Guiding Light: Narayaneeyam

Dr. S. AinavoluUpdated: Tuesday, January 17, 2023, 07:01 PM IST
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Narayana refers to the form of Vishnu. Often God’s name is given to children by parents with the aim of serving as the path guidance to the name bearer and secondly to do “nama japa” each time they take the name of their child. An interesting story is associated with Ajamila, a non-devotee, who named his last child Narayana. Inspite of a life of misdeeds, during his end Ajamila called out to his youngest son, not of any devotion to Vishnu but of love for his son. Still, it is said that he got the benefits of nama japa which otherwise had to be done with devotion. This only shows that the “prathaa” or tradition of naming the children after God’s names existed for a long.

One such Narayana was born into the Bhattadri family and got appropriately educated. In the traditional education system, the students used to get attached to their guru due to the fact that their formative years were spent in gurukula. Narayana Bhattadri’s guru got afflicted with vata disease which crippled him. Bhattadri prayed to the lord that the disease of his guru should get transferred to him and the guru be relieved. Wish fulfilment happened and the guru got freed of the disease. However, Narayana Bhattadri now turned “vyadhi peedita” and could hardly make any movement. He opted to spend his days with Lord Vishnu at the religious place of Guruvayur in present-day Kerala.

Retelling the Shrimadbhagavatam in an abridged version or in pravachanam, often focuses broadly on the main “dasha-avataras” (ten avatars) of Vishnu, and elaborates Krishna avatar. Narayana Bhattadri compiled verses with great “aarti”, a combination of devotion and appeal. Work was completed in hundred days with one “dashakam” (ten verses) done every day. These shlokas were direct, written as appeal, and very powerful. This work is called “Narayaneeyam”. After the completion of Narayaneeyam, Narayana Bhattadri was freed of his ailment and lived purna-ayush.

Among those suffering or whose close ones are suffering from the physical disease of the highest level, Kanchi Paramacharya recommended “asmin paratman anupaadma kalpe..” and is regarded as nitya-parayana shloka. Here, the appeal goes for removing the “roga rashi”, unbearable “pile” of disease. And the benefit manifests.


Prof S Ainavolu is a teacher of tradition and management. He is with VPSM, Navi Mumbai. Views are personal. You can read more at https://www.ainavolu.in/blog

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