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From: V. Sadagopan (75041.3037_at_compuserve.com)
Date: Wed Jan 01 1997 - 06:31:39 PST
Dear Members of the Bhakthi Group : First Of all , May the blessings of the Divya Dampathis keep this precious group together in this New Year 1997 to experience their Anantha KalyANa guNAs ! May their choicest blessings shower on every member of this group and bring them closer to their sacred feet in a spirit of Atma Nivedanam and Bhagavatha Kaimkaryam ! In today 's posting , I will summarize the highlights of an excellent paper by Dr. G.R. BalakrishNan : " IS ANDAL A BRIDAL MYSTIC ? ". Definitions : Mysticism in general has been defined as " the first hand experience with God " . Professor Sarvapalli RadhAkrishNan has defined "GOD " in this context this way : " GOD is not a logical concept or the conclusion of a syllogism but a real presence , the ground and possibility of ALL knowledge and values " . Bridal Mysticism is one of the nine modes of relationships with the Lord where the relationship is similar to that one between the bride and the groom (BharyA-BirthA ) . The soul of the devotee is the bride and GOD is the Bridegroom ; their union is recognized as the spiritual marriage . The charactrestrics such as " irrevocableness , unswerving loyalty , love ad selfless service are supposed to mark the human marriage to mellow to the greatest extent in the spiritual marriage" . The great outpourings of AndAL to realize the Lord as her husband are full of this experience of Bridal mysticism . As the only female AzhwAr and on top of it as the consort of the Lord , She could exceed the experiences of the other two AzhwArs , who took on the role of ParakAla and Paraankusa Nayakis to delight in their experiences as the brides of the Lord . For all of us too , the path shown by these three AzhwArs and particularly AndAL is a living proof of the Vedanthic revelation : Sa Eva VaasudevO sau sakshAth purusha uchyatE StriprAyam itarat sarvam jagadh brahmapurrassaram " The supreme Lord is the only Man ; all others from Brahma downwards are like women , Who long to be united with HIM ." AndAL rejected the worldly pleasures , marriage to mere mortals and longed for union with the Lord as her groom in body and soul. The outpourings of her thoughts in NacciyAr Thirumozhi are suffused with this sense of longing and seeking of the Lord as her bridegroom in the spirit of bridal mysticism . The soul in the practise and experience of bridal mysticism goes through the harrowing experience of separation from HIM (Vislesham ) and the exhilirating experience of union (Samslesham ) with HIM . In Professor P.N. Srinivasachari "s words , " for them ,visleshA appears to be stretched into eternity and in SamsleshA , the eternity is crowded into a moment " . In response to bride AndAL's soulful cry , her Groom blesses her with an elaborate dream in which She lives through the individual rites of a Vedic marriage to the Lord to unite her with HIM as HIS bride ( VaraNamAyiram Pasurams of NacchiyAr Thirumozhi ) . After waking from this thrilling dream , she suffers the worst from separation from her Lord. He was almost there. She cries out to the Sacred Conch (Panchajanyam ) and asks it to relate the blessed experience of the taste of the Lord's nectar -like kiss . She implores the dark rain clouds , birds,flowers and bees to be her messengers to her Lord and to bring HIM to her quickly .She is reminded of Her Lord in everything she sees around her . After these painful efforts that get her no where , she decides to put up with her sorrow and places her trust in the Lord's infinite mercy . PiLLai LokAcharya and ManavALa Maamuni have pointed out the need to annihilate AhankAra to realize the fruits of bridal mysticism . according to them , even the presence of a tiny bit of AhankArA (divisive ego ) led to sorrow for even the greatest devotee of the Lord like AndAL . Once that was banished in the intense pursuit of realizing the unitive life with the Lord as her groom , AndAL was able to face " the sorrows undismayed and enjoy pleasures uncontaminated " . Any shred of divisive ego was pulverised through total surrender to the Lord , the eternal bridegroom . Here , Dr. Balakrishnan quotes the following two statements of RamaNa Maharishi and Sage AurobindO in support of the selfless love of a jivan for ParamAthmA : " Love of GOD for the sake of love and for nothing else , not even for the sake of salvation " is the true mark of bridal mysticism ---RamaNa Maharishi To a true devotee , therefore , GOD is both the path and the goal of the journey on this earth (Deha YaatrA ) , " a path in which there is no self-losing and a goal to which his wisely guided steps are surely arriving at every moment ." --Sage AurobindhO Dr. Balakrishnan Continues : " And true love brings with it deep humility , an awarenes of one's insignificance before all and helplessness before God . AndAL does not feel it as a humiliation at all when she goes al out with her sufferings to pretty little things like flowers and bees and seeks consolation from them .It is this humility , born of love of God , that helps her WIN the game of Love ". The limbs (AngAs ) of SaraNAgathi like KaarpaNyam , Gopthruva VaraNam, Atma NikshepaNam and others are built into these appeals of AndAL to her Lord in both Thiruppavai and Thirumozhi paasurams . The last deacd of her Thirumozhi , she provides proof for attaining her quest of spiritual union with the Lord in wedlock as HIs bride. With utter rapture, joy and contentment , she describes her visions of Lord KrishNa in Brindhavanam going about attending to the welfare of the cows and playing with his companions under the shade of GarudA's lofty wings . AndAL's Sacred Prabhandhams attest to her unique experience of GovindhA as her Consort in the mode of bridal mysticism . Through the sharing of her divine experience , she invites all humna souls (jeevans ) to experience the unitive life with Sriman NarAyaNA , her consort . AndAl then is the greatest bridal mystic of all seeking the Lord as their bridegroom through SaraNAgathi performed with the help of a SadAchArya in the hallowed and hoary SrivaishNavite tradition of BaraNyAsam . In the next posting , I will summarize the thoughts of Professor A . Srinivasaraghavan of Madras on the concept of Prapatthi as experienced by GodhA Piraatti . Sri Ranganatha MaNI PadhukhAbhyAm Nama : Oppiliappan Koil Varadachari Sadagopan January 1 , 1997 .