Sauseelyam and Saulabhyam

Sauseelyam and Saulabhyam

The words Sauseelyam and Saulabhyam occur very frequently in the Srivaishnava parlance.  They are two of the most celebrated auspicious attributes of the Lord.  In this article, a brief introduction is provided to these terms.

Srimannarayana is the supreme being revealed by the vedic scriptures.  As one learns more of His greatness, one begins to perceive a gap between oneself and the Lord.  While the soul is ridden with the effects of karma and suffers with the faulty intelligence which is modulated by samsara, the Lord is supremely divine, auspicious, blemish-less and powerful.  It would appear that the athma can have no truck with the paramathma, the two sitting at opposite extremes.

It is the auspicious attributes of the Lord such as sauseelyam and saulabhyam that change this equation.  Expecting the soul to attain the Lord, all by oneself, is an impossibility.  How can a man, whose limbs are impaired, climb an elephant all by himself?  Of course, he cannot, unless … the elephant itself helps the man to climb on to it.  This is exactly what the Lord does.  He lowers Himself to be easily accessed by the souls, out of His sheer love and mercy.  This is where sauseelyam and saulabhyam shine brightly.

What is sauseelyam?

mahato~pi mandhai: saha samslesham karoti – making close or intimate contact with inferior beings despite one’s true superiority. 

The incarnation of the Lord that immediately comes to mind, is Sriramavathara. Despite His greatness in all respects, He made friends with hunters, monkeys and demons.  He considered Guhapperumal, Sugriva Maharajar and SriVibhishanazhvan as His brothers.  He made intimate contact with souls without any regard for their merit( or the lack of it).

What is saulabhyam?

sulabhasya bhaava: – the trait of being easy to attain.

Saulabhyam is at a whole another level from sauseelyam.  In sauseelyam, the Lord treats the souls on par with Him.  In saulabhyam, He considers the souls to be at a level even above Him!  He stands as an easy person waiting to do their bidding.  He gets tied by Yasodha and cries.  He runs around as a messenger for the Pandavas.  He performs the role of a chariot-driver for Arjuna on the battlefield, driving as He is told.  Saulabhyam shines beautifully in SriKrishnavathara.

No wonder that Svami Parasara Bhattar says that He incarnates to showcase His auspicious attributes to His devotees!

( Based on a discourse of Sri U.Ve. MA Venkatakrishnan Svami.  Errors are mine. )

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