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Chennai: Sravanam, or listening to the name of God being uttered, is one of the nine types of bhakti. Listening is an art, and it has to be cultivated. Lord Krishna as Guruvayurappan has demonstrated the value of listening, said Damal Ramakrishnan in a discourse.
When Narayana Bhattathiri goes to Guruvayur to compose verses describing the Lord’s 10 avataras, he calls upon Lord Guruvayurappan to listen as he composes his verses. Guruvayurappan agrees. Bhattathiri says he will compose about 10 or 11 verses every day, and he will finish his work in 100 days. He is going to narrate the incidents in each avatara and ask Guruvayurappan if indeed these things happened. And Guruvayurappan must acknowledge that Bhattathiri is right by nodding His head. Guruvayurappan wonders if Bhattathiri is seeking to claim that even God nodded His head in appreciation of his (Bhattathiri’s) verses. But Bhattathiri says he is only seeking to spread Guruvayurappan’s fame, not his own.
He reminds Guruvayurappan that as Lord Rama He heard Lava and Kusa narrate the Ramayana. As He did so, He nodded His head in approval.
The Ramayana has 24,000 verses. So He nodded His head 24,000 times. The work Bhattathiri is proposing to write is going to have only thousand-odd verses. Can the Lord not nod a little over a 1,000 times, Bhattathiri asks.
Moreover, while He heard His story as Rama, He didn’t listen to the Srimad Bhagavatam that describes the Krishna avatara. And if He now does not listen to Bhattathiri’s work, will not the people say that the Krishna avatara is not as great as the Rama avatara, for the Lord listened to the Ramayana but did not listen to His exploits as Krishna? Guruvayurappan then agrees to nod His head for each of Bhattathiri’s verses.
Of the many ways of worshipping God, one of the best is sravanam. The Lord Himself, as Guruvayurappan, demonstrated the significance of listening as a form of bhakti.
If the Lord Himself listened to Narayaneeyam and acknowledged each verse, the significance of bhaktas listening to the Narayaneeyam being recited or explained can be seen easily.
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