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Re: Bhakti and Prapatti - 4

From: Anand Karalapakkam (
Date: Sun Oct 11 1998 - 17:16:31 PDT

  Srimate Sri Lakshmi Nrusimha ParaBrahmane namaha

   Dear devotees ,
   namo nArAyaNA . pranAmams .

   This  posting is based on the teachings of  bhagavad rAmAnujar
   as elaborated  by  swAmi Desikan .

Sri Mani Varadarajan wrote:

> Sri Anand wrote:
> >    Thus,  prapatti is actually an act which is performed with all
> >    its entirety in a moment.
> Dear Anand,
> Is this not a slightly misleading statement? All Sri Vaishnavas
> are agreed, irrespective of "kalai-bhEdam", that prapatti is
> characterized primarily (or exclusively) by a certain kind of
> knowledge. The term used for this is "jnAna-veSEsha".  Should it
> not be said that prapatti, for followers of Desika, is primarily
> a mental resolve with the act as an important "anga" or accessory?

    The modus operandi explained in Ahirbudhyna samhita, Lakshmi     tantra etal
further  elaborated by  many poorvAchAryAs has
     the  "act " of prapatti  referring to Atma, bhara and phala
     samarpanam. These  three form the angI . The five angAs doesn't
     constitute  the very act of prapatti . rather they are accessories only .
     Neverthless , they  need to be there for a fruitful prapatti . More
     later on to what extent  Sriman NArAyaNA expects these angAs to
     be present  during various  types  of prapatti .

      Jn~Anam is indeed  has to be there for performing prapatti . But
      prapatti  is not  merely that jn~Anam ( bhagavad seshatvam  etc ) .
      more later .

> After all, the vAkya is "jnAnAn moksha:, ajnAnAt samsAra:". Liberation
> results from knowledge, ignorance leads to worldly existence. Or,
> "tam eva viditvA ati mRtyum Eti" -- knowing Him alone, one crosses
> over death (SvetASvatara upanishad).

    This is very much true. But  one needs to understand what it means .
Liberation results from knowledge . But the knowledge by itself is
    not  the liberation . There is a huge difference between these two .

   From sAstrAs, one needs to firmly understand the tattvAs first . This
   must result in one obtaining  the most important knowledge concerning
   the sarIra sarIrI bhAvA existing between the jIvAtmA and the
   paramAtmA. But , a jIvATmA  after knowing  this tattvA ( jn~Anam
   of seshatvam to Divya dampati etc ) , should look into what the
   purushArtam (goal) is . Once that is  understood , he/she has to look into
   what the  hitam (means)  is . sAstrAs says that for obtaining  the
   purushArtam of moksham there are two hitams bhakti and prapatti
   accoding to the qualification of a mumukshu .

   The knowledge so gained should result in adopting any one of the means
   (sAdhya upAyam) since thats what  Sriman NArAyaNA has ordered
    through  sruti and smruti . We can't make our own judgement that
    by being in such and such a way, we shall obtain moksham ( anyway
    perumAL is merciful . Why won't he grant moksham to me etc type
    of attitude.this has no pramAnams from sAstrAs) . So, whatever
    sAstrAs ( bhagavad Aj~nA) say as hitam  has to be  followed . If
    one takes up upAsanA , well and good . There  are detailed
    descriptions on the 32 brahma vidyAs and he can perfect
    it . If one feels that  he can't perform all these things and is beyond his
    capacity , he can take up the other hitam  viz. prapatti . It is to be noted

    that knowledge on the hitam thus acts as a pre requisite for  performing it

    It is important to understand that bhakti is very much issued as a
    command for a mumukshu to  be followed . Hundreds of pramAnams
    are there for this from upanishads and allied scriptures . Infact , in gItA
    KrishnA keeps on telling that one has to do bhakti yogam ( bhajasva etc
    type of vidhi / commands ) .Similarly , prapatti is also enshrined  as a
    vidhi ( command) to be performed ( saranam vraja , AtmAnam mayi
    nikshipedh , AtmAthmeeya bharanyAsO hi Atma nikshEpa uchyate etc ) .
    These two are  the hitam .

    Now lets look at the pre requisite for prapatti . One of them is the ananya
    gatitvam ( no other resort other than Sriman NArAyaNA ) . This the
    faculty of knowledge (jn~nam) that is needed. Also, the  five angAs needs
    to be known .  With respect to prapatti ,   the statement  jn~Anam results
    in liberation means that once ananyagatitvam is achieved and the hitam
    prapatti  is understood (5 angAs etc ), then it leads to moksham wherein
    one actually performs the act of prapatti  by the mercy of a sadAchAryA.

    Scriptures say nAma sankeertanam results in moksham , divya desa yAtrA
    results in moksham , dip in sacred pushkarinIs result in moksham , contact
    with bhAgavathAs results in moksham , residing at divya desam results in
    moksham  etc etc . All these things mean that it will make a jIvAtmA one
    day to perform the hitam and attain moksham , because of such pious acts.
    Thus if a person is devouted and performs such activities , its just a
    of time (few births probably ) for him/her  to  attain moksham . So the
    statement  as such that divya desa yAtrA leads to moksham is not false
    since  Sriman NArAyaNA guides that jIvAtmA to finally perform either
    bhakti or prapatti and make it as the vyAjA for granting moksham .

    Similarly, jn~Anam results into moksham . But the act of prapatti is not
    the jn~Anam by itself . Goptrutva varanam is an angA of prapatti wherein
    you  have to ask Sriman NArAyaNA for granting the eternal kainkaryam
   at  Sri VaikuNTham . During bhara samarpanam, Sriman NArAyaNA is
   pleaded  to be present in the place of bhakti yogam . These type of things
   during prapatti are  "acts "  and  are different from the various knowledge
   that one may have about even prapatti .

   SwAmi  Desikan in Srimad RTS  points out the criticism of BhAshyakArar
   over advaitin's  mode of liberation  based on the understanding of their
   interpretation on "tattvamasi" . To those advaitins who claim that liberation

   is obtained by mere avidhEya jn~Anam based on vAkya janyam ,
   bhAshyakArar  says that it is anAdharaNEyam due to upAsanAvidhi
   vaiyarthyAdhigaL. SwAmi Desikan has already raised the very question
   you have asked ( no one can be as predictive as swAmi desikan regarding
   our mode of thinking )  and  says that  the answer is already  given by
   bhAshyakArar .

    Thus prapatti is an act that is performed with 5 angAs ( jn~Anam etc
    becomes a subset ) and not merely jn~Anam about Sriman
    NArAyaNA's saving grace / His paratvam/ His soulabhyam . It
     is not merely the seshatva anusandhAnam . The act of Atma nikshepa
     etc has to be there .

> It was my understanding that in the performance of SaraNAgati, the
> most important aspect was "mahAviSvAsa", or supreme faith that
> the paramAtmA SrIman nArAyaNa will undoubtedly save the supplicant.
> mahAviSvAsa is just a unique kind of knowledge.

    The most important angA of prapatti  is mahAvisvAsam (supreme faith) .
But , that  by itself is not prapatti . It is only an angA of prapatti .
    But what is this mahA visvAsA ?  It is  the supreme faith on  Sriman
    NArAyaNA that  He would grant moksham for the prapatti  thus
    performed ie. Supreme faith on the efficacy of prapatti . Mere knowledge
    that Sriman NArAyaNA is highly merciful to protect and grant moksham
    to those who surrender to Him, is not  the mahA visvAsam . One has to
    "surrender" ie. perform prapatti  and  while surrendering ( act of prapatti)
    one should have this supreme faith . It is to be noted that " surrendering"
    implies that  all the modus  operandi  of prapatti in its entirety is
    performed and it does not refer to a mere prayer / faith / falling at
    His Lotus feet etc .

  MahAvisvAsam as an angam of prapatti doesn't mean that one has to
   leavedemigod worship and resort to Sriman NArAyaNA alone.
   Infact, this abstain from demigod worship and resorting to Sriman
   nArAyaNA alone is called as "ananyagatitvam" a pre-requisite
   qualification for  performing prapatti and is not an angam.

  For performing any act prescribed in vedAs , faith (visvAsam) is needed.
  But , heavy emphasis on faith for performing prapatti is prescribed
  in sAstrAs because one will doubt it in various ways. In Srimad
  Rahasya Traya sAram , SwAmi Desikan beautifully explains the various
  doubts that shall arise in one's mind which will lead to one's lack
  of mahA viswAsam. For instance naichyAnusandhAnam also when done
  inappropriately will lead to this disaster of doubting prapatti ie.
  " I am a fool , stupid . Has no qualification . King of Sinners. How can
  Sriman nArAyaNA grant moksham , the greatest of all things one can
  obtain, to such a sinner like me, for a simple act of prapatti  ? ".
  Well , this person hasn't understood the thiru uLLam of Divya Dampati at
  all; he is  just emotionally  outpouring something. But that emotional
  outpouring is not born out from the eye of sAstrAs . All devotion and
  emotions should emerge from the sAstrAs for it is the only guide for a
  baddha jIvAtmA . If that is not based on sAstrAs , then it is just some
  blaberring based on aj~nAnam ie.ignorance .All bhagavad anubhavams
  should arise out of the knowledge as perceived out of the eye of

  In this above case, the devotee performing naichyAnusandAnam hasn't
  understood a,b,c,d of prapatti . When Sriman NArAyaNA Himself promises
  so many times that He would grant and in the past has done it for many ,
  who is this guy to doubt even Lord ? In front of Lord's mercy , one's
  sins are nothing .

  SwAmi Desikan in general discusses five cases in which one would loose
  mahA viswAsam ( similar to above ) and gives five reasons by which
  he can strengthen his mahA viswAsam ( purushakAratvam of pirAtti can
  NEVER be violated by perumAL ; etc ) .

  Thus,  MahA visvAsam is an important angA of prapatti . But it is not
   the prapatti by itself .

   ---  to  be continued ---

   namo  nArAyaNA
   adiyEn  rAmAnuja dAsan
   anantha padmanAbha dAsan
                                        sarvam sri krishnArpanamastu