Essence of the Three Secrets | 6

Fitness for Prapatti

He who does not go in for other ways to reach his goal and prefers Prapatti alone which is the path of renunciation (Nyāsa), he must understand his fitness for it.

Here ‘fitness' would mean the desire the aspirant has for his goal, and his capacity to undertake the method:

The capacity includes an understanding of what has been put down in the śāstras, the ability to follow those injunctions, and to have the caste and qualities enumerated therein.

The gains of those who have the qualities have been enumerated. The commandment for gaining a particular goal is called upāya. He who is performing Prapatti to gain moksha must understand his relationship with the Supreme Lord just as one who follows bhakti yoga.

But the distinguishing mark of one who performs Prapatti is his extreme weakness and of having no other refuge:

Weakness here means the aspirant has no capability of doing anything but Prapatti.

Not having any other refuge is the state of not caring for any other result than Moksha, and not surrendering to anyone except Nārāyaṇa.

Several śāstras and Purāṇas say that taking refuge in gods other than Nārāyaṇa will give only lesser results and not Moksha. Only those who surrender to Him gain Moksha.

Those who do not wish for Moksha immediately but prefer to remain, in the body and worship Nārāyaṇa, their body will remain so till the time is over and then the aspirant reaches Moksha.

For any path other than Prapatti, one needs the necessary knowledge and strength.

Those who have neither and desire for immediate Moksha have to take recourse to Prapatti. This condition is described as the aspirant's weakness and incapacity.

The aspirant must be sure that he will not take refuse in anyone except Nārāyaṇa and that he will not hanker after any gain other than Moksha.

Those who are so qualified can do Prapatti. Unlike Bhakti yoga, no caste considerations bind this path. All are qualified for Prapatti.

On Accessories

This Prapatti is also a Vidyā (discipline) like bhakti. The Vedas speak of thirty-two vidyās. In the same way, Prapatti is a vidyā. This is known as Nyāsa Vidyā. The Vedas have spoken of it.

Nyāsa Vidyā has five accessories (aṅgas).They are:

1. the desire to do what is agreeable (to the Lord),
2. rejecting what is displeasing (to the Lord),
3. a sense of helplessness,
4. a tremendous faith and
5. praying (to the Lord) for refuge.

This is known as Nyāsa Vidyā.
Nyāsa means placing something in the hands of a dependable person.
Prapatti is handing over oneself to Nārāyaṇa.

In the Prapatti praying for Moksha, one must hand over the result of Prapatti to Nārāyaṇa. Hence, when performing Prapatti for gaining Moksha, one must meditatively give the assurance that he has no interest in the fruits of Prapatti as well.

The five accessories of Prapatti must be understood as follows:

A definite desire to do what is agreeable (anukula) to Nārāyaṇa and to do not what opposes Him:

These two principles are most important because Nārāyaṇa is our Lord and we should do what He likes and avoid what He does not so He will be pleased.

The śāstras are the commandments of the Lord. What they ask us to do must be done. What has been spoken of against must be rejected.

One should escape from dangers by doing so and pleasing the Lord. If we do not act according to the śāstras we may have to face the Lord's punishment.

Next comes humility: The aspirant must meditate upon his helplessness. Thereby he should free himself from pride. He must act with humility to elicit the Lord's compassion.

By taking such an attitude, the Lord would be kindly disposed towards him. The humility will convince him that there is no other way than surrender to the Lord.

Now there is the act of reposing a tremendous faith in the Lord. Only when he has a firm faith that the Lord will save him can this Prapatti bear fruition.

If he has doubts clouding his faith, Prapatti will remain fruitless. This faith completes Prapatti and helps the aspirant remain free of worries.

The fifth accessory is praying to the Lord: "Save me". This is also important.

This moksha is one of the four Puruṣārthas. Puruṣārtha means that for which man prays. As with others, only when man prays for Moksha, it becomes a puruṣārtha.

The Lord gives the puruṣārtha of Moksha only after man prays for it. Hence the prayer to the Lord, “you must save me" by the aspirant also becomes a limb of Prapatti.

Without the presence of these five accessories, it is not possible to deliver oneself to the Lord. Such Prapatti or Śaraṇāgati is witnessed often in great works like the Rāmāyaṇa:

One of them is the scene in which Trijaṭā asks the demonesses to surrender to Sītā. Trijaṭā told the demonesses: "Do not speak harshly to Sītā. Speak to her with affection."

This indicates the rejection of enmity to the Lord and an approach of friendliness (anukula). Humility is indicated by saying: "There is great danger coming to them through Rāma”.

And by this the pride of the demonesses was humbled. Such is the third limb of Prapatti. As she said, "Sītā can save us from danger", a tremendous faith is indicated.

When it was said, “let us pray to Sītā" the need to pray for help is understood. When it was mentioned that Sītā saves if one takes refuge in her, the Prapatti of one's surrender is made clear.

Sītā welcomed the manner in which the demonesses did not express any opposition and said she will save them. In the same manner, she also saved the demonesses when Hanuman asked for her permission to destroy them.

Thus we get an idea of Prapatti's five limbs in this incident. As Trijaṭā surrendered on behalf of the demonesses, they were all saved.

These limbs can be traced in the surrender of Vibhīṣaṇa also:

The Rākṣasas who came with Vibhīṣaṇa were also included in the surrender. Vibhīṣaṇa told his elder brother Rāvaṇa: “Return Sītā to Rāma. We can then live in peace.”

Thus we know Vibhīṣaṇa wanted the good (happiness) of Rāma.

As Rāvaṇa did not accept the advice and also spoke insultingly about Rāma, Vibhīṣaṇa decided that it was not good to live with Rāvaṇa anymore, approached Rāma and told him: “I have left Laṅkā and come away.”

This is the third limb of rejecting forces that happen to be inimical to the Lord.

A tremendous faith in Rāma was made clear when Vibhīṣaṇa said: “Go and tell the noble Rāma who guards everyone that Vibhīṣaṇa has come".

“l have surrendered to Rāma” indicates the prayer for guardianship. Thus Vibhīṣaṇa’s surrender to Rāma for refuge is complete with its five-fold accessories.

Thus whoever performs Prapatti that has these five limbs will gain Moksha without delay.

Performing Prapatti with the Accessories

The important limb of Prapatti by an aspirant for Moksha is offering himself to the Lord. This would mean considering himself to be the servant of the Lord who is the sound ‘Ā’ of Prāṇava indicating guardianship and supremacy.

He must feel that he is the servant of only Nārāyaṇa and that for himself he has no rights of any kind. He must know that he has neither any right nor profit in the power of saving himself and those with him. Action done with this attitude is Prapatti.

The following is the method of performing Prapatti offering oneself to the Lord:

“The Lord who is All-Independent is guarding me for Himself.
I do not belong to anyone except the Lord. I am no servant of anyone else.
I am the servant of Him alone. I am controlled by Him.
 I am not controlled even by myself. I have no right to consider anything as my property.

I have no capacity to safeguard myself or my belongings to gain fruits for myself. Myself and all that is mine belongs to the Lord.

Prapatti is considering the Lord to have the responsibility of guarding me and my things and His are the enjoyment of the Fruits thereof."

But then, is he not performing Prapatti to gain Moksha? If so, does the gain not belong to the jīvātman? One might wonder how in this case the fruits of action becomes that of the Lord:

Just as He rules over the non-sentient, He also rules over the Jīvātmās. Being the possessor, He performs action for Himself and so becomes the possessor of the fruits here as well.

Even as one finds pleasure in decorating lifeless dolls with garments and ornaments, or in feeding a living parrot with milk and making it lisp words, the Lord gives the jīvātman the fruits of action. Thereby He enjoys the results.

One should observe this Prapatti with five accessories by repeating 'prapadye’ in the first part of the Dvaya Mantra along with the word ‘śaranam".

This Prapatti for Moksha has to be done only once. Such is the revelation of the Vedas. In Prapatti 'para-samarpana’ or offering oneself to the Lord is most important.

The act of Prapatti with its accessories has been codified as follows:

The aspirant must give up the feeling that he is the one doing it, that it is his or that he deserves the fruits of action. All the five accessories like considering oneself friendly to the Lord (anukula) are needed.

He must worship the lineage of Āchāryas. Then he must recite the Dvaya Mantra and offer himself and the fruits of such Prapatti to the Lord. It has been decided that this is the right type of Prapatti,

The reason to overcome the feeling that he is the doer is to realise that his action is due to the permission given by the Lord and that he remains forever the Lord's servant. Also, by considering nothing to be his property, the aspirant overcomes the feeling of 'mine’.

Being a servant of the Lord and since his gains are those which belong to the Lord, the idea of being a servant helps him consolidate such thoughts. As all that are his belongs to the Lord including the result of Prapatti, this helps the aspirant give up thoughts of 'mine'.

The Lord is the way to reach the goal:

Due to his innate love, the Lord has given this body to the jīvātman, and then upto his making him repeat the Dvaya, He remains firm in granting grace to the aspirant.

Thus He is the one direct cause of giving Moksha to him. For those who do not go in search of other paths, He becomes the Path.

Nadadur Ammal has dealt briefly with the method of performing Prapatti with accessories:

“From times immemorial I have been engaged in this life performing acts not palatable to you. From today I will act according to your wishes. I will not go against them.

I have no means to gain you. I am holding on to you as the Way. You should be my Way. I have no responsibility anymore of rejecting what is not right or gaining what is needed.”

It is important to do all these five movements once and for all.

Though such activities like being responsible towards the Lord are to be held always by him, that too is the result of Prapatti. They are not the limbs of Prapatti.

Hence the Jīvas, who serve the Lord faultlessly as long as they are in the body and perform Prapatti for Moksha, are the best among aspirants when their body falls away.