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[forward from Vaidehi]

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani_at_be.com)
Date: Wed Feb 12 1997 - 19:05:08 PST

[A forwarded note from Vaidehi Venkatakrishnan]

krish wrote:
>It is interesting to note that PERUMAAl wants jewels,
>garlands and aradhana!

I just would like to make a comment on this, and please view it in the
context of what follows:

We were fortunate to be present at the Atlanta kovil
Mahakumbhabhishekam.
Shri Chinna Ramanuja Jeeyar solemnized the samprokshanam and was
gracious
to speak to the devotees whenever he could, amidst his other
obligations. The day after the Kumbhabhishekam, an abhishekam with the
holy water from
1008 kalasas was performed. While the alankaram for the Lord was going
on, to keep the devotees from distracting their thoughts away from the
Lord, Shri Jeeyar began an extempore talk on the meaning of performing
rituals like abhishekam to the Lord. However he didnot complete all that
he wanted to say as the curtains lifted. Contrary to what we believe, he
explained that the Lord does not require anything from us like being
adorned, have abhishekam performed etc., etc.,(and why would He?) and
that there is a lot more spiritual meaning attached to everything that
is done to Him. It is for our benefit and NOT His. He said the essence
of performing the abhishekam is the cleansing of our body and mind, each
item of the abhishekam progressively representing the next step in
tuning yourself towards Him (water, milk, yoghurt, honey, sandal paste,
etc., each one had a spiiritual meaning for the human being endlessly
caught in maaya). (Some of you might have heard people say why waste all
that money buying all the items - instead they can donate it to any one
of innumerable charitable causes) I am however unable to recall all the
details and the significance of each of the items as he told us. Maybe
someone in the group can for our benefit.

Perhaps it is the human nature in us which wishes to see the Lord
donning all the jewels etc., and so on very much like how parents wish
to decorate and deck their children and get unbelievable joy out of
seeing them dressed exquisitely.

On a different note, I have been very happy to hear, like everyone of
you, that the stolen jewels were recovered. One of the posts suggested
that perhaps we should not adorn the deities with costly jewels etc., 
Be that as it may, I cannot describe in words the pleasure I got from
seeing Parthasarathy Perumal and all the deities in that temple adorned
with exquisite jewelery. You really wonder whether Perumal looked more
beautiful because of the jewels or the jewels looked so stunning because
He was wearing them and then begin to envy the jewels for the Bhagyam
they got! There are a lot of times when the Murthy gives darshan with a
simple piece of cloth and a garland. That too is a sight you would want
a thousand eyes to look at. But I would rather see a fool proof security
arrangement for safeguarding the jewels than not see them on the
deities!

We should also bear in mind that at the times the jewels were made,
people (atleast on special festivals went to the temple in silk sarees
and all the fine jewelery they had - even now in Madras u can see such
sights, though on a reduced scale) adorned themselves too with a lot of
jewelery and those who had the money and the heart no doubt wanted the
Lord to be adorned extraordinarily. Parthasarathy Perumal (Utsavar) has
different complete sets that would adorn him from head to foot, a set
made only with pearls (muththangi), one with diamonds (vajranghi), one
with rubies and corals (rathnagi) and so on.

Vaidehi