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SrI deSika stotra-s - 11. SrI nyAsa tilakam - Part 2.

From: Krishnamachari, N (Krish) (
Date: Thu Aug 13 1998 - 15:36:08 PDT

		SrI deSika stotra-s - 11. SrI nyAsa tilakam. - Part 2.

5. The Greatness of prapatti as a mosha upAya:

prapatti is guaranteed to yield the desired result in this birth itself,
does not require any special vedic observances such as agni homa etc. which
are required as part of bhakti yoga and for which some may not be qualified
because of their varNa etc., and is open to all just like the dictum "Speak
the Truth" is open to all.  Also, because of the extreme difficulty of
observing bhakti yoga, one who observes the bhakti yoga may tend to feel
some kind of importance for himself and his act, including the feeling that
he is following this as the primary "upAya" for moksha (apihita-sva-upAya
bhAva - Slokam 10), and forget that bhagavAn is the real upAya.  Because of
its extreme simplicity of the prapatti mArga, the observer of prapatti yoga
does not have a reason to get this kind of feeling.  It is important to keep
in mind that bhagavAn is the only real upAya (siddha upAya) for moksham, and
prapatti is the sAddhya upAya that makes it possible to bring the siddha
upAya into action. 

6. bhakti vs. prapatti:

It has been pointed out in previous stotra-s that the SAstra-s declare
bhakti yoga and prapatti yoga as the two paths for moksha.  We have also
seen that these are two entirely independent means.  svAmi deSikan
reiterates this point here (Slokam 15).

  1. Even the guNa-s of bhagavAn on which we meditate when observing the two
paths are different.  Thus, bhakti yoga involves observance of several
vidyA-s, and the particular guNa associated with the vidyA being observed is
to be meditated upon as the different vidyA-s are observed.  For prapatti,
the only guNa to be contemplated upon is His guNa of being the sole upAya
for moksha without depending on any other act on our part other than
prapatti or SaraNam.

  2. The verbs that are used to describe bhakti yoga in the upanishad-s are
different from those that are used to describe prapatti.  Thus, for example,
upAsIta etc.  for bhakti, and SaraNam vraja for prapatti.  Words such as
vedana, dhyAna, upAsana, darSana etc. all are used to refer to bhakti yoga,
and words such as SaraNAgati, prapadana, tyAga, Atma nikshepaNa, nyAsa, etc.
are used to refer to prapatti yoga.  

In brahma sUtra-s, SrI vyAsa points out that when different terms are used
for different types of meditation, even though the end is the same, these
are to be considered as independent means, through the sUtra "nAnA SabdAdi
bhedAt" - 3.3.56.  

  3. In nyAsa vimSatih it was pointed out that by performing prapatti, the
effects of the prArabdha karma-s will be forgiven except those that are to
be enjoyed in the current birth, and at the end of this life there will be
no residual karma for which a re-birth will be needed.  Such is not the case
with bhakti yoga, where the effects of prArabdha karma-s have to be lived
and enjoyed, which may take several lives, and only at the end of this will
moksha be attained.  Thus there is difference even in the time it takes for
moksha to be attained through the bhakti and prapatti yoga-s.

  4. bhkti yoga needs to be observed day in and day out, till the end of
life.  Prapatti yoga needs to be done just once, like a yAga, which is
performed just once for a given desired benefit. 

  5.  bhakti and prapatti both have their special aspects which may make
them both difficult in their own ways - bhakti yoga because of the great
effort and exertion involved, and prapatti because of the great faith
involved. bhakti yoga requires patience to wait to acquire the j~nAna,
Sakti, and phala, extending over several births even, birth in a high caste
or varNa, rigorous constraints on the body, observance of the bhakti yoga
till the end of this life,  etc.  prapatti requires development of mahA
viSvAsam, but this can be developed once there is the will, but prapatti
needs to be done only once in one's lifetime.  Only those who have the
ability to undergo the strenuous requirements of bhakti yoga, in addtion to
being born in the varNa that allows the requirements of bhakti yoga,  can
pursue bhakti yoga, and even they have to fall back to prapatti as the
alternative if they cannot pursue it after they start it, if they are still
interested in moksha.  The desire for prapatti arises only when a person
feels extreme remorse about the heaps of sins he has accumulated, and the
inability to overcome the effects of these in any number of births through
any other means. 

7. prapatti mArga not a PArt of bhakti mAraga, But An Independent Means:

There are all several different alternate approaches which can be pursued as
part of bhakti yoga, such as dahara vidyA, sad-vidyA, viaSvAnara vidyA etc.,
and these are all collectively known as bhakti yoga, and are not given
individual identities as separate mosha upAya-s.   Since prapatti is one
other alternative for moksha, some argue that there is no need to identify
prapatti as a separate means and give it a unique identity.  svAmi deSikan
points out that there is a distinct aspect of prapatti that is not part of
the different alternatives under bhakti yoga.  The different alternatives
under bhati yoga are left to one's choice based on one's inclinations, taste
etc.  But prapatti is for those who have realized that there is absolutely
nothing else that is open to them.  So there is no issue of choice, and thus
this is a category of its own unlike any other means.

Those who perform bhakti yoga successfully will get all that they desire
including moksha.  So also those who do prapatti will get everything they
desire, including moksha.  The peak of folly (buddhi daurbalya kAshThA -
Slokam 18) is for one who is unfit for bhakti yoga to undertake it because
of lack of trust in the efficacy of prapatti.  They will be wise to realize
their limitations with respect to bhakti yoga, and have complete trust in
prapatti as the moksha upAya that is within their means, and follow this

8. More doubts about prapatti answered (Slokam 19):

In nyAsa vimSatih, svAmi deSikan addressed several questions that have been
raised the opponents of prapatti as an independent means for moksha.  In the
current stotra, he addresses some more of these questions.  He rhetorically
raises five doubts that question the efficacy of prapatti, and answers them
so that especially the "learned analysts" among us who can raise these kinds
of questions can be put to rest.  These questions are:

  a) How is it possible that on the one hand we have committed enormous sins
that are beyond even our comprehension, and then expect to do prapatti just
once, and expect to achieve nearness to bhagavAn?

  b) bhagavAn is known to give only the benefits according to the karmA-s
that have been performed by the cetana.  How can it be possible that we do
prapatti once, and then get the viakunTham that even the likes of brahma,
Siva, etc. have not attained?

  c) How is it possible that bhagavAn, who needs nothing from anyone, just
accepts the simple, easy-to-observe, prapatti, and then in return bestows
this greatest and best of phala-s, viz. moksham and permanent relief from

  d) SrIman nArAyaNa is known to not easily bestow benefits on His devotees,
unlike the lesser gods who are easy to please and who bestow what their
devotees pray for relatively easily.  How is it possible that cetana does
the prapatti, and then SrIman nArAyaNa gives moksham to this prapanna
whenever the prapanna chooses after the expiration of the prArabdha karmA-s
that are currently being enjoyed?

  e) How can it be true that bhagavAn gives the same great benefit viz.
moksha to everyone who does prapatti, without distinguishing between the
different cetana-s.

svAmi deSikan points out that a proper understanding of the significance of
His nAma as SrIman and nArAyaNa will dissolve these doubts  - not just be
solve them - according to the nice translation by SrI D. rAmasvAmi
aiye~ngAr.  SrI rAmadeSikAcArya svAmi re-emphasizes that this is where the
AcArya plays his role.  Here are brief explanations that are offered both in
SrI rAmadeSikAcArya svAmi's commentary and in SrI D. rAmasvAmi aiye~ngAr's

Response to a) pirATTi's purushakAratvam (recommendation, interceding on our
behalf) is the reason that we are able to approach Him in spite of our
enormous sins.  The important point here is that bhagavAn will not reject
any appeal from Her who is the personification of Mercy towards us,  and so
we can appraoch Him without fear, which we cannot hope to do in the absence
of pirATTi's purushakAratvam.

Response to b) It is true that He gives the benefits consistent with the
karma-s or action of the cetana.  But there is a special relationship
between Himself and a prapanna, and this is one of His being the Master and
the prapanna being His servant.  This relationship entitles the prapanna to
the right of protection from Him, and thus He will definitely offer the
protection because it is His responsibility.

SrI D. rAmasvAmi aiye~ngAr points out that He is nArAyaNa who is in all
beings and who has all beings within Him.  "nAn unnai anRi ilEn kaNDAi
nAraNanE! nee ennaiyanRi ilai" - tirumazhiSai AzhvAr; "un tannODu uRavEl
namakku I~ngu ozhikka ozhiyAdu" - ANDAL.  So He is as anxious to get us back
to Himself as we are to go to Him.  He is only waiting for a vyAja or
pretext to protect us.  When we put up our hands, He catches hold of them
and draws us unto Himself.  He came and protected gajendra who cried out for
His protection while gods were put aside.  That is the extent of His love
towards a SaraNAgatan.

Response to c) While it is true that bhagavAn is not in need anything from
anyone,  it is His Nature that He is abundantly Merciful, and thus a small
act such as prapatti by the cetana is considered a big sacrifice by Him and
thus He rewards the prapanna with such a big benefit as moksha.

SrI rAmasvAmi aiye~ngAr points out that when draupadi cried out for His
help, He helped her, but kept feeling for the rest of incarnation that He
had not done enough to help her.

Response to d) While bhagavAn does not bestow benefits quickly in general,
it is His declared position that He will offer protection to those who seek
refuge in Him (prapanna-s), and so He offers moksham whenever the prapanna

Response to e) When He offers mokshma to the prapanna, He really considers
that He is the one who has benefited in the process.  Thus, independent of
who it is that seeks His protection, He does not differentiate and bestows
moksham to them.

SrI rAmasvAmi aiye~ngAr points out that for Him, rich and poor, learned or
not learned, etc. do not make a difference, and He is like the cloud which
pours on one and all without distinction or difference.  This is His nature.

To be continued.....

-dAsan kr*shNamAcAryan