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Dos and Don’ts

Chennai: Andal forswears ghee and milk, when She observes the Margazhi vrata. The reason is that Lord Krishna is the Parama Bhogya Vasthu, and when one seeks Him, would one be interested in other bhogya vasthus like ghee or milk? A person who loves God, will have an indifference to worldly objects(virakti). In fact virakti precedes bhakti. Bhakti yoga is difficult to observe. Hence the need for a simpler means of attaining moksha, and that simpler way is Saranagati or Prapatti, said Devanar Vilagam S.Padmanabhanr.

Azhvars have shown that Saranagati is the path that helps to attain moksha. Nammazhvar’s ‘Agalagillaen’ pasuram is just one example among many verses that show that the Azhvars resorted to Prapatti. Through his ‘Unnum soru’ pasuram, Nammazhvar shows that He desires nothing but Lord Krishna. When he is so immersed in the Lord, why would he seek anything else?

Those who have no desire for anything but service to the Lord, will not desire things of this world, whether they be flowers for adornment or kohl to enhance the beauty of their eyes. Acharyas instruct us to adhere to the Sastras, which tell us to speak the Truth, to keep to the path of righteousness, and lay down several other rules as well. Andal’s use of the words ‘Ayyam’ and ‘pichai’ assume significance. Ayyam is the act of giving without being asked. The Athi Choodi says, “Ayyamittu Un.” In other words the Athi Choodi says we should give to others voluntarily, before we sit down to eat. That kind of voluntary giving is what Andal speaks of through the word ‘ayyam.’ Pichai is what we give when asked. If we do not give voluntarily, we must at least give when asked.

In the ‘Vaiyathu Vaazhveergaal’ pasuram, Andal talks of the infinite mercy of the Lord, who chose to come to this earth for our sake. The word ‘avatara’ means descent. The Lord descends to this earth to save us. It behoves us to worship His feet, says Andal. And to do this, we must develop a spirit of renunciation towards the pleasures of the world. Shunning worldly pleasure, we must sing of the glory of His feet. Paraman adi paadi, says Andal.

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