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In this age the origin of the Bhakti tradition is traced to the first three Azhwars popularly known as the Muthal Azhwars. The Bhagavata Purana envisages the birth of these mystics. It becomes apparent then that devotion is the means to liberation in this age. And, what was common to all saints was their singular devotion to the image form of God, so much so, that temples have become associated with saints who have sung the glory of the presiding deity there. They have demonstrated by example that if one had unalloyed devotion to God and detachment towards the world then the deities in temples responded by speaking to devotees and fulfilled their wishes, said Sri Muralidhara Swami in his discourse.
The life of Ramanuja attests to this. Once an employee of the Srirangam temple quarrelled with the temple administration over the insufficient share of Prasad (food offered to the deity) given to him for his services. Ramanuja who happened to overhear the heated exchange intervened and assured him that the Lord would take care of his requirements if he had faith in His dispensation. He forgot about the incident and months passed by before the saint met the person again. When Ramanuja enquired about his welfare, to his astonishment he learnt that he was receiving ample amount of all the varieties of food being offered to the Lord through his messenger. As Ramanuja had not instructed anyone to do so he intuited that Lord Ranganatha must have undertaken the task Himself. One can imagine the saint's state of mind when he actually beheld the Lord keeping aside some food offered to Him during the temple ritual to fulfil his word.
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