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Akinchanyam

From: sadagopan iyengar (sadagopaniyengar_at_yahoo.com)
Date: Sat Jul 07 2001 - 10:11:54 PDT

Srimate SrivanSatakopa Sri Vedanta desika Yatindra
Maha Desikaya Nama:

                                  Akinchanyam

Our PoorvAcharyAs, in their infinite mercy, have shown
us an easy and simple path to salvation- that of
Prapatti or absolute surrender to God. Compared to
Bhakti and other upAyAs prescribed in the shAstrAs for
mOkshA, prapatti is easy of performance, has to be
done only once, and is expeditious in its results.  
However, there are certain prerequisites for a person
intending to adopt SaranAgati as the device for
liberation, and the first of these is Akinchanyam.
Certain aspects of this virtue are discussed below.
    Perhaps no other Sreesookti brings out the essence
of Akinchanyam better than Sri AlavandAr's StOtra
Ratna slOkA-
          "na dharma nishttOsmi nacha Atma vedi
            na bhaktimAn tvat charaNAravindE
            akinchanO ananya gati:sharaNya
            tvat pAda moolam sharaNam prapadyE"
In a moving declaration of his inadequacy, Sri Yamuna
Muni confesses himself to be incapable of the
performance of Karma YogA and GnAna YogA, and
therefore of Bhakti YogA too.Thus, having no other
means of attaining the Lord, he surrenders himself  at
His Lotus Feet,in an act of SaraNAgati.       This
beautiful slOkA thus throws up a definition of
Akinchancyam as "ananya sAdhanatvam" or "sadhanAntara
rahitatvam" –that is, the lack of any means of
attaining the desired goal. It is thus clear that the
prerequisite for an intending PrapannA is the lack of
capability to adopt any other upAyA (like Bhakti) for
mOkshA.  In other words, people who have the knowledge
and capacity to perform Bhakti YogA or anyother means
to salvation are, ipso facto, ineligible to perform
SaraNAgati, which is indeed the refuge of the
helpless.
      The StOtra Ratnam is but the quintessence of the
Divya PrabandAs; we hence find a fitting parallel to
the aforesaid slOkA, in the following  ThirumAlai
pAsuram of Sri Tondaradippodi AzhwAr-
       "KuLitthu moondru analai Ombum kurikoL
andaNamai tannai
        oLitthittEn: enkaNum illai ninkaNum bhaktan
allEn
         KaLippadu en kondu nambi kadal vaNNA
kadarukindrEn
         ALitthu enakku aruL sei kaNdAi aranga
mAnagaruLAnE"
        Here, Azhwar laments that despite being born a
Brahmin, he hasforesaken worship of the three Holy
Fires (GArhapatyAgni, DAkshinAgni, and AhavaneeyAgni)
–by implication, he confesses inability to adopt
Karma,GnAna and Bhakti YogAs, as a means to salvation.
      Akinchanyam finds mention in TiruvAimozhi
too,(and naturally so, considering Sri NammAzhwAr's
status as the Head of the Prapanna family –"Prapanna
Jana Kootasttha:") when he says, "nOtra nOnbilEn
nuNNarivilEn" etc.
      Sri Ramanuja too echoes his PrAchAryA in the Sri
Vaikunta Gadyam-"anAgata ananta kAlOpi adrishta
santArOpaya:"(Even for aeons to come, I am unable to
identify a means of salvation).
  In an allied sense, the term Akinchanyam is also
used to denote Poverty, especially of the soul, and
has been admirably employed by Sri Bhattar in Sri
Rangaraja Stavam, to denote his impoverished state, as
regards means of liberation-"GnAna KriyA Bhajana
sampat akinchanOham".  To quote ThirumAlai
again,Akinchanyam is brought out vividly in the
pAsurams
 "oorilEn kANi illai uravu matru oruvar illai
   pAril nin pAda moolam pattrilEn Paramamoorti
   kAroLi vaNNanE KaNNanE kadarugindrEn
   AruLar kaLaikaN ammA arangamAnagaruLAnE"

  "ManatthilOr tooymai illai, vAyil Or insol illai
    sinatthinAl chetram nOkki teeviLi viLivan vAlA
    punatthuzhAi mAlayAnE ponnisoozh TiruvarangA
    enakkini gati en sollAi ennai Aludaya KovE".

 Swami Desikan defines Akinchanyam as "Bhakti
nishpAdanE sAmartya soonyatvam"and again as "Karma
YogAdi hEtubhoota guna kriyAdi sampAdana
doushkarmyam", and in Srimad RahasyatrayasAram, as
"upAyAntarangaLil ivvadhikAriyinudaya agnAna,
asaktigaL".
This Akinchanyam acts as the chief catalyst in
producing one of the most important of the five
components of 
SaraNAgai, viz., "KarpaNyam". The realisation, that
one does not possess any qualification or ability to
adopt any of the prescribed means to salvation, 
eliminates pride, creates humility and makes the
PrapannA realise his helplessness, thus making him an
ideal receptacle for Emperuman's boundless mercy.
 Srimate SrivanSatakopa Sri Narayana Yatindra
Mahadesikaya Nama:
    -dasan, sadagopan.
    


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