Every jiva’s or individual’s final duty is to surrender to the Supreme. In Vedanta, the path of knowledge, the ego is destroyed in realisation of the Self through knowledge. When the ego is dropped, all problems come to an end. On the path of devotion, the surrender to the Supreme is called “saranagati” or “prapatti”. The Almighty assures that anyone who goes to Him even once and says, “O God I am yours,” is released from fear.
In the Bhagwad Gita, Sri Krishna says : “Giving up all dharmas —— of body, mind and intellect —– take refuge in Me alone, I shall release you from all sins, grieve not.” Sins are the cause of fear. Whether we are released from sins or fear, it means the same thing.
Surrender is possible only when one recognises one’s total helplessness. As long as we feel that we, with our own strength, can achieve things or put an end to all our troubles and sorrows, we cannot surrender. Sometimes we depend on friends and relatives for help. However, the moment they realise you are in trouble, many of them begin to avoid you. That’s why they are called “relatives” and not “absolutes”. Even if they are good enough to help, they are limited in their powers. When people realise their limitations of their own strength, money, power, people and so on, they experience an acute helplessness and this leads to surrender.
To take refuge in someone, I must first have faith in the existence of that entity. A non-believer will not be able to surrender to God, because he does not believe in Him. So, it is important to have faith in the existence of God, His omnipotence and His compassion. It is not enough to know all this, we must actually seek His protection by surrendering unconditionally.
Tulasidas says : “O Lord, I am yours, do whatever you think, whichever way you want to shower your grace and blessings.” This is surrender.
In the Ramcharitmanas, Vibhishana’s surrender to Sri Rama is depicted very beautifully. Vibhishana was alredy a devotee of Rama, and was finding it difficult to live with Ravana and toe his line. So, at last, he was happy to surrender to Sri Rama,saying, “O Lord, I have heard about your resolve to accept anyone who surrenders to you and seeks refuge in you. I have heard your great name, great glory and great resolve. And, that is why I have come here. Now I surrender to you.” With these words, he fell at His feet.
Rama was very pleased. This jiva (individual) had got separated from Him and was wandering here and there since time unknown. Finally, he had come back to him. If a child gets angry and leaves the house or is lost somewhere for a long time, won’t his parents welcome him with open arms on his return ? The Supreme is also pleased because every individual, after all, an integral part of Him. The episode of Vibhishana’s surrender highlights the joy of true surrender to every spiritual seeker.