You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : May 1998

Transcendental Trances

From: Nutech (
Date: Sun May 03 1998 - 12:01:02 PDT

Dear Bhagavatas,
We present below two occurrences to show how an Azhwar and an Acharya
got overwhelmed by the very thought of the Bhagavad Gunanubhavams.
Anbil Ramaswamy

The gopis were annoyed with child Krishna’s naughty pranks especially
his sneaking into their private apartments and stealing butter. They had
stacked butter in the pots kept in safe custody of the ‘Uris’ (pot
holders made of coconut fibers) hung from the ceiling at a height that
(they thought) was beyond the reach of Krishna. By way of abundant
caution, they had tied to the Uri a string of bells made of bell metal.
If ever anyone touched the hangers, the bells would go agog ringing in
chorus setting an alarm to alert the Gopis of the presence of an
intruder !

Enter Krishna : the seasoned butter-thief !. He knows the contrivance of
the Gopis. So, he requests the bells not to ring and betray him. Not
content with taking a liberal scoop of butter from the pot, Krishna
could not resist the temptation to taste the delicacy. As he put the
butter in his mouth, the bells which stood silent during the act of
stealing started ringing brisk and loud to the hearing of the Gopis.

Krishna asked the bells why disregarding his entreaties not to ring,
they had started ringing. The bells replied: What is the purpose (
Purushartham) of our being bells, if we do not ring when our Lord is
having his feast ?"

Rest of the scenario is left to our imagination like his being caught
red handed, nay, white-handed with butter smeared all over his body;
his  bewitching ‘Navaneetha Naatyam"; the complaints of the Gopis to
Mother, Yasoda; his being tied to the mortar earning the sobriquet of
- This prompted Kulasekara Alwar to portray the scene in the words of
"Azhugaiyum Anji Nokkum An Nokkum, Anikol Sen Chiru Vaai Nelippaduvum
Thozhugaiyum Evai Kanda Asodai, Thollai Inbatthu Irudhi  Kandaale"
- It is the only scene which captured the mind of Madhurakavi Azwar, who
knew no God higher than his Acharya, Nammalwar - and made him start his
only work with the meaningful words- "Kanninun Siruthaambinaal Kattunna
Panniya Perumaayan"
- Nammalwar slipped into a trance for 6 months at the very thought of
this incident amazed at the ‘ Soulabhyam’ of the omnipotent Lord. Vide
his Pasuram-
"Pathudai Adiyavarkku Eliyavan… Ethiram Uralinodu Inaindirunda Elive ?"

If Alwar swooned immersed in Bhagavad Gunaanubhavam, we see an Acharya
fainting out of similar experience this time with reference to
Bhaagavata Gunaanubhavam.

Bhashyakara is also known as ‘ Tiruppaavai Jeeyar’. During his 
‘Upaadaana’ circumambulations along the streets of Srirangam, he used to
recite Andal’s Tiruppaavai. One day, as he was reciting the 18th
Pasuram’ Undhu Mada Kalitrin", he bumped on the doorsteps of a Bhagavata
(I do not readily remember his name now). As he was uttering the words
"Senthaamarai Kaiyaal Seeraar Valai Olippa Vandhu Tiravaai
Maghizhndu"-suddenly the door flung open. There stood a lass Athuzhaai
by name (the daughter of the Bhagavata) with bangles jingling on her
wrist,coming forward to offer ‘Bikshai’ to him..

Bhashyakaara was struck by the coincidence and for a moment imagined
Athuzhaai to be Nappinnai herself. The sentimental impact was so
powerful that he fainted. Such was the deep involvement of an Acharya to
the Divya Prabandham of Andal. Such was the emotional integration of our
Acharya with the Bhaagavatha Gunaanubhavam.

Bhashyakaara, as you know, was so much devoted to Godha Piraatti. He is
deemed her elder brother who fulfilled her wish to provide the Lord with
100 vessels of butter and 100 vessels of ‘Akkaara Adisil’. Vide Andal
Vaazhi Thirunamam Pasuram-
"Periyazhwar Petredutha Penn Pillai Vaazhiye/
Perumpudur Maamunikkup Pinn Aanaal Vazhiye//"

The above illustrate that the only thought constantly occupying the
minds of real Bhaktas is such Bhagavad, Bhaagavatha Gunaanubhavams. Even
those events and situations which might appear to us, ordinary folks, as
ordinary and routine would appear related to the Lord’s lilas and
transport them to inexplicable spiritual rhapsody.

In the modern context, to diagnose the psychological patterns of their
patients, psychiatrists show them some pictures (like what they call
modern art, which are unintelligible enough for ordinary folks). They
are supposed to elicit their reactions and base their prognosis and
assess appropriate treatments.

Whatever mundane or lackluster chores they may be engaged in at any
point of time, Bhaktas would interpret them with reference to some lila
or other of the Lord  or Bhagavatas. We can come across numerous such
instances from the Arulicheyals of Alwars and Arulmozhis of Acharyas.
A rich fare of similar Bhagavad- Bhaagavta  Gunaanubhavams are featured
in the "Saranagathi", the Official Journal of "Swami Desika Darsana
Satsangam". With the blessings of Yathivaras and Acharyas and the able
guidance of the Editors, Sriman Sadagopan and Sriman Sampath Rengarajan,
articles  high in quality and rich in content have appeared in the 18
odd issues released so far and more are to follow. Those interested but
have not subscribed so far may send an e. mail to to
become members of SDDS and receive the issues of the Saranagathi Journal

Anbil Ramaswamy
Swami Desika Darsana Satsangam