You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : November 1997

RE: Azhwars Nitya suris or baddha jivatmas

From: Mohan Sagar (
Date: Sun Nov 23 1997 - 14:50:36 PST

I originally did not intend to participate in this discussion, as I have
little knowledge of the subject.  But, Sri Ramaswamy's recent comments have
brought back some thoughts I had during the original discussion, which I
would like to share with all of you.  What I am about to present is not at
all a traditional view, so please take this for what it is worth.   But,
with all due respects to Sri Ramaswamy, Sri Dileepan, and the other erudite
members of this forum, I feel that Mani's statement, "One needs to dig
deeper and more broadly into our Puravacharya's works to see how they viewed
the Alwars" is implying something more than just the superficial implication
for further study.  I would suggest that this delving be a more spiritual
one, reaching out more to our emotions than our logic. 

The debate - or should I say, paradox - as to the divinity or humanity of
saints and religious leaders is quite a common one among the theistic,
devotion based philosophies.  Take for example the Catholic Church in their
adoration of Mary.  The Church portrays Mary as the Divinely Ordained Holy
Mother, the one who in her compassion acts as the mediary between Christ and
humanity.  But, at the same time, Mary, the human mother of Jesus, is also
known as the one who cries as only a mother could at the suffering and
untimely demise of her son.  Interestingly, the Church is able to accept
both, the the sad plight of the human side of Mary and the exalted role of
Mary the "purusakAram." For in a sense, her very role as the Compassionate
Mediator for Her Divine Son results out of her own human experience, as she
can certainly empathize with what it means to go through this samsAram. 

Similar views can be found "closer to home," too.  In my plethora of
readings in college on the subject, I came across a brief blurb about what I
believe is a popularly held view in the Ramanandi tradition.  It stated that
the Lord chose to incarnate as Sri Rama not only out of His Saulabhyam, but
to truly show us how much He can understand and empathize with what it means
to be human.  To me, this is a beautiful concept, which makes us enjoy Him
even more!  Similar ideas are suggested in our own KurattazhwAn's ati mAnusa

I would like to suggest that a similar mood be taken in the appreciation and
adoration of the AzhwArs.  Whether or not the AzhwArs were born Divine, or
whether the Lord descended into them later will always be based on how one
looks at it.  But, the facts remain from their lives that they knew all too
well about the trials, tribulations, goods and bads of being human, and in
their own Divine outpourings both beseeched and wondered at the Kindness of
He who saved them from all of this. It is only in the recognition of this
undeniably human experience that we can see the the fullness of His Saulabhyam.

Please forgive me for any offenses made in my unqualified ramblings.

dAsan Mohan Raghavan