In spite of going through the treatise, some lingering doubts may arise in the minds of genuine seekers.
Doubt 1 : What guarantee is there that a person performing Prapatti is sure to reach Moksha at the end of this life?
Answer : The Vedas, Sastras and the entire gamut of our scriptures proclaim this truth; The venerable Maharishis, Sages and Seers of ancient times have seconded this fact; The lineage of our Acharyas have confirmed in unambiguous terms the veracity of the claim. Nothing more will be needed to accept the proposition.
One is reminded of Bhattar's exposition of an imaginary conversation as between lord Ranganatha and a Jiva taking place at the time of the Lord emerging out of his ceremonial bath (Thirumanjana) Wearing a single wet yellow raiment and a solitary garland of Tulasi ( the holy basil) standing serenely before the shining lamp with wick soaked in pure ghee.
Lord : You are mine.
Jeeva : No. I am mine.
Lord : How do you say that?
Jeeva : Where is the record in support of your claim?
Lord : My claim is based on Vedas.
Jeeva : Vedas are your making.
Lord : Then, on what basis you say that you are yours.
Jeeva : I have been believing this from the beginning-less time and on the strength of life experiences (Anubhava Vibhava) and this is verily the law.
Lord : But your claim has been objected.
Jeeva : By whom and when?
Lord : By Gita and other scriptures.
Jeeva: Gita is your word; Scriptures are your making. Tell me, have you any other witnesses to support the objections? Lord : Yes, the great Vyasa, Parasara and other great sires.
Jeeva : Lo! They are all prejudiced in your favor (Pakshapadi). Bhattar imagines that since no judge or jury could be spotted to settle the dispute, the only course open to the Lord was to appear in the attire he wore, stand serenely before the lamp and swear.
MAY BE, EVEN SUCH SWEARING WILL NOT BE BELIEVED THESE DAYS BUT IN BHATTAR'S PERIOD PEOPLE HAD ABSOLUTE FAITH WHEN SOMEONE SWORE TO THE TRUTH IN THE MANNER DESCRIBED.
EVEN SO, SRI SWAMI DESIKA IS PREPARED TO DISCUSS BOTH THE ALTERNATIVES OF THE PROPOSITION BEING TRUE OR FALSE. HE SAYS THAT IF IT WERE TRUE AND IF YOU ARE DESIROUS OF SALVATION, YOU GET WHAT YOU WANT; IF NOT TRUE, YOU DO NOT LOSE ANYTHING BY PERFORMING PRAPATTI. SO, IT IS A CASE OF 'ALL WIN AND NO LOSS' AND INVITES US TO HAVE A TRY.
Doubt 2: It is said that after doing Prapatti no sins should be committed. If committed they would accrue to the Acharya. As frail humans subject to Karma, we cannot avoid committing sins knowingly or unknowingly. And, to make the Acharya suffer on account of our faults would be unfair to him. Therefore, it is better to postpone Prapatti as far as possible and perform it at the end of this life when very little time will be left in our hands to commit any sins - thus 'Sparing the Acharya' from our misdemeanor.
Answer : The argument is indeed very clever, seeks to help in evading performance of Prapatti and impart a justification for escapism. It is true that Manu Dharma Sastra very clearly stipulates that 'The sins committed by his subjects accrue to the king; the king's sins accrue to his Purohit; the wife's sins accrue to the husband and the disciple's sins accrue to his preceptor's.
The objection is obviously based on this. This is a general rule applicable to ordinary circumstances. The position of a Prapanna stands on a different footing. The Prapatti Sastra admits that as human beings exposed to the vagaries of life even a Prapanna might commit sins. But, in the first place a Prapanna will scrupulously avoid committing any sins whatsoever. Sins committed unknowingly WILL NOT have any effect. Sins committed knowingly can be expiated by repentance (Nirveda) or by atonement (Prayaschitta) or by undergoing minor sufferings by way of punishment ( if not atoned). Thus, such sins will not cling to the Prapanna himself and there is no question of their accruing to the Acharya as assumed. Therefore the Prapatti Sastras advise you to - 'SAVE YOUR OWN SOUL' AND ALSO 'SPARE THE ACHARYA' from being dragged into the net of your sins by a ' TRANSFER ENTRY' as imagined by you.
Doubt 3: Some advance another specious excuse that in the background of modern day hectic activity and struggle for survival, one cannot be too meticulous about observing the age old stipulations of Dharmic duties like SALIGRAMA ARADHANA etc ; one cannot be too fastidious about avoiding prohibited foods like onions, garlic etc, or too fussy about partaking in 'socializing' involving as it does imbibing intoxicants.
Some wanting to appear more puritanic than the puritans extend it to such innocuous pastimes like viewing movies or TV shows or using baser materials like stainless steel in the place of Silver Poona articles etc.
Answer : Again, this is an escapist argument betraying an unwillingness to face facts and a flagrant turning away from the goal of Moksha.
LET IT BE UNDERSTOOD THAT THERE IS - NO COMPULSION FROM ANY QUARTERS THAT YOU SHOULD SEEK SALVATION; NO CONDITION THAT YOU SHOULD STAY AWAY FROM SINS; NO RESTRICTION ON CONSUMING UNDESIRABLE FOODS; NO EMBARGO ON YOUR SOCIALIZING - IF THESE PLEASE YOU AND SUIT YOUR PREDILICTIONS. ALL THAT IS SOUGHT TO BE IMPRESSED IS THAT IF - AND THERE IS A BIG IF THERE - IF YOU DESIRE SALVATION (THE WHOLE TREATISE IS ONLY FOR SUCH A PERSON AND SUCH A PERSON ONLY) THERE ARE WAYS TO GO ABOUT IT.
As already explained, if in any unavoidable circumstances, the Prapanna is unable to fulfill his Dharmic duties in the prescribed manner or is compelled to resort to non- dharmic practices such as eating unholy or remnant foods or drink, such situations will fall under the category of sins committed knowingly. As explained earlier, one should feel really repentant (NIRVEDA) or perform atonement (PRAAYASCHITTA) and beseech the Lord to excuse the indiscretion due to circumstances beyond one's control (individually and socially).
Viewing movies or TV is neither Dharmic nor Adharmic so long as it does not interfere with the observance of other Swadharmic duties prescribed in the Sastras. No doubt the Prapanna should earnestly endeavor to avoid getting into such situations in future.
Doubt 4: There are many passages even in our Sandyavandana, Tarpana etc., worshipping Pitrus and other deities like Vayu, Agni, Gayatri, Savitri, Saraswati, Brahma Deivatyam, Rudra Deivatyam etc., If only Narayana is to be worshipped , why do we worship these minor divinities?
Answer : Firstly, these expressions have been drawn from the Vedas prescribing the daily recitations in which these deities are invoked as the embodiment of Sir Narayana who is their soul. When we mention their names, we are not worshipping them but their indwelling soul, the Paramatma, Sri Narayana. Secondly, since these names are only common names they are applicable to them as well as to Sri Narayana indwelling in them. We are not actually worshipping them but only Sri Narayana.(e.g.) the word 'Agni' means 'One who leads'- 'Agre Nayati iti Agni' .Though it names Agni, it denotes Narayana who is the real one who actually leads even the deity of Agni. Thus, the ultimate meaning of any attributes or divinities actually refer to Lord Narayana .
JUST LIKE WHEN WE GARLAND SOMEONE, WE DO NOT GARLAND THE SHIRT ON WHICH IT IS WORN, NOR THE BODY OF THE PERSON WEARING IT BUT THE PERSON WITHIN, WHEN THE NAMES OF THESE DIVINITIES ARE UTTERED , THEY ARE MEANT ACTUALLY TO REFER ULTIMATELY TO LORD NARAYANA ONLY. WHAT IS ESSENTIAL FOR A PRAPANNA ARE JUST THE FOLLOWING AND IT SAYS IT ALL.
1. SHOULD HAVE FIRM AND EXCLUSIVE FAITH IN SRI NARAYANA AS THE SOLE SAVIOUR AND BESTOWER OF MOKSHA AND IN PRAPATTI AS THE SOLE MEANS TO SECURE MOKSHA.
2. SHOULD SCRUPULOUSLY AVOID UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES ANY DISRESPECT IN MIND, WORD OR DEED TOWARDS BHAGAVAN, BHAGAVATAS AND ACHARYAS.
If the attitude is healthy, motivation ethical, intention honest and if the will is there to remain virtuous in the face of temptations, THERE ALWAYS IS A WAY TO REMAIN SO.
The constant effort towards evolution will come in naturally and one can palpably feel in one's own heart the progress of regeneration and a march to self improvement.
Nobody need be worried about not being able to achieve perfection to the level of their role-models because only 'practice makes for perfection'. Any attempts towards perfection will be a stepping stone to the success.
IF ONE DEVELOPS THIS FAITH AND THIS ATTITUDE, ALL ELSE WILL FALL IN PLACE AUTOMATICALLY.
Nigamantha Maha Desikaya Namah