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anthima smruthi (remembering the Lord at final moments)

From: srivaishnavan (
Date: Mon Jan 28 2002 - 21:33:38 PST

SrImathE Ramanujaya namah:
Dearest Srivaishnavas,

Just to supplement the thread: 
Essentially we are all agreeing that for those who have surrendered 
the final remembrance is not needed. (means: prapannan has done what 
is required to be done placing the burden of protection to the Lord 
Himself.). It is the Lord who enables the jIvan (prapannan) remember 
Him at the final stage. 

Sri Mani Varadarajan beautifully posted few months ago and is 
reproduced here for our ready reference.

--- In bhakti-list@y..., sadagopan iyengar <sadagopaniyengar@y...> 
> Hence Swami Desikan concludes, "prapannanukku antima
> smrityAdigaliL nirbandham illai". We heave a sigh of
> relief, for, as prapannAs, our ascent to Sri Vaikuntam
> (at the appropriate time) is ensured, whether or not
> we are able to keep Him in our Last Thoughts.

Sri Sadagopan Swamin,

What a lovely essay! I would like to follow up with Sri
Vedanta Desika's concluding teachings from the same section of
Srimad Rahasya Traya Saaram. Some shastras (such as the Gita)
say that one *must* keep the Lord in one's thoughts as one 
dies. Without this there is no attainment of the Lord, for
whatever one's last thought is, that itself it attains.
This we know from the story of Adi Bharata, etc. Other
shastras (such as the Varaha Charama Sloka) say that for
one who is relying purely on His grace, such remembrance
is unnecessary for He Himself will remember the jIva and
lead it along the path of light to His abode. How can one
reconcile the two conflicting teachings?

The resolution is that one must understand the real problem.
It is really not whether one must have a thought of the Lord as one 
dies. This, as we have seen from the Gita and various other
shastras, is necessary. The question then is whether one 
must *expend any effort* in *keeping* the Lord in one's thoughts
at that stage. For, as the author of the Mukunda Mala says,
'smaraNam kutas te' -- how can I remember you when I am physically
incapable of doing so? 

The answer lies in the Lord's words from His conversation with
Sri Ramanuja in Saranagati Gadyam. He reassures Sri Ramanuja
that at the time of death, purely by His own grace, because
the He is remembering the jIva, the jIva will have the thought of 
Him, even if the jIva would otherwise be incapable. -- 
'SarIra-pAta-samaye tu, kevalam madIya dayayA ... atiprabuddhaH,
mAm eva avalokayan ... '

In other words, one need not worry about the remembrance at
all. Just as for the mature upAsaka (meditator) the final
thought will be natural, as an outflow of his or her 
meditative experience of the Lord throughout life, for one
relying wholly upon the Lord's grace, the Lord *Himself* will
achieve this final remembrance, without any effort expended
on the jIva's part. No matter what the condition, even if
the body be unconscious like a log, such a final thought
will be achieved -- because He has declared that He will
take care of the jIva.

In all cases one must adopt the attitude of Nammalvar --
'ciRRa vENDA' -- do not worry!

aDiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan

Hope it clarifies.
Namo narayana

           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
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