Five Significant Concepts For Those Desirous Of Deliverance
In order to get rid of the repeated and vicious circle of birth, death and the sufferings of life, one should take recourse to the benign grace of Sriman Narayana. He is the sole authority in granting deliverance or salvation, which can be achieved by either Devotion (Bhakthi) or Surrender (Prapaththi).
Here 'Devotion' does not imply the day-to-day religious activities. It is a highly-demanding and strenuous process - like the one undertaken by young Dhruva — and hence is literally impracticable in the present day. Further, there is no guarantee as to when it will fructify and it may even take any number of births. On the other hand, the means of 'Surrender' is simple, immensely viable and give the desired result at the end of this life. No wonder the Azhwars and our Acharyas have favoured the latter. Not only did they preach their preferred option but led by example by practising it.
Thus we have the process of Surrender simplified. Prapaththi is the way to go is well established. There are some pre-requisites in the form of knowledge of a few principles, such as, the Triple Reality (Thathva-thrayam), the Esoteric Triad (Rahasya-thrayam) and the Five Concepts (Artha Panchakam). We have already seen the first two in these columns (Note Nos. 74 and 75). So, let us here take a look at the Five Significant Concepts that someone who is desirous of deliverance (Mumukshu) needs to know about.
The five concepts as laid down in Srimath Rahasya-thraya Saaram (Chapter 4) are:
Paramaathma Swaroopam (The form of the Supreme Being):
- The Lord is ever present in the communion with Sri and is all pervading.
- He is the state of infinite bliss and knowledge;
- He is blemishless and a repository of infinite auspiciousness;
- He has a cosmic form which is trans-material.
- He is the creator, and sustainer of the Universe and the master of all he surveys
Jivaathma Swaroopam (The form of the Individual Soul):
- He can be classified into three types — Bhadhdha (One bound in Samsara), Muktha (One who has attained salvation through Bhakthi or Prapaththi) and Nithya (The ones like Aadhi Sesha, Garuda, Vishvaksena who permanently reside in the Lord’s abode).
- His attributes are Knowledge (Jnana), Bliss (Ananda), Purity (Amalam).
- He is controlled by his Karma and undergoes innumerable cycles of birth and death until he becomes a Muktha.
- He is, forever, subservient to the Supreme Lord.
Upaaya Swaroopam: (The nature of the means):
As said before, the two Upaayas or means to attain Moksha, are Bhakthi and Prapathi. There are six parts in Prapathi or the ‘Act of Surrender’ unto the Lord. Hence this is called ‘Shadaanga Yoga’ (Five Angas and an Angi - cover). Similarly, Bhakthi Yoga, which comprises eight elements, is known as ‘Ashtaanga Yoga’.
The six limbs of Prapathi are:
- Aanukoolya Sankalpam (to resolve to do what would please the Lord).
- Praathikoolya Varjanam (to resolve to not do what would displease Him).
- Maha Viswaasam (unswerving faith in His grace).
- Kaarpanyam (realising one’s incapacity to do anything without his grace).
- Gopthruthva Varanam (explicitly seeking the Lord’s mercy in granting Moksha).
- Aathma Nivedhanam (surrendering one’s soul).
The eight limbs of Bhakthi are:
- Yama (moral codes).
- Niyama (self-purification and study).
- Asana (posture).
- Praanayama (breath control).
- Prathyahara (sense control).
- Dharana (concentration).
- Dhyaana (meditation).
- Samaadhi (realisation of deliverance).
Upeya Swaroopam (The nature of the salvation):
- The Jivaathma experiences the eternal bliss at the time of release.
- He reaches Srivaikunta, the Nithya Vibhuthi of Sriman narayana.
Virodhi Swaroopam (The nature of deterrents):
- The effects of the materialistic world and the three qualities — Sathva, Rajas and Thamas.
- Ignorance and residual effects of the earlier births.
- Not following the commandments of the Lord as prescribed by Him in the Vedas and the Saasthras.
That Swami Desika has dedicated an exlusive Prabandham for this subject is a clear indication of its significance. 'Artha Panchakam', which consists of 11 Paasurams offered at the feet of the Lord of Kanchi, deals with these five concepts. A good grasp of the same will help us to consciously endeavour to conduct ourselves according to the requirements of the Saasthras.
Meet you in the next Note.
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