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Sacred Places and Forms

From: Mohan Sagar (msagar_at_worldnet.att.net)
Date: Sat Feb 22 1997 - 17:14:11 PST

Mr. Kalale writes:

>I never thought that place would
>matter.  I was even thinking from a highly philosophical view that "God is
>everywhere; lord is beyond space and time; why go to a particular place to
>think or realize God?"
>
>But surprisingly, space, kshetrams and the environment of devotees will make
>a thorough difference to our minds.  This is due to my recent experience in
>India, hence, unquestionably true, at least to me.
>
>( reminds me of the views of  our "Suka Brahmam" of bhagawatham - who,
>itseems enjoyed Lord in a Nirguna Form and later on got transformed by the
>unique simple bhakti of the gopikas and stated that Nirguna Jnana is dry
>compared to the ever inspiring bhakti rasa for the Saguna form).  
>

Indeed, there are a number of references in our tradition that suggest the
futility of our trying to realize Him in His formless attributes.  They
contend that His Beautiful Archa form is the paradigmatic example of His
saulabhyam, and consequently is the surest way to realize His Love and
Protection.  Pillai Lokacharya emphasizes this by making the interesting
analogy of our desire for the Lord being like the thirsty person's desire
for water.  Seeking the Lord as the Antaryami is like the thirsty person
trying to find water underground;  seeking Him in His ulitimate Para form is
like trying to find the water surrounding the world-egg;  the various Vyuhas
of the Lord are as distant as the Ocean of Milk in which He resides;  the
Vibhavas, although closer, can be likened to seasonal rivers as there
presence is only occassional.  But, the Archavatharan is like a standing
pool or lake, easily accessible and available always.

This realization came to me in 1992 in much the same manner as Mr. Kalale,
when I first visited Sri Ulagalandha Perumal Koil in Kanchipuram.  There my
parents and I stood, awestruck by the vision of the Lord towering above us,
entrancing us with His Beauty.  In fact, perhaps because of this, a few
months later, my wife and I spent our first days as a married couple in
Chennai so that we could visit Kanchipuram, and meet this Wonder of Wonders
again.

Daasanu Daasan,

Mohan