Michael Bühler-Rose’s recent post, explaining ritual as a means to heighten spiritual mindfulness, reminded me of the following verse. In his Mukunda-Mala-Stotra (A Garland of Verses in Praise of Vishnu/Krishna) Kulashekhara Alvar derides observances and practices of sadhana performed in forgetfulness of Lord Narayan. Kulashekhara was the tenth of twelve Alvars, South India’s mystic poets whose writings served as inspiration for the acharyas of the Sri Vaishnava Sampradaya.
All glories to Lord Narayana! Without remembrance of His lotus feet, recitation of scripture is merely crying in the wilderness, regular observance of severe vows enjoined in the Vedas is no more than a way to lose weight, execution of prescribed pious duties is like pouring oblations onto ashes, and bathing at various holy sites is no better than an elephant’s bath.
Translation by Gopiparanadhana dasa, courtesy of The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc. Used with permission.