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Re: Bhakti and Prapatti - 4

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani_at_best.com)
Date: Mon Sep 28 1998 - 09:56:45 PDT

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?

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).

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. 

>    Even if
>    one of the requirements gets unfulfilled , Prapatti is not complete &
>    moksham won't be granted by Sriman nArAyaNA.  

If, out of ignorance or unintentional error, someone falls short
of the ideal, is it not the greatness of the Lord that he still
accepts the devotee? Perfect prapatti a la Nammalvar is a very 
difficult state to reach.  I think our AcAryas' tiruvuLLam 
was that we should try our best to be perfect prapannas, but our 
very imperfection is the cause for our prapatti and consequently
for His acceptance of us.  

Sri Desika asks of the Lord:

        mukhyam ca yat prapadanam svayam api sAdhyam   
           dAtavyam Isa kRpayA tad api tvayaiva |
        tan me bhavat caraNasangavatIm avasthAm
           paSyann upAyaphalayor ucitam vidheyAh ||

        O Lord, that perfect prapatti 
        should be accomplished by You Yourself and should
        be granted by You out compassion.  Seeing my
        condition who am attached to Your feet, You should
        do the needful with respect to the means and the
        fruit.

                                [Saranaagati Dipika 55]

I think if one insists unreasonably on "perfect" prapatti,
the very saulabhyam of the Lord gets undermined, and one
approaches the very thought of prapatti itself with fear.

>    The fourth type of prapatti is the BhAgavatha Nishta wherein
>    a learned Sri VaishnavA (bhAgavathA) performs prapatti on one's behalf. 

Is this mentioned by Desika or any other pUrvAcArya? This seems
against the spirit of the Vedas and consequently the AcAryas' writings.
Prapatti should involve a change in the individual who is to 
be liberated, not merely in someone who does a "proxy" SaraNAgati.  

Otherwise, God is liable to be accused of unfairness
or partiality! Why should the Lord save someone who on their
own accord has made no change in their relationship to Him?
 This is one of Desika's strongest arguments against
passive or volition-less SaraNAgati.

If I have misunderstood your writing in any manner, I apologize
for the error. Can you clarify some of your thoughts on these
issues?

aDiyEn rAmAnuja-dAsan,
Mani