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CONCLUSION- "prapadyE-6"

From: M K Sudarshan (sudarsan_at_batelco.com.bh)
Date: Wed Mar 12 1997 - 22:20:14 PST

srimathE lakshmi-nrsumha parabrahmaNE namaha
sri vedanta desika guravE namaha

Dear 'bhAgavatOttamA-s',

In the previous few posts of mine we have examined, in fair detail, how the
word "prapadyE", in the  expert hands of the 'kavi-simham', Swami Desikan,
evokes (or should we say "conjures" !) different shades of meaning in
varying degrees of subtlety.

Then we also sketched the 5 principal "canons" of "prapatti"
(refuge-seeking) as laid down by Srivaishnava "siddhanta" (established and
self-evident philosophy).

>From all the foregoing analysis, if a matrix were to be constructed setting
out the essential message or themes embedded in the 5 verses of Swami
Desikan's hymns and in the 5 cardinal principles of "prapatti" as per
"siddhanta", it would look something like the following :

--------------------------'PRAPADYE !' M A T R I X-----------------------------

   MESSAGE/THEME          SWAMI DESIKAN'S HYMN           "PRAPPATI" CANON
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
------------------------ opening verses of:
----------------------------------                      
1) RESOLUTION              DAYA SATAKAM               "Anukulasya sankalpah" 
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2) TO AVOID/BE RID OF 
   WORLDLY
   ENCUMBRANCES            ASHTABHUJASHTAKAM          "pratikulasya varjana"
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3) ABSOLUTE TRUST          SRI-STUTHI                 "raksheshyatiti visvAsaha"
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
4) DESTITUTION             BHU-STUTHI                 "kArpanyokthi"
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
5) DEPENDENCE              GODA-STUTHI                "Atma-nikshEpa"           
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Those of us, dear "bhAgavatOttamA-s", who are serious students of
SriVaishnavism, would do well to cut out the above matrix, "blow-it" up in
size and put the enlarged version in a laminated photo-frame; we should then
carry the frame always in our person much as we would our Social Security
badge or Master-card!! Otherwise we should memorise it and "frame" it
indelibly in our minds. 

Why ?

Firstly, dear "bhAgavatOttamA-s", it will serve as a constant and ready
reminder to us of :
  
  A : all that a simple Sanskrit word "prapadyE" signifies
  B : the 5 cardinal canons of SriVaishnava "prapatti"
  C : the sonorous opening verses of 5 of Swami Desikan's verses renowned
for         their deeply devotional fervour
  D : the 5 underlying messages, "themes" or threads that tie them
all-together       in one seamless matrix of SriVaishnava doctrine/concepts

Secondly, if we were to refer to the "prapadyE"-matrix constantly and use it
to actually cross-check and compare it mentally with every deed, word and
thought of ours in day-to-day life, then, what might happen is a gradual
"internalization" of the whole concept of "prapatti" into our lives !! 

Rather than being a remote and vague concept of "wooly" philosophy, which we
appreciate in theory but fail to implement practically, "prapatti" will,
instead become a source of practical guidance for day-to-day living !! Our
lives can be daily "calibrated" with the co-ordinates (and poetry!!) of the
"prapadyE"-matrix!

Thirdly, with a little bit of perseverance, we will soon be able to
"benchmark" our whole life-style -- attitudes, values, motivations, feelings
--- against true SriVaishnava "siddhAnta" !

Lastly, we will, by and by, be able to know inwardly whether we are truly
practising "prapatti" and are really staying true to its 5 canons !

Such is the practical UTILITY, dear "bhAgavatOttamA-s", of the simple
Sanskrit word : "prapdyE !" which Swami Desikan has pointed out to us in
such lovely poetry !!

Many months ago in some post Sri.Mani Varadarajan described how our great
"AchArya", Sri.Ramanuja, was in the habit of constantly muttering "prapadyE
!" any time he was free. Now, we can understand why that great soul did so,
can't we?

Shouldn't we lesser mortals, dear "bhAgavatOttamA-s", too, be following that
"AchAryA's" example ?

        ********************************************************

Now, most of you, dear 'bhAgavatOttamA-s', know it is customary for a
devotee to prostrate ("sAshtAnga-namaskAram") 4 times before the deity in an
act of worship, surrender and obeisance.

As a young boy I often used to wonder why the prostration is repeated 4
times in certain "sampradAyam-s". There is a traditional explanation to it,
of course, but it is the following alternative conviction of mine that
appears to me, personally, much more satisfying :

When we stand before the "dwajha-stambham" of, say, the temple in Tirumala,
before presenting ourselves before the "garUdAzwAr-sannidhi", we first
proceed to mentally "resolve ('sankalpam') to take refuge" in the Lord; at
that point in time we should simultaneously remember to repeat the First
Verse of the "daya-satakam" :

"prapadyE tam girim prAyaha srinivAsAnukampaya  I
ikshusAra-sravanthyEva yanmurthyA sharka-rAyitham II

We would then be deemed to have symbolically performed "Anukulasya sankalpah" !

Next, we proceed to perform the first prostration. Completing it, we should
remember to recite the first verse of "ashtabhUjhAshtakam" and recollect all
that we said that the word "prapadyE" signified in it ! We would then be
said to have symbolically observed the "prapatti" canon, "pratikulasya
varjana" !

Next, we proceed to perform the second prostration. At that point we
mentally exclaim "prapadyE !" as used in the first verse of Swami Desikan's
"sristuthi" ! We would then have symbolically observed the "raksheshyatiti
visvAsaha" canon !!

We proceed next to prostrate for the third time. We mentally utter the word
"prapadyE !" in exactly the sense as used in the first verse of Swami
Desikan's "bhu-stuthi" ! We could then be said to have symbolically observed
"kArpanyokthi"!!

And finally, after making the fourth prostration we should stand there in
Tirumala-temple precincts, meditate on the Lord and fully realizing the true
import of  "Atma-nikshEpa", fold our hands, raise them both high above our
heads and proceed to repeat the first verse from the "gOda-stuthi" :

"srivishnu-chittha-kula-nandana kalpavallIm
   srirangarAja-harichandana yoga-drishyAm  I
 sAkshAth kshamAm karuNaya kamalAmivAnyAm
   gOdam~ananya sharaNaha sharaNam prapadyE" II

Uttering the words "gOdam~ananya sharaNaha sharaNam prapadyE !" we should
then enter the glorious portals ("bangAru-vAsal" or ... even the
"kUlasEkhara-padi") of the 'sanctum-sanctorum' of Lord Srinivasa with the
words "prapdyE" constantly on our lips..... !

It will be an extraordinary experience, indeed, believe me !! 

            ***********************************************

If all our discussions of the past week about the word "prapadyE", dear
"bhAgavatOttamA-s", have appealed to you in any way, please remember that
the only way to recreate the pleasureable experience privately amongst
yourselves is to learn to recite, as often as possible, the 5 verses from
each of those hymns of Swami Desikan.

The 'daya-satakam' comprises 108 verses; the 'ashtabhUjhAstakam', 10 verses;
'sri-stuthi" 25 verses; 'bhu-stuthi', 33 verses and the 'godA-stuthi' 29
verses. If you add all that up you get a formidable total of 205 verses !!

Now, not all of us may possess the requisite capacity and resources to learn
all 205 verses. But all of us do now appreciate the enormous significance of
the word "prapadyE", don't we ?

To prove to ourselves we truly have understood the wealth of meaning behind
the exclamation "prapadyE !",  the least we could do is to, at least, learn
to recite at least once everyday the opening 5 of those 205 verses, can't we ? 
Indeed, dear "bhAgavatOttamA-s", the five verses constitute the coronary
quintessence of the entire lot of 205 !!

Like our great "UDayavar", if thereafter, we too acquire the habit of
chanting "prapadyE" under our breath all our lives, we would then have no
hesitation in offering anybody a proper explanation for the compulsive
addiction, would we?!!!

We would be able to easily say to our querist: "Ah! Yes, I have this nagging
habit of constantly chanting "prapadyE!". To understand why, my friend, you
will need to have an idea of what "prapadyE"-matrix in SriVaishnavism is all
about?!"

"And that's a long story .....!".
       
               ************************************************

srimathE srivan satagopa sri narayana yathindra mahadesikaya namaha

sudarshan