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"prappati" in Ramanuja's "gitA-bhAshya"

From: sudarshan madabushi (sudarshanm_at_hotmail.com)
Date: Fri Jun 18 1999 - 03:57:16 PDT

Dear friends,

A few days ago, I thought I read on the list a remark by Sri.Mani 
Varadarajan in the context of some point of discussion on 
Sri.RamanujAchArya's"gita-bhAshya" that Sri.Sadagopan had raised while 
announcing details of his CD-Rom project.

If I have not completely misread his comment, Sri.Man's point was that 
nowhere in the Gita-bhAshyA had Sri.RamanujAchArya dealt with the doctrine 
of "prappati".

If Sri.Mani means that nowhere in the Gita-bhAshya does "bhAshyakArar" deal 
AT LENGTH with the concept or doctrine of "prappati" he might be right. But 
if he means that the concept does not feature at all in the "bhAshya" then 
he might be in danger giving everyone the rather erroneous impression that 
Ramanuja's "gitAbhAshyA" has nothing to say on the concept of "prappati".

There are, on the contrary, many points in the "gitAbhAshyA" where 
"bhAshyakArar" does indeed explicitly dwell on the doctrine of "prappati".

The most notable instance I can recall immediately is the passage on 
Chapter15.

Commenting on Stanza 4 in that Chapter :

"tatha-ha padam tat parimArgitavyam
tasmin gatA na nivartanti bhUya-ha
tam eva chAdyam purusham prapadyE
yata-ha pravrtti-hi prasru-tA purANI"  II

("One should surrender to and seek refuge from that Primordial Person from 
whom streamed forth all this inexorable activity of "samsArA")

On the basis of the above Stanza "bhAshyakArar" proceeds to comment quite 
profusely on the doctrine of "prappati" and concludes by saying:

"tam Eva cha aadhyam purusham prapadya sharaNaupagamya iyataha 
agnyAna-nivruttayAdEha-krutsnasya etasya sAdhaBhutA pravrutihi purANI 
purAtanI prasrutA I purAtanAnAm mumukshNoonAm pravruttihi purANi-hi purAtana 
hi mumookshavO mAm eva sharaNam upagamya nirmuktvabanDhA-ha samjAtA 
ithyartha-ha II"

("[This stanza of the Gita]. gives the sense that this discipline of taking 
refuge in the Supreme Person for dispelling of ignorance has continued from 
a distant past. The tendencies of ancient persons seeking liberation are 
also ancient. The purport of [this stanza] is thus this: The ancient 
liberation-seekers, taking refuge in Me alone, were released from bondage.")

In a very slanted sort of way "bhAshyAkArar" above was also reminding 
everyone that the "discipline" of "prappati" had originated from the ancient 
sages (the Alwars?) who preceded him by many centuries and that it was not 
some newfangled creation of his.

Just thought I might add the above to clarify matters.

adiyEn dAsAnu-dAsan,
Sudarshan


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