[Advaita-l] Prapatti

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Fri Feb 17 10:56:54 CST 2012

On Fri, Feb 17, 2012 at 7:51 PM, Anand Hudli <anandhudli at hotmail.com> wrote:

> sharaNAgati or prapatti has been briefly discussed in the list before:
> http://www.advaita-vedanta.org/archives/advaita-l/2000-January/000078.html

Many thanks Anand ji for that fine post.

Just yesterday I listened to a talk on 'prapatti' by Vidwan Sri VeLukkuDi
Krishnan Swami, a very erudite scholar of the Vishishtadvaita sampradaya,
in Tamil.  I shall give the gist of that here:

'prapatti' is fundamentally for someone who has no adhikAra, that is, who
is not an adhikAri.  For, an adhikAri has other paths to reach Bhagavan.
This prapatti is for the one who feels 'he is of no worth at all whatsoever
and the only refuge is the Lord'.  Sri Ramanuja raises a question while
commenting on BG 18.66:  The Lord said in the 4th Chapter that He
incarnated to establish Dharma and would He say now 'give up dharma'? No.
The purport is this:  Without meandering in all kinds of 'difficult'
dharmas prescribed in the Veda (for example, the ones the Lord Himself
criticized by the words 'yAmimAm puShpitAm vAcham...' in the second
chapter) take refuge in Me, the Lord and I shall free you from all
sins/impurities.'  It seems the Acharyas of that sampradaya have analyzed
the 18.66 verse in very great detail as for example by reading 'mA shuchaH'
with almost every expression in that verse: mAm sharaNam vraja, mA shuchaH,
mAm ekam sharaNam...mA shuchaH, etc. //

In the Shivananda lahari there is one verse which could be said to echo the
sharaNAgati/prapatti idea:

  // स्मृतौ शास्त्रे वैद्ये शकुनकवितागानफणितौ
 पुराणे मंत्रे वा स्तुतिनटनहास्येष्वचतुरः ।
 कथं राज्ञां प्रीतिर्भवति मयि कोऽहं पशुपते
 पशुं मां सर्वज्ञ! प्रथितकृपया पालय विभो॥।५॥

 I do not have proficiency in the *smritis* (codes of conduct like *Manu
Smriti*), *Sastras* (like *tarka sastra*, science of logic*)*, the health
sciences, the science of omens, poesy, music, *Puranas, mantras*, eulogy,
dance, drama or humour and comedy.  Such being the case,  how can I be in
the good books of Kings? O Lord of all beings ! Who am I ? I am a mere
animal.  You are All-knowing. Protect me with your generous compassion (by
providing me the knowledge of my true Self).  //

When a person so surrenders to the Lord, saying that he has  no worth for
aihika/AmuShmika attainment, He, out of compassion, takes the supplicant
forward by opening the doors for satkarma niShThA, shAstra shravaNam, etc.
and finally jnAna and mokSha.

With regard to Sri Rajaram's question/observation it is to be noted that:

In the VishishTAdvaita sampradaya, sharaNAgati/prapatti is a guaranteed
means to VaikunTha prApti. I do not think there is the concept of
krama-mukti in their system as we have in Advaita where the upAsaka goes to
Brahmaloka and from there is finally liberated through jnAna.

Regarding the attainment of Brahmaloka Shankara says in the KaThopaniShad
2.3.5 bhashya:

//स च दुष्प्राप्योऽत्यन्तविशिष्टकर्मज्ञानसाध्यत्वात् । तस्मात्  आत्मदर्शनाय
इहैव यन्तः कर्तव्य इत्यभिप्रायः । //

//That (Brahmaloka) is difficult of attainment as it involves the practice
of specialized karma-s and upAsanas.  Therefore, for the attainment of
Self-realization one has to put forth efforts here itself (that is in this
world itself, in this life/body itself).  This is the idea conveyed in this


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