Some Important Principles Of Our Sampradaya
The philosophy of Visishtaadvaita, so thoroughly evolved with telling authenticity through the great works of our illustrious preceptors — like Sri Aala Vandhaar, Bhagavath Ramanuja and Swami Desika, just to name a few — offers a fascinating study. Thought I would summarise some important principles of our Sri Sampradaya, in this Note.
- The three Thathvas (truths) are Chith (the sentient), Achith (the insentient) and Iswara (the God – Sriman Narayana).
- The two means (known as Hitha) available for the Jivaathma/Chith to attain the Lord are: Bhakthi (devotion) and Prapaththi (Total surrender), variously known as Saranaagathi, Bhara Nyaasam, Bhara Samarpanam, etc.
- The Purushaartha (ultimate goal) of the Jiva is realising Moksha, also referred to as Nithya Vibhuthi, Sri Vaikuntam, Parama Padham, etc., that is, the abode of Vishnu in His ‘Para’ form which is one of His five states.
- The other four forms of the Lord Supreme are: 2. Vyuha (Vasudeva, Sankarshana, Pradhyumna and Anirudhdha, and includes sub-Vyuha forms in the Dwaadasa Namas from Kesava to Damodara); 3. Vibhava (like the Avatharas the Lord has taken, 10 of which are foremost (Mathsya to Kalki); 4. Antharyaami (who exists in the heart of every Jiva or living being) and 5. Archa (the idol from as we worship in temples).
- The Lord is, on the one hand, immanent — that is, smaller than the atom in beings that are atomic in size (the state of Anthar-Vyaapthi). Also, on the other hand, He is transcendent — greater than the greatest as He pervades and surrounds everything (the state of Bahir-Vyaapthi).
- Between Bhakthi and Prapaththi — the two means to attain Moksha — the latter is simple, immensely viable and reasonably immediate. On the other hand, Bhakthi Yoga is extremely difficult, not easily practicable, circuitous and time-consuming.
- The procedure of Prapaththi consists of five parts (Angaas) and with the encompassing parcel (Angi), the submission of the burden of the soul is performed. They are:
- The three Rahasyas knows as the Rahasya-Thrayam (the triple esoteric tenets) one must know are: Ashtaaksharam (also called Thirumanthram/Mooka Manthram), Dhvayam and Charama Slokam.
- Pro-active, explicit prayer is mandatory on the part of the Jiva to perform Saranaagathi (Refer Gopthruthva Varanam above).
- It is always Sriman Narayana (Narayana together with His Consort Lakshmi) who is the Lord Supremo.
- Lakshmi is the means for attaining salvation as much as Narayana Himself and she also has the role of a mediator (Purushakara), often pleading the case of the Jiva with Her Consort. She is infinite in nature (Vibhu) like the Lord Himself. She is also Paramaathma as much as Narayana Himself.
- By doing Prapaththi, the Jiva gets rid of all his earlier sins (except the Praarabdha Karmas which had begun to take effect) and attains Moksha. The post-Prapaththi sins are squared off with relatively minor punishments by the Lord.
- The Saasthras are the commandments of the Lord and they ought to be adhered to. Non-compliance will be deemed as transgression and will make the errant liable for punishment.
- Acharyas occupy an exalted position in our Sampradaya, even greater than that of the Lord Himself. In fact, Sriman Narayana is considered as the first Acharya.
- There are three kinds of Kainkaryams a Vaishnava is expected to undertake — towards Acharya, towards Bhagavathas and towards the Lord, and the priority accorded has to be in the given order.
- Another classification of Kaikaryams is Mandatory (Aajna) and Optiona (Anujnaa). Those laid down in the Saasthras (like Sandhyaavandhanam, and (to whomsoever applicable) Tharpanam, Sraadhdham, etc.) have to be necessarily performed. These are Aanja Kainkaryams. There is no exemption at all there and failure to perform will incur the wrath of the Lord and invite His punishment. Anujna Kainkaryams such as going to the temple, doing floral service to the Lord, cleaning the temple etc. are optional services which may be undertaken according to one’s convenience.
• Aanukoolya Sankalpam: Commitment to do always only what will be pleasing to the Lord, as laid down in the Saasthras;
• Praathikoolya Varjanam: Commitment to desist from doing what will be displeasing to Him;
• Aakinchanyam: Clear consciousness of one’s destituteness or inability as regards anything and that he cannot, by his own effort, attain salvation;
• Mahaa Viswaasam: Absolute and unwavering faith in one’s redeemability through Him and that He alone can grant Moksha;
• Gopthruthva Varanam: Uttering one’s decision to take His safe refuge for salvation; and
• Athma Samarpanam: Transferring the burden of the soul by entrusting the responsibilities with Him.
What we must understand from the above well-defined principles of our Sampradaya is the ultimate goal should be to assure ourselves of Moksha at the end of this life, through Prapaththi.
Meet you in the next Note.
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