You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : September 1998

Bhakti and Prapatti - 3

From: Anand K Karalapakkam (
Date: Sun Sep 27 1998 - 12:30:26 PDT

                                  Sri :
             Srimate  Sri Lakshmi Nrusimha Para Brahmane Namaha
                       Srimate  ShatakopAya Namaha
                  Srimate  Bhagavad   RAmAnujAya  Namaha      
                  Srimate NigamAntha MahAdesikAya Namaha 
         Srimate Sri Adhivan  ShatakOpa Yateendra MahAdesikAyA  Namaha
             Srimate Sri Lakshmi - Nrusimha Divya PAdukA Sevaka - 
         Srivan  Shatakopa  Sri NArAyana Yateendra MahAdesikAya Namaha      

     Dear  bhaktAs of Sriman NArAyaNA,
     namo nArAyaNA . pranAmams. 
   The second upAyA Prapatti (ie.SaraNAgathi alias Bhara nyAsam) as nyAsa
   vidyA is enshrined in upanishads and can infact be performed by anyone 
   irrespective of age, sex , caste etc. Its modus 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. Similarly , Sriman nArAyaNA
   advocates prapatti especially in His varAha avatAram , RAmA avatAram
   and KrishNA avatAram through the respective charama slokams. Not
   satisfied , He in His most merciful archAvatAram also advocates
   prapatti through His varada hastham , as in Thiruvinnagaram (Than
   oppAr illappan alias oppiliappan) and Thirumalai (SrInivAsan). 

   The greatness of Sri Vaishnava sampradAyam is that , Sriman nArAyaNA in
   His archA avatAram as PeraruLALan (kAnchi varadan) also advocated
   prapatti by His divine answers to Bhagavad RAmAnujA through Thiruk
   kachi NambigaL. Sriman NArAyaNA did not want to merely be a preacher
   of prapatti . His mercy is so unbounded that He as MAlolan of Ahobilam
   initiated a paramabhAgavathA into sannyAsa AshramA and ordered him
   to propagate the most glorious prapattimArgA in each and every village
   and He Himself accompanied the AchAryA to all the villages ,
   inorder to accept the prapatti of baddha jIvAtmAs . That parama
   bhAgavathOthamA was none other than the illustrious Sri Adivan
   Shatakopa Yateendra MahAdesikan, the first jeeyar of Sri Ahobila Mutt
   the 6th centenary celebrations of which is going to be celebrated in a
   very grand manner by adiyEn's AchAryan and the current AzhagiyaSingar
   Sri Lakshmi Nrusimha Divya pAdukA sevaka Srivan Shatakopa Sri NArAyana
   Yateendra mahAdesikan , only because of whose divine katAksham can
   adiyEn be even considered as a worthwile object. The forthcoming
   celebration at Ahobilam for sure is going to be eulogized by even all
   the muktAs and nityasUrIs , as a great event in the history of Sri

   SwAmi Desikan explains that Prapatti is neither a 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 in
   this world, 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 which is performed only once for obtaining
   moksham ,is very important .

   The greatest burden (Bharam) for a baddha jIvAtmA is "bhakti yogA"
   because Sriman nArAyaNA would only grant moksham to a perfectionist of
   bhakti yogA .Though the jIvAtmA wishes to meditate continuously on
   nArAyaNA , it is not able to do so primarily because of its karmA.
   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 while adopting bhakti
   yogA, since the prArabdha karmA (that which has started to yield its
   effect ) is not destroyed. 

   Neverthless , a mumukshu (one desirous of moksham) , who has the burden
   of bhakti yOgA seeks moksham. So , during prapatti, Sriman nArAyaNA
   Himself is pleaded to be present in the "place"(sthAnA)  of bhakti
   yOgA and give the fruit of Bhakti YogA ie. Sriman nArAyaNA is
   pleaded to attain the level of "pleasing" He will obtain if one
   approached Him through "Bhakti yOgA", which will make Him grant moksham
   to the mumukshu . Thats why , Prapatti is also known as BharanyAsam.
   The main qualifications for a mumukshu to adopt prapatti are 

   1. Akinchanyam (destituteness) which may result either due to one's
      lack of mental and physical strength to adopt bhakti yogA OR lack of
      requisite knowledge from sAstrAs OR Prohibition by sAstrAs regarding
      the adoption of Bhakti yOgA OR Inability to put up with any delay in
      attaining mokshA.

   2. Ananyagatitvam ie. Seeking the Supreme Lord Sriman NArAyaNA as the
      sole refuge with complete aversion to all fruits other than mokshA.
      This implies that one shouldn't resort even in his/her dream to a
      demigod like BrahmA , ShivA etc .   
   Prapatti , which is also called by different names such as (Atma)
   nikshEpa , nyAsA , SannyAsA and tyAgA has the following five angAs
   1. Anukoolyasya Sankalpam ie. Determination to perform whatever is 
      pleasing to Sriman NArAyaNA . Since sAstrAs are His divine commands,
      one should be firm in one's mind to perform what they are being 
      ordered to do so (like SandhyAvandanam , Bhagavad ArAdhanam etc),
      which will thus be pleasing to the Divya Dampati.   
   2. Pratikoolyasya Varjanam ie. avoidance of acts that are displeasing
      to Sriman NArAyaNA . So , one one should abstain from acts that
      are prohibited in sAstrAs . For example , one shouldn't either eat
      egg, meat ,onion, garlic etc OR drink alcohol , tea , coffee etc;
      one shouldn't eat rice during ekAdasi etc.

   3. KArpanyam ie. feeling of utter helplessness. One should cry in front
      of Sriman NArAyaNA for his inability to perform Bhakti yOgA and
      should be fully aware of the fact that he/she cannot attain moksham
      by their own efforts. Utter dependence on the mercy of the Divya
      Dampati is needed.

   4. MahA VisvAsam ie. Intense faith that Sriman NArAyaNA will certainly
      grant moksham for the prapatti performed, eventhough one has
      committed countless sins. This complete faith on the saving grace of
      the Lord ie. on the efficacy of prapatti is very difficult to obtain
      because of various reasons. But inorder to obtain mahA visvAsam ,
      one needs to have absolute faith in sAstrAs and the words of Sriman
      NArAyaNA and AchAryAs ,which unanimously glorify prapatti as a
      supreme upAyA. Extensive knowledge in various fields of sAstrAs
      wouldn't neccessarily yield this supreme unshakable faith. Only by
      the mercy of a sadAchAryA can one obtain mahA visvAsam , the most
      important angA of prapatti.

      It is also very important to understand that lack of mahA visvAsam
      doesn't mean that one is either doubtful about the authority of
      vedAs OR skeptical about the supremacy of NArAyaNA OR skeptical
      about the existence of Sri VaikuNTham etc. If one doesn't even
      recognize Sriman NArAyaNA as the supreme unparalleled Lord , then
      his/her prapatti won't be accepted by the Lord in first hand. The
      mahA visvAsam here is regarding the faith in the efficacy of
      prapatti which can be strengthened by contemplating upon the
      efficacy of purushakAratvam (recommendation) of pirAtti, eternal
      sesha-seshi bhAvA existing between jIvAtmA & paramAtmA, Soulabhyam &
      Sowseelyam of Sriman NArAyaNA , He being the Sarva Saranyan and
      SaranAgata Vatsalan etc.
   5. Goptrtva Varanam ie. Begging Sriman NArAyaNA for offering
      protection. This is the prayer to the Lord for granting mokshA,
      wherein one pleads with Him , the sole refuge , to be present in the
      place (sthAnA) of bhakti yogA and grant its fruit of moksham to
      an akinchanA like himself/herself.
   Performance of prapatti is done with sAthvIka tyAgam, similar to
   how one performs sAthvIka tyAgam before and after a kainkaryam. The 
   three components of the sAthvIka tyAgam are :

   1. Kartrutva tyAgA : One should shed the doership attitude and realize
      that Sriman NArAyaNA is the actual doer, since it is the ocean of
      His dayA that is responsible for one to perform the act of prapatti. 

   2. MamatA tyAgA : One should give up the thought of "mine" while
      performing prapatti.It is also done for the pleasure of Sriman

   3. Phala tyAgA : One should give up the thought that the fruit of
      performing prapatti belongs to him/her and realize that the
      fruit of Prapatti also belongs to Sriman NArAyaNA. 

      One is completely wrong if he/she thinks that they by themselves
      performed prapatti (ie. doership ego is still there). One cannot 
      say "I performed prapatti to perumAL" , since this defies kartrutva
      tyAgam. Actually, it is by the mercy of the Divya Dampati that one
      is made to perform prapatti . So, one with proper understanding of 
      prapatti will say either "Divya Dampati by their mercy has made
      adiyEn to perform SaraNAgathi and granted moksham" OR "AchAryA out
      of his great compassion made an akinchanan like adiyEn obtain
      moksham" etc. This is the essence of kartrutva tyAgam. 
      The performance of prapatti is for the pleasure of Divya Dampati.
      The fruit of prapatti is the eternal kainkaryam to the Divya
      Dampati,which is done for their pleasure. So, if Sriman NArAyaNA
      tells a mumukshu 'x' that He would grant moksham simply because 
      'x' wanted it, then also 'x' shouldn't accept it. 'x' accepts 
      the moksham only if Sriman NArAyaNA awards it out of His own
      pleasure and not simply because 'x' wanted moksham. Though a
      mumukshu sincerely wishes to be in accordance with his (jIvAtmA's)
      svaroopam by performing the kainkaryam eternally to the Divya
      Dampati at Sri VaikuNTham, its upto the Divya Dampati to grant it
      out of their own pleasure and a mumukshu while performing prapatti
      should not have ego in this aspect also. This is the essence of
      mamatA tyAgam and phala tyAgam. Ofcourse , Sriman NArAyaNA's 
      vratam (vow) is to grant moksham to those who perform prapatti
      unto Him and the Divya Dampati will be very happy to grant
      moksham to such a mumukshu .

   -- to be cont --

   namo nArAyaNA
   adiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan
   anantha PadmanAbha dAsan  
                      sarvam  sri KrishnArpanamastu