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Tuesday, April 17, 2001

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Divine Mother mediates on behalf of devotees

CHENNAI, APRIL 17. Surrender to God has been recommended by the scriptures as a means to liberation from bondage in the case of a spiritual aspirant who gives up self-effort as he is convinced that he does not have the necessary wherewithal to work for his salvation and hence supplicates to the Almighty with total faith in His saving grace. For such surrender to be effective it is necessary to take refuge in the Lord through the Divine Mother as She is the very embodiment of compassion and will ignore the shortcomings of the aspirant and plead on his behalf to the Almighty to condone his faults.

Self-surrender to God has been portrayed in the Ramayana which is a scriptural authority on this doctrine and is embodied in the assurance given by the Lord when He incarnated as a human being, Rama, to Vibhishana when he sought refuge in Him after he failed in his attempt to advice Ravana to change over a new leaf by returning Sita to Him and begging His pardon. When Rama broke the news of His exile to the forest to Sita She did not accede to His persuasion to remain in Ayodhya and Rama had to finally yield to Her wishes. Lakshmana who was witnessing the exchange between them was caught in the horns of a dilemma as his position as the younger brother who was always at His service warranted total submission to Rama's words without argument.

Lakshmana was not one who would argue with Rama after He expressed His mind and hence he had to find a way out of the situation by ensuring that he would not be left behind in Ayodhya and would accompany them both to the forest so that he would be of service to them. It was in this context that the role of the Divine Mother as the mediator between the supplicant and the Lord while adopting the path of surrender was highlighted in the Ramayana, said Kalyanapuram Sri R. Aravamudan in his Harikatha.

The epic describes that ``tightly pressing the feet of his eldest brother, Lakshmana, the delight of the Raghus, spoke as follows to Sita, who enjoyed great celebrity as also to Sri Rama who had undertaken a great vow, `If Your mind is set on proceeding to the forest, full of deer and elephants I shall accompany You to the woodland, walking ahead of You armed with a bow... Therefore kindly make me your attendant; there will be no unrighteousness in it. I shall thereby have accomplished my object and Your purpose too will be adequately served'.'' Thyagaraja whose devotion and service to Rama is palpable in each composition of his, intoning Lakshmana's sentiment in one of his songs beseeches Lord Rama to reveal to him the secret of how Sita and Lakshmana served Him.

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