Essence of the Three Secrets | 7

The Man who has done Prapatti

After having performed Prapatti in this manner, the aspirant has nothing else to do at any time. He should not repeat the performance after having done it.

By doing only once, he is assured of result. Since the Lord is independent and is an image of Truth who is the giver of results, he says, "'do not sorrow anymore."

Thereby the aspirant who has performed Prapatti is freed from worries. The Lord has been accepted as the means as He had said, “surrender to me alone." The Lord has also decided: "I shall save you from all sins.”

The jīvātman having placed his faith in one who is dependable and capable is now free of sorrow in the matter of gaining his end. Like a poor man full of joy at the unexpected gain of a treasure, the aspirant is full of joy thinking of the Moksha he is to attain.

Though one who has performed Prapatti must continue to act in accordance with the duties enjoined upon him by his birth in a caste and for a certain term of life, and it may appear he is worshipping other godheads like Brahma and Rudra,

he is actually worshipping Nārāyaṇa who dwells in them. The Brahma Sūtra says that the names of those gods also directly refer to Nārāyaṇa.

This aspirant is not controlled by any other deity after he has surrendered to Nārāyaṇa. Nor does he worship them. He worships Nārāyaṇa alone.

Just as the realised souls serve the Lord in Moksha according to His wishes, this aspirant does what has been set down as the commandments and likings of Nārāyaṇa in the Vedas.

Once he has accepted the way and is sure to attain the goal, the imprint remains without any worry and is at peace. This state of peace gained by the fulfilment of the aspirant's thoughts has been praised by the śāstras and the Āchāryas who have faith in those śāstras.

Śrī Rāmānuja has recorded this idea in his Śaraṇāgati Gādya:

We had gone against the commandments of the Lord in the Vedas and other scriptures. As a result, we had suffered for long in this life, stung by the anger of the Lord.

The Lord's indwelling compassion watched out for an opportune moment to save us. Hence the Ācārya’s glance of compassion fell upon us. We repeated the Dvaya Mantra taught by him and performed Prapatti.

After taking to such Prapatti, there is no need for any other action to please the Lord. The Lord forgives the earlier mistakes of this aspirant.

Even if he commits new ones, the Lord corrects them. The Lord takes upon Himself the responsibility of saving this jivātmā. "So do not worry”, says Rāmānuja.

The teacher of surrender in the Gita has also mentioned in the Charama Śloka: “do not sorrow":

The sorrow that was there (and should have been there) before the performance of Prapatti should leave you after surrender: such is the Lord's message at the conclusion of the Gita.

Hence, all that an aspirant has to do after Prapatti is for gaining moksha, and nought else.

The Signs of Niṣṭhā

One who has surrendered to the Lord must know about his firm commitment. That commitment is necessary in three things: his true nature, the Way he has chosen and the puruṣārtha of Moksha he is to gain. He must have niṣṭhā or firm knowledge about his personality (svarūpa).

First let us see how one has knowledge about his own true nature:

If he is subjected to indignity by others, he must think of it as addressed to his body, and that it does not affect him. So he must remain free from sorrow.

The śāstras say: “If a person curses, the sins of the cursed enter him.” Hence the aspirant must pity the evil one for having acquired sins.

Besides, as it is imperative for him to know about his own shortcomings, he must be grateful towards his tormentor for having helped him ascertain his shortcomings.

.....


Third comes the aspirant's understanding of the goal:

One must realise that just as birth and death are not under our control, our life is also beyond our control. Realising this one must remain in peace in this life designed for us by the Lord.

Even should the aspirant worry, he must understand that the Lord's Will alone will be done:

Those things that come to him without any effort, if they are not rejected by the śāstras, he may accept and enjoy them as the Lord’s gift.

He must not have joy or sorrow regarding these things. His sole desire should be to perform the Lord’s service. He must hope for Moksha at the earliest. Such a stage betokens a keen faith in the goal (puruṣārtha).

One who has such a full understanding of himself, the way and the goal will not be touched by fear at any time.

In the same way he will have no attraction for things considered superior in this world. His only fear would be a possible disrespect for elders that he might commit unknowingly.

So also he will gain joy by serving the Lord according to the station in his life. He will not be touched by joy or sorrow at unexpected gains or losses.

Conduct After Prapatti

One who has performed Prapatti goes on with his duties, has a firm understanding of his real nature, of the way and the goal.

Now to the manner in which he must regulate his life on earth:

This Aspirant has no other way to follow for gaining Moksha. Nor need he repeat Prapatti for the purpose. But during his life on earth, the work he does on earth till the body falls away is for gaining happiness.

Just as there are some types of service to the Lord given for realised Souls even after gaining Moksha, there are some services on the earth as well:

The aim of such service is the Lord's Ānanda. However, the service should be subject to śāstras and the season. It should be possible to relate the service on earth to the service done after attaining Moksha.

The Dvaya Mantra should always be repeated so as not to forget Prapatti performed earlier. If we wish to please the Lord, prime among our acts to be rejected is misdemeanour towards God's devotees. Other important activities are the service performed to the Lord and to the devotees as commanded by the scriptures.

There are two types of service to the Lord on earth:

One is Anjna which is His commandment:

They are actions like performing Sandhya Vandanam daily as set down in the scriptures. If one fails to do them, there would be punishment. One will have to go through atonement.

The other is Anujna:

This includes service like offering flowers to the Lord in the temple. No sin occurs by not doing such service. All the same, they must be performed according to śāstras. While there is no sin not to do them, un-śāstric performance would lead to sin.

Such service pleases the Lord and makes him love the aspirant more:

Though he has learnt several things associated with his personality in clear terms, he must not rest upon his oars, but seek clarifications on the aspects that are still unclear to him:

In this manner, his experience of the Lord would ever be on the increase. His faith in the Lord would remain steady.

Though the aspirant should not ask for anything else from the Lord, he can pray for devotion to the Lord's feet and knowledge. There is nothing wrong in this.

He must listen to ascetics propounding high thoughts so that his mind will immerge in love for the Lord. Good knowledge is gained by association with good people. Hence contact with good persons is imperative.

He must learn of action that would be appropriate to his caste, state of life, gotra and qualities and then follow the same.

But because he is given to good habits he should not think highly of himself and despise others. Such thoughts will fling him into the deep.

By God's special grace, he might gain the goal of a direct vision of the Lord as it had happened to Nammāḷvār, Nāthamuni and others:

But he must not attribute it to personal effort. Instead he must think of himself as a servant of the Lord whose compassion has gained him such grace. So should he live on in humility.

He should not confound his mind with self-pity for not having trod the good path before and for having lost the opportunity to serve the Lord:

Instead, he must console himself through the teachings of his Āchāryas on the significance of incarnations and through books like the Gita.

Not wasting his time by sorrowing over his past days of worthlessness, he must be happy now for having gained a worthy mind today by Lord's grace.

Like one who builds a dam across running waters, he must henceforth engage himself in the services of Anjna and Anujna.

The food he eats must be sāttvic. In this manner the senses will become suitable for worshipping the Lord. They will not go after evil habits.

As commanded by the śāstras, one must perform the Anjna and Anujna services at the scheduled times:

Unlike the sick person drinking milk to overcome sickness, one must do such service as healthy man drinking milk that he has received without hankering after it.

He must go to temples where the Lord has been consecrated and worship the image with full faith in the presence of divinity therein.

All sins are washed away when one salutes the Lord from His feet to the crown. The aspirant gains holiness by such salutation:

Evil thoughts and a lack of faith in śāstras are chased away by saluting the Lord in the image. The Lord out of His illimitable compassion allows himself to be controlled by the devotee. And the Lord ravishes the heart of the devotee as well.

One must act towards the Lord as a chaste wife towards her husband, as a mother bringing up her child, as a teacher loves his disciple and as a friend.

He must worship the Lord only with things that have been earned in the right manner without going against śāstric injunctions.

He must have full faith that it was the Āchārya’s grace that has given him such a chance to serve the Lord and His devotees. He must be grateful that their teachings have given him such divine servitude.

The gathering of such good works gained unexpectedly and the first movement of Prapatti, as also the aforementioned services that follow Prapatti must be recognised as resulting from the Lord's natural grace and he must remain grateful.

These are in brief the activities of the mind, speech and action that should be performed or rejected after one's surrender.

Prime among the desires to be forgotten (if one’s aspiration for Moksha must not get diluted) is a weakness for sensual pleasures. What helps him in this is the Ācārya’s grace and help for which he must be grateful.

The most important of the things to be done for retaining one's humility is avoiding self-praise. The constant repetition of the Dvaya Mantra helps us remember the action of Prapatti all the time.

Disrespect to devotees must be totally eschewed to retain the Lord's good will. Other important activities include service to the Lord and His devotees according to the śāstras.