|The latter view has
given rise to the doctrine of Prapatti. Prapatti means 'taking refuge'. According to this
doctrine man has only to throw himself on the mercy of God for salvation. It is idle to
think of his own good works and knowledge as his qualifications. For what are they
compared to his sins and his ignorance? The overwhelming sense of the littleness of man
compared with the ineffable perfections of God makes the worshipper exclaim, "I
have taken refuge in Thee.
Sinful and miserable as
I am, be pleased to pick me up from the dust and set me up in Thy Presence." To all
such worshippers, the Bhagavan of the Gita in a grand utterance makes the following reply:
- "Surrendering all Dharmas, come unto me alone for shelter. Sorrow not.
I will release thee from all sins." We have so far described the path of
bhakti or what is called Bhakti-yoga. On this path the devotee purifies his mind, practices
renunciation, develops concentration of mind and attains to the ecstatic bliss
in his love of God.
He does not want to step out of his personality. He does want
to become one with the impersonal Absolute. As has been well said, he wants to taste sugar
and not 'to become sugar. But there are other sadhakas who want to go beyond this and
realize the ultimate truth preached by Vedanta, namely, the essential identity of the
devotee's soul with God. We shall see in the next chapter how Advaita Vedanta prescribes
the path of jnana for realizing this fundamental oneness.