Faith

Artha panchakam

To attain moksha, we first need to know the nature of the jivatma, the nature of the Paramatma, what goal the jivatma should aspire for, how to attain this goal, and what keeps him from attaining this goal. Sri Vaishnava philosophy refers to these five points as artha panchakam, said M.A. Venkatakrishnan in a discourse. These are the five important things one should know.

Visishtadvaita talks about tattva, hita and Purushartha, and these three are contained in the artha panchakam. Tattva consists of an understanding of jiva and also an understanding of Paramatma, and so there are two aspects to tattva. Hita is the way to reach the goal. Purushartha is the goal to be reached. The goal is Paramatma. The means is also Paramatma.

Qualities like anger, envy etc are the ones that stand in the way of our attaining the feet of the Paramatma. So tattva, hita and Purushartha are also spoken of in artha panchakam. The goal that is the upEya or prApya is the Paramatma. The means, that is prApaka or upAya is also the Lord. So the means and the end are the same. In her Koodarai pasuram, Andal uses the phrase “koodi irundu,” to show that for the jivatma to be separated from the Lord is sorrow. It is only when it reaches His feet (koodi) that the jivatma is where it should be.

Usually for any job, however low the skill sets required may be, there is still some elementary screening, which will check if we have some basic minimum qualifications. But moksha, which is the ultimate aim of human birth, requires no special qualifications.

In fact, it is only when one acknowledges one’s lack of any saving grace that moksha is attained! The Gopikas scored on this count. They never laid claim to any merit, and were consequently liberated.

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Printable version | Oct 21, 2020 4:14:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/artha-panchakam/article18452582.ece

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