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Introduction to Sankalpa Suryodaya of Sri Vedanta Desika--by Dr.NSA

From: padmini ranganathan (
Date: Tue Nov 16 1999 - 10:48:16 PST

Namo Narayana

In Sanskrit, there are a number of allegorical dramas.
Of these, Prabodha Chandrodaya (PC) and Sankalpa
Suryodaya(SS) are the best known. PC, written by
Krishna Misra is devoted to the exposition of the
doctrine of Advaita philosophy. Krishna Misra is said
to have written this drama to teach the Advaita
doctrine to those who were interested in Kavya and not
philosophy. Sankalpa Suryodaya expoounds the doctrine
of Vishishtadvaita.

Before entering into a comparitive study of these two
plays, we will do well to understand the summary of
those plays and then devote ourselves to the
understanding of the doctrinal differences that are
depicted in these 2 plays.

The plot of Prabodha Chandrodaya:

The meaning of the term Prabodha Chandrodaya is
therising of the moon of spiritual knowledge.
"prabodha chandrodayasya udaya:" This is an
allegorical drama where different qualities take the
role of characters and appear before us. "purusha" is
the main character. According to Advaita, purusha is
identical with the Supreme Self or Brahman. 'maya' or
illusion is purusha's wife. 'manas' or mind is the son
of maya. This mind has 2 wives namely 'pravrtti' and
'nivrtti'.i.e.activity and renunciation. The issue of
'pravrtti' is 'mOha' or delusion whereas 'nivrtti'
gives birth to 'vivEka' or discremenation. The purusha
is bound by 'manas' assisted by 'ahankAra' or egoism.
'maya' deludes him.

How can this purusha be brought back to his real
It is only thro' the rise of knowledge (vidya) and
'prbodha' (spiritual awakening).

How can this knowledge arise? 
Knowledge is possible only when the mind is quiet and
when there is discremenation. This discremenation is
to be united with the 'upanishads'.

How can this be achieved? 
This can be achieved with the assistance of vishnu

The struggle bertween the two forces of the two sons
of the mind namely 'moha' and 'viveka' continues. The
followers of moha aree 'charvaka','kama', 'krodha',
'lobha'. 'charvaka' is a friend of moha. Kama krodha
and lobha are ministers. The 'mithyAdrsti' or error is
the wife of moha. 'vibhramavathi' is his wife's
friend.  The wife of kama is rathi, of krodha is himsa
and of lobha is trsNA. They are all on the side of

The followers of viveka are as follows. 

Reason or maathi and santosha or contentment are
friends. Enquiry into the reality of things or
'vastuvichara' is the servant and the others that
serve viveka are 'vishnubhakti', 'shanti', shraddha',
'kshama', karunA', 'upanishat' and others.

The battle ensues between these two forces. For
uniting with the upanishads, with the blessings of the
mind, vishnubhakti isalso honoured by manas. When the
mind becomes calm, the purusha gains his real nature.
When the mind has become quiet, the mind discards
'pravrtti, and nivrtti becomes his favourite.On
account of viveka and upanishads, purusha realises the
oneness of paramEswara. On account of the command of
vishnubhakti, nididhyasana (medidation) enters
purusha. At that moment, vidyaa bursts out of the
chest of manas and swallows moha and his followers and
disappears immediately. Now praabodha reigns supreme.
Purusha realises oneness with vishnu.


WE will now briefly note the plot of Sankalpa
Suryodaya. Suryodaya means sunrise. Sankalpa means the
divine will to save man. So the meaning of this term
is :- dispelling the dark night of samsara by the will
of the Lord. This is here equated with sunrise.In this
drama also, qualities are different characters.They
are similar to the characters of prabodha chandrodaya.
There are certain additional characters also. For
e.g.'vyavasaya' (human effort), 'tarka' (logic).
Vyavasaya is the commander in chief of viveka. The
king and the queen working for the good are Viveka and
Sumathi. The opposite side is represented by
'Mahamoha' and 'Durmathi'. They fight against
goodness. Purusha is the battlefield for these warring
elementss. This can be compared to the forces of good
and evil mentioned in the case of Pandavas and
Kauravas. With the final victory of viveka, there will
be good. After the victory of Viveka, the Sankalpa
Suryodaya(divine will to save) arises and then the
Purusha attains moksha.

Viveka explains to Sumathi that the cause of samsara
is the 'avidya' or karma of the Purusha. Moksha or
liberation can be bestowed on Purusha only by
'Srimannarayana'. That grace of the Lord dawns on him
only when purusha gets rid of all his vices and
surrenders unto the Lord. For this, a guru is
absolutely essential. It is abssolutely essential to
have a proper understanding of the shastras in a
correct manner. So, one has to know the defects of
schools of thought to discard them. A discussion is
therefore necessary to refute the representatives of
vaarious schools. So, in this drama, a guru (Sri
Ramanuja) and shishya (Sri Vedanta Desika) are shown
as refuting the various view points of other schools
in the presence of Viveka and vyavasaya. This is
important as it expounds the authenticity of the
'siddhanta'. The conflict beetween 'rAga', dwEsha and
vairagya is pictured and vairagya succeeds.
Vishnubhakti and vairagya go to Viveka and help him to
gain his goal. Purusha can gain moksha only thro' the
grace of the Lord. The enemies like kama, krodha are
defeated. The Purusha has gained vairagya and
therefore dambha, darpa and others fail to entice him.
Now Purusha needs a suitable place for meditation of
the Supreme being . Viveka aassisted by tarka makes a
search of a suitable place for meditation throught the
country and come to Srirangam and find that
'Vrshagiri' and 'Hastigiri' are suitable places. But
Viveka realises  that the best place for meditation is
the pure heart that is devoid of all impurities. The
next search is for a pure form of God for the
purusha's meditation. The several auspicious forms of
the Lord in various incarnations are thought to be
more appropriate. Now Purusha needs an acharya who has
to initiate the holy 'Moola mantra' and Purusha now
appears on the stage. The purusha with the help of
Viveka and Vishnubhakti gets rid of all his sins
thro'self surrender and wins the grace of the
Lord(Sankalpa Surya). He is now fit to attain the
highest abode thro' the archiradi. This is the short
summary of the play 'Sankalpa Suryodaya'.

Deep pranamams
Desikar thiruvadihale sharanam


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