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SrI deSika stotra-s - 11. SrI nyAsa tilakam - Part 1.

From: Krishnamachari, N (Krish) (
Date: Wed Aug 12 1998 - 21:38:52 PDT

			SrI deSika stotra-s - 11. SrI nyAsa tilakam.

We have so far visited three stotra-s of svAmi deSikan dealing with the
topic of prapatti - SaraNAgati dIpikA, nyAsa daSakam, and nyAsa vimsatih.
The current write-up relates to nyAsa tilakam.  This stotram consists of 32
Sloka-s.  The name nyAsa tilakam was bestowed on this stotram by svAmi
deSikan himself (Slokam 32).  SrI rAmadeSikAcArya svAmi points out that just
as a tilakam enhances the appearance of the wearer's face, nyAsa tilakam
brings out the beauty of prapatti exquisitely, consistent with its name.
Lord SrI ra~nganAtha is the mUrti at whose Feet svAmi deSikan does
SaraNAgati in this composition.

Of the 32 Sloka-s, the matter dealing with the theory and practice of
prapatti is dealt with in the first 22 Sloka-s.  The remaining 10 Sloka-s
deal with the remorse the prapanna should feel if he transgresses the life
he has undertaken as a prapanna, the lack of the very need for such
transgression in the first instance, the lack of need for a prapanna to
praise anyone else other than bhagavAn, and a re-affirmation that true
knowledge consists in realizing that He is the only Truth, and that true
wealth lies in doing kaimkaryam to Him. 

One aspect of nyAsa tilakam is that svAmi deSikan elaborates on the unique
role of pirATTi in the cetana's prapatti.  In nyAsa daSakam and nyAsa
vimSatih, the concept of prapatti was explained and some of the issues
raised by its opponents were explicitly addressed.  In nyAsa tilakam, svAmi
deSikan outlines his own experiences and the results of his prapatti, and
thus reinforces the thoughts conveyed in the other works.   This is also the
only stotram for which svAmi deSikan's illustrious son, SrI kumAra
varadAcArya, has furnished a commentary out of the 28 stotra-s by svAmi
deSikan.  Some of the highlights of this stotra are summarized below. 

1. prapatti for moksha should be done only once:

prapatti for moksha should be done only once.  svAmi deSikan poetically
points out that it is as if this is the significance of the abahya mudra of
Lord ranganAtha's right hand (bhagavAn indicating to the prapanna that there
is no need for him to fear any more after the prapatti has been done once).
SrI D. rAmasvAmi aiye~ngAr svAmi gives reference to the same idea expressed
by svAmi deSikan in his tamizh composition aDaikkalap-pattu - umadu aDigaL
aDaiginREn enRu oru kAl uraittavarai amaiyum ini enbavar pOl a~njal enak
karam vaittu.  This commentator also points out that our great AcArya-s
instruct those who perform prapatti that after they have performed prapatti
at the feet of the Lord, they can from now on fix their gaze on the abhaya
mudra of the Lord  and derive solace and comfort from the way it promises
SrI kumAra varadAcArya gives the interpretation that if prapatti is done
more than once, bhagavAn will feel in debt because He has already given the
ultimate pleasure one can seek after the first prapatti, and will have
nothing more to give if the prapatti is repeated (Slokam 2).

2. piRaTTi, bhagavAn, and prapatti:

 In the AcArya paramparA, bhagavAn and pirATTi are the first and foremost
(Slokam 1).  svAmI deSikan points out that pirATTi and bhagavAn are
inseparable, and prapatti done to one is prapatti done simultaneously to
both.   svAmi deSikan gives a simple example to illustrate this point.  When
the veda prescribes a yAga to mahendra, one cannot do yAga to indra without
associating him with the epithet "mahA", or cannot perform yAga to the guNa
called "mahA" and a separate yag~na for "indra".   So also, when we do
prapatti, there is no distinction between pirATTi and bhagavAn, and our
surrender applies to both (Slokam 4).  

pirATTi's purushakAratva (recommendation, support, advocacy):

The only thing that is in between us and SrIviakunTham is the enormous sins
that we have committed.  The only prAyaScitta that is available to most of
us for our heaps of sins is prapatti.   The greatness and efficacy of
prapatti has been taught to us by bhagavAn in His rAma and kr*shNa
incarnations, and also by the great sages and AcArya-s.   As the first step
in seeking prapatti, we should seek the protection  of our divine Mother,
pirATTi, who speaks for us and pleads for us with bhagavAn --tadArambhe
tasyAh giram avadhAnena manasA akhila nAthasya ekAm ahishIm tAm Sriyam
prapadye (Slokam 3).  In lakshmi tantra, pirATTi's words to us are:
"Surrender to Me when you perform the prAyaScitta for your sins".  

	"prAyaScitta prasange tu sarva pApa samudbhave          |
	  mAm ekAm devadevasya mahishIm saraNam Srayet   ||

As our divine Mother, She takes the responsibility to plead our case when
bhagavAn is vexed with our enormous sins.  Without Her pleading our case, we
have no chance of approaching Him (adhr*shyatvam - non-approachability -
Slokam 4).

SrI D.rAmasvAni aiye~ngAr points out that SrI rAmAnuja in his SaraNAgati
gadyam, also first seeks pirATTi's Grace, and after obtaining Her blessing,
perforsm prapatti at the feet of the Lord.  SrI deSika follows SrI rAmAnuja
in performing SrI prapatti here.  This is also called purushakAra prapatti.

3. bhagavA's dayA and soulabhya:

It is out of His dayA that He created brahma and gave him the knowledge of
the veda-s so that brahma could create and maintain the rest of the beings.
He is the Supreme Lord of all the gods (Slokam 5).   It is out of His
soulabhya (being easily accessible to even the lowliest of beings) that He
took the incarnation as the cowherd kr*shNa in the midst of the gopi-s, and
it is out of the same soulabhya that He has taken the incarnations in the
form arcA-mUrti in various puNya-keshetra-s such as SrI ra~ngam (Slokam 6).
bhagavAn's kaTAksham is all that is needed for the removal of the all the
sins that we have accumulated (Slokam 8).

4. Importance of AcArya kaTAksham in prapatti:

The point was made in the introduction that in nyAsa tilakam svAmi DeSikan
illustrates the principles of prapatti that had been stated in other
stotra-s such as nyAsa vimSatih.  An example of this is found in Slokam 9.
Here svAmi deSikan sings the praise of Lord ranganAtha for having led him to
a great AcArya, and indicates that bhagavAn has in the process completed a
major part of His responsibility in leading him to moksham.  Another way to
understand this Slokam is that choosing an AcArya with the AcArya lakshaNa-s
described in nyAsa vimSatih is a major and very important part of prapatti,
and this also happens only with bhagavAns' anugraham.

For a cetana who is full of enormous sins, unable to undertake j~nAna yoga,
karma yoga, and bhakti yoga, and  really unclear and confused about prapatti
but all the same comes forward to utter the mantra-s required for prapatti,
it is bhagavAn's karuNA that He reveals an AcArya to the cetana.   The
AcArya's mere kaTAksha starts removing the confusion and makes the
prapatti's underlying significance clear and assures ultimate moksham
(Slokam 20).  

svAmi deSikan compares the help of the AcArya to the prapanna by giving
three examples (Slokam 21) which are significant in their difference.  First
is the case of as that of someone with clear eyesight leading someone who is
totally blind.  The analogy here is that even though we don't have the
j~nAna, the AcArya takes care of this deficiency.  Next he gives the example
of a lame person being ferried across from one shore to the other.  Here,
unlike in the first example, the person cannot even take any effort as in
the case of holding the hand of the person who leads, but needs to be
carried into the boat and carried out from the boat on the other shore.  The
third example is the family of a king's servant who has received enormous
gifts from the king for his service.  Even though the family enjoys the
benefits of the gift, they have nothing to do with the king directly.  The
AcArya's help is similarly both direct and indirect, and he lifts up the
Sishya in many different ways as needed in order to ensure that the Sishya
gets moksha through prapatti in spite of his lack of knowledge and any other
deficiencies.   The importance of this Sloka is evident in that svAmi
deSikan refers to this Sloka again in his rahasyatraya sAra.

To be continued ....

-dAsan kr*shNamAcAryan