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Seeking God's grace

CHENNAI : Adi Sankara revived the spirit of religion and philosophy of Sanatana Dharma and established it on a firm footing at a time when it was under threat from other faiths. While his philosophical treatises stand testimony to his intellectual acumen, the many hymns and stotras he composed inspire devotion and faith. Bhakti Bhava and high philosophy blend into a poetic outburst in Adi Sankara's hymns such as Bhaja Govindam, Subramanya Bhujangam, Soundarya Lahiri, etc., said Sri R. Krishnamurthy Sastrigal in a lecture. Subrahmanya Bhujangam sung in praise of Lord Subrahmanya at Tiruchendur, is an inspired composition in 33 verses, when Adi Sankara beheld the very presence of the Lord. With utmost humility this preceptor acknowledges the Lord's grace and vision that impelled him to sing His glory.

Though not well versed in the science of musical notes nor the meanings of complex texts, nor knowledgeable in the technical intricacies of poetry, he finds he is able to sing the Lord's praises through His effulgence that shines in his heart.

Some scriptures describe the Supreme Being as formless and without attributes (Nirguna Brahman). But He is also extolled as the repository of all auspicious attributes (Saguna Brahman) for purposes of meditation and comprehension.

The co-existence of this subtle feature is captured in a verse that uses epithets describing both aspects alternately. This son of Siva who is seated in the peacock chariot, and who is most attractive, is also the very essence of the scriptures, and one who resides in the hearts of realised souls.

It is vouched that chanting this hymn with faith rids one of debts, sufferings and disease, and confers health, wealth, longevity, wisdom and heavenly abode. But Adi Sankara reminds people that the ultimate aim of human birth is to get release from the cycle of birth.

The most relevant plea for every Jivatma is the entreaty to the Lord to be present at the time of death (when physical and other discomforts prevent thoughts of God). All human effort becomes fruitful only through the infinite grace of God.

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