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SrI deSika stotra-s - 10. nyAsa vimSatih - Part 2.

From: Krishnamachari, N (Krish) (
Date: Tue Jul 28 1998 - 10:31:37 PDT

	SrI deSika stotra-s - 10. nyAsa vimSatih.- Part 2.

Responses to Issues Raised Relating to prapatti:

1. It is said that just chanting the prapatti mantra is not sufficient, but
prapatti is necessary and the mantra properly instructed by an AcArya will
lead a Sishya to develop the proper attitude to prapatti. Then one can argue
that performing prapatti may not itself lead to moksha, but instead only
cultivate one's interest in bhakti, which alone will lead to moksha.  svAmi
deSikan points out that this argument is not valid, and that prapatti is the
direct means for moksha.
In his vyAkhyAna to this stotra, svAmi deSikan has given several examples
from Sruti-s.  "tasmAt nyAsam eshAm tapasAm atiriktam Ahuh" - nyAsa is
superior to tapas of other kinds - taittirIya upanishad.  "samit
sAdhanakAdhInAm yaj~nAnAm nyAsam Atmanah | namasA yo'karod deve sa svadhvara
itIritah" - ahirbudhnya samhitA - Among those that perform yAga, those who
perform self-surrender are considered to have performed a good yAga.  In
taittirIya upanishad we have "etadvai mahopanishadam devAnAm guhyam" - nyAsa
is a top secret among deva-s. 

2. One may raise the doubt immediately that if nyAsa mantra is so much a
secret between deva-s, is supported by the Sruti-s etc., then may be those
who cannot chant the vedic mantra-s are not qualified for prapatti.  For
instance, it is said that one chants the praNava manta while surrendering -
om iti AtmAnam yu~njIta.   svAmi deSikan points out that for those who
cannot chant the vedic mantra-s,  Agama provides for the means to perform
prapatti.  In other words, instead of the mantric procedures, they use the
tantric procedures.  When the veda declares - satyam vada, dharmam cara
etc., it does not mean that these actions are the proprietary domains of
only those who can chant veda-s.   The Lord is a sarva-loka-SaraNyan, not
just only for those who can chant the veda-s etc., He is a friend of anyone
who surrenders - sarvasya SaraNam suhr*t.

svAmi deSikan thus establishes that prapatti is for everyone, not for only
those who are born in a certain class or varNa etc.  SrI D. rAmasvAmi
aiye~ngAr remarks that this one Sloka alone can justify svAmi deSikan being
called "ta~njap para gatiyait tandu aruLvOn".

3. SrI rAmAnuja has given the vyAkhyAna of the carama Sloka (gItA 16-66)
where he points that prapatti is an a~nga of bhakti.  Based on this, some
argue that prapatti is only an a~nga of bhakti, and is not an independent
means for moksha.  svAmi deSikan points out that SrI rAmAnuja has also
clearly indicated that prapatti is a direct means for moksha in his
gadya-traya-s.  Thus prapatti happens to be both an a~nga for bhakti yoga
and an independent means for attaining moksha.  The fact that bhakti and
prapatti are entirely independent means for moksha is also clear from
several other aspects.  For instance, observing the varNASrama dharma-s is
an essential pre-requisite for bhakti yoga.  For prapatti the five a~ngas
required are AnukUlya samkalpa, kArpaNya, mahA viSvAsa etc.  (Slokam 10). 

4. There are some who argue that prapatti is not an independent means for
moksha because there is expectation of the five a~nga-s (viz.
Atma-nikshepaNa etc.).  This is not a valid argument.  It is common sense
that when we want to entrust something to someone's custody, we make a
formal request, we trust that the person will protect it for us, etc.  This
just as valid when we entrust our AtmA to bhagavAn and seek His protection.
These a~nga-s are also laid down clearly in the SAstra-s.  When it is said
that for prapatti nothing else is needed, what this means is that no other
a~nga such as any karma yoga or varNASrama dharma is needed for prapatti,
unlike in the case of  bhakti yoga.

5. Some advance the argument that there are six parts to SAraNAgati,
including AnukUlya-samkalpam, etc., and that it is incorrect to say that
SaraNAgati is the principal part (a~ngi).  This again is based on
misperception.  Bhakti yoga, which is well accepted as ashTAnga yoga (yoga
consisting of 8 a~nga-s), really consists of seven a~nga-s, plus the
principal part called samAdhi which is bhakti yoga fulfilled.  No one thinks
of the seven a~nga-s only as bhakti yoga.  So also, AnukUlya samkalpam etc.
are the a~nga-s of prapatti, and the principal part is SaraNAgati itself
(Slokam 11). 

6. Contrary to some views, all five a~nga-s of prapatti are absolutely
necessary at the time of prapatti.  Otherwise, prapatti will not be
effective.  However, any violation of any a~nga of prapatti after prapatti
is performed will not negate the prapatti once performed, though it will
inevitably lead to bhagavAn's unhappiness.  Thus, some prAyaScitta needs to
be performed e.g., prAyaScitta prapatti.   Once prapatti is performed with
the observance of the five a~nga-s, its effect will never be negated by any
other act whatsoever after the prapatti. 

7. Five a~nga-s have been defined for prapatti.  However, some people have
expressed the opinion that not all thes a~nga-s are necessary, and that it
is sufficient if a person fuflfils some of these, and prapatti will be

SrI deSikan points out that all five a~nga-s are absolutely necessary for
performing prapatti itself, but once the prapatti has been performed by
observing all the five a~nga-s, the effect of the prapatti once performed
will never be voided if the person does not continue to observe all the
a~nga-s.  However, if the prapanna does not continue to observe all the five
a~nga-s after prapatti, this will certainly be displeasing to bhagavAn, and
it will be necessary to perform some kind of prAyaScitta as a remedy.  It is
to be clearly borne in mind that for performing prapatti itself, all five
a~nga-s are absolutely essential.

8. Some say that once prapatti has been performed, another prapatti should
not be done by the same person, and the first prapatti will be voided just
as in the case of brahmAstra.

svAmi deSikan points out that this true only if the second prapatti is done
for the same purpose as the first one.  But it is perfectly acceptable to do
a second prapatti for a totally different purpose than the first one.  For
example,  as a prAyaScitta to the sins committed after the first prapatti,
it is perfectly acceptable, indeed necessary, to do some kind of
prAyaScitta, e.g., a  prAYascitta prapatti.  

9. There is a view that prapatti just consists of mahAviSvAsam, another
view that gopr*tva varaNam (the deliberate choice of SrIman nArAyaNa as the
sole protector) is itself prapatti, a third view that prapatti has only two
or three a~nga-s, etc.  Thus there are conflicting statements on what
prapatti really is. 

svAmi deSikan points out that these are just part of the effort to highlight
the greatness of the respective a~nga-s at a given time.  None of these
views deny that there are five a~nga-s to prapatti.  

10. Some argue that AnukUlya samkalpam is the DETERMINATION to do only what
is pleasing to bhagavAn.  If this is an a~nga for prapatti, what happens to
the actual execution of this determination?  Should this not be an a~nga of

svAmi deSikan's response is that SAstra-s prescribe AnukUlya samkalpam as an
a~nga of prapatti.  This determination helps to ensure that we do not do
anything contrary to this when we do prapatti.  But it is unwarranted to
imagine another a~nga (viz. acting according to the AnukUlya samkalpam) as
our own creation.  The sheer determination is the a~nga.

11. There is a view that any act that is sinful or any act that is done with
a clear benefit to self in mind will destroy the effect of prapatti.

Responding to this, svAmi deSikan points out that as long as all the a~nga-s
are observed at the time of performing prapatti, nothing will take away the
effect of this prapatti.  A person who has performed prapatti is expected to
be in a state where he will not commit any sin, and will not do any act for
his self-benefit.  But if he does, the effect of the prapatti that has
already been done will in no way be compromised.  As stated earlier, if he
happens to perform anything that is not normal for his status as a prapanna,
surely bhagavAn will be displeased, and prAyaScitta prapatti as laid down in
the SAstra-s needs to be done.  This prapatti is not done for the same
purpose for which the first prapatti was done.

12. In response to the question on what the real nature of prapatti or
SaraNAgati is, SrI deSikan points out that there are two important aspects
of SaraNAgati that are both simultaneously important for the act to be
called SaraNAgati.  These are: a) a request for protection, and b)
entrustment.  Neither by itself independently is SaraNAgati.  Thus, if one
goes and seeks another's help in protecting something that belongs to him,
it is not called SaraNAgati.  Or, if one pays someone else to take care of
something for him and entrusts the full responsibility for its safe-keeping,
this does not become SaraNAgati. The word SaraNa also means "house", and
Agati means "to come", and someone coming to someone else's house can be
considered "SanaNAgati" in this sense, but it is not nyAsa.   It is only
when one prays to bhagavAn for His protection AND completely entrusts the
responsibility for everything to bhagavAn that SaraNAgati comes into
existence (Slokam 13).

13. SrI deSikan then addresses the question of whether all of one's
belongings (including wife, son etc.)., should be included in prapatti
because the recognition of bhagavAn as the sole Owner of all our belongings
including our body, soul, wealth, wife, son, etc., and the realization that
these are all meant for His service only, is a vital part of all stages of
prapatti. It is true that the recognition is an a~nga of prapatti.  This
recognition is in the form of knowledge when one learns the tattva behind
prapatti, it is a necessary mental state for performing prapatti, and it is
a natural part of the state of mind when continuing to perform kaimkaryam to
bhagavAn after  prapatti.  However, the main action of prapatti itself,
which involves surrendering the responsibility for one's protection to Him,
need not include all of one's belongings (such as wife, son, etc.).  SrI D.
rAmasvAmi aiye~ngAr nicely summarizes this concept thus:  "Though in svarUpa
samarpaNa everything is included, in bhara and phala samarpaNa only what is
desired will form part" (Slokam 14).   

14. Some tend to interpret the words "sarva dharmAn parityajya" in the
carama Sloka to mean that varNASrama dharma-s such as sandhyAvandana,
lighting a lamp in bhagavAn's sannidhi, decorating the Lord with a garland,
etc. should all be discontinued as part of prapatti.   svAmi deSikan points
out that there are many straightforward interpretations for "sarva dharmAn
parityajya" that are consistent with SAstra-s, and there is no need to
create interpretations like "Stop speaking truth", "stop practicing dharma",
etc., which are also part of this poor interpretation of "sarva dharmAn
parityajya - give up all dharma-s".  svAmi deSikan includes six different
interpretations in this stotra that are the right ways to interpret this
injunction.  One of these as an example is: "Realizing one's inability to
follow other means such as bhakti yoga, give up these paths and follow the
prapatti mArga".   So nothing in sarva dharmAn parityajya says that
varNASrama dharmam should be given up (Slokam 15).

15. In the carama Sloka, Lord kr*shNa uses the words "mAm ekam SaraNam
vraja".  Some people interpret the word "ekam" here to mean that He is the
upAya and nothing else is the upAya, and then argue that prapatti cannot be
the upAya for moksha, since He is the sole upAya by His own word.  The
important thing here is to understand correctly the meaning of "ekam" in the
carama Sloka.
It is important to remember that statements that prapatti is an upAya for
moksha are also based on pramANa-s, just as the statement that bhagavAn is
the only upAya is based on pramANa.

svAmi deSikan then gives six interpretations of "ekam" in the carama Sloka,
and points out that there is no conflict between the carama Sloka saying
that bhagavAn is the sole upAya for moksha, and the statement that prapatti
is an upAya for moksha.  This is explained nicely by pointing out that
bhagavAn is the siddha upAya, and prapatti is the sAdhya upAya (Slokam 16).
This is explained further below. 

upAya refers to the actions that one can take to achieve one's desired
objective.  This is of two kinds.  siddha upAya is the means that already
exists without our having to do anything.  sAdhya upAya is the means for
which we have to put in our effort, or can put in our effort. For one who
wants to attain moksha through prapatti, bhagavAn is the means that already
exists.  He bestows moksha to the cetana because of His immense dayA,
together with periya pirATTi's pleading our case.  As a matter of fact,
bhagavAn is the only upAya for moksha.  However, we have immensely
displeased Him through our constant violations of SAstra-s and other sins
that we have committed both knowingly and unknowingly.  In order to remove
this displeasure of His, we have the sAdhya upAya, which is in our control.
prapatti and bhakti are the two sAdhya upAya-s that are in our control and
that are open to us in order for the siddha upAya to take effect in our
case.  This is the role of the siddha-upAya in the attainment of moksha
through the sAdhya upAya, which is the one and only real upAya for moksha.

To be continued....

 -dAsan kr*shNamAcAryan