As Sri Vaishnavas we are blessed to have so many wonderful literatures to read for a lifetime. Artha Panchakam is one of the gems of Sri Vaishnava literatures. The book says something that both a layman & Sri Vaishnava alike would yearn to know. Similarly the book would be equally engaging for learned Sri Vaishnavas also. So what does the book say about? It answers the basic but important questions every person who believes in God would ask himself every now and then.
- Who are we? (Sva-svarupa)
- Who is the Lord? (Para-svarupa)
- What’s our goal? (Purusaartha-svarupa)
- The ways to attain the goal. (Upaya-svarupa)
- The hindrances in attaining our Goal. (Virodhi-svarupa)
The above points might seem simple, but if we think deeply we realise that these carry answers to a lot of spiritual questions one might have. Also in these points, lie the answer to why and how to escape this vicious cycle of life & death. For a layman it answers questions like What is birth & death, Who created him and What is he?
Artha Panchakam is also mentioned in Nammalwar’s Thiruvaimozhi. Swami Pillai Lokacharya has also written about Artha Panchakam. These are known as the 5 basic truths every Sri Vaishnava should know.
A simple english translation of Artha Panchakam Sri A. Govindacarya Swami can be downloaded here. Sri Chinna Jeeyar swami’s discourse on Artha Panchakam in Telugu can be found here – chinnajeeyar.org/Downloads/ArthaPanchakamPravachans.aspx.