Focused worship

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Saint Sambandar sang that one should melt when one thought of Lord Siva. Tears well up in the eyes of one who loves the Lord, says the saint. Sundarar says that even if he were to forget the Lord’s name, his tongue will continue to utter His name. Saint Vallalar prays for this kind of focus. The determination to keep one’s mind on the Lord, and not let it go astray is not easily achieved.

Draupadi believed firmly that calling out the names of Lord Krishna would save her from humiliation in the Kaurava court. Her belief was not in vain.

When the Kauravas tried to shame her in court, by pulling off her saree, the Lord saved her by sending yards of cloth to help preserve her modesty.

Saint Appar’s determination to hold on to his belief in Lord Siva even in the face of torture is recorded in the Peria Puranam, said M.A. Manickavelu in a discourse.

The saint incurred the displeasure of the Pallava king, whose orders the saint chose to ignore.

The King therefore decided that he would break Appar’s resolve and make him bow to his monarch.

He had the saint cast into a pit of limestone, but the saint was unharmed and unafraid.

He then buried him neck deep in sand and sent elephants to trample on him. But the elephants did not obey the orders of the mahouts.

Finally, the King tied Appar to a stone and cast him into the sea. But the stone became a boat, which carried Appar to safety.

Any one of these methods of torture would have been enough for an ordinary mortal to do as the king expected. But Appar knew that he had nothing to fear, for the Lord was on his side.