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From: sadagopan iyengar (
Date: Sun Dec 30 2001 - 06:16:06 PST

Srimate SrivanSatakopa Sri Vedanta Desika Yatindra
Maha desikaya Nama:


Continuing the saga of the hands, you must have
noticed how a pair of palms folded in supplication
resembles a lotus yet to bloom. Thus the best flower
suited for the Lord’s worship need not be sought from
outside sources, for it is ever present in one’s
hands. One has only to fold one’s hands in the
“anjali” mudra, which has the effect of melting down
Emperuman  (“am jalayati iti anjali”). This anjali, an
abbreviated version of Saranagati symbolised by folded
palms, is an extremely effective instrument in
achieving one’s goals, for it brings around even the
most intransigent of Gods- (“anjali: paramA mudrA,
kshipram dEva prasAdinI”).  The best possible offering
or kainkaryam to the Lord is self-surrender or Atma
SamarpaNam, which is symbolised by the anjali mudrA.
Extolling the efficacy of anjali, Sri Alavandar says,
“tvat anghrim uddisya kadApi kEnachit 
  yata tatAvApi sakrit krita:anjali :
  tadaiva mushNAti ashubhAni asEshata :
  shubhAni pushNAti na jAtu heeyatE »
Says Sri Yamuna, addressing the Lord, ”an anjali,
whenever and by whoever it is, done in whatever
fashion, directed towards your lotus feet, destroys
all things bad in us and ensures the growth of all
that is auspicious.”
This makes it clear that Saranagati is subject to
absolutely no restrictions, caste-wise, time-wise or
otherwise. It is an “anyone, anytime, anyhow”
instrument to liberation.

The hands that worship the Lord would never fall a
prey to the bonds of Karma, would never ever peek into
Hell, nor would evil times ever befall them.  Sri
Poigai Azhwar avers,
“VinayAl adar padAr, vennaragil sArAr
  TinayEnum tee gati kaN sellar-ninaidarku
  AriyAni sEyAnai Ayiram pEr senkaN
  KariyAnai kai tozhuda kAl”.
Sri Nammazhwar too confirms that folded hands or
anjali is the best possible adornment we could offer
the Lord-“dEsamAna aNikalanum en kai kooppu seigayE”.
We saw that the act of anjali has no age-restriction:
but Sri Poigaiazhwar performs this while he is still
an unborn child in the mother’s womb, as he himself
“andru karu arangatthuL kidandu kai tozhudEn kandEn
  Tiruvarangam mEyAn disai”.
Normally, hands folded in supplication are held in
front of one’s chest, so that they form a simultaneous
offering to the antaryAmi or inner-dweller. Sri
Periazhwar speaks of another position for this
anjali-hands folded on top of one’s head-“matthagatthu
idai kai kooppi”.
It is not only ordinary mortals like us who resort to
this  “handy “ kainkaryam: the thirty-three crore
devatas, headed by the eight Vasus, eleven RudrAs,
twelve AdityAs and the two AswinI dEvAs, with their
crores of acolytes, all holding colourful flowers in
their hands, offer floral tributes at the Lord’s feet.
And this they do always.
“eNmar padinoruvar eeraruvar Oriruvar
 vaNNa malar Endi vaigalum-naNNi
 oru mAlai paravi OvAdu- eppOdum
 TirumAlai kai tozhuvar sendru »

Are they hands, which do not fold by themselves in
bhakti when before the Lord with the darkest of
complexions? They are as good as worthless pieces of
wood, says Sri Tirumangai mannan in the following
“MayyAr kadalum maNi varayum mAmugilum
  koyyAr kuvaLayum kAyAvum pOndru iruNda
  MeyyAnai Meyya malayAnai sangEndum 
  KaiyyAnai kai tozhA kai alla kaNdAmE ».

After the hands, ears attract Sri Kulasekharazhwar’s
attention, and he says, “Achutha kaThA shrOtra dvaya
tvam shruNu” (Oh Ears! Do listen to the Holy tales of
 One significant feature of our listening faculty is
that unlike our mouth or eyes, there is no in-built
facility for automatically shutting our ears, perhaps
with the intention that man should listen a lot.
However, with the passage of good times and the
preponderance of evil tidings over good, we have to be
selective in what we let into our ears. And the only
way we can perform kainkaryam with our ears is to
confine their intake to tales of the Lord’s glory.
It is not for nothing that one of the Vedic Shanti
pAtAs begins with “Bhadram karNEbhi: shruNuyAma
dEvA:”(May the Gods let only good tidings fall on our
ears!). Here, the word “Bhadram” refers to the Lord’s
praise, in the form of veda mantras, stotras, Azhwars’
sreesooktis, et cetera. This prayer occurs also in the
TaittiriyOpanishad SeekshAvalli, thus-“KarNAbhyAm
bhoori vishruvam”. Another related Veda vAkyA is
“shrOtrENa bhadram uta shriNvanti satyam”.
 The Veda Purusha prays that we may listen only to
accounts of Emperuman’s glory, and not to mere mundane
matters.  Sri Nammazhwar, who, in defining what is
sweet on the ears, says it is only Bhagavan nAmA-
“sevikku inbam Avaduvum sengaN Mal nAmam”
While Azhwars are particular about hearing only such
things, they are also equally concerned about what
they should not lend their ears to-
Says Sri Poygaiazhwar-“Pey mulai nanju ooNAga uNdAn
uruvOdu pEr allAl kANA kaN kELA sevi”-(My ears would
not listen to anything other than Sri Krishna’s haloed
A noteworthy feature of this sloka from Sri Mukunda
MalA is its close reflection of sentiments expressed
by Sri Poigaiazhwar, Sri Bhootattazwar and Sri
Peyazhwar, as would have been evident from the
numerous quotes furnished above. Here too, Sri
Pogaiazhwar swears,
“en sevi iraNdum kEL avanadu in mozhiyE kettu irukkum”
(“My ears listen only to the glorious tales of
Emperuman, who is everybody to me”). 
And what about ears that do not let in the Lord’s
names or doings? Sri Kalian says that they are mere
adornments to the sides of the head, and do not serve
any useful purpose at all _”TOlAda mAmaNiyai tondarkku
                           KELA sevigaL sevi alla
Concurs the Aycchiar Kuravai of Silappadhikaram-
 “TirumAl seer kELAda sevi enna seviyE”.

-----------to be continued-------

Srimate SriLakshmiNrsimha divya paduka sevaka
SrivanSatakopa Sri Narayana yatindra Mahadesikaya


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