nikshepa raksha

You are here: SriPedia - ebooks - Vedanta Desikan - Works

nikshepa raksha


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.

1.  Svarupa-anupapatti
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.

SarvadharmA-sabdEna-pratuta-mOkshOpAyA-antarANam vivakshitatvAt|

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 :

Tyakta-rakshA-phala-swAmyam rakshasya-Atma-samarpaNam||

Prapadanamapi-atra     prArthanA pUrvakam     parasyai  dEvatAnyai
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.

2.  NikshEpa 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.

2.  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.

Further Reading: External Links