Of the five fold manifestations of the SUPREME LORD ( Param , Vyuham , Vibhavam , Archa and antharyami ) , the worship able form of Archa moorthy is easily accessible and takes one into permanent state of bliss .
The reason being Lord as Parama padha nathan is always surrounded by the divine planets and the Oceans and it is not of easy to access for the ones residing on earth with this material body.
The second manifestation of the Lord as ” Ksheerabdinathan” is in the middle of the milky ocean. LORD graces as Ksheerabdinathan to the demigods and the revered blessed sages . Even this darshan is not accessible with our material bodies.
The third manifestation of the LORD is what we have been celebrating as Lord Rama and Krishna avatars . The blessed manifestation was cherished by the great devotees of those times , the gopikas and the revered saints.
The fourth manifestation is the Antharyami svaroopam . With the blessings of Acharyar and deep contemplation of visualizing the LORD one can experience the LORD manifestation in our heart centres . However very few have this rare privilege and mercy to succeed in such efforts and thus , even this manifestation is not in reach of ordinary people on this earth .
The last manifestation of LORD as Archa Roopam is the abundant mercy showered on us , so as to make Himself easily available to one and all and worship Him with our own material body. Rama had worshipped Lord RanganAthA in ArchA form at Ayodhya . Krishna worshipped Lord Narayana in Dwaraka . Venkateshwara of Tirumala worshipped Lord Narasimha at Ahobilam . This was to educate us in having the great fortune to worship LORD in Archa avatara . Lord has thus made his presence in all the 106 Vaishnava Divyadesams in earth as per the wishes of several saints , Azhwars and continue to grace all the devotees .
An interesting pastime establishes the unique glory in the Archa form of worship
Once there resided a Srivaishnavite devotee ( Vinappam Seyvaar )in a divya desam. He had mastered all the Divya Prabhandams and was in the transcendental mood of reciting of Azhwars pasurams all the time . He used to worship saligrama moorthy at his house with sheer love and absolute faith . Somehow age had laid its icy hands on his faculties. His vision had almost vanished and his ears heard little.
His love for the Lord though, remained intact. His sweet ecstatic outpourings of the Azhwars always made him closer to the Lord . He always carried with him his nut wallet and had kept his Salagrama deity as his constant companion.The deity now was amongst those edible areca nuts which he used to consume .
Due to poor sight , he used to take the salagrama deity into his toothless mouth assuming it to be areca nut and while chewing he used to realize the offence and with utmost reverence seek forgiveness. He used to take the deity out give him a holy bath , dry with his already dust laden robe, dress him and taking the cymbals ( taalam) in his hands, sing a beautiful verse from the nectarine Tiruvaimozhi pasurams of Saint Namazhwar and then lull the little Salagrama deity to sleep.
This confusion and the ensuing events happened almost on an everyday basis. A young Srivaishnavite who was more of ritualistic order noticed the happenings and was shocked. With rage running through his veins at such an irreverent blasphemous treatment to the Supreme Lord , he hastened to the old person and reproached him severely. He demanded that the LORD had a better place to stay . The old man obliged succumbing to guilt.
The young Srivaishnava was very happy for obtaining the Lord .He took HIM home and offered a golden throne covered with sparkling diamonds and provided the best Paraphernalia . He then started worshipping the LORD enjoined for such occasions .
He was feeling elated and as usual the ego cropped in his mind for his services to the new lordships .He relaxed with a thought that his ritualistic worship was the best .
However , to his surprise the Lord appeared in his dreams on the very first night itself and commanded “ Ye fool! I was happy in that areca nut wallet .
I had the rare felicity of being bathed in the nectar-like saliva of his holy mouth, very holy due to his constant chanting of the hymns of my dearest Azhwars.
I had the supreme delight in listening to the sweet verses from the divya prabandham which he warbled to me.
You have deprived me of all this happiness and subjected me the tedious trials of your formal worship.” Ensure that I reach my areca nut wallet as soon as possible .
The young man was put under great apprehension by this dream. He immediately rushed and surrendered the lordships to the old custodian, who gladly accepted the deity with love pouring tears and singing the divine pasurams. Nevertheless, the old story of Salagrama entering his mouth as areca nut continued and the Lord remained in HIS bliss always .
The Lord takes supreme pleasure in listening to the rapturous outpourings from the love-smitten and love-soaked hearts of his devotees. Such revered devotees were Azhwars. This is why we give lot of importance to their verses.
Just by pretending to carry streaks of their bhakthi by chanting their nectarine words, we receive the grace of the Supreme. What if someone live his entire life chanting their works and serving Lord .
The mood is transcendental and every cell vibrates with his HOLY NAME ..
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan
Pics credits : Google images