Prapanna Paritranam is one of the eighteen 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, Navavidha Sambandham, Navaratnamalai 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 demigods 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.
Having declared upfront which two qualities are necessary in a spiritual seeker, Lokacharya relies on empirical evidence to demonstrate how none other than Sriman Narayana could protect the individual soul. To support his claim, Lokacharya draws upon examples from the Indian epics to show how one’s father, mother and siblings cannot ensure protection at all times. By citing the incidents related to Vali-Sugriva and Ravana-Vibhisana from Ramayana, Lokacharya asserts that brothers cannot protect us under all circumstances. The fact that our children cannot protect us is demonstrated using Kamsa’s attempts to overthrow his father Ugrasena and the incident of Rudra beheading his father Brahma as examples. The author demonstrates the incapability of our parents to protect us with the examples of Hiranyakasipu and Kaikeyi. The author takes the example of the Pandavas and Nala Maharaja to point out their inability to protect their own wives. Further, the author points to wealth –- the accumulation of which leads a man astray and leaves him morally and spiritually impoverished – does not ensure his protection as well. Similarly, Lokacharya goes on to add that the demigods like Brahma, Indra, Varuna, Rudra etc., themselves relying on Sriman Narayana for sustenance, cannot offer to protect the individual souls from the miseries of bondage. Thus, this work brings into eminence Sriman Narayana’s ability to grant salvation (moksha pradatva), something He does not share with anyone else. The very fact that he possesses narayanatvam (i.e. Him being the dwelling place for all individual souls) means that the duty to protect and deliver us solely rests on Him.
The author explains the meaning of ananya gatitvam by citing a couplet from Nammalvar’s Tiruvaimoli:
kalaivai tunbam kalaiya tolivai kalaikan matrilen (5-8-8)
“Irrespective of whether You rid me of my problems or not, I will not resort to anyone else for protection but You”. Thus, ananya gatitvam is but an acknowledgement of the unflinching resolution of the soul in its choice of Sriman Narayana as the sole means for its protection and consequently, liberation.
Lokacharya then defines aakinchanyam as (i) a feeling of utter destitution where an individual soul understands its incapacity to resort to means like Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga and Bhakti, owing to its association with all things material and (ii) it is against the essential nature (svarupa) of the to act independently and hence be entirely dependent on His grace alone for our deliverance.
In sum, Lokacharya concludes that when a spiritual aspirant makes the mental adjustment to reflect the qualities of ananya gatitvam and aakinchanyam, The Supreme Lord, on His own volition, will deliver us from this world via the archiradi nerve, assemble us alongside His army of the eternal souls (Nityamuktas) and bless us with eternal service (nitya kainkarya) at his Sacred Feet.