Rahasyatrayasāra

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Rahasyatrayasara, RahasyatrayasAra, Rahasyatrayasaara


Rahasyatrayasāra literally means ‘essence of the three supreme mysteries’.

In the propagation of the principles of Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta, Vedānta Deśika[1] also known as Veṅkaṭanātha or Nigamānta Deśika occupies a place next to Rāmānuja.[2] Among his many works, the Rahasyatrayasāra is the masterpiece. It expounds in great detail and very effectively displays the essence[3] of the three[4] supreme mysteries[5] which every spiritual aspirant of the sect of Rāmānuja[6] should know and practice.

It is written in chaste prose in the maṇipravāla style.[7] The work is divided into four vibhāgas or sections. Each section is further divided into adhikāras or short chapters. The total number of such adhikāras is 32.

Arthānuśāsanavibhāga

This section has 20 adhikāras. It comprises of:

  1. Introduction
  2. the three secrets or mysteries as the essence of spiritual practice
  3. Arthapañcaka or the five essentials to be known
  4. Three fundamental principles known as Tattvatraya
  5. Qualifications of a true aspirant
  6. Prapatti or total surrender to God
  7. Feeling of fulfillment
  8. Need to perform the rites prescribed by the scriptures
  9. Obviating the evil effects of transgressions
  10. Liberation

Sthirikaranavibhāga

This section has 4 adhikāras. It comprises of:

  1. God as the primary means of liberation
  2. Bhakti - devotion
  3. Prapatti - total surrender to God as the secondary means
  4. Need to keep up the social disciplines as reflected in the varṇa and āśrama systems
  5. Faithful description of the powers
  6. Limitations of prapatti

Padavākyayojanāvibhāga

This section has 3 adhikāras. It comprises of:

  1. Detailed exposition of the mula-mantra, the aṣṭākṣarī or the eight-lettered mantra, comprising the praṇava or Om
  2. Actual name of the Lord, Nārāyaṇa
  3. Meaning of word namah, obeisance
  4. Expounding of the dvayamantra consisting of two parts, which is the primary aspect of the practice of the prapanna[8]
  5. Detailed elucidation of the caramaśloka[9]
  6. Final message of the Lord

Sampradāyaprakriyāvibhāga

This section has 3 adhikāras. It comprises of:

  1. Ways and means of an ācārya or a teacher instructing his disciple in the tattvatraya, three basic truths, after examining him thoroughly as regards with his competence
  2. Characteristics of those who are unfit to be accepted as disciples
  3. Preservation and transference of the spiritual wisdom in such a way that the ancient traditions are passed on to the future generations

Overview

By any standard, this book is a masterly exposition of the philosophy and sādhanas[10] of Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta.


References

  1. He lived in A. D. 1268-1369.
  2. He lived in A.D. 1017-1137.
  3. Essence means sāra.
  4. Three means traya.
  5. Mysteries means rahasya.
  6. Rāmānuja is more well-known as Śrīvaiṣṇavism.
  7. Maṇipravāla style is the sanskrit form of the Tamil language.
  8. Prapanna means one who has surrendered himself at the feet of the Lord.
  9. Bhagavadgitā 18.66
  10. Sādhanas means spiritual disciplines.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore