You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : January 1997

AndAL's Prapatthi in Thiruppavai: 25th day Of Marghazhi

From: V. Sadagopan (75041.3037_at_compuserve.com)
Date: Thu Jan 09 1997 - 18:55:53 PST

Dear Members of the Prapatthi Group :

I will summarize the thoughts of Professor A . Srinivasaraghavan
of PudukottA on the concept of Prapatthi as expressed by AndAL 
in her Thiruppavai . Professor A.S is a great scholar of Srivaishnavism 
and is the author of the English version of the Bhashyam of Parasara
Bhattar on Sri VishNu Sahasra Naamam . We will summarize the doctrines
of Prapatthi first  taught by PancharArta SamhitAs and  Upanishads  
elaborated by Acharya RaamAnuja , Pillai LokaachAr and Swami Desikan . 

*** Source Literature on Prapatthi 

Prapatthi or the doctrine of self-surrender is known by the different names of 
SaraNAgathi (seeking refuge at the Lord's sacred feet ) , BharanyAsam
( Transfer of the burden and responsibility of protection of the Jeevan 
to the Lord )  and  Aatma Nikshepam ( Surrender of the self ) .

*** Upanishads and Prapatthi 

Upanishads as the siras of VedAs teach us about 32 Brahma VidyAs
( Knowledge about the supreme goal and the highest means ) to learn
about the Parabrahman . NyAsa VidhyA is one of the  32 VidhyAs. All these
VidhyAs have some differences amongst them , but the end result from 
the practise of each of the VidhyAs is the same. BadarAyaNa deals 
extensively with these Brahma VidyAs in his Brahma SutrAs .

The three well-known Upanishadic references about Nyasa VidhyA 
are as  follows :

**SvetasvatarOpanishad ( 6-18 ) : 

yO brahmANam vidhadhAthi purvam
yO vai vedamsccha prahiNothi tasmai I
tam ha devam aatma buddhi prakAsam
mumkushurvai saraNamaham prapatyE II

(meaning ) : He who creates Brahma at the beginning of creation and 
who teaches the Vedas to him is the Spreme Being , who shines by 
His own knowledge ; the seeker after liberation from the cycles of
births and deaths as I am , I seek total refuge in Him .

**Taittiriya Upanishad 

tasmAth nyasameshAm tapasAmathirikthamAhu :

(Meaning ) : Hence , they say that Nyasa (deposit of one's
soul at the Lord's feet ) exccells all these types of penances .

**Taittiriya AaraNyakam ( 3.11.43 ) 

sandhAm cha saamsandhadhE brahmaNaisha : I
ramathE tasmin utha seerNE sayAnE nainam I
jahAtyahasthu  purvyeshu II 

(meaning ) : A person(prapannA ) must cultivate a relationship with 
the Brahman. The Brahman feels pleased then with the prapannA.
As a result of this ,  Brahman  does not abandon the PrapannA 
even in the far future , when the latter is feeble and is in the death bed .

Upanishadic Prapatthi was maintained as a quite secret instruction until 
hte time of Acharya Ramanuja . This dayA sindhu of an AcharyA performed 
prapatthi in his SaraNAgathi Gadhyam and proclaimed it to the world. 
His successors elaborated on it and the tradition continues even today 
with our contemproary AcharyAs . 

***PaancharAtra SamhitAs and Prapatthi 

Ahirbudhnya SamhitA and Lakshmi TantrA are part of PaancharAtra
saastrAs taught by Bhagavan Himself to help the erring Jeevans and
to save them . These two works have  elaborate describtions of the act
of Prapatthi , the qualifications for a person to perform prapatthi and 
the limbs of Prapatthi . 

A famous passage of  Ahirbudhnya SamhitA ( 37.30& 31) describes 
the mood of the PrapannA and the act of prapatthi this way :

ahamsmi aparAdhAnAm aalayOakinchanaOagathi:
tvamevOpAyabhoohtO mE bhavEhti prarthanAmathi :
saraNAgathirityukhtA saa devEsmin prayujyathAm 

(Meaning ) : I am the embodiment of every transgression; I do not have 
any other means of protection. I have nothing else to attain but Thee .
Be pleased to be my UpAyA . This mind set (thought ) yielding the prayer
is known as SaranNAgathi. Let it be performed to the Lord .

Ahirbudhnya SamhitA describes elsewhere the six limbs of SaraNAgathi :

1. vow & practise to do whatever that pleases the Lord (aanukoolya sankalpam)
2. vow & practise to avoid whatever that displeases the Lord(PrAthikoolya
Varjanam)
3. The total faith in Him as the oneand only one , who will protect (MahA
visvAsam )
4 . begging for His protection (Gopthruva VaraNam )
5.Aathma Nikshepam ( The surrender of the Self )
6. the feeling state of helplessness (kaarpaNyam ) . 

Out of the above six , Aatma Nikshepa/prapatthi  is the  angi 
and the other five are its angaas (limbs ) . Prapatthi with all of
its five angAs can be performed for the attainment of material wealth 
or for the spiritual wealth of eternal service to the ParamAthmA. For acheiving
the boon of eternal service to the Lord , one has to acquire the correct
knowledge of Artha Panchakam ( ParamAthma Svarupam , JeevAthma
Svarupam , UpAya Svarupam , Virodhi Svarupam and the pala svarupam ) .

In the next part , the idyllic Prapatthi performed by AandAL will be discussed .

GodhA tasyai nama idhamidham bhooyayEvAsthu bhooya : 

Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan