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Editor's Note - 92 (January 1, 2016)

Srimath Rahasya-Thraya Saaram — Swami Desika’s Magnum Opus

Dear Fellow-Bhagavathas,

Based on Veda Vyasa’s Brahma Suthra, Bhagavath Ramanuja propounded the Visishtaadvaitha philosophy. Swami Desika has brilliantly documented the same with an expansive, inclusive and emphatic treatise by the title Srimath Rahasya-thraya Saaram.

The Esoteric-triad known as the Rahasya-thrayam comprises Moola Manthram, Dhjvayam and Ashtaaksharam. In four parts and 32 chapters, the legendary work covers all the important tenets of the Srivaishnava philosophy.

The first part Arthaanusaasana Bhaagam covers 22 of them, the second one Sthireekarana Bhaagam explains four, the third one Padha-Vaakya-Yojana Adhikaaram elaborates three and finally, Sampradhaaya Prakriya Bhaagam comprises three chapters.

An overview, in the form of a short gist of each chapter, of the Magnum Opus is the subject of this Note.

  1. Arthaanusaasana Bhaagam (Laying the foundation through the meaning):
    1. Upodhgaatha Adhikaaram: It’s kind of a prelude to the treatise and studies the need for such a work. Explains how a Jiva deserves subservience and service to the Lord.
    2. Saaranishkarsha Adhikaaram: The need to sift through knowledge and embrace only the essence of the Rahasya-thraya.
    3. Pradhaana Prathithanthra Adhikaaram: The uniqueness of the important principles such as the Supreme Lord is both a supporter and in-dweller of the Jiva. The whole system works on His will and command, etc.
    4. Artha Panchaka Adhikaaram: The five significant aspects are Paramaathma Swaroopa, Jivaathma Swaroopa, Virodhi Swaroopa (nature of deterrents), Upaaya Swaroopa (nature of the means) and Upeya Swaroopa (nature of the state of release).
    5. Thathva-thraya Chinthana Adhikaaram: Reflections on the three principles — Achith (non-sentient), Chith (sentient) and Iswara (the Supreme Lord).
    6. Paradevatha Paaramaarthya Adhikaaram: Determination that Sriman Narayana is the ultimate reality and that other deities like Brahma and Siva are the creations of Narayana and are granted their respective positions only by Narayana.
    7. Mumukshuthva Adhikaaram: The Jiva, desirous of deliverance, must get rid of Ahankaaram and Mamakaaram, and the misconception that the body and soul are one. The Moola Manthram is a perfect remedy to achieve that.
    8. Adhikaari Vibhaaga Adhikaaram: Determination of those eligible aspirants of deliverance. Must practise either Bhakthi or Prapaththi for that. The kinds of Prapaththi by a Jiva — Acharya Nishtai (initiated and performed by an Acharya on his behalf), Ukthi Nishtai (embracing Prapaththi by himself) and Svanishtai (submitting his soul to the Lord on the instructions of an Acharya).
    9. Upaaya Vibhaaga Adhikaaram: Karma Yoga (the path of action) and Jnana Yoga (the path of knowledge) as distinguished from Bhakthi Yoga (the path of devotion) and Prapaththi (the act of surrender).
    10. Prapaththi Yogya Adhikaaram: Determination the eligibility criteria and protocols to be observed for performing Prapaththi.
    11. Parikara Vibhaaga Adhikaaram: The quintessential elements that constitute Prapaththi — Aanukoolya Sankalpam (to resolve to do what would please the Lord), Praathikoolya Varjanam (to resolve to desist from doing what would displease Him), Maha Viswaasam (unswerving faith in the grace of the Lord), Gopthruthva Varanam (explicitly seeking the compassion of the Lord) and Kaarpanyam (the feeling of incapacity to follow the other means); and finally, Aathma Nivedhanam (surrendering the soul). If the first five ingredients are substances (Angas), the final one is the sum or holder (Angi).
    12. Saanga Prapadhana Adhikaaram: The efficacy of Saathvika Thyaagam — comprising Swaroopa Thyaagam, Bhara Thyaagam and Phala thyaagam.
    13. Krutha-kruthya Adhikaaram: How one, who has performed all that he ought to do, should conduct himself after performing Prapaththi.
    14. Swanishtaabijnaana Adhikaaram: The acts, attitude and attributes of a Prapanna.
    15. Uththara Kruthya Adhikaaram: The post-Prapaththi duties of a Prapanna. That he has to perform them diligently with affection to the Lord.
    16. Purushaarththa Kaashta Adhikaaram: Attributes of a Bhagavatha. The conduct expected of a Bhagavatha towards the Lord and fellow-Bhagavathas.
    17. Saasthreeya Niyamana Adhikaaram: How a Prapanna should faithfully observe what has been prescribed in the saasthras.
    18. Aparaadha Parihaara Adhikaaram: Determination of the nature and actions of a Prapanna.
    19. Sthaana Visesha Adhikaaram: How a Prapanna must follow the Varna-Asrama Dharma and that ideally he should live in a place where an Archa Lord can be worshipped daily (generally temples).
    20. Niryaana Adhikaaram: Description of the exit of the soul from the body at the moment of death and that any time is auspicious for the Jiva to attain deliverance.
    21. Gathi Visesha Adhikaaram: Description of Devayana (the path of light) that the Jiva takes and the route to Moksha, transcending various stages.
    22. Paripoorna Brahmaanubhava Adhikaaram: Enumeration of the state of the Muktha (one who has attained deliverance) as juxtaposed to that of a Mumukshu (an aspirant of Moksha).
  2. Sthireekarana Bhaagam (Perfecting the understanding):
    1. Sidhdhopaaya Adhikaaram: The need for performing Prapaththi and the nature of Thathva (truth) and that Sriman Narayana is the Sidhdhopaya (the supreme Lord to be enjoyed).
    2. Saadhyopaaya Adhikaaram: The establishment of the authenticity of Prapaththi, dispelling the doubts about Bhakthi and Prapaththias Upaaya (means) based on the Vedas and Epicli and Acharyas’ works.
    3. Prabhaava Vyavastha Adhikaaram: The glory of Prapaththi and the fact that the Varnic quality of a person is associated with the body till the time of deliverance.
    4. Prabhaava Raksha Adhikaaram: Safeguarding the greatness of Prapaththi by repudiating the exaggerated claims and reattributing the fitting ones.
  3. Padha-Vaakya-Yojana Bhaagam (The study of Syntax, Etimology and Semantics):
    1. Moolamanthra Adhikaaram: Called Ashtaakshara or Thiru Manthra stimulates the desire for gaining eligibility for Upaaaya.
    2. Dhvaya Adhikaaram: Called Manthra-rathnam, it brings out the Diunity of the Thathva (Sriman Narayana). The enjoyable contemplation of Seshathva (subservience) of the Mumukshu.
    3. Charama-Sloka Adhikaaram: The final word which commands conformity to the dictates of the Upaaya and enhances the knowledge of the aspirant.
  4. Sampradhaaya Prakriyaa Bhaagam (The quintessential attributes of the Acharya and Sishya):
    1. Achaarya-kruthya Adhikaaram: Enumerates the duties and obligations of an Acharya.
    2. Sishya-kruthya Adhikaaram: The attributes and disciplines to be followed by the Sishya.
    3. Nigamana Adhikaaram: Conclusion by summarizing that what is stated in this study is blemishless knowledge and lists the benefits that would arise from it.

Swami Desika’s Tamil Prabandham Adhikaara Sangraham is a compilation of the verses composed as summary for each chapter of Srimath Rahasya-thraya Saaram. The following Paasuram highlights the importance and value of the 32 chapters.

செப்பச் செவிக்கு அமுதென்னத் திகழும் செழுங்குணத்துத்
தப்பற்றவர்க்குத் தாமே உகந்து தரும் தகவால்
ஒப்பற்ற நான்மறை உள்ளக்கருத்தில் உறைத்துரைத்த
முப்பத்திரண்டிவை முத்தமிழ் சேர்ந்த மொழித்திருவே.
(Adhikaara Sangraham - 40)

The Lord and the Bhagavathas are pleased with virtuous, noble people and bless them. (I) composed these verses with the help of that grace and familiarity with (the Visishtaadvaitha) philosophy. These are like nectar (to the ears) even if recited without comprehending the meaning. Set as Anthaadhi, the 32 Paasurams are like ornament to the three-fold Tamil literature.

Invoking the divine blessings of the Divya Dhampathis and Swami Desika on one and all for a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2016.

Meet you in the next Note.

எங்கள் தூப்புல் பிள்ளை பாதம் என் சென்னியதே!

Natteri P. Srihari (a) Lakshmi Narasimhacharyar

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