Vedantha Athichoodi – anbe devAnAm – God is Love!

Madhura Geetham – Sloka Series 

“Athichoodi” is a type of poetic work (in Tamil) that comprises of a collection of one-line philosophical verses. HH Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji has composed a “Vedanta Athichoodi”, a poetic work that speaks of life’s most important principles. We had published the entire Vedanta Athichoodi and its overall meaning as part of our Madhura Geetham Sloka Series, earlier this year. Read that article here

Each of the lines of this Athichoodi are extremely deep and contain a wealth of meaning. In our sloka series over the next few months, we will look at the meaning of each line of this work.

Anbe Devanam – God is Love!

The Supreme Lord has many qualities. But, if there is one quality that is supreme among those qualities, then it is His Love towards his children (us). This love is totally unconditional and a million times more than that of a mother’s love. We cannot understand this love with our logical and cold, calculating mind. It can be understood only by experiencing it. Even then, our experiences would be like a small drop in the ocean of the boundless love of Bhagavan.

In Srimad Bhagavatam, Sri Shuka Muni says,

aho bakI yam stana kAla kUTam, jighAmsayA apAyayat api asAdhvi,
lebhe gatiM dAtri uchitAm tatonyam, kam vA dayAlum sharaNam vrajema”.

He gave liberation to even the one who came to feed him poison! Can there be anyone else more compassionate than Him?

Sri Shuka Muni is in awe of the Lord’s compassion. He wonders that if the compassionate Lord gave the highest goal of liberation even to his enemy, then what will he not do for his devotees?

So how did the Lord reciprocate the Gopis’ love? By loving them even more. He stole their butter, drank the milk from the cows, ate mud, played games with the Gopas, ate food with them, played the flute; and when danger struck, he protected them fiercely. In one sloka, Sri Shuka Muni says, the Gopas who were playing with Krishna experienced the highest state of bliss that only jnanis experience (brahmasukhAnubhUtam)!

Even Lord Rama who was uncompromising and unyielding when it came to his own dharma, threw away protocols and accepted the fruits that Sabari gave him lovingly after tasting them first.

We can also see this in the lilas of Lord Panduranga. When it rained cats and dogs, Lord Panduranga stood holding the wall of his beloved Namadev’s house. He need not have done that. All he had to do was just wish for the wall to be safe. Yet he came down because he wanted to serve his devotee personally. Let us say a son is visiting his mother after a long time. Even if she is rich and has servants all around the house to help her, wouldn’t she personally cook for him? Why does she have to? She can very well instruct her servants to make the dish. Yet she assigns them other tasks and personally takes up the task of making his favorite dishes and serving him. If we can understand this, then we can understand why Lord Panduranga held Namdev’s wall.

Sri Swamiji says that when the Lord says, “paritrANAya sAdhUnAm vinAshAyacha dushkritAm dharma samsthApanArthAya sambhAvAmi yuge yuge!“ (I come down to Earth and manifest again and again, to protect the Sadhus,  to destroy evil and to establish dharma), He uses destruction of evil and establishing dharma as an excuse to come down and spend time with his devotees.

The omnipotent Lord who created the Universe just by sankalpa (intention) can destroy evil forces in the same way, if needed. Yet, he chooses to come down again and again bound by the love of his devotees. He is truly an embodiment of Love!

Sowmya Balasubramanian, Dallas TX

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