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A treasure chest for devotees

CHENNAI SEPT. 30. The Vedas contain the quintessence of great wisdom and knowledge acting as guide to human beings in all their transactions in this world, apart from serving the purpose of leading them ever so greatly towards the ultimate goal of life. The truth and philosophy contained in the scriptures are not easily discernible by the unprepared mind. This vicious cycle of lack of knowledge and preparation coming in the way of accessing these texts, which can bring relief and solace to humanity is addressed by the Puranas such as the Bhagavatam, the epics and the works of saints like the Azhwars.

The Divyaprabandam contains easily comprehensible nuggets of information to help establish the inner meaning of scriptural works for the lay devotee and serve as catalyst to the essential way of living as per Vedic guidelines, said Sri Andavan Swami in a discourse. Many poets and preceptors have sung the glory of Lord Krishna but none can equal Kulasekara Azhwar's composition on "Devaki's tearful appeal", which is a prime example of devotional lore. The Divyaparabandam, which is the collective wisdom of the Azhwars, also helps establish religious antecedents. It is widely theorised by some spiritual historians that the Vaishnavite practice of taking one of the holy sacraments began only with the advent of Sri Ramanuja in the eleventh century. Yet there are enough references to prove that this rite was prevalent much earlier.

Periyazhwar, the Vaishnavite saint-philosopher, in his composition simplifies some of the most difficult-to-interpret scriptural body of work, namely Veda Vyasa's Brahma Sutras. The essence of the message therein is condensed in a single song by Periyazhwar. The first sets out that Narayana is the unparalleled Supreme Power, the singular source of creation, sustenance and destruction of the universe. The next rebuts the objections to such a viewpoint stating that He is the material and instrumental cause for everything in creation. In this regard the poet compares Brahma to a mosquito sitting on one of the numerous fruits of a huge fig tree. Lord Narayana is Supreme, from whom others derive authority. In the third step the merits of devotion as a means of attaining salvation are established while the last part describes salvation in all its glory. The works of the Azhwars are a treasure chest for all devotees and clarifications for any statements, which are doubtful, can be obtained from them.

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