on the highest manifestation
of love in this world, and this love is also the strongest known to man.
What love shakes the whole nature of man, what love runs through every
particle of his being, makes him mad, make him forget his own nature,
transforms him, makes him either a god or a demon, as does the love
between man and woman? In this sweet representation of divine love God is
our husband. We are all women; there are no men in this world. There is
but one Man, and that is He, our Beloved. All that love which man gives to
woman, or woman to man, has here to be given to the Lord."

                              -Swami Vivekananda