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Prasada In Madhva Siddhanta – Grace Of God In Hindu Religion

Prasada means grace of god in Hindu religion. It is an important religious and spiritual principle of Madhva Siddhanta. According to Prasada, every being longs for the grace of God.

A spiritual aspirant seeking liberation has to listen to the Shastras, reflect on them and then meditate on Bhagavan, states Brahmasutra. Through this, one will secure knowledge of Brahman. This alone does not lead to salvation. As instructed in Sadhanadhyaya of Brahmasutra, one has to put the instructions into practice every day, as a way of life. It may take several lives. The sadhana (practice) consists of the reduction of passions for mundane matters, a firm devotion to God based on a thorough study of Shastraic literature as instructed by a teacher, and then meditation on a specified number of attributes of God based on one’s upasana (worship).

In Upasana Pada there is one important instruction for spiritual practitioners. One should not perform upasana mechanically. One has to do it with bhakti (devotion) and dedication, so that Bhagavan Vishnu may be pleased. All prescribed actions are performed for Bhagavan’s satisfaction (Vishnu preranaya, Vishnu Priyartham). When God is pleased with one’s spiritual practice associated with intense devotion, He favors one with His vision (aparoksha jnana). Moksha is certain for an aparoksha jnani.

Some schools of thought are of the opinion that knowledge of Brahman alone suffices to get jnanenaiva paramam padam (salvation). But Bhagavan Sri Krishna declares that one can cross this ocean of samsara (life) only through His grace. The grace is called anugraha.

Madhvacharya lays emphasis on this aspect. To drive home this point, he draws attention of the sadhaka to the innumerable number of authoritative passages in the knowledge texts.

It is said that dravya (wealth), karma (prescribed activities), kala (time), svabhava (nature) and jiva (self) are all associated with His grace.

Through the material body and birth-and-death cycles, the self is bandha (bound) by the will of God. Through sadhana and His grace, the self is liberated. Thus he is called bandhaka or vimochaka.

God is totally free from defects. He is called bhakta, because He responds only to bhakti (devotion). As long as one remains a devotee, one deserves grace. Those who are showy or indifferent to Him can never think of his anugraha (grace).

Bhakti has a dominant role in invoking the grace of God. The various levels of sadhana set different levels of rewards in the state of mukti (liberation). There is a gradation in the ananda (bliss) of the muktas. This is explained in Tattiriya Shruti.

God’s anugraha (grace) is required not only to secure salvation but at every state of one’s life.