Srivachanabhushanam or the compilation of jewels of rare excellence has been termed as a ‘Maha Shastra’ by the followers of Srivaishnava Sampradhayam. Its contents are so impregnated with deep philosophical insights that Manavala Mamunigal, a successor to Lokacharya, termed it nigh impossible to comprehensively understand the work’s prescriptions and put them to practice. Srivachanabhushanam contains a total of 466 aphorisms or sutras and is broadly divided into four cantos (prakaranas). Based on its topical coverage, the work can be said to comprise six sub-sections detailing: (i) The Glory of the Mahalakshmi, the Mediatrix; (ii) The overwhelming merit of Prapatti or the path of self-surrender; (iii) The code of conduct for a Spiritual-Seeker; (iv) The manner in which a spiritual aspirant should seek and serve a teacher of eminence; (v) The nature of the Sriman Narayana’s redemptive grace; and (vi) The role played by a spiritual teacher in enabling a disciple to cross the vast expanse of Samsara or bondage.
Sara Sangraham forms the eighth work among Pillai Lokacharya’s Ashtadasa Rahasya (18 Secrets). This work belongs to the category of works that were written to expound the meanings of the three secret doctrines (Rahasya Traya). In this work, the author demonstrates that the whole of the Tiruvaimoli divya prabandha embodies the inner meanings of the dvaya mantra. The dvaya mantra is claimed to be the essence of the Vedas (srutis), Dharma Sastras (smritis), the epics (itihasas) and the Puranas. The Srivaishnava preceptors understood the greatness of this mantra and are quoted to have been in constant meditation of its implicit meanings in times of weal and woe. Since the exposition of dvaya mantra is brought out in this work, it has been suitably titled “Sara Sangraham” or an ‘Abridged Essence’ of the Tiruvaimoli. Just like the revealed scriptures (srutis), Srivaishnavites consider the Tiruvaimoli to be beginningless and of divine origin (apauruseya). Although the authorship of Tiruvaimoli has been ascribed to saint Sathakopa (Nammalvar), the author, by his own admission, is but a conduit in revealing the eternal truths of the srutis through the grace of God. Lokacharya opines that the entire Tiruvaimoli explains the merit of prapatti as enshrined in the dvaya mantra. Alagiya Manavala Perumal Nayanar, the younger brother of Pillai Lokacharya, corroborates this correspondence between Tiruvaimoli and Dvaya Mantra in his ‘Acharya Hrudayam’ sutra 210 :
த்வயார்த்தம் தீர்க்க சரணாகதி என்றது சார சங்ரஹத்திலே
Prapanna Paritranam is one of the Ashtadasa Rahasyas (18 Secret Doctrines) blessed to us by Pillai Lokacharya. This work comes under the category of works written by the author to expound the essence of Srivaishnava Sampradhaya (the others being Srivachanabhushanam, Navavividha Sambandham, Navaratna Maalai and Samsara Samrajyam). As the name of this work suggests, Prapanna Paritranam can be considered as a manual of deliverance where Lokacharya deals at length with two qualities that every spiritual seeker should possess – (a) the inability to resort to other paths of deliverance (ananya gatitvam) and (b) a feeling of utter destitution (aakinchanyam). Drawing evidence from the Indian epics (itihasas and puranas), this entire work is devoted to explaining how one’s immediate family as well as the demi gods cannot ensure the protection of the individual soul at all times. Further, prapanna paritranam deals with the “how” of administering ananya gatitvam and aakinchanyam, thereby establishing the importance of Sriman Narayana’s protective benevolence.
முமுக்ஷுவாய், மோக்ஷார்த்தமாக சர்வஸ்வரனை பற்றியிருக்குமவனுக்கு அநந்யகதித்வமும் ஆகிஞ்சந்யமும் வேணும்
Navaratnamalai is an instructional work, comprising one of the eighteen works of Pillai Lokacharya’s Ashtadasa Rahasyas (18 Rahasyas). This work comes under the category of works written by the author to expound the essence of Srivaishnava Sampradhaya (the others being Srivachanabhushanam, Navavividha Sambandham, Prapanna Paritranam and Samsara Samrajyam). This work describes how spiritual seekers have to calibrate their understanding of nine truths of spiritual life to achieve liberation. These instructions are offered to us in the form of a garland of nine gems and hence the work bears the name ‘Nava Ratna Maalai’.
These nine truths include perceptions about: (i) The Self, (ii) The Physical Body, (iii) Friends and relatives, (iv) the Samsaris, (v) the Demi-Gods, (vi) Srivaishnavites, (vii) One’s immediate preceptor, (viii) The Divine Mother, Sri and (ix) The Supreme Lord.
The Artha Panchaka, written in the thirteenth century A.D. by the celebrated Pillai Lokacharya, represents the essence of the Srivaishnava Sampradhaya. It forms one of the 18 Rahasyas or Secret doctrines bequeathed to us by the author and deals with five supreme truths or principles that each liberation-seeking soul needs to comprehend. The jivatma, which is trapped in the cycle of births and deaths, or subjected to the miseries of bondage, should obtain knowledge of the Five Truths, or Principles. After having comprehended these truths, he has to shape his conduct according to this knowledge to secure salvation. The Five Truths are those of (i) Sva Svarupa (Own Self or Soul), (ii) Para Svarupa (Higher Self or God), Purushartha Svarupa (Goal or End), Upaya Svarupa (Means) and Virodhi Svarupa – the impediments to realising the truths mentioned above. Even though the desire for liberation (moksa) would have taken root in the individual with the knowledge of these truths, he still has to live in this world in the midst of the worldly. This work also deals with the code of conduct for such a jivatma till release is obtained so that worldliness may not again besiege him.
It is to be noted that the Artha Panchaka is primarily a sampradhaya work, which, while being informative, does not support its claims with evidence from the scriptures. Lokacharya however establishes the scriptural basis of these Five Truths in a separate work titled Tattva Sekharam.