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prapatti


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A devotional stance requiring complete surrender to Viṣṇu. It is sometimes said to be a Śrī Vaiṣṇava development of Bhagavadgītā 18.66, the so-called ‘carama śloka’ (the ‘final’ or ‘ultimate verse’): ‘Abandoning all duties (dharma), vow yourself to me alone. Don't agonize, I shall release you from all evils'. According to Rāmānuja, complete self-surrender makes the devotee, or prapanna (the one who has surrendered), worthy of karma-destroying divine grace (prasāda), and so God becomes not only the object, but also the means of liberation. Rāmānuja appears to regard prapatti as the culmination of bhakti, but the doctrine was variously interpreted by the subsequent Teṉkalai and Vaṭakalai schools. The former regarded liberation as totally dependent on the freely given grace of the deity; the latter saw it as also dependent upon the prior actions (karma) of the prapanna. For the Vaṭakalai theologian Vedāntadeśika prapatti (as defined in this way) was a legitimate, but slightly inferior lower-caste alternative to the more exigent bhakti-yoga, which was only open to twice-born males.

Subjects: Hinduism.


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