Devotion does not depend on one’s wealth, status in life or accomplishments. It is a matter of the heart and an inner experience which also envelops the entire personality to such an extent that God awareness is inseparable from a true devotee. Not all are inclined to have bhakti, and while some may not have full faith in God, they may still engage in acts of worship as a matter of routine without much thought of bhakti. This is because, each one is governed by one’s inherent nature. The flame of a lamp always rises upward while water flows downwards only. Sastras caution people about the human mind’s tendency to seek the external world through the senses and urge them to begin to try to control it with earnestness. This can happen only through Sat Sanga that plays a beneficial role in guiding devotees in the path of bhakti. Association with good people, whose lifetime is spent in listening to the glories of the Lord, speaking of his greatness, and always being steeped in him alone can spark the feeling of devotion and keep it alive. Among the Azhwars, each one’s devotional experience is unique and their lives and hymns reflect their yearning for God. It is said that Nammazhwar sang his soulful hymns while seated in meditation under the tree, while others visited temples and were moved to ecstasy on beholding the deities. Kulasekhara Azhwar, though fulfilling his duties as a ruler was also a great devotee. Such was his empathy with Rama Avatar that it is said that during the renderings of the Ramayana in his court, when the scene of Rama’s battles are described, he would muster his troops and rush to assist Rama. Assuming the bhava of Kausalya, this Azhwar has sung a lullaby on Rama.


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