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Editor's Note - 56 (January 1, 2013)

Nyasa Dasakam And Adaikkala-Pathu — Telling Works On Saranaagathi

Dear Fellow-Bhagavathas,

The cardinal principle of our Sri Sampradaya is Saranaagathi, which means whole-hearted and absolute self surrender to Sriman Narayana. Some of the other terms interchangeably used to denote the act of surrender are Prapathi, Bhara Nyasam, Bhara Samarpanam, etc.

It has unequivocally been established by our Acharyas drawing from the Vedas and Saasthras that there are only two means to attain Moksha — the Doctrine of Devotion (Bhakthi Yoga) and the Doctrine of Surrender (Prapathi Yoga).

Although there are no differences in principle between the two and the desired end or objective of both is salvation, the two means are fraught with some functional differences which do really matter a lot. Suffice it to say that simplicity, feasibility, flexibility and fast realisation of the goal are some of the inherent advantages of Saranagathi that make it an overwhelmingly superior option as compared to loving devotion to the Lord.

Our Acharyas have, through their great works, stressed the vitality and efficacy of Saranagathi in no uncertain terms.

Swami Desika, ever a faithful follower of tradition, has strained every sinew to establish the fact in his own inimitable style through almost all his philosophical and devotional works.

Therefore, it is evident that one cannot over-emphasise the importance of surrender and our great Acharya has dedicated one Tamil Prabandham and three Sanskrit hymns to exclusively bring out the nuances and features of Saranaagathi. They are: Adaikkala-Pathu, Nyasa Dasakam, Nyasa Vimsathi and Nyasa Thilakam. These, of course, are besides a number of other intricate philosophical and esoteric works.

Adaikkala-Pathu, as the name indicates, comprises 10 Paasurams and the conclusion. Similar is the case with Nyasa Dasakam. Both are succinct in nature and outline the Doctrine of Surrender ever so crisply. The other two hymns — Nyasa Vimsathi and Nyasa Thilakam — deal with the subject more elaborately and are actually extensions of Nyasa Dasakam.

This Note presents a concise study of Nyasa Dasakam and Adaikkala-Pathu by enlisting their salient features. The addressee of both the works is Lord Varadaraja of Hasthigiri (Kancheepuram). In fact, Swami Desika composed them after performing Prapathi to the Lord of the Hasthi Giri. So, it may be said that while the common refrain is ‘practise what you preach’, Swami Desika went one step ahead and preached what he practised! That is the reason why these works have been drafted into the Thiru Aradhanam or the daily pooja procedure for recitation.

The gist of both the Hymn and Prabandham (Sloka/Paasuram wise) are given below:

Nyasa Dasakam:

  1. One who is in the know of things should submit at the Lord's feet: a) his self - called Swaroopa Samarpanam; b) the burden of protecting him - called Bhara Samarpanam and c) the fruits of the protection - called Phala Samarpanam.
  2. I am placing the responsibility of protecting me on You as:
    • I am helpless and looking for You to provide me succour - Kaarpanyam;
    • I shall do things that will please You - Aanukoolya Sankalpam;
    • I shall not do things that will displease You - Praathikoolya Varjanam;
    • I have unswerving faith in You - Maha Viswaasam;
    • I explicitly pray to You to protect me - Gopthruthva Varanam."
  3. The three kinds of sacrifices one must perform while doing things prescribed in the scriptures, such as Prapathi are: Karthruthva Thyaagam - disclaimer as to the doer of the work, Mamathaa Thyaagam - disclaimer as to the behalf of the work and Phala Thyaagam - disclaimer as to the benefits arising out of the work. This would mean that it is He who does the work on His behalf and for His own benefit.
  4. O! Consort of Sri, grantor of desired boons (Abhishta Varada!), I have surrendered to You; Please lead me to Your feet when I am done with this body (after death).
  5. Keep me away from doing things that are forbidden and have me forever in Your service.
  6. Order me into flawless service to You accompanied by Consorts, divine ornaments and weapons.
  7. You accept me and all mine — sentient and insentient — as tools of Your service.
  8. I can be protected only by You. You should wipe out my past sins and prevent further sins.
  9. Forgive me for the two kinds of sins — things done which ought not to have been done (sins of commission) and things omitted to be done which ought to have been done (sins of omission).
  10. Lord Varada Himself has, on His own accord, fulfilled my Bhara Nyasam with the five imperative components, at His feet. Hence I have become relieved of any concern/responsibility whatsoever, in this regard.


  1. I surrendered unto the benevolent Lord of Hasthi Giri after having been tired of trying things like the doctrine of devotion.
  2. I attained the feet of the Lord, knowing full well that the benefit from those like Brahma and Siva are subject to the results of Karma and hence not permanent.
  3. I know the glory of none else than the Lord of Hasthigiri who showers His grace on all who surrender unto Him.
  4. I attained the feet of the Lord who granted the desired material benefits as well as Moksha to the likes of Kaakaasura, Vibheeshana, Draupadhi, Kshathrabandhu, Gajendra, Kaalinga, Siva and Brahma.
  5. I took refuge in the Lord of Thiru-Kachchi after observing the Five Essential Elements of Prapathi (as in Sloka No. 2 of Nyasa Dasakam above).
  6. I placed myself before Lord Varada who is the saviour of those who performed Saranaagathi through one of the four methods — Swanishta (self-surrender), Ukthi Nishta (performing Prapathi by uttering the words of one’s Acharya), Acharya Nishta (included in the Prapathi done by one’s Acharya), Bhagavatha Nishta (included in the Prapathi done by a fully competent Bhagavatha).
  7. I attained the feet of Perarulaalan who, with His Abhaya Mudhra, appears to tell that It is enough to perform Prapathi just once.
  8. I shall never forget the words of Lord Arulaala (like the Saasthras, Charama Sloka, etc.).
  9. I worshipped the feet of the Lord after getting rid of ignorance and obtaining clarity through the great works of the Azhwars and Acharyas that are the essence of the Vedas and Saasthras.
  10. I drowned into the feet of kind Varada who is always with His Consort, has an exquisite form, ever merciful, epitome of knowledge, easy to access, omni-present, the Lord of the universe, performer of creation-protection-destruction.
  11. Bhagavathas are those who held Lord Arulaala as the means as well as the end. The Prapathi has to be done only once while the fruits are permanent.

The very fact that Swami Desika has composed two works on similar lines speaks volumes of the import of Saranaagathi. Let us follow the footsteps of the great Acharya.

Meet you in the next Note.

எங்கள் தூப்புல் பிள்ளை பாதம் என் சென்னியதே!

Natteri P. Srihari (a) Lakshmi Narasimhacharyar

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