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Experiencing Swamy Desika -- #97

Shrimate Shri Lakshmi Nrusimha Parabrahmane Namaha:
Shrimate Shri Seetha Ramachandra Parabrahmane Namaha:
Shrimate Shri Ramanujaya Namaha:
Shrimate Nigamantha Maha Desikaya Namaha:
Shrimate Shrivan Satagopa Shri Narayana Yateendra Mahadesikaya Namaha:

"SrimAn VenaktanAthArya: kavithArkika kEsarI!
VedAnthAchArya varyO mE sannidhatthAM sadhA hrudhi"!!

Swami Desika glorifies the exceptional greatness of Prapannas.
In Saranagathy Deepika, swami states that the mantras used by
Prapannas during the performance of Prapatti are based on
authoritative pramAnas.

swAdhikriyAsamucitairyadi vAnyavAkyai: !
nAtha tvadIyacaraNau sharaNam gatAnAm
naivAyutAyutakalApyaparairavApyA !! "

-- SaranAgathy Deepika (29)

Swami states that people who follow other paths can never be
equated to Prapannas who have surrendered at the Lord's feet.
They utter mantras appropriate to the upAsaka.

The mantras may be from Vedas, Pancharatra, other authoritative
pramAnas or the vAkyAs that have originated from Alvars and
poorvAcharyas. Swami's respect to Alvars and poorvAcharyas is
so great that Swami refers to their words as equal to the
Srutis and Itihasa-Puranas.

Swami's concern to us knows no bounds. Swami views every thing
from our position and gives us answers for all our queries.
There are a lot of false notions about Prapatti. The following
Sloka of SaranAgathy Deepika clarifies such false notions.

"dattA: prajA: janakAt tava dEsikEndrai:
pratyAbhinandya bhavatA pariNIyamAnA: !
madyE satAm mahitabhOgavishEshasiddayai:
mAngalyasootramiva bibrati kinkaratvam !!"

-- SaranAgathy Deepika (30)

In this Sloka Swami portrays Prapatti as an atma vivAha (wedding).
The wedding here is between the Jeevatma and the Paramatma. The
Jeevatma is the bride and the Lord is the bridegroom. This wedding
is performed by the Acharya who is the father. This father (the
Acharya) does kanyaadAnam to the Lord. Lord Vishnu, the bridegroom,
is extremely pleased with the gift and takes holds of the Jiva.
It becomes the duty of the Lord to Protect this Jiva just as how
a husband has to protect his wife!

Similarly, a wife (Prapanna) also has certain duties to be performed
(to the Lord). Even in the LowkikA life (as a wife), we have to
follow strI dharma, so as a Prapanna, we are expected to follow
Prapanna Dharma.

In the uttarakrutyam (after Prapatti), a Prapanna lives in the midst
of dedicated souls and engages oneself in service to the Lord, which
is like keeping the Thiru mAngalya safe and sound.

(This can be related to a married lady relating herself to her
husbands well wishers, serving her husband and his relatives)

A wife (Prapanna) tries to please her husband (the Lord) in all
possible ways. She tries to do only those that will please her
husband and will honestly try to desist from doing anything that
will not please him.

The most important thing that is expected of a wife is her chastity.
She should have chastity in devotion towards the Lord. Just as how
a wife expects all her requirements to be satisfied by her husband
alone, so also, a Prapanna should rely only on the Lord and should
not go behind anya devatas.

In the 72nd Sloka of Achyuta Satakam Swami Desika compares a true
devotee to a chataka bird. This is a species of bird which has got
a hole in its throat. This hole prevents it from drinking the water
of ponds and lakes. So this bird can quench its thirst only when
there is rain. The rain water can go into its stomach straight
through the upturned open mouth. So, mere gathering of thick clouds
will not quench its thirst. Even if heavy dew sets in it is of no
use to it.

Similarly, Swami states that, to a true devotee of the Lord, who
always looks up to the Lord to quench his thirst the other devas
- singly or put together can be of no help!!!

By explaining SaranAgathy as a wedding Swami has given rest to a
lot of questions that could arise because of ignorance.

Many people link SaranAgathy with death. They have a feeling that
if Prapatti is performed to a person he will die at once. They fail
to understand that during Prapatti, we can request the Lord for
reaching Srivaikundam at the end of this life. There are yet others
who say that Prapatti has to be performed immediately before death
because after Prapatti they have to become strictly orthodox and
cannot move freely in society as before.

Swami has hence portrayed Prapatti an atma vivAham which can bring
about happiness and a feeling of relief. Prapatti removes our burden
and is the only objective of every Jivatma!!!

It is an understatement to state that we are extremely fortunate to
be disciples of Swami Desika who has systematized Prapatti for our
sake. We should be eternally grateful to Swami!!!

The above write up is based on Shri R.Ramaswamy Aiyangar's
commentary on Swami Desika's SaranAgathy Deepika and Achyuta satakam.

"Kavi Taarkika Simhaaya Kalyaana guna SaalinE!
SrimatE VenkateshAya VedAnta Gurave nama !!"

...To be continued!

dEsikan tiruvaDigaLE SaraNam

Praveena nAmni Ramanuja dasi