We saw that the prapanna on reaching Srivaikunta as aforesaid, will enjoy infinite being, infinite knowledge and infinite bliss ( Sat, Chit and Ananda ). During his stay on earth all these were in a contracted state due to to the interaction with the mundane world and his identification with his perishable body. Now, that he is associated with the eternal Paramatma with whom he has identified himself, his being, knowledge and bliss have become expanded without any limit.
Mahabharata describes what happens to the Mukta at this stage. "The Mukta attains the Supreme being and acquires the attributes of the Supreme being like having four arms, the crown, the regal insignia which the Supreme being himself wields. He too becomes free from imperfections. He too becomes Omniscient. He too becomes free from Karma., from suffering, from sorrow. He too becomes blissful, blemishless and independent in the sense that he is not subject to Karma but his own limitless free will."
As stated in Vishnu Suktam ," he will be constantly witnessing the radiance of the divine personality of Sri Narayana in Paramapada in the company of Nityas and Muktas Along with them he will also be singing his praise and enjoy the beatitude eternally. Having reached there, even the darkest night appears like eternal day, he obtains whatever he wants, he wins over everything, everything he ever desired he gets, he is ever victorious"
He will be in a position to offer his services to the Lord 'at all times, at all places and in all manners' unrestricted by time (kala), space (desa) or matter (prakriti).
A doubt might arise that if the Jeeva were to render all services at all times etc., would there not be a competition and conflict among the servitors (e.g) Adhisesha is Lord's couch; Garuda is his vehicle. Can a Mukta aspire to replace them and take over their duties? The answer is that a Mukta will not aspire for any service other than what is allotted to him and would never aspire to replace others in their respective duties. This is because, his will coincides with the will of the Lord. As the Lord has willed the respective duties to Adhisesha, Garuda and others the will of other Nityas, and Muktas would be in consonance with the Lord's will. Therefore, there can be no competition or conflict. Further, the pleasure derived from whatever service allotted will be the same for all of them.
There is a saying in Mahabharata that some Muktas live in the same loka as Paramatma ( Salokya); some live in the proximity of the Paramatma ( Sameepya); some others assume the form of Paramatma ( Saroopya) and yet others share bliss equally with Paramatma ( Sayujya).
SWAMI DESIKA SAYS THAT A JEEVATMA WHICH ATTAINS SAYUJYA HAS ALSO IPSO FACTO ATTAINED SALOKYA, SAMEEPYA AND SAROOPYA. JUST LIKE'HUNDRED' IS A PART OF 'THOUSAND', THESE ARE CONTAINED IN SAYUJYA .
To the Jeeva who has attained Moksha everything will be pleasant, agreeable and blissful. Even those that appeared painful or even less pleasurable while on earth because of the constraining effects of the material world, would now appear enjoyable due to the absence of the material binding and the presence of Bhagavan.
SWAMI DESIKA SAYS THAT THIS IS LIKE A PERSON WHO DISLIKED DELICIOUS MILK WHILE HE WAS AILING FROM BILIOUSNESS RELISHES IT WHEN CURED OF IT.
Therefore, the Jeeva would not have to go back to earth nor would he have any desire to do so.
1.. Since his wisdom has become fully blossomed, he has no illusions or ignorance that could impel him to return to earth.
2. Since the Lord is so much pleased with the Jeeva that he would never let him go back to earth.
3. In the Mukti stage, the Jeeva is not governed by the dictates of Sastras. Therefore, he will not be guilty of transgressing the Lord's will resulting in Karma and return to the material world.
4. Since what is pleasing to the Lord is also his own pleasure, he is not going against the wishes of God. So, there is no question of his incurring the displeasure of God that can hurl him down to the earth.. There are several passages to substantiate this.
Ahirbudnya Samhita confirms that the Jeeva reaches a ' point of no return' in Paramapada. Lord Krishna also confirms this Periyalwar in his Thirumozhi says that even if the jeeva vows and pledges security in the name of Mahalakshmi that he would certainly return after visiting the earth, the Lord would never allow him to go back to earth.
Sutrakara also concludes that one who has attained Moksha "NEVER RETURNS, NEVER RETURNS"-by repeating the statement twice.
But, if for carrying out any of the Lord's purposes on earth like protecting the virtuous, destroying evil and establishing Dharma as stated by Lord Krishna in BG, he may be permitted to come to earth, In this case, he returns not as a result of Karma but out of sheer free will.
Baudayana says that the assumption or non aaumption of forms is entirely
left to the option of the Muktaatma (released soul). If it chooses, it can
take MANY bodies out of its own free will like a flame that ignites several
other flames.Brahma Sutra Iv.4.12 confirms-
Yadhaa Sa Sareerataam Sankhalpayati Tadhaa Sa Sareera Bhavan |
Yadhaa Sa Sareerataam Sankhalpayati Tadhaa Sa Sareera Bhavan |
4.15 ibid- further states-
Yathaa Praddepah Ekah Aneka Pradeepa Bhaavam Apaadhyate |
Yathaa Praddepah Ekah Aneka Pradeepa Bhaavam Apaadhyate |
When he so incarnates he will retain his Sudda Satva quality. During such descents, his being, his knowledge and his bliss never get contracted because he is 'ON DEPUTATION' AS IT WERE by God's will. For this reason, results of deeds done during such sojourn in terrestrial life do not affect him at all. Great spiritual Acharyas who lead the lay folk on the right path are ,therefore, considered as such incarnations and should not be viewed as ordinary human beings. They are the ' alter ego' of the Lord himself and deserve respect and devotion as shown to the Lord.
THE GREAT ALWARS AND THE ACHARYAS LIKE THE JEEYAR OF AHOBILA MUTT, PAUNDARIKAPUAM SRIMAD ANDAVAN, SRIMAD ANDAVAN OF PERIYASHRAMAM AND SUCH OTHERS BELONG TO THIS CATEGORY.
It is held by some that the Jeevatma merges, gets absorbed, gets dissolved in Paramatma. This is not correct. According to Sri Bashya, what happens is that the Jeevatma joins, associates and integrates with the Paramatma.
IT STILL EXISTS AS AN ENTITY BUT UNITED WITH HIM INSEPARABLY AND INDISTINGIUISHABLY. BEING UNITED IS NOT THE SAME THING AS BEING IN UNION; RATHER IT IS IN CLOSE COMMUNION WITH GOD.
An instance is cited here from Srimad Ramayana to make the point clear. Sri Hanuman explains to Sri Sita how Sri Rama and Sugriva came together. He uses the word 'Aikyam' which means ' COMING TOGETHER' AND NOT ABSORPTION 26
Another example is given in Jayakya Samhita (4.83) is that WHEN IRON IS HEATED TO A RED HOT STATE, IT LOOKS LIKE FIRE ITSELF THOUGH THE TWO ARE TOTALLY DIFFERENT ENTITIES. So also, Iswara who is different from the Jeeva indwells in the Jeeva as Antaryami and both appear as one entity though they are actually different. Unless they are different, how could the scriptures speak of Jeevatma serving Paramatma?
The Upanishad statement that the Jeeva is one with Paramatma refers only to the equal enjoyment of the wisdom and bliss of the Brahman- 'Samyam"( Equality). There are quite a few areas of activity which are inalienable and exclusive preserves of the Lord viz.,
These are the features peculiar to him and are his distinctive characteristics. But, how come the equality spoken of? This is explained as follows WHEN A FARMER WHO TOILS AND RAISES A CROP SHARES THE FOOD PRODUCED AS A RESULT OF HIS LABOURS ALONG WITH HIS CHILDREN, THE ENJOYMENT IS COMMON TO BOTH THE FATHER AND THE CHILDREN. LIKEWISE, THE EQUALITY SPOKEN OF IN THE UPANISHADS REFERS TO THE EQUAL ENJOYMENT OF THE BLISS ARISING OUT OF THE ACTIVITIES OF THE LORD.
Chand. Up.also says that the Mukta sees everything and enjoys everything with the Lord
Brahma Sutra also confirms this fact" There is no difference in the enjoyment even though the Jeeva has no activity like creation of the world (Jagat vyaapaara)
Lord Krishna confirms " Having gained this knowledge, they attain a status equal to me; there is no more any birth or death for them"
Mundaka Up. " Shorn of all blemishes, he attains absolute equality with me"
When two persons eat a delicious dish, the sense of enjoyment can be said to be equal. This is "Sayujyam". There is however another term used in this connection viz.,"Sarshtita" which means the intensity of pleasure accruing from such sharing. If both of them enjoy the dish in the same location, it is called "'Samana lokata" The Jeeva thus enjoys, Salokya, Sameepya, Sayujya, Sarshtita and Samanaloka with the Lord ETERNALLY, EVER AND ANON.
RESULTS OF SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH ON THE SUBJECT CONFIRMING THE VARIOUS FINDINGS OF HINDU SCRIPTURES ON DEATH AND AFTER - DEATH. DEATH BED VISIONS (DBVs) - 1 " Between 1959 and 1973, KARLIS OSIS under the auspices of first Parapsychology foundation and then the American Society of Physical Research collected data on tens of thousands of DBV and NDE in the USA and in a joint effort with Erlandur Heraldson in India.
Deathbed Visions share common characteristics not influenced by racial, cultural, religious, educational, age and socio-economic lines such as radiant lights, scenes of great beauty, beings of light and feelings of great peace... These figures are called "Take away apparitions' because their apparent purpose is to summon or escort the dying to the after-world. Their appearance usually elicits a response of joy, peace, happiness and cessation of pain though a small number of individuals react with fear or denial.
Total visions in which the dying behold (or are transported out of body to see) a preview of the after- world, occur in about 1/3rd of DBVs. Such visions usually are of endless and exquisitely beautiful gardens. Other visions are of great architectural structures and symbols of transition such as gates, bridges, rivers and boats. These after-world scenes may be populated with angels or spirits of the dead and in a small number of cases, may be permeated with celestial music. Typically, colors are vivid and the dying one feels uplifted. Seldom do after-world visions conform to the religious expectations of the dying.
OSIS and HERALDSON found DBVs are most likely to occur to patients who are fully conscious. DBVs are significant to thanatology, the scientific study of death, for they show death not as extinction but as a wondrous transition, a rite of passage that should be undergone consciouly and with dignity".
NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCES (NDEs) - 2 "Term coined in the 1970s by the American physician RAYMOND MOODY to describe the mystical- like phenomena experienced by individuals who appear to die and then return to life or who come close to death.
In an NDE, people generally experience one or more of the following : a sense of being dead; or an OBE in which they feel themselves floating above their bodies, looking down; cessation of pain and a feeling of bliss or peacefulness; travelling down a dark tunnel toward a light at the end; meeting non-physical beings who glow, many of whom are dead friends and relatives; coming in contact with a guide or supreme being who takes them on a life review during which their entire lives are put into perspective without rendering any negative judgements about past acts and finally, a reluctant return to life.
The NDE is not limited to religious or 'good' people. Many who have NDEs become more spiritual or develop a belief in some type of God after their return from death. Most say they lose their fear of death and begin believing in after-life. Almost all discover a new and positive purpose for their lives, finding meaning it previously lacked. In some cases, the NDE leaves individuals with heightened intuitive or psychic abilities, including precognition, clairvoyance and telepathy.
" Coming back to life" (1988) author P.M.H.ATWATER found that NDE survivors identified these as the most common negative reactions : Anger, because they had to return to life; Gulit, for not being sorry about leaving; Disappointment, because once again they were back in their bodies; Dumbfoundedness and inability to talk about their experiences ( or fear of talking about it ); and Depression at the realization that they had to resume their lives.
On the positive side, survivors offered these reactions : Ecstasy at the wonder of their experience; Thrill, because of what they were able to experience; Gratitude, for what had happened to them; Awe and lack of words to describe what happened; Evangelism in wanting to tell others why they should'nt fear death; And. Humility at the overwhelming nature of their experience.
RING, philosopher, MICHAEL GROSSO and others have theorized that NDE may be a form of enlightenment or ' Gateway' to a higher consciousness and could have a transformative effect on the entire planet, if enough people have similar experiences.
Modern NDE stories, like their medieval counterparts, provide a way for individuals to incorporate a 'religious' sense to the cosmos into their scientific / secular understanding. ZALESKI holds that NDE is 'one way in which religious imagination mediates the search for the ultimate truth"
OUT OF BODY EXPERIENCES ( OBEs) - 3
"A phenomenon in which a person feels separated from his / her physical body and seems to travel to and perceive distant locations on earth or in non-worldly realms. OBEs are also called 'Astral Projection', 'Astral travel' and 'Exteriprization'
While accounts of OBEs vary, there are common characteristics. Most often reported is the existence of a second subtle body that becomes the vehicle for travel. The subtle body is described as a ghostly semi-transparent double of the physical body that is either naked, clothed in duplicate clothing or clothed in other apparel. They pass through walls and solid objects with the speed of thought,
The NDE usually involves some form of OBE. Some people who have 'clinically' died or come 'close to death' report the separation of their consciousness from their bodies.
The OBE is often preceded by a perception of strong and high frequency vibrations. Individuals report leaving through their head or solar plexus or simply rising up and flaoting away. Re- entry is accomplished by returning through the head or solar plexus or by melting back into the body.
It is believed that if the ' silver cord' is severed while one is out of body, physical death occurs, because the body has been cut off from its soul. The cord also is said to snap when the body dies and the consciousness or soul is released."
THE ROUTE OF THE PRAPANNA ' FROM HERE TO ETERNITY' ( Read from 1 to 24)
NOTES on References to Scriptural and other texts cited in Adhikaras 20,21 and 22 of RTS.
1. TM, verse 2 Ichuvai tavira yaan poi indiralokam alum Achuvai perinum venden arangama nagar ulane
2. BG 4 / 1 "Imam viwaswate yogam proktavan Aham avyayam Viwaswan maanave praha manur ikshvakave abraveeth"
3. BG 4 / 5 "Bahuni me vyateetani janmani tava cha arjuna janyaham veda sarvani na tvam vedha! Paranthapa!"
5. Bhagavata sloka ' yasya anugraham ichami dhanam tasya haraamyaham Baandhavais cha viyogena brunam bavathi duhkitah Tena duhkena santapto yadi maam na parityajeth Tam prasadam karishyami yat surairapi durlabah
6. 3 Ms, Vol.5, p.1416
7. BG 8 /23 to26
8. MB Anusasana Parva 220. Divaa cha sukla pakshascha uttarayanameva cha Mumurshatam prasastam viparitam tu garhitam
9. Brahma Sutra, 4.2.18 and 19'
'nisi nati chet na samsara bandasya yavat deha bhavitvath darsayat cha/
10. Chan. Up.4.15.5
' atha yadu chaivasmin savyankurvanti yati cha narchishameva abisambavanti/
11. Chan. Up., 6.8.6 "Asya somya, purushasya prayatah, Vak manasi sampadyate, manah prane, pranah tejasi...
13. Pras. Up.,1.1.9 'Tadye ha vai tadishta purte kritam ityupasate, te chandramasameva lokam abijayante, ta eva punar avartante."
14. Chan. Up.,5 / 3 to 10
15. Kata Up. 6.16
16. Varaha Charama Sloka
"Stite manasi susvaste sareere sati yo narah Dhatu samye stite smarta viswaroopam cha maam ajam Tatastham mriyamaanam tu kashta pashana sannibham Aham smaraami mad bhaktam nayaami paramaam gathim"
17. BG 8 / 6
18. Kurm. P.1.12.269
19. MB., Santi Parva., 313 ( 26 to 31)
20. V. S. , verse 12 20
21. Bhagavata sloka
22. Ahir. S., 37 / 25 and 26
23. BG 8 / 15 and 16
24. PATM.,4.5.2 poyinaal pinnai ith disaikku enrum pinai koduthalum poga vottare"
25. Brahma sutra., 4.4.22 - 24" ' Anavritti sabdath, Anavritti sabdath'
26. VR 5.35.51" Rama Sugrivayor Aikyam, Devi " evam Samajaayata"
27. Jay.S., 4..83
28. Taitt. Up. Ananda valli 1.2 "Sa asnute sarvan kaamaan saha brahmanaa vipaschiteth"
29. Chan. Up. 7.26.2 " sarvamha pasyati sarvam aapnoti sarvasah"
30. Brahma Sutra 4.4.21 " bhoga maatra saamya lingaas cha"
31. BG 14 / 2 " Idam Gnanam Upasritya Mama Saadharmyam Agata Sargepi Nopa jayante Pralaye Na Vyatanti Cha"
32. Mundaka Up. " " Niranjanah Paramam Saamyam Upaithi"
NOTES FOR ANNEXURE 1.
1. Harper's Encyclopedia of Mystical and Paranormal Experience -by Rosemary,
Ellen Guiley Published by Harper, San Francisco- 1991 (p. 141- 143 )
"Siddhopaya" means the one that is already existing. Since Bhagavan is already there, there is no need to 'create' him. Only the means (Sadhya upaya) has to be chosen. They are Bhakti and Prapatti as we have already seen. To secure the knowledge of this already existent Upaya, one has to- (i) appeal to Mother Goddess SRI LAKSHMI who grants the necessary Gnana (ii) approach a proper preceptor and perform Bhakti or Prapatti (iii) follow established traditions and observe the prescribed austerities. Those who do not have a clear mind should not get into the company of atheists who deny the very existence of God and those who deny God's omnipotence- because such association would destroy all chances of progress towards Godhead and consign their victims to eternal damnation.
Certain doubts relating to Siddhopaya are cleared as follows:
(1) Certain statements seem to suggest that Prapatti is not necessary. Why should God ignore a Chetana for so long and why again should he correct and bless him at a particular point of time,? If he does this in exercise of His Swatantriya (independence), why should Chetana adopt any Upaya at all?
Answer: It is true that the Lord is independent. Still he directs the Chetana to take an Upaya before granting him Moksha. If he were to grant Moksha to everyone indiscriminately without reference to the adoption of an Upaya, would it not amount to partiality by bracketing together both the deserving and the undeserving?
(2) If directing the Chetana to adopt an Upaya is also the handiwork of God, Why God should not do this to everyone in the first place itself and why different times are taken to different persons in bestowing his benevolence?
Answer: The Chetana has to acquire a certain stage of evolution to be fit enough to receive divine grace. As a result of different Karma, such an evolution arises in different individuals at different times and God is quick in directing one to take recourse to an Upaya as and when one is ready and ripe enough for it.
(3)Certain pramanas ( authorities) depict as if God feels sorry on seeing the suffering humanity. If this were so, does it not mean that he behaves the same way as any of us?
Answer : Really, God is beyond all joy and sorrow we experience but his exhibiting the same is to show a kind of sympathy with his devotees
(4)Since God is all powerful and all knowing, how can we who are fit to be punished will ever be granted Moksha?
Answer: God's principal qualities are indeed Gnana and Sakti. Since he knows everything he is aware of our fault and merits; since he is also powerful he can no doubt inflict punishments or award rewards., Thus Gnana and Sakti are useful in punishing as much as in rewarding good deeds. But, His Karunya (compassion) is exclusively useful for conferring his grace on the sinner who surrenders to him.
(5)Since it is said that a Prapanna has done what he ought to do, does it mean that he need not do any karmas after Prapatti?
Answer: What is meant is that he need not do anything for the purpose of securing Moksha .It does not mean that he can give up Nitya and Naimittika karmas which have to be done for the pleasure of the Lord.
(6) Does it mean that because one has done Prapatti, he is entitled for Moksha?
Answer: The answer is Yes and No. Without doing Prapatti or Bhakti, one cannot secure Moksha and one is definitely entitled to Moksha but this does not mean that Prapatti itself grants Moksha. It is the Lord's sankalpa that is really responsible for the Prapanna securing Moksha.
(7)As God is like mother, he has to nourish the child, the child has nothing to do at all. .Is this correct? Answer: TRUE. BUT EVEN IN THIS CASE, THE CHILD HAS TO PUT ITS MOUTH TO THE BREAST OF THE MOTHER BEFORE SHE COULD FEED IT. PRAPATTI IS LIKE THIS AND HAS TO BE GONE THROUGH.
(8) When it is the Lord who grants Moksha , how does Goddess Lakshmi come into the picture?
Answer: The Lord has vowed to protect his proteges and this he is doing as a Yagna. As a person without a wife is not fit to do any yagna, he is always accompanied by - Sri Lakshmi in performing this yagna. She is with him both in Upaya and Phala. This has been confirmed by great sages like Nammalwar, Hiranyagarbhar, Kasyapa, Sownaka, Sri Parasara, Emperumanar (Satvata Samhita), Sri Ramanuja, Kurattalwan, Bhattar, Nanjeeyar and a host of other great personalities. Just as in yagas the offerings are submitted to two or more deities together, as for example for Agni and Soma etc., the offering of our souls is submitted to the divine couple and both together protect the souls jointly.
(9) But the scriptures do not always refer to the divine couple but only to the Lord?
Answer : Wherever the scriptures refer to the Lord, it should be taken as referring to both. For the sake of convenience, they have divided among themselves the various qualities and responsibilities. The Lord has such masculine qualities like independence, power to quell the wicked, firmness etc., while Mother Goddess is the personification of patience, forbearance, tenderness and other feminine qualities chief of which is MERCY OR COMPASSION with which she prevails upon the Lord to spare the rod and accept the surrendered soul and admit him into the Moksha Samrajya.
(10)It is said that when the Goddess takes independent position in the Archa form we can not worship her in that form? Answer : The Archa form of mother Goddess has three manifestations in the temples viz., (i) Layaarcha : her form seated on the chest of the Lord (ii) Bhogarcha: Her form as seated or standing by the side of the Lord and (Iii) Adhikararcha : her manifestations in separate temples without the form of the Lord
While there is no doubt of worshipping her in the first two forms, it must
be mentioned that in the third form she is believed to confer boons other
than Moksha. In actual practice, however, even when she manifests in
Adhikaraarcha form, it can be seen that the Lord always adorns her chest
even as she adorns his chest in the Laya Archa form.
(1) How Bhakti which is difficult to practice and Prapatti which is easier to practice could result in the same benefit of Moksha?
Answer: To the one who has the capacity to adopt Bhakti, that is the proper course. For the one who is incapable of doing Bhakti in the manner elaborated earlier the only course open is Prapatti. Just like a sick person is advised manasa snana (thinking of the lord) as he is not fit to take shower and it is said to confer the same purification as a regular bath, while doing prapatti, the lord is supposed to stand in the place of Bhakti and grant the desired reward of Moksha which is the common goal of both Bhakti and Prapatti.
A tiller toils and earns by the sweat of the brow and enjoys the fruits of his labor; But, a merchant sits in his shop, sells goods, earns and enjoys the fruits of his earnings. The pleasure of enjoying the earnings is the same for both the tiller and the merchant. Similarly, the fruits obtained by the difficult process of Bhakti and the easy means of Prapatti give the same kind of pleasure Viz., Moksha.
(2) It is said that Prapatti will secure not only Moksha but also other worldly benefits .In actual practice, however, we see several Prapannas not securing material benefits. Why is this so?
Answer: It may be that the Prapatti was not done with adequate intensity of confidence (Mahavisvasa) or that God grants material benefits or withholds them in accordance with the Karma that the Prapanna had agreed to go through while performing Tripta Prapatti.
(3) It is questioned why if Bhakti yoga is so difficult, it should be prescribed at all and especially when it has no relevance in the Kaliyuga?
Answer: Even in Kaliyuga saints like Nammalwar attained Moksha through Bhakti. Hence, there is no harm in prescribing it.
(4)What is the daily routine of a Prapanna?
Answer: The daily routine of a Prapanna is as follows: The daytime is divided into 5 periods of say 2 1/2 to 3 hours from sunrise.
1st period: Abhigamana : Praying to the Lord that the day's austerities should be carried on without any impediments.
2nd Period: Upadana: Gathering flowers ,leaves, preparing sandal paste etc for the purpose of doing the Thiru Aradhana (Ritual worship). This includes purification both physical and mental by uttering the appropriate Mantras.
3rd Period: Ijya: Thiru Aradhana proper according to Agama traditions
4th Period: Svadhyaya: augmenting knowledge of philosophical truths by deep study of the scriptures
Certain people exaggerate the efficacy of Prapatti to absurd extents. This chapter seeks to disabuse the views so expressed on certain aspects.
( 1 ) That even though one is born in a lower caste, he becomes one of a higher caste on performing Prapatti. The answer is that so long as the body exists, the caste does not change. EVEN A TEMPLE COW, HOWEVER HOLY IT MIGHT BE, REMAINS ONLY A COW.
Even though Sri Krishna eulogized VIDURA a person belonging to the fourth caste, he did not say that he changed his caste. Similarly, even Viswamitra never became a Brahmin. The story regarding his birth shows that since his mother partook of the potion meant for a Brahmin foetus, he was already a Brahmin indeed by birth but his brahminic traits remained eclipsed. This does not mean that one can afford to despise another on the basis of caste. EVEN A PERSON OF THE SO CALLED LOWER CASTE, IF THEY ARE DEVOTEES - DUE RESPECT HAS TO BE PAID TO THEM. FOR, DID NOT THE BRAHMIN MADHURAKAVI BECOME THE DISCIPLE OF THE SUDRA NAMMALWAR ?
( 2 ) That even the sins committed by a Prapanna knowingly will not affect him and some people go the extent of saying that God relishes the sins. This is not correct. Sins can be exculpated either by atonement by performing another Prayaschitta Prapatti or by suffering the consequences during the current life itself. There is no doubt, however, in the Prapanna attaining Moksha since his sins will get wiped out by one of these methods before his death.
( 3 ) That the spittle of a Prapanna is holy. This is a gross exaggeration .Spittle can never be considered holy.
( 4 ) That whatever a Prapanna utters becomes law. This is not correct. Only those utterances which are not repugnant to the Sastras can be held valid. Prapannas should attend to Bhagavatas whenever an occasion arises Bhagavatas are of three kinds:
(i) EKANTINS :Who have no attachment towards other deities and are totally dedicated to Sri Narayana.
(ii) PARAMAIKANTINS: who have no goal other than attaining the feet of the Lord.
(iii) SHODASA VAMA SVARNA PARAMAIKANTINS: who are so dedicated to the Lord
that they do not aspire for any thing including Svarga or even Moksha They
just do their duty and expect nothing in return leaving everything to God.
This Chapter shatters the attempts of some who denigrate the importance of Prapatti and establishes the efficacy of Prapatti.
( 1 ) Even if a Bhagavata has swerved a little from the Sastric injunctions unwittingly, HE SHOULD NOT BE DISRESPECTED. You should not, however, seek to get Samasrayanam or Bharanyasam from him.
( 2 ) Disrespect to a Bhagavata is more deadly than even sinning against God.
( 3 ) Chanting the names of God (Nama samkeerthana) and residing with Bhaghavatas will be useful in taking a person to the right path of Bhakti or Prapatti, only if he is not an atheist at heart.
( 4 ) PRAPATTI DESTROYS NOT ONLY SANCHITA KARMA BUT IS CAPABLE OF DESTROYING PRARABDA KARMA ALSO COMMITTED UPTO THE POINT OF PERFORMING PRAPATTI.
( 5 ) Why Prapannas also suffer during their lifetime? It may be that they had not prayed for a suffering-free Post-Prapatti life. But, more importantly, for such Prapannas God dispenses with their Prarabda karmas through ill health, death of near and dear ones to make them absolutely Karma-free. SUFFERING IS A CHASTENING AGENT FOR A PRAPANNA.
( 6 )SAMAASRAYANAM is the ceremony by which one gets administered the PANCHA SAMSKARA ( the five-fold purificatory ceremonies) by their Acharyas. They are:-
(i) TAAPA : getting embossed with the impressions of the conch (Panchajanya Sankha) and Wheel (Sudarsana Chakra) on the arms by the Acharya.
(ii) PUNDRA: Wearing the twelve Sri Vaishnava marks on the body reciting appropriate names of the Lord as taught by the Acharya
(iii) NAAMA : Adding a suffix like 'Dasa" to one's name in token of one's subordination to Sri Ramanuja
(iv) MANTRA: Learning from the Acharya the three great Mantras of Ashtakshara, Dvaya and Charamasloka with their invocatory Slokas (Dyana Slokas).
(v) AARAADHANA: Learning Aaraadhana or ( the formula for worship of God-) Both external (Baahya) and mental (Maanasika). The detailed procedure of such worship is given in Nitya Grantha of Sri Ramanuja.
BUT,FOR THOSE WHO ARE NOT ABLE TO DO THE WORSHIP AS PER THE FULL STANDARDS, THE SAME MAY BE DONE IN AN ABRIDGED FORM (LAGHU THIRUVARADHANA) WITHOUT THE LOSS OF THE SPIRIT., FOR AFTER ALL, WHAT IS IMPORTANT - IS SINCERITY AND QUALITY, NOT DURATION NOR QUANTITY. Aradhana is normally to be done in the mornings at the Ijya period, but on special occasions like Janmashtami, Sri Rama Navami and Nrisimha Jayanthi, the Bahya Aradhana should be done at midnight, noon and at sunset receptively.
( 7 ) IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT EVEN THOSE WHO HAVE NOT GONE THROUGH THE PANCHASAMSKARA OR ANY PART THEREOF, IF THEY DO PRAPATTI - SO LONG AS THEY ARE NOT ATTACHED TO PETTY DEITIES AND DO NOT DISRESPECT BHAGAVATAS AND ACHARYAS- THEY WILL SURELY ATTAIN MOKSHA AT THE END OF THE CURRENT LIFE ITSSELF.
EVEN AN ANIMAL ( GAJENDRA) AND A BIRD ( KAKASURA) WHICH HAD NOT GONE THROUGH THE PANCHA SAMSKARA HAD DONE PRAPATTI AND ATTAINED MOKSHA. THIS IS NOT TO SAY THAT THERE IS NO NEED FOR THE PANCHA SAMSKARA BUT THAT DUE TO UNAVOIDABLE CIRCUMSTANCES THOSE WHO COULD NOT OR HAD NOT GONE THROUGH THESE, NEED NOT FEEL DESPONDENT BUT CAN TALE RECOURSE TO PRAPATTI AND BE SAVED.
( 8 ) How to identify a REAL BHAGAVATA? Would it be correct to give respect
to one who has just the external marks like Nama, Rupa, Taapa etc., only and
who in reality is not a Vishnu Bhakta?
So long as the duplicity of such a person does not get exposed, a Prapanna
will have to show respect, But, once it gets revealed, the Prapanna can just
The three great Mantras and their significance can be appreciated only by those initiated by tradition into their secrets. THE DELIGHTFUL TASTE OF THE BREAST MILK OF THE LIONESS CAN BE APPRECIATED ONLY BY HER OWN CUBS.
In the first place, the Acharya will himself master the hidden truths of the scriptures as taught by his Acharyas and by faithfully following the injunctions, acquire the quality of Sattva . He would then select the proper students by testing their sincerity and integrity and impart to them the traditional teachings. Students found wanting in these respects should not be admitted for instruction into these truths. Otherwise, it will be like saying 'Anything is fish that comes to the net'.
The preceptor should avoid liars, eunuchs, misers, mentally perverse, conceited., those who delight in tormenting others, those who indulge in vilifying others, those that engage in vain arguments (Vitandavada), atheists (Nastikas), those who heckle for the sake of embarrassing demanding reasons for everything (Hytukas), those whose views are distorted (Kudhrishti), prattlers (Jalpa), who misinterpret (Kuyukta), heretics (Pashandis), and hypocrites who pose to be virtuous but in reality are vile.
Lord Krishna, the Prathama Acharya " prohibits transmission of these secrets to those who do not perform their dharmic duties, those who do not have faith in God, those who are not sincere and eager to learn and most importantly those who bear ill will or jealousy towards God and therefore intolerant."
He proceeds to advise as to whom these secrets can be revealed and the benefits accruing from such revelation. "These secrets can be revealed only to those devoted to me. Anyone who reveals to such deserving persons would notice an unfoldment of his own devotion into the state of Parabhakti and finally secure myself as his reward"
"Even among those who possess positive qualities as discerned by the preceptor by means of appropriate tests, cannot be told unless the would be student formally petitions to him -in the manner of Arjuna pleading before the Lord
Some students who may not have the requisite caliber to assimilate but are nevertheless sincere in reforming themselves may be instructed the broad outlines of Tattva, Hita and Uttarakritya without going deeper into the esoteric meanings enshrined in the great truths.
Tattva: Jeevatma is a permanent sentient entity as different from the body that is perishable. Again, Jeevatma is different from Paramatma who is its SESHI and its ONLY protector. This is Tattva.
Hita: This Jeevatma remains submerged from beginning-less time in the ocean of Samsara. Only by a stroke of luck it could come across an Acharya who would instruct the Dvaya Mantra and initiate into Prapatti. This is Hita.
Uttara Kritya: The Jeevatma should have total and unconditional faith that having been recommended by the Acharya, the Lord would most certainly grant Moksha and will under no circumstances forsake the surrendered soul and it should in the post-prapatti period, till the end of the current life do service to Bhagavan, Bhagavatas and Acharyas. This is Uttara kritya.
These truths have been handed down to successive generations from Sri
Ramanuja to Pranathartihara (a.k.a.Kidambi Achan, Madaippalli Achan) and
then to his son, Kidambi Ramanujacharya and his son Kidambi
Rangarajachariyar and to his son Kidambi Appullar (a.k.a. Vadihamsa Ambuvaha
chariyar). This Appullar was the maternal uncle of Swami Sri Vedanta Desika
from whom he learnt them. As directed by Lord Hayagriva himself, Swami
Desika acted as his scribe in incorporating them in the Rahasya Traya Sara.
Thus, the great Mantra has been invested with divine sanction besides having
glorious Guru Sishya Parampara. As such, the truths should be cherished like
a great treasure and handed down only to worthy recipients.
As the Acharya has shown him the way to Tattva, Hita and Uttarakritya like showing to a poverty stricken person a treasure lying hidden under his own home which he had not known before, and that without any expectation of any reward- the disciple should be ever grateful to the Acharya. This gratitude is no return for favor received. In fact, the Sishya on his own free volition should offer his entire wealth, or half of it, or a quarter of it or whatever he can- again not in the attitude of returning any favor to the Acharya. The Upanishad commands that the disciple should show the same Bhakti towards his Acharya as he shows to the Lord himself:
"Yasya deve para bhaktih yatha deve tatha gurou".
If one indulges in imparting sacred knowledge to undeserving for the sake of material gain, it would be - - LIKE EATING THE VOMIT, as it were or - LIKE A PROSTITUTE adorning herself for pleasing her clients or - LIKE SANDAL PASTE ( CHANDAN) PREPARED FOR SALE or - LIKE A BAG OF POPCORN SCATTERED ON THE ROAD or - LIKE ENTRUSTING A GARLAND OF FLOWERS TO THE HANDS OF A MONKEY.
If the Sastras learnt are not utilized for the performance of dharmic duties, self purification or self improvement, such Sastras , however beautiful in diction and style would be LIKE THE CAWING OF THE CROW. The disciple ( now turned preceptor) should-
1. Always remember and openly acknowledge his gratitude to the line of his preceptors through whom he had acquired the sacred knowledge.
2. Should not propagate the truths without first initiating the Sishya; otherwise, knowledge acquired through books or by eavesdropping expositions can only be in 'bits and pieces'. One who tries to learn stealthily would be - LIKE A THIEF ADORNING STOLEN ORNAMENTS ALWAYS APPREHENSIVE OF BEING APPREHENDED.
3. If one does not pay obeisance to his Guru before commencing his instructions, the meanings of the truths will be lost on his audience LIKE A CREEPER THAT IS MERELY WINDING AROUND A TREE WITHOUT HAVING ITS OWN ROOTS FIRMLY GROUNDED IN THE SOIL.
4. He should not twist the meanings conveyed to him by his teacher. Otherwise, he would be treated AS A TRAITOR.
5. It is equally wrong not to impart guidance to a deserving student.
6. Even if, by fortuitous circumstances, he stumbles upon new ways of expressing the truths, he should acknowledge that he is able to so express solely by the benign grace of his Acharya and never claim any originality for himself. Only if this is done, his rating in the minds of his own Sishyas will go up sensing the gratitude shown to the PRACHARYAS.(Guru's Gurus).
The Upanishads and the Parama Purusha hailed by the Upanishads would be
pleased;. When the Praachaarya comes to know about such grateful
expressions, he would feel mighty pleased that his efforts have not been in
vain but have actually borne fruit.
In this chapter, Swami Desika gives a wonderful synopsis of the contents of the earlier 31 chapters and concludes with the traditional PHALASRUTI ( the benefits accruing to the reader of the treatise.) A person who goes through the treatise will know the correct path to be adopted for getting initiated into the three great Mantras by his beloved Acharyas. Having been so initiated, he will do the Prapatti and thereafter endeavor to lead a virtuous life and look forward to his journey to Paramapada., the supreme end of life.
HE NEED NOT PASS THROUGH THE PAINFUL PROCESS OF SAMSARA MUCH IN THE WAY COTTON IS CLEANSED OF ITS SEEDS, COMBED, CARDED, BEFORE BEING SPUN OR GO UP AND DOWN LIKE THE PITCHER WITH ITS NECK TIED WITH A ROPE FOR LIFTING UP WATER FROM THE WELL.
HE NEED NOT PASS THROUGH THE DHUMADI MARGA ( THE SMOKY PATH) DECSRIBED IN THE PANCHAGNI VIDYA IN THE 6TH CHAPTER OF CHANDOKYA UPANISHAD. At the end of the current life itself, he would ascend to the kingdom of God through the path of Light (Archiradi Marga) , reach the feet of God and render all kinds of services suited to all places, at all times and in all circumstances and be forever blissful as prayed for.
Finally , Sri Desika winds up by saying that considering the lineage through
which the truths have come down and considering the divine sanction for his
treatise, he would be unaffected by both bouquets and brick-bats- because
they rightfully belong to Lord Hayagriva, the motivating force in writing
his work. It will be for him to deal with the believers and the
non-believers as well. So far as he himself was concerned -
HE WOULD STAND LIKE A MANGO TREE WHICH WILL NOT FEEL AGGRIEVED WHEN A
CAMEL HABITUATED TO FEED ON BITTER MARGOSA LEAVES REJECTS THE MANGO
SPROUTS WHICH ARE RELISHED BY THE DAINTY QUAILS.