SRIMAD RAHASYA TRAYA SARA
OF SWAMI VEDANTHA DESIKA
(by Sri Anbil Ramaswamy, USA)
Bhakti and Prapatti are the only means to attain Moksha. Of the two, Bhakti yoga is difficult to practice what with one or the other of the strenuous 32 Vidyas in 'Thailadhara' nature with an intensity upgraded from Para Bhakti to Para Gnana to Parama Bhakti and even so, it can secure Moksha only to those qualified to practice it and only when all karma is obliterated by attrition- a process that can take even an interminably long time- may be over several births.
And, for the one desirous of Moksha assuredly and without delay, the only easy way is that propounded by Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita 18 / 66 in the Charama sloka viz., Prapatti. The word 'Prapatti' is from the roots 'pra' and 'pat' together meaning 'To drop down', 'To take refuge with' . Hence, Abandon or Absolute unconditional surrender with the attitude of personal helplessness at the feet of the Lord. a.k.a. SARANAGATHI. In Charama sloka (i.e.) the last verse concluding the substantial part of the Gita discourse (verses following being in the nature of Phalasruti-fruits realizable on reciting the text)
Lord Krishna says "Having renounced all Dharmas, take refuge in me alone. I shall absolve you from all sins.- Do not grieve" Sarva dharmaan parithyajya maam ekam saranam vraja Aham tva sarva papebhyo mokshayishyami maa sucha" This does not mean that one should give up one's dharmas and then surrender to him, as some would have us believe. It only means that because you have found other means like Bhakti yoga difficult to practice you are unable to take recourse to them, the only course open to you being surrendering yourself to me, Do that surrender right here and now. Once you do this I shall protect you and grant Moksha. And, he asks you not to grieve and plights his promise to protect..
The most important exponent of the philosophy which recommends Prapatti is SWAMI SRI VEDANTA DESIKA (1268 A.D to 1369 A.D). He was a critical disputant who made extensive and intensive research in comparative religions and proved convincingly especially through his "PARA MADA BANGAM" and "SATHA DUSHANI" that other philosophies and tenets are worthless FOR A PERSON DESIROUS OF MOKSHA. He is also known as KAVI-TARKIKA-SIMHA (Lion-king among poets and rationalist logicians) and VEDANTA-ACHARYA (the preceptor of Vedanta). In fact, the word Desika itself means a preceptor and the nomenclature fits him eminently as he was indeed the preceptor par excellence. He was also known as 'SARVA TANTRA SVATANTRA" meaning master of all arts, crafts and artefacts.
A prolific writer that he was, he wrote 28 Stotra granthas (Prayers of praise) 4 Kavya granthas (Epics), 13 Vedanta granthas (Explanatory works), 32 Rahasya granthas (on esoteric truths), 24 Prabandhas in Tamil (Holy collects) besides 2 Anushtana granthas (Rules for daily observance), as also a Naataka (Allegorical drama). RAHASYA TRAYA SARA was his magnum opus which is the sheet anchor of our Siddhanta (Philosophy). As his inimitable style, spirit, force and import of his presentation cannot be transfused into the present dissertation, we can at best endeavour to have a glimpse of his work by following the arrangement of the subject as adopted in his Rahasya Traya Sara. This work consists of 32 Chapters called Adhikaras and consists of four parts;
(I) Arthanu Sasana (Ch.1 to 22) enunciates the important concepts of Tattva, Hita and Purusharta
(ii) Sthrikarana (Ch.23 to 26 ) raises all possible doubts and objections relating to the previous part and clears them.
(iii) Pada-Vakya-Yojana ( Ch 27 to 29) explains the principles of Mulamantra, Dvaya and Charama Sloka And,
(Iv) Sampradaya Parikriya (Ch.30 to 32) deals with the duties of the
preceptor, the duties of the disciples and such other traditional matters.