This rakshA grantham has been named "nikshEpa RakshA" by Swami Desikan. NikshEpa is an abbreviated word for "Aathma nikshEpa". Literally , NikshEpa means a pledge of anything deposited without a seal in great trust (mahA visvAsam). "Aathma NikshEpA means then the surender of the Lord's property, the AathmA at His feet with total trust and living free of worries thereafter. Thus Athma NikshEpa is equivalent in meaning to SaraNAgati, Athma SamarpaNam and Bhara nyAsam. The defense of Aathma NikshEpam (saraNAgati doctrine) is NikshEpa RakshA.
2. NikshEpa rakshA - Part 1 - N.S.Anantha RangAchAri
One of the many outstanding contributions of Swami Desikan to the school of Visishtadvaita is the vindication of the doctrine of Prapatthi or SaraNAgathi. The credit of explaining, reaffirming and consolidating on solid grounds this doctrine goes to Swami Desikan who is one of the greatest successors of Bhagwadh Sri RamAnujA.
Prapatthi or SaraNAgathi was being observed as a direct means to Mukti, even before Sri RamAnujA. Sri RamAnujA gave a reorientation to it in his great GadhyAs. It is known from the Jitante Stotra, a pre-Sri RamAnujA stotra, that Prapatthi is a direct and sufficient means to MOkshA. Prapatthi is essential for all sAdhanAs. Any spiritual discipline will not be possible without it. For the commencement of Bhakthi yOgA as well for the completion of it, Prapatthi is absolutely essential. As it completes other disciplines, it is a valid and direct means to MOkshA also. It is the grace of the Supreme Lord that grants the phalA of any sAdhanA and Prapatthi is inevitable for awakening the grace of the Lord. An aspirant who gains other desires through the grace of the Lord through Prapatthi can gain the ultimate object of life through Divine grace awakened by Prapatthi directly.
According to Sri RamAnujA both Bhakthi yOgA and Prapatthi are valid means to spiritual perfection. The pramanAs for the same are innumerable.
BhaktyA paramayA vApi prapatyA VA mahamune
Prapyoham nAnyatha prApya: mama kainkaryalipsubhi:||
Sri RamAnujA has expounded Bhakthi yOgA in his Sri Bhashyam, GithA Bhashyam and VEdArtha SangrahA and Prapatthi in his great GadhyAs. He has emphasised the fact that Bhakthi yOgA cannot be actualised without Prapatthi. Sri RamAnujA has synthesized the philosophy of SAdhanA in the light of the scriptures, the priceless traditions of the past and the mystic wisdom of the God-intoxicated AzhwArs.
A number of masters that followed Sri RamAnujA dealt with this doctrine of Prapatthi differently and there was a need to examine them and consolidate them in a systematised manner. This great task was achieved by Swami vEdhAntha Desikan in his magnum opus Srimad Rahasya traya sAram written in manipravALam. Swami Desikan's Rahasya-traya-saram has stood as an authority on the religion of SaraNAgathi. Swami Desikan deals exclusively with SaraNAgathi in a number of his stotrAs also, such as NyAsa Dasakam, SaraNAgathi DeepikA, adaikalap patthu, a prabandham in Tamil, deals with this doctrine. More than all these, Swami Desikan wrote a work in Sanskrit, namely, NikshEpa Raksha, in defence of Prapatthi.
NikshEpa Raksha is one of the five Raksha granthas written by Swami Desikan. This treatise is written in defence of Prapatthi. This is meant for enlightening the followers of Sri RamAnujA in the doctrine of Prapatthi. This is not for generating faith in the followers of other schools regarding this doctrine. This doctrineof Prapatthi is extolled as "mAnyam yathishwara mahanasa sampradayam" and Swami Desikan explains the significance of this doctrine according to the teachings of ancient masters like Sri Vishnuchitta, Sri Vatsya Varadacharya, Sri Atreya Sri RamAnujA and others.
Swami Desikan states the prima facie view that "Prapatthi is not a distinct and different means of MOkshA" - at the very outset and raised nine objections against Prapatthi as follows :
"swarUpa lakshana AnushTAna vidhya-drstEr-anishEdhata:
AikyA-dasaktEr-AkhyAtE: sampradAya-virOdhata: ||
The nine incompatibilities pointed out are : 1. The 'anupapatti or incompatibility regarding its essential nature of being different from Bhakthi. 2. the 'anupapatti' regarding 'akshaNA' definition. 3. AnushTAna anupapatti or the absence of its adoption for MOkshA, 4. the absence of any authority enjoining it. 5. the fact of negation of any means other than Bhakthi for gaining MOkshA. 6. the incompatibility of its non difference from Bhakthi as it is only an accessory to Bhakthi. 7. the inability to perform Prapatthi. 8. it is not prominently known from the SastrAs and 9. it is contrary to tradition as it is not bequeathed by the line of teachers i.e, GuruparamparA
These Anupapatti's are described in detail one after the other in the former portion of this treatise that forms the PUrvapaksha bhAgA.
In the latter part of this work these objections are refuted one after the other in the same order and the conclusion is established that Prapatthi is a distinct and valid means for Mukti and that it is a sufficient substitute for Bhakthi yOgA or UpAsanA. It is a universal means that can be adopted by one and all for the attainment of their desired object inclusive of MOkshA.
A brief summary of the objections and their refutations is given here under.
Objection : Prapatthi is neither SiddharupA nor SAdhyarupA. If it is SiddharupA it cannot be enjoined to be performed. If it is SAdhyarupA, it will not be of the form of nyAnA, as it will be of the form of an action through speech or body. It will be just like stuti an accessory to Bhakthi yOgA -- vAkkAyarUpatvAt stutyAdivat jnAna Atma katvA-bhAvEna etc., This results in the abandonment of the truth 'jnAnA dEva mOkshA:'
Answer : We admit that it is not "SiddharupA" and so the objection does not arise. It is sAdhyarupA, but we do not admit that it is vAchikAdi kriyAroopA. So there is no room for abandoning JnAnA as the means to MOkshA. SaraNAgathi is admitted as mAnasikA and it is sAstra janya jnAnAnadhika vishayA. It is of the form of vidhEya jnAnA and this objection does not arise.
Objection : Is Prapatthi having any accessories or not? If you say it
has, then it is opposed to your statement that it is a nirapEkshOpaya.
Answer : The elaborate KarmAs and others that are required for the three yOgAs such as BhakthiyOgA and others are not required for Prapatthi - This is what is meant by nirapEk shOpaya. It does not mean that Prapatthi is not having the unique and particular accessories that are established by PramanAs.
Bhakthi yOgAAdi trayEti kartavyatAbhUta
Gurutara-karmAnair-alEkshya-mAtram hi atra vivakshitam||
Objection : Is Sarvadharma parityAga a vidhi? or an
anuvadA? It cannot be either.
Answer : It is not a vidhi. It does not mean that one should abandon all dharmAs. Dharma lOpa is not admissible for a prapanna.
It means that one gives up a desire to follow other means of liberation on account of his utter inability.
ViruddhOpaya-antarAshA-praharaNamEva-atra tyAga iti na virodha:
Similar doubts that arise regarding the svarupa of Prapatthi are all dispelled according to the authorities of jitante stotra, lakshmI tantram and ahirbudhnya samhitA|
The Svarupa-anupapatti is answered as follows :
Prapadanamapi-atra prArthanA pUrvakam
Pratyag-AtmarUpa-havishas-tyAga : ||
The svarupa of Prapatthi, its accessories and the nature of Sarvadharma parityaga have been thus expounded by the great master in this work.
rakshA - Part 2
Sri N.S.Anantha RangAchAri
Second Objection: The Second objection raised against the definition of Prapatti is answered as follows.
There is no "angi " over the above the six factors mentioned. Of the six, "nikshEpa"is described as the main and the others are accessories. 'Prayer' is described as Sharanagathi on account of the fact that it gets included in Sharanagathi and that it is a "pradhAnabhUtanga"|. According to the SAtyaki tantrA, 'nyAsa' is described as the main or 'angi' in the primary sense in the statement "anEnaiva tu mantrENa svAtmAnam mayi nikshipEt"| It is thus established that Prapatti can be properly defined.
THIRD OBJECTION: The objection that it is not seen among ancients that anyone was liberated through Prapatti alone as evidenced in the scriptures is refuted as follows : It cannot be said that Prapatti was not at all observed. Nor can it be said that Prapatti was not performed for Moksha. Vibheeshana and others performed Prapatti as known from the Ithihasas and Puranas. It is very well known that Kshatrabandhu. Muchukunda and others performed Prapatti as a direct means to Mukti. "tvAmEva saraNam prApya nistaranti manIshiNa:, is a well known statement.
FOURTH OBJECTION : The objection that there is no injunction enjoining Prapatti as "one should perform Prapatti" is countered next as follows : It is established that mantras are all "vidhipara"| The scriptural authorities such as, "mumukshurvai sharaNamaham prapadyE", OmityAmAnam yunchIta" prescribe prapatti for being saved. The sum and substance of Sri Rama Chandra Shloka is "abhayaprAptikAmO mAm prapadyEta" are all positively enjoining Prapatti. The SAtyakitantra says "tam gaccha sharaNam Harim"| This is established by Sruti and others and so it cannot be said that it is not established.
FIFTH OBJECTION : If it is argued that any means other than Bhakti is negated in the statement "tamEnam vidvAn amrta: iha bhavati,nAnya : panthA ayanAya vidyatE" |
The answer is given that "nAnya:" means "bhakti prapattivyatirikta:" The rule regarding the general and exception points out that the negation applies to that which is other than prescribed. Just as there are different modes of Upasana "Nyasa Vidya" also is one included in them. So this objection does not arise.
SIXTH OBJECTION : The next objection raised is that Prapatti is one with Bhakti yoga, being an accessory to it. The authorities that prescribe Prapatti do so as an "anga" or accessory to Bhakti yoga. So it is not an independent and direct means to Mukti.
The answer to this objection is as follows : Prapatti can be an "anga" or accessory or a direct means "angi" according to the purpose required, as pointed out by the rule of "viniyOgaprthaktva"| Just like any mode of Upasana, Prapatti also can function as a direct means to Moksha. This is made clear by the following authorities :
Satkarma niratA : s'uddhA : sAnkhyayOgavidastathA |
NArhanti s'araNasthasya kalAm kOTitamImapi||
So it need not be doubted that Prapatti is one with Bhakti yoga.
NikshEpa rakshA - Part 3/3
Sri N.S.Anantha RangAchAri
SEVENTH OBJECTION : The next Objection related to the impossibility of Prapatti being observed as Prapatti requires the cessation of all activities.
The Objection is unfounded, as such a requirement is never accepted. A Prapanna is never seen to be totally actionless. Even the savants of the past have expounded "the giving up of all activities that are opposed to the activities of the Lord". Nowhere is it said that "sarva-pravrtti-nivrtti" is Prapatti. What is to be discarded is the idea that one can save oneself by one's own effort independent of the Lord. One should give up all efforts to seek protection from anyone other than the Lord. The involuntary functions like winking of the eyes, inhaling or exhaling and the performance of the ordained duties as devout worship of the Lord are not required to be given up. So this objection that Prapatti is impossible to be performed after giving up all activities does not stand.
EIGHTH OBJECTION : The next objection is that Prapatti is not well-known as a "mOkshOpAya". In all the eighteen Vidyasthanas, the four tantras or the Shilpasastra, Prapatti is nowhere mentioned as a distinct means for gaining Moksha. What is Prapatti is not clearly known. So it is an unknown means. Moreover Mahavisvasa cannot be actualised.
Answer : By the term "achyAti" you cannot intend to say that the essential nature of Prapatti is not existent. This view is already refuted. You cannot even say that it is not a distinct and different means, because it is taught as a different and distinct means in Ahirbudhya Samhita and others. The mere fact that it is not taught profusely cannot contradict its teaching in a few places. The testemony of other schools like Sankhya and others is of no avail to us as we do not follow them closely. The great masters of yore like Valmiki, Parasara, Vyasa, Shuka, Shounaka and others have glorified this doctrine in their great works and so the above objection is totally utenable.
NINTH OBJECTION : Ninth and the final objection is that Prapatti is opposed to the Sampradaya or tradition. The ancient acharyas have not traditionally taught or practised Prapatti as an independent and different means to Moksha. It is taught only as an "anga" or accessory in Sri Bhashya and Gita Bhashya. There might be references to Prapatti but they are also for Karma, Jnana or Bhakti. So Prapatti is not the means according to the tradition.
Answer : Tradition or Sampradaya is of three types, namely, "upadEsa paramparA, anushTAna paramparA and nibandhana paramparA"| All these three are found in Prapatti. This is evidenced by the Srutis and Smrithis and these truths are also taught by the preceptors to their disciples.
The fact that Anga Prapatti is taught in the Sri Bhashya and others cannot contradict that Prapatti is an independent means as there is no statement like that anywhere. Sri Bhashyakara has practised and taught Prapatti as a direct and sufficient means to Moksha.
Conclusion : The fact that Prapatti is different and distinct from Upasana and that it is also a direct and independent means to Moksha becomes established as Prapatti is free from the incompatibilities like "Svaroopa anupapatti" and others. Thus this celebrated treatise has carefully examined the incompatibilities against Prapatti and has once & for all refuted them. Sri Vedanta Desika has thus ably expounded and established the doctrine of Prapatti on infalliable valid grounds.