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Re: kaNNan piRandhAn!

From: Anand K Karalapakkam (anand_at_engr.uconn.edu)
Date: Wed Sep 02 1998 - 19:32:25 PDT

                                  Sri :
             Srimate  Sri Lakshmi Nrusimha Para Brahmane Namaha
             Srimate Sri Lakshmi - Nrusimha Divya PAdukA Sevaka - 
         Srivan  Shatagopa  Sri NArAyana Yateendra MahAdesikAya Namaha      

     Dear  devotees,
     Namo NArAyanA . pranAmams. 

On Sat, 22 Aug 1998, Sri Sadagopan wrote:

> For the Gaudiya VaishNavAs , Sri Guru and Gauranga are very
> important tattvams . A Gaudiya VaishNavA beleives that his/her
> only hope in approaching RadhA KrishNA is by surrender at 
> the lotus feet of Guru and Gauranga . BhakthAs of this faith
> beleive in SaraNAgathi and they beleive further that "slavery"
> (nithya Kaimkaryam ) to the Infinity is the highest freedom
> ( Muktha Jeevan ) . To them KrishNA is Maadhurya LilA ,which

   " SaraNAgathi "  ie. "prapatti" as explained by SwAmi Desikan 
   is very much different from  the "SaraNAgathi" that is referred
   above as the action of Gaudiya VaishnavAs.

   From SwAmi Desikan's exposition : 
   Prapatti  has angAs & angIs , performed exactly once (with regard to a 
   particular goal) & is basically a Shadanga yogA . The science of
   prapatti can be understood only after the thorough knowledge of the
   invaluable meanings of the most sacred "rahasya traya mantrAs" .

   Prapatti is neither mere faith in the saving grace of Sriman nArAyaNA
   nor a mere prayer to Him for protection/moksha . Prapatti doesn't mean
   merely a surrendered life centred around serving Sriman nArAyaNA .
   Prapatti encompasses all of this & is much much more . 

   Though "SaraNAgathi" is in general used for denoting "surrender" ,
   what all things that needs to be fulfilled in that surrender (for
   moksham) is another issue .

   Prapatti is a SAdhya upAyA which needs to be done by a baddha jIvAtmA
   (through an AchAryA in most cases for lack of qualification ) which
   becomes a vyAjA for Sriman nArAyaNA , the Siddha upAyA,  to grant
   moksham . It is very important  to understand that it is Sriman
   nArAyaNA's mercy  (Siddha upAyA) that is the reason for moksham & not
   the mere act of prapatti ie. In front of Siddha upAyA , SAdhya upAyA
   is _nothing_ & can't even be compared. Neverthless , SAdhya upAyA needs
   to be performed since thats the way Sriman nArAyaNA has ordered ( in
   Sruti & Smruti) to have a vyAjA for Him. 

   So , if someone asks the reason for ones moksham , without any
   hesitation ,it is the siddha upAyam Sriman nArAyanA . The Divya 
   Dampati is both the upAyA (means) & the upEyA (end) . SwAmi Desikan
   beautifully portrays the state of a prapannA while performing
   prapatti in the best & unparalleled pAsuram :   
   "nin aruLAm gadhi inRi mattRonRu illEn ....."  (ie. There is No other
   refuge for a prapannA other than the aruL (mercy) of Sriman nArAyaNA ,
   <since he has realized that he has no capacity to perform bhakti
   yogA>....) . This is a very very highly moving & heart melting
   pAsuram, explained well by Sriman Sampath in the SaraNAgathi Journal .
   So , it is the "aruL" of Sriman nArAyaNA that is responsible for one's
   moksham.  
      
   It is also very important to understand that "Prapatti" is the way 
   through which  Sriman nArAyaNA grants moksham . He doesn't give it
   by His own whims & fancies . He does it according to Sruti & Smruti. 
   
   There are _only_  two ways for attaining moksham . It is "Bhakti"
   (ie. "Bhakti yogA" alias "ashtAnga yogA" ) & "prapatti" ie. these two
   are the vyAjAs for Sriman nArAyaNA, the siddha upAyam to grant moksham. 

    nArAyaNA Himself, in Ahirbudhnya samhitA  categorically declares :
       " bhaktyA paramayA vA-pi prapattyA vA mahAmathe
         prApyoham na anyathA prApyO mama kainkarya lipsubhihi " 
    
    nArAyaNA here clarifies that these two are the only means & by 
    _no other_ means will He grant moksham .So , all other processes
    like Bhagavad kalyAna guna Sravanam , nAma sankeertanam , living
    at a Divya desam , bathing in pushkarinIs & sacred rivers etc should
    culminate in either "bhakti" or "prapatti". 

   " Svanishta Prapatti" is the culmination of the fully blossomed 
     Bhagavad PremA . For performing Svanishta prapatti (ie. on one's own, 
     without the aid of the AchAryA , though the prapatti sAstrA as such
     would be learnt from an AchAryA ) one needs to have Very high
     qualification - likes of Bhagavad RAmAnujA & SwAmi Desikan . The 
     most important ingredient for Svanishta prapatti is the IN & OUT 
     knowledge of the meanings of the three rahasya mantrAs apart from
     other scriptural knowledge which exactly aids in completing _all_ the
     requirements for a  fruitful prapatti in a _proper_ order / way .
     Even if one of the requirements gets unfulfilled , Prapatti is not
     complete & moksham won't be granted by Sriman nArAyaNA.  
               
     Thats why , Ukti nishtA & AchArya nishtA is followed even by
     AchAryAs for their prapatti. Infact , the exact modulus operandi of
     prapatti won't be revealed to a sishyA & a sishyA can possibly know
     it only during his prapatti & that too if it is in Ukti nishtA . In
     AchArya nishtA , that also is not possible . AchAryA passes on the
     upadesam to his select disciple whom he likes to continue performing
     "prapatti" for others. In ukti nishtA ,since the sishyA repeats
     whatever the AchAryA says , he fulfills all the requirements of
     prapatti . In AchArya nishtA , ofcourse all the requirements are
     taken care by AchAryA himself.
     
     Again , its upto Sriman nArAyaNA, the siddha upAyam, to either grant
     moksham or not. If He makes the sankalpam to grant moksham to a
     particular jIvAtmA at that time of the performance of its prapatti(
     in whatever type of nishtA), then moksham is assured 100% , since
     nArAyanA doesn't take back His sankalpam .  

  Qtn :  How can one be assured that NArAyanA made the sankalpam to give 
  moksham  at the time of prapatti ( for esp. AchArya & ukti nishtAs )? 
 
  If the seeker  atleast  knows that  Sriman NArAyanA is the supreme Lord 
  & the granter of moksham  ( ie. Supremacy over demigods ) &  wants to get 
  out of  samsArA , his plea through prapatti( in appropriate nishtA ) for
  the seeker is granted by Sriman nArAyanA . If the seeker  doesnít  have
  faith in nArAyanA  / prapatti  & also  has  demigod  worship ( thinking
  that all  demigods , nArAyanA are same etc ) , nArAyanA  may reject  the
  plea of AchAryA  for  that seeker .  

   Eventhough  the  seeker of moksham  had  connections with demigods etc 
   (ie.  Doesnít  knew  about the supremacy of nArAyaNA at the time of
   prapatti) if  he  changes  after  prapatti  ( any time  before his
   death ) & recognizes nArAyaNA as  supreme  &  starts following  Sri
   Vaishnavam  with great  respect for AchAryA ,developed mahA visvAsam  
   (ie.supreme faith) on Sriman nArAyaNA's saving grace etc, then it is to
   be understood that Sriman nArAyaNA had made the sankalpam  to  grant
   moksham for him  , when AchAryA  pleaded .  If even after undergoing
   prapatti, one  doesnít have faith in  nArAyaNA  &  resorts to
   something like demigod worship (thinking that they all are same )  &
   this was the case till  he died , then  it  is  understood that
   nArAyaNA  hasnít  accepted  the prapatti.


   Further clarifications :

   The reason for moksham is Sriman nArAyaNA's sankalpam to grant it for a
   jIvAtmA . So, nArAyaNA has to be pleased with a jIvAtmA in order 
   to make that sankalpam . That category of "pleasing" arises to
   Him, when the baddha jIvAtmA perfects "bhakti" (ie. bhakti yogA).
   This is because He acts according to Sruti & Smruti (His commands)
   which categorically states that "bhakti yogA" is the only way for
   moksham ie. we get to know that "bhakti yogA" is the only way to 
   please nArAyaNA to make Him grant moksham .

   But , for all those who cannot follow Bhakti yogA , nArAyaNA still 
   says that if such jIvAtmAs performs prapatti unto Him , He will 
   grant the moksham .

   Qtn : Does it mean that "prapatti" that is performed pleases the Lord
         to the same extent as that of "Bhakti yogA" ? The yogI performing
         Bhakti yogA has extreme & unsurpassed love for Sriman nArAyaNA &
         is uninterruptedly meditating upon Him to obtain moksham which is
         permanent bhagavad anubhavam & kainkaryam to the Divya Dampati at
         Sri VaikuNTham.So it is obviously logical for Sriman nArAyaNA to
         grant him moksham & thats the way Sruti & Smruti also says. What
         is the case of "prapatti" ?     

   Ans : First of all, "prapatti" as nyAsa vidyA is enshrined in
         upanishads. Its modulus operandi is explained in a detailed
         manner in Ahirbudhnya samhitA , Lakshmi tantrA & other pramAnams.
         IthihAsa purAnams also have lot of references to prapatti.
         Ofcourse ,AzhwArs advocate Prapatti . KrishnA Himself in the
         famous charama slokam "sarva dharmAn...." says "Having
         already given up Bhakti yogA, due to inability , you seek refuge
         in Me alone ". Similarly , Sriman nArAyaNA advocates prapatti
         in His varAha avatAram & rAma avatAram through His varAha
         charama slokam & rAma charama slokam .

         The greatest burden for a baddha jIvAtmA is "bhakti yogA".Though
         the jIvAtmA wishes to meditate continuously on nArAyaNA , it
         is not able to do so primarily because of its karmA.It is not
         able to develop so much love towards Sriman nArAyaNA. Also , not
         all are eligible for Bhakti yogA . Only dvijAs can start
         performing it . Moreover , one cannot be sure of the number of
         future births that is needed to be taken in the case of bhakti
         yogA.

         Neverthless , a mumukshu , who has the burden of bhakti
         yOgam wants moksham. So , during prapatti , "bhara samarpanam"
         is done ie. Sriman nArAyaNA Himself is pleaded to be present in 
         the "place"(sthAnA)  of bhakti yOgA , since the mumukshu is not
         able to perform it.  Sriman nArAyaNA who is pleaded to be in the
         sthAnA of bhakti yOgA is thus pleaded to give the fruit of bhakti
         yOgA ie.the level of "pleasing" He will obtain if one approached
         Him through "Bhakti yOgA" => He will grant moksham. This is the
         way sAstrAs teaches one to perform prapatti to Sriman nArAyaNA & 
         thus it is the way it is done. So during prapatti , Sriman
         nArAyaNA Himself is present in the sthAnA of bhakti yOgA & gets
         as much pleasure as one would have approached Him through
         "bhakti" & grants moksham to the mumukshu . 

         Ofcourse, there are three angIs to prapatti namely Atma
         samarpanam, bhara samarpanam & phala samarpanam which needs to be
         done . It is however important to understand that "prapatti" is 
         not some mechanical process that fulfills some conditions . It is 
         the fully blossomed stage of complete understanding of the
         tattva, hitam & purushArtam . sAstrAs are very merciful in
         enlisting various things that one would perform in that state of
         surrender thereby giving rise to its modulus operandi . Ofcourse, 
         for mumukshus performing through ukti & AchArya nishtA , such
         thorough knowledge of sAstrAs & rahasya mantrAs is not
         neccessary. AchAryA takes care of all the requirements for
         pleasing Sriman nArAyaNA . This is also taken as a vyAjA (for
         granting moksham) by Sriman nArAyaNA as enshrined in scriptures .  
         Thats why , the adoration of AchAryA is even more important
         than the adoration of Sriman nArAyaNA for a baddha jIvAtmA .
         There is no possiblity for a baddha jIvAtmA who doesn't have
         the capacity to perform bhakti yogA , to ascend to Sri VaikuNTham
         other than to fully depend on the mercy of his AchAryA who knows
         the way of performing Prapatti for him. To repay one's AchAryA 
         for either blessing one with the true & divine knowledge or
         initiating  him/her into Sri Vaishnavam (pancha samskAram) or
         performing prapatti for him/her is an impossibility. To be in
         accordance with one's svaroopam (nature) , one has to perform
         AchArya ,BhAgavatha & PerumAL kainkaryam in that order of
         priority & these things doesn't mean that one is repaying
         something to the debt one owes to his/her AchAryA .   

   Qtn : Why is Sriman nArAyaNA advocating only two ways for granting
         moksham ? What will happen to a person who is very devoted ?
         Eventhough that devoted person didn't perform either prapatti 
         or bhakti yogam , why is not nArAyaNA granting him moksham on
         the grounds that he is devoted to him ? 

   Ans : It is not that such a devoted person would be deprived of
         moksham by Sriman nArAyaNA. Such a devotee would be guided by
         Sriman nArAyaNA to end up with either "bhakti" or "prapatti" .
         So , its just a matter of time -may be within that life time or
         in the next few births . 
         
         Its Sriman nArAyaNA's sankalpam that He would grant moksham for
         those who perform only either "bhakti" or "prapatti" . sAstrAs 
         amply support this & He Himself says so in Ahirbudhnya samhitA.
         One can't question either sAstrAs or Sriman nArAyaNA's sankalpam.
         sAstrAs are  the rules that govern the baddha jIvAtmas in the
         leelA vibhUti & for a Lord to be impartial & to rule the world ,
         these framework of rules are needed to be followed strictly by
         Him. 

  final comment : To understand Prapatti properly , one needs to perform
  kAlakshebam under the lotus feet of a sadAchAryA & only by his blessings
  through the exposition of granthams like Srimad Rahasya Traya sAram can 
  one can know about the unsurpassed glories of Prapatti . A sadAchAryA
  teaches such grantham only to those who have undergone Pancha samskAram
  since this gives the sishyA the eligibility to learn esoteric topics &
  it also acts as a measure of the sincerity from the part of a sishyA to
  committ himself/herself for following the divine sampradAyam .

   Namo NArAyanA
   Adiyen
   Anantha PadmanAbha dAsan  
                      Sarvam  Sri KrishnArpanamastu