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Questions from Srimathi Satyan & Sri B. Jagannathan

From: V. Sadagopan (
Date: Sun Sep 29 1996 - 06:00:11 PDT

Dear Members of the Prapatthi group :

Both Srimathi Satyan and Sri Jagannathan 
had questions on the three kinds of debts and their 
realtionship to Prapatthi. I will do my best  to answer
them in the context of opening up discussions from
fellow members . These  questions are timely in the 
coming season of "MaaLaya Paksham ".

First of all , the three debts to be liquidated are to Rishis
(Mantra Drashtaas of Veda Mantraas) , Devas and Pithrus.

Through Veda Adhyayanam , the first debt is discharged.
Brahmacharyam and learning of Vedas under the proper 
teacher is the recommended route. 

The performance of one or more 40 Yagas and Yajnas as a  married person 
takes care of the debt to the Devas . Many of them are Agni 
Kaaryams . I have written extensively about them in a special
issue of Tattvaloka entitiled Hindu Samskaaraas .

The third debt is to Pithrus or our ancestors residing in Pithru Lokam .
The works on Ahnikam(duties from dawn to night) compiled by
our Acharyas and Purvacharyas in the context of Sutras left to
us by Bodhayana , Apasthampaa and other Ahnika Khaandams
are the source literature for us . These in detail are:

1. Srivaishnava Sadhaachaara  Nirnayam by the 26th Jeeyar
of Ahobila Mutt and recent edition by Ahobila Mutt
Aasthaana Vidwan Villivalam Sri Krishnamacharya(1989). 
2. Smruthi RatnAkaram 
3. Prapanna Dharma Saara Samucchayam
by Sri Vaikunta Dikshithar 
4. Saccharitra Sudha Nidhi by  Naithruva 
5. Ahnika Khaandam by Sri Vaidhynathar 
known as Sri Vaidhyanaatheeyam .
6. Aapasthmbeeya Sroudha Sutras
7. Mumukshu TarpaNam
8.Sesha Samhita
9. NaaradhEya Samhita
10. Sri Vaishnava Sadhaachara Dhrumam 
11. Srimadh Gopaladesikan Ahnikam and its 
commentary known as AhnikArtha PrakAsikai 

All of these granthaas and their premise is based 
on the convictions  that (1) Dharmo Viswasya Jagadah:
Prathishtaa (2) Dharmo Rakshathi Rakshita : (3) Dharmasya 
Anushtaanam cha Tattvarupa Jnanam vina Durlabham 
(4) VedaakilO Dharma Mulam . These tenets state that 
the world is rooted in Dharma , It protets those who protect it,
Dahrma Anushtaanam goes hand in hand with Tattvarupa 
knowledge and Vedas are the root of Dharma.

With these in mind , our Acharyas stated that Anushtaanam 
and Acharam are the two wings of one who seeks higher
knowledge through the practise of Dharma . Ramachandra was 
described in this context as RamO VigrahavAn Dharam: (Rama 
is the embodiment of Dharma ). 

Dharmam falls into two categories : Saamanya Dharmam 
and Visesha Dharmam. The first class deals with speaking 
truth, non-stealing, Nonviolence etc that is common to all.
The second category varies according to one's Varnaasrama.
A Sanyasi has thus differnet dharma compared to a Grahastha.
A  king has a different set of Dharma (eg) Rajya Paripaalanam
compared to a Brahmana , who has to learn Vedas with the six 
angas . The Visesha Dharmas  further subdivide into Nityam, 
Naimmitthikam and Kaamyam. The works of Sri Ramanuja 
( Nitya Grantham ), Swami Desikan ( Saccharitra Rakshaa 
and Sri Paancha Raatra Raksjhaa) ,  the works of the Various 
Jeeyars of Ahobila Mutt fall in these categories. SPECIAL

Among the debt to Rishis , if one can not learn Vedas as in the 
old times , atleast Purusha Suktham should be learned and recited.
Among the Yagas and Yajnas , the minimum is recommended 
according to one's Sakthi and other limitations. 

Regarding Pitru Runam (Debt to Pithrus) , Sraardham, TarpaNam are 
recommended . Sri Ramachandra's offering of water and 
cooked food for his father after hearing of his father's demise from
his brother Bharata  at Chitrakootam is described in the Ayodhya
Khandam ( Sargams 102 and 103). Bharata reminds Sri Rama 
this way : " For , the knowers of truth declare that water offered by 
a beloved son surely becomes inexhaustible in the relam of manes
(Pitrus) and you are undoubtedly the beloved of our (deceased)
father  ". Thereafter ,  Sri Rama repairs to the banks of Ganges  and offers 
water and balls of cooked food to the spirit of his departed father.

During the MaLaya ( Maha Aalaya) Paksham occuring during
Purattasi Krishna Paksham . Pitrus are said to descend on 
earth to receive the food (Pindam ) and Tilothakam ( Water and 
Sesame seed mixture ) . They arrive with great expectations and 
wait until the next month (Iyppasi ) , if their living descendants do not
the TarpaNams in Purattasi. They spend two months , if  necessary, 
and return to their places in Pithru Lokam afterwards. Since these Mahaans
make the earth holy by their residence during these two months  ,
this lokam is known as Maha Aalayam (Sacred temple ) . 
Even Sanyasis have to perform 
MaLaya Sraardham. The VaraNams, Karunika Pithru TarpaNam 
have been dealt with in detail in Ahnika Granthams.

These are the types of Debts to Pithrus to be liquidated. 

Prapannas & The three debts :

This is a complicated and vast area, where there may be different
points of view.Srimad Rahasya Traya Sara(RTS) Experts in this 
group like Anbil Swami , Sri Krishna Prasad and others may wish 
to add their points of view. 

The eigtheenth sloka of Nyasa Dasakam is the basis of  my
comments . That is elaborated further in the work of Swami
Desikan known as Rahasya Virodha Parihaaram , the last work
of Swami Desikan to clarify some doubts that we may have on
the concepts covered in his RTS . 

The 18 th slokam says: 'The utterance of the  word SaraNam in the 
prescribed manner (Prapatthi ) is capable of securing all desired ends,
Sarva Phala Saadhanam ( all Purusharthams including Dharma ). 
This is because Prapatthi is Sarva Phala Pradhanam 
and is capable of giving the fruits of Yagas and 
Yajnas including Pitru Yajnas.This applies to ALL 
independent of sex , creed et al. 

The capacity of Prapatthi to secure all kinds of desired ends 
is dealt with at length in RTS. It is appropriate however to state
that the Prapanna in the Post-Prapatthi period has some dharmas 
prescribed by the Vedas to follow that are discussed in detail in
the different sections of RTS and particularly in the 17th chapter
known as Saastriya Niyamanaadhikaaram. 

V. Sadagopan