You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : January 2002

Quiz : Adiyen's answer

From: Krishna Kashyap (
Date: Sat Jan 26 2002 - 10:50:19 PST

asmad gurubhyo namah
srimathe srivan shatakopa sri vedanta desika yatindra mahadesikaya namah
srimathe sri lakshmi nrisimha divya paduka sevaka sri narayana yatindra maha
desikaya namah

QUIZ:  What is the MOST REVOLUTIONARY CONTRIBUTION to the world of Hindu
Philosophy by Sri Ramanujacharya and why is it so? - please explain.

Let me offer my heartfelt thanks to all the folks who have thought about
this QUIZ and answered it in various ways.  From different perspectives, the
answer to this QUIZ will be different and hence there may be several answers
to this question. It is hard summarize the contributions of mahans like
Jagadguru Sri Ramanujacharya in a parpagraph and state that this is the most
important contribution.  Sri Mani Varadarajan and myself were discussing for
several weeks about the topic of prapatti and whether there is proof in our
shastras for supporting advaraka prapatti as opposed to bhakti yogam ( which
is same as sadvaraka prapatti).  Please note: prapatti for direct attainment
of moksam  is known as advaraka prapatti.  bhakti yogam also requires
prapatti, but this is anga prapatti or surrendering to attain bhakti yogam.
Hence even bhakti yogam also involves surrender but the goal is to
effectively begin, maintain and end bhakti yogam.

with this introduction let me step back and analyze this issue further.

1.  We cannot argue in a global basis about sri Ramanujacharya's works.  We
can only take a view of our vedantic world and assess sri Ramanujacharya's
contributions.  We cannot take the whole world since christians or atheists
or anyone else may not appreciate SriRamanujacharya's contributions.

2. We cannot support our principles using our own pramanams.  for example,
if one asks what is the pramanam for direct prapatti in the shastras, we
cannot quote alvars views, since in vedanta, alwars views ( though it has
the highest truths explained better than the vedas) will not be admissible
in general.  A saiva vedantin may want to ask: "why not nayanmars?.  We
should take their view to be of the highest truth!". Any experience based
view, such as a yogis' views, or Alwars' views or any nayanmars's views will
not be acceptable to all people who are vedantins ( who agree that vedas are
valid testimony). Note that one's experience cannot be shared by others.

3. Only vedas are the pramanam which is commonly accepted by all vedantins.

4. Concept of surrender as an angam to bhakti yoga is commonly accepted and
is not a special finding of visistadvaitam.  In many places of Sri
Sankaracharya's bhasyam on Bhagavadgita, surrender is mentioned for the
attainment of jnana or sadhana for moksha.  Hence the concept of surrender
to start and perform bhakti yogam is not new and not a distinct contribution
of Sriramanujacharya.

4. If you take Gita bhasyam of sri Ramanujacharya, since prapatti is
mentioned as anga or a means to attain bhakti yoga in that context, that is
sort of similar to other bhasyas.

5. However, in Sharanagati gadyam the advaraka or direct prapatti is
established as a valid means by Sri Ramanujacharya.  This is the only method
which is available to every one. If one looks at the vedic verse :
tasmat nyasam esam tapasam atiriktam ahuh,

the Nyasa here can be taken as direct prapatti or anga prapatti for
bhaktiyogam.  It was Sri Ramanujacharya's revolutionary greatness to have
given prominence to the meaing of advaraka ( direct) prapatti as the meaning
of this vedic passage, by writing sharanagati gadyam clearly as direct
prapatti and not anga prapatti.

6.  Note that Nammalwar's life is explained by both Tirukkurugai Pillan and
Eeedu as ; alwar prapannar dehayatraiyil avar bhakti yogi.  (sorry for my
mistakes in this quote because I dont remember the exact quotation). this
means that Nammalwar is prapannar but in his life here he was a bhakti yogi
naturally. No doubt that Nammalwar performed bharanyasam in the ahalahillen
slokam which is for direct moksham. Nammalwar's words are ultimate; however
cannot be used to convince other vedantins.

Due to all these reasons,  Sri Ramanujacharya has established the validity
of Advaraka prapatti or direct prapatti to attain moksham without bhakti
yogam or any other sadhanas, using Vedas as the basis so that it is commonly
acceptable to all vedantins.  This I think is the most revolutionary
contribution of SriRamanujacharya.  All other contributions such as opening
all this method to all castes and creed etc. are all derivative of the
shastraic sound basis which Sri Ramanujacharya established.  Such shastraic
basis was not given before the time of Sri Ramanujacharya. Sharanagati
gadyam is that work where this is well established.

This is adiyen's humble view.  I dont know whether this view is right.
However, by asking this QUIZ and trying to Answer this QUIZ, the
unintentional good effect is that, we think, get the views of other
bhagavatas, and speak and reminisce the lotus feet of our divine acharya Sri
Ramanujacharya, who is so kind as to accept adiyen as one of his servants of
his servants.

yo nityam achhyuta padambuja yugma rugma vyamohatah taditarani trinaya mene
asmad guroh bhagavatosya dayaika sindhoh Ramanujasya charanau sharanam

adiyen Krishna Kashyap

           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
To Post a message, send it to:

Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to