Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Confused Modern Hindu

            A proper diagnosis is essential for a correct prognosis and treatment. Swami Chinmayananda reinterpreted this ailment afflicting the Hindu masses as the Arjuna disease.  A few years after this initial prognosis, the society has morphed in more ways than one can catalog. The disease has become more acute, displays diverse range of indications.  While a prescription may need a great guru or an avatar, we will at least focus more on the symptoms plaguing the modern Hindu society, look at some potential band-aids and attempt at postulating some practical actions.

            The modern Hindu society is devoid of its connection to its roots, to tell the least. Whilst other religions have their religious books as a part of their daily life, be it weekend courses or group discourses (even if it be with altered interpretations like we see with radicalists), the Hindus have been taught that reading their scriptures itself makes one radical. Even in my own case, merely reading some scriptures was assumed that I will end up as a Sannyasi which I have not. As noted in Fourfold Hinduism, the fourth varna - Sannyasa and the fourth purushartha (ideal goal) – Moksha have been relegated to non-existence.  Today, even Dharma has joined its ranks. The current adult generation has been indoctrinated with too many false ideas making them almost beyond redemption. Perhaps their role is reduced to not obstructing the blossoming potential of the next generations.

Disease of Sickularism

            Due to the Islamic invasion and the brutalities that ensued, Sanatana Dharma could not express itself in all its forms. This statement is bound to be twisted immediately by bigoted fissure engineers who will read it as caste. Caste is not a Hindu concept in the first place and more awareness is gathering amongst neutral researchers of its presence in non Hindu faiths of India. Despite using caste fissures for proselytization, caste exists amongst Islam and Christianity as well in India. The British have successfully wedged the fissures into deeper fractures, be it Lord Risley’s Census or Lord Macaulay’s reforms. The British constantly introduced several measures to divide the unifying civilization beneath. Varna has been downgraded and distorted heavily into a powerful weapon – Caste.

            Post Independence, the rulers of India had adopted a left leaning socialistic outlook which has led to gross stunting of our strengths and in many cases have resulted in total loss of certain values. For instance, Nehruvian suggestion of not wanting to be part of the UN permanent club is met by today’s constant begging of our inclusion into that elite group. Politicians in the last few decades have realized the power of small vote banks, especially in coalition politics, due to the vacuum caused by the absence of National parties in many states. They constant polarize; deepen these fractures for petty selfish gains.
            Secularism is basically a socio-political idea where in the governance of the state is kept away from the influence of religion. United States was perhaps the largest experiment that initiated this idea, after having seen the perils caused by the influence of the Pope and the Anglican Church playing second fiddle to rulers like Henry VIII. Behind this façade, most in US will agree about the Judeo-Christian roots. In US, a President can be elected by inciting against a certain community for political gains, like in 2016.

            In India, we have modeled our secular credentials along the lines of an imagined US. We have been repeatedly told to be secular, but when it comes to non Hindus, play a communal card for vote bank politics. Beneath this constant hum of secularism only for hindus, it is very easy to spot the Breaking India forces, cheap politicians, left leaning media and biased educators.

The bedrock of this putrefaction stems from the nonstop drumming up of Hinduism as a secular ideal and if a Hindu must not accept this altered socio-political idea, then he is labeled as a radical, a bhakt amongst other derogatory terms.

Why Only Hindus must be Secular?            

            The sick part of this secularism agenda is always focused on making the Hindus secular. Despite the constitutional guarantee of treating all religions are equal before Indian Law, it is very easy to go about abusing Hinduism in public space either for proselytizing expeditions or even openly just to trivialize. We have had the Dravidian movement in Tamilnadu use it as a garb of rationalism and atheism to pinpoint their attack only on Hinduism. The Dravidian party leaders greedily show up iftars or Christmas parties while all the time badmouthing Hinduism. Such cheap is their behavior that they have made it as a policy and do not even need a mask to hide. 

            A mohammedan or Christian can hide behind the sanctity of their religious texts and call Hindus as kafirs and heathens. No Abrahamic ideologist will ever accept that even other religions are a possibility. They do not even accept their other versions as agreeable. Rajiv Malhotra observed this strong bigotry and challenged to RESPECT all religions. Even the Pope refuses to use the word RESPECT for all religions. Such is the heights of bigotry. WHY? Despite these glaring oddities, the Hindu community is nonstop challenged to give up its roots, questioned on its legacy by always tying its past to few past practices, that too with a distorted prism.

            Why should a Hindu not be a hindu and only be secular? The sepoys, proselytizers, Breaking India forces all take advantage of the esoteric Paramartika teachings and bash the common Hindu who is devoid of Sadhana or even basic understanding. The past few generations which took pride in detaching themselves from their Hindu practices, still cannot come to terms despite strong scientific evidence. Yoga has been usurped by the West, still we squabble about its practice in India. Ekadasi upavaas which used to be a standard across India was ridiculed as pagan and today we find the benefits of fasting given Nobel prize in Medicine in 2016 for the effect of Autophagy. Instead of trying to interpret our legacy using science, the half baked school taught sickular hindu who is as strong in science as his Hinduism, bashes the practices, but blindly accepts the digested portions reimported from the West. This does not mean start talking of vimanas or astras, again the loss of narrative to prejudiced forces.

            The lack of intellect application is one of the prime losses in Today’s Hinduism. One can easily masquerade Mother Teresa as a peace worker and as one who cared for the poor, while all she did in India was used the poor and dying to convert. Hindus have been trained if one raised the missionary aspect of Mother Teresa to bash and attack such an individual as radical and not being secular. Secularism is neither a religion nor philosophy. It is merely a socio-political idea. Is the pope secular? Or are the maulvis and muftis or the conversion gangs? Then why insist that every Hindu must be secular? Why can he or she not be just a HINDU? If secularism is that important, why not insist that all the religions be secular?

At the root

            We earlier studied how many Gurus are wrong. The sad aspect is we do not have gurus who can claim like Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa to have seen or realized God. Worse still is we lack disciples like Swami Vivekananda who challenged and tested his Guru before following. In Today’s India, it does not take Self-Realization to set up a Gurudom. Gurus are busy flattening Hinduism so that their petty brands can stand. Most Gurudoms seldom survive their central figure, a few have sustained as an institution though. In spite of this awareness, the pettiness to make their brand stand drives many a Guru to make absurd claims like All Gods are same, chant Om Jesus like Hare Rama.  

            Most Gurus do not emphasize the differences between Paramarthika and Vyavaharika states.   Let us take a simple example from real world. All of us agree matter and energy are interconvertible. We have E= MC2 quoted all the time for proof. If all matter and energy are the same, then why not use one over the other. We cannot even use one form of energy for other. We now agree that there is a time and place for both. In the same way, understanding in the Spiritual realms must not be confused with the material plane of day today dualistic existence. But most Gurus who preach All Gods are Same, fail to insert the caveat, in the Paramarthika plane. Partly this is due to the fact, they themselves are not realized in the first place but a Gurudom is more important for them than self-realization or teaching in congruence with Vedas, Rishis and great mahatmas of the past.

            Many Gurus seem to be foisting legitimacy over the broken theologies of Abrahamism. Most of the Gurudoms, despite their popularity abroad have the majority of its base as Hindus. Yet they stampede for attracting a few western prospects or followers whom they cannot even protect from U-turns after few years or decades. The Gurus go one step further, absorb and digest all the Vedic and Vedantic wisdom, but market it under a secular label. Some go further and claim as if they invented these practices independently. If one were to read Shanti Parva of Mahabharata, one cannot help how humble Bhishma attributes all his wisdom to all the great ancestors of the yore. Contrast this with the brand conscious Gurus who wish to claim everything as their own invention, not even quoting the sources. It is understandable of the New Age gurus of the west, but such a behavior by Hindu Gurus needs to be condoned. This merely emboldens the digesting forces who are bent on proselytization. Worst part of this joke by Hindu Gurus is their ignorance of the scriptures or actual understanding of other religions. No one follower of these religions will ever listen to these Hindu Gurus who act like All Gods are Same, yet the confused Hindu is repeatedly given the sage advice of Secularism by these Gurus.

            Has any of these Gurus debated successfully and established this idea amongst other religion followers? Yet they have the audacity to switch ideas of Paramarthika and Vyavaharika without a caveat. They can at least claim it as their personal experience, which they don’t for the fear of retribution from scholars of other religions. The fallacy of this imagined unity of Gods when one is not even clear of one’s own roots is at the root of the confused Hindu.

            The reason behind this illusory All Gods is same is due to the Unity within Hinduism. Many Gurus, mahatmas and rishis have established over time the Unity amongst the six schools of Hinduism and the different Vedantic dissimilarities being unified by Vedas. The modern Hindu Gurus have taken these arguments that unify the metaphysics, theology and philosophy within Hinduism and applied it across all religions without any scholarly inputs on what their scriptures even state. How can one say that only my way is correct is the same as the different roads lead to the same mountaintop? Unless one agrees to the former one as a less evolved state through arguments, experience or evidence; which the Hindu Gurus themselves are ignorant of.

            The foolish Hindu institutions, including the ones carrying Vivekananda’s legacy are yet to produce a modern Vivekananda following these secularized doctrines. WHY? Instead of promoting Advaita, their core philosophy, we find them busy trying to celebrate Christmas in the name of trying to forge an illusory unity. In the west that is steeped in Christianity, serious questions are raised on the main trump card of Christian missionaries against Hinduism – Historicity of Jesus. Today this fundamental historicity itself is under serious doubt. When Christians themselves are becoming atheists by the droves due to the fallacies within Christianity, why are the super ignorant gurus stampeding to exhibit their ignorance by promoting Christianity to Hindus as the sameness of God. Non Dharmic religions have only Heaven and no concept of Karma or Moksha. How are the ignorant gurus reconciling these? This again proves they are brand conscious and not truth conscious. Else they would be parroting the subtleties of Paramarthika and Vyavarharika at every opportune moment.

How this confusion can be seen

            During this Christmas season, I have received Christmas greetings from ONLY HINDU friends or colleagues and not even one Christian. I even received pictures of Hindu families dressed as Santa.  Such is the stupidity amongst Hindus that we have days of debate when the prime minister of the largest Hindu nation wishes JAI SHRI RAM for Ram Navami. The left leaning media and confused hindus gang up to politicize this. Yet they do not see any irony is wishing Hindus Merry Christmas.

Satchitananda’s Prescription

  • Take time to study few minutes from the scriptures like Ramayana, Mahabharata or Bhagavad Gita periodically. The least one should aim is 30 minutes on Saturday and Sunday, if not 10-15 minutes daily. Contrary to the confused Hindu’s illiterate opinion, these are not mere stories. The Shanti parva and Anusasana parva is replete with moral stories and ideas and are much larger than the story portions. Even the most conservative Hindu today has not cracked open unless someone doing Upanyasa mines these gems. The TV version of Ramayana or Mahabharata, mostly funded or directed by even non Hindu media houses do not care to present a correct picture like the Sita ki kahani series. Even if they intend to, they cannot cover the discourse or teaching aspects. One can dramatize Krishna's Vishwaroopa avatar for media effect, but cannot be lecturing 700 verses of Bhagavad Gita.

  • Be bold and proud to be a Hindu. One can be Secular and also Hindu. But in no other religion this is possible due to the nature of their religions. We must be proud of it. It is possible if one elevates their mind to Paramarthika level we can see the Oneness is all and yet see the differences in the normal daily life. 

  • Why can’t we demand Respect while giving Respect to other religions? Why display extreme timidity and cowardice when demanding Respect. Why do the All Gods are same dance when one has not even peeked at that Oneness? Either get busy with Sadhana and reach the level to preach, else accept that in the Vyavaharika plane, things are different from Paramarthika. Do not try to apply hearsay without experience.
  •  Stop being a prejudiced bigot. When questioning Ganesh Chaturthi or Diwali celebrations on grounds of environmental concerns, where are the same people when so many animals are butchered in the name of Bakrid or when millions of trees are cut in the name of Christmas. Where is the environmental concern hiding? I definitely do not approve of the modern way Hindus have twisted the age old celebrations. Ganesha was made from local clay from water bodies which were dug up as a part of monsoon preparations. The same clay idol was released without too many manmade additions back into the water bodies. Today we have giant imported Ganesha idols. This battle has numerous fronts.

  • Take time to study the wisdom of the past. Our Rishis were most definitely more evolved than what modern science can sense. A lot of their science was disguised as culture or religion. Today the West is going head over heels be it literally for Yoga or metaphorically for fasting (take off from ekadasi upavas) or plants like turmeric. The confused Hindu along with the sepoy brigade is busy trivializing this legacy, while the West is busy digesting it. Why not apply a science gaze to our past, not the one the sepoys or confused Hindu has – which is not even science, but only bias? Study the practices and understand how it helped our ancestors. The same science today is going back to recommending eating once a day, a practice which was common in many parts of India even few generations ago. Science can learn a lot if we have the right attitude towards our past. Do not let imbeciles and morons hijack our legacy by mere descriptions of our past filled with vimanas or astras. Our legacy is much more rich than this biased narrative.

Om Tat Sat

Monday, December 12, 2016

Saranagati - the path of Self Surrender

            On this auspicious day of Gita Jayanti, the day when Sanjaya narrates the Bhagavad Gita to Dhritarashtra on the divine Song Celestial, a discourse between Krishna and Arjuna, let us take a peek at one of the most simplest, yet very esoteric and profound and also least understood thoughts in Indian Philosophy – Saranagati, also known as Prapatti and usually translated as Atma Nivedan or Self Surrender. It is essentially the central tenet of Sri Ramanujacharya’s Visishtadvaita – Sri Sampradaya, but also Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s Goudiya Sampradaya, popularly known today as ISKCON.

            Few months ago, I was blessed with the privilege of listening to a great Vaishnavite scholar who gave an in-depth understanding on Vaishnavism. At the end of the few day talk series, the overwhelming feeling I got was, most of the Vaishnavaite ideas seemed to be echoing in the statements of missionaries or the Church. Not enthralled by the superficial similarities, a quick look into the history of digestion, made the picture clear. Nothing could be a better example of DIGESTION (a phenomenon studied and highlighted first by Rajiv Malhotra), than usurping Saranagati and reviving ideas like Church as the body of Christ. This prelude I think is important for us to wade into the original refreshing ideas given by our great acharyas.

            Though Saranagati is primarily a core Vaishnavaite tenet, it will be hard to discard the examples found in non Vaishnavite Hinduism. But the breadth and depth of Saranagati in Vaishnavite literature will make this article more colored by it.

            Saranam means end or conclusion and agathi means coming to, implying Saranagati is coming to the end of Samsaric cycle, liberation, moksha. Vaishnavites have so many synonyms like Prapatti, Nyasam, Atma Samarpanam, Atma Nivedanam etc as it forms the primary method of approaching Narayana, Para Brahman.

            Self Surrender is an easy and sure way to God realization. It is not a mere pretense of dumping our wishes to HIS feet, but it comes more as a cleansing of our ego and thinning of our vasanas. Just like in Karma Yoga, the novice and the adept are both termed as Karma Yogi, anyone on this path of liberation is said to tread Saranagati. So with the exception of ourselves, our guru and Paramathma, it will hard to fathom where we are. Luckily there are some external pointers given by great acharyas which guide us along this wonderful journey.

            Swami Sivananda refers it as giving the Power of Attorney to God and letting HIM guide you in whichever way HE prefers. There is no worry or anxiety. The elevated mind feels whenever sorrowful events take place as a sign of karmic debt erasing from one’s account and whenever joyful events happen as a blessing for the past good karma. In either case, a Prapannan or Saranagatan feels detached from the karma bondage. The mind is entirely occupied by Paramatma, Narayana and there is no hankering for karma phala.

Qualities of a Prapannan – One who Surrenders

            Let us make it clear as to who qualifies to surrender – Anyone who chooses to. There is no place or timing nor prerequisite for Self surrender. Usually the ones who feel they do not qualify for the regular paths of Bhakti, Karma or Jnana, either due to their guilt or lack of commitment are the primary candidates, which makes most of us. In the traditional method, one approaches a guru and gets diksha. 

            On the other hand, if one has intense desire for Paramathma – sakara (with form) or nirakara (formless), guided by the intensity, Saranagati comes naturally to a purified mind. One cannot find a person who has done Saranagati without Yama and Niyama or in vedantic parlance without Sama and Dama. These aid in increasing our positive vasanas and help us gravitate to a Sadguru. In our Guru Parampara, a realized Guru is the gateway to our efficient spiritual progress. The surrender is complete and can never be partial, though the intensity of grace felt is proportional to the degree of surrender.

            The entire being, mind, intellect, Chitta and egoism, must be surrendered to the Lord. OFFERING the body, mind and soul EXCLUSIVELY to the service of God is Saranagati (self-surrender) – Swami Sivananda

            Desire and egoism are the two biggest obstacles in the path of Self surrender. Vaishnavite acharyas have codified these traits wonderfully as


            Saranagati or Self Surrender has six aspects or facets. These are not steps or stages or parts. Anukulasya sankalpah - Accepting the path of unalloyed bhakti. This unwavering, unerring stubborn sticking to the path conducive to bhakti, saranagati is the key to keeping the Saranagatan on track.

            Pratikulasya Varjanam – Rejecting all things not favorable to Saranagati. These two are directly per Yama’s advice to Nachiketas in Kathopanishad, where he talks or Shreyas and Preyas, the path of good and pleasant.

            Raksisyaty iti visvaso - Unshakeable faith, even when the entire surface we stand is crumbling. Most of us can hold upto maximum 90%, and then we question our own fallacy on leaning on God. This takes Prahlad like belief as God is the ONLY protector. 

            Goptrtva Varanam – Having a sense of 100% dependency on God. This does not mean one sits and does nothing, expecting God to spoon feed, but doing all the karmas will the clarity that the karma phala data, giver of the fruits of our actions knows the best to give. Knowing that even though we are the doers, having total clarity that the motive, energy and fruit of action are all provided by HIM. 

            Atma niksepa – Complete total surrender. 

           Karpanye – Feeling meek and humble. This never happens as long as ego is dancing like a hooded serpent. Just if we realize when compared to even a town or country or even this planet how insignificant we are, not to mention the solar system or the milky way or the Universe. Having the perspective of humility gives us two advantages in this path – constant reminder that we need HIS protection and also the feeling of universal love as we can relate to other’s needs.

            From a brief analysis of the facets of Saranagati, it is very obvious Saranagati is not like some copy cat Abrahamic telling we surrender to the will of God. Unless desire and ego are surrendered, it is impossible to do anukulasya sankalpah or pratikulasya varjanam. The idea of still hankering for desires and expecting God to take care of them, be it via prayers or a false idea that magically they will happen due to the belief in the Higher, is the most absurd degradation of Saranagati. The digesting forces of Abrahamism, keen only on market footprint and not theological holism, are constantly ready to imbibe any fresh idea to patch up its hollow and shallow theology. Read more in Jehovism Deconstructed.

            The best role model for being a Prapannan or Saranagatan is Prahlad. We see the epitome of Bhakti that effuses all over his actions that is ripened in deep Jnana and yet all his actions are exemplar karma yoga. Despite all these attributes, Prahlad wants nothing from Bhagwan in return. All he seeks is his company. We find the same behavior in Dhruva, who begins with the desire of sitting on his father’s lap, but is extremely merged into the divinity and seeks nothing. As a beginner we will be stumped by our own desires and ego, but as we mature in this path, we will see the thinning of the same and eventual complete self surrender occurs.

            In Saranagati, our actions do not determine the grace nor does it amount in proportion. To begin with one finds more clarity and progress in proportion to the degree of surrender. As one advances in this path, one realizes that even those actions are due to the Grace of Paramathma. One perceives everything as Grace and Bhagwan as mere Grace Personified. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa used to give this wonderful analogy of a salt doll trying to fathom the depths of the ocean, akin to a surrendered ego trying to fathom the depth of divine grace.

            The mind is more malleable when the ego is shed in surrendering. Since Divinity is a very high ideal and there is a strong emotion to merge with it as a fundamental nature of a Jeeva, devoid of ego, Saranagati happens as a natural process. The progress is very rapid in this seemingly simple path for the one who can challenge their vasanas and ahamkara, riding on the power of divinity. 

            In Hindu philosophy, two pathways are often highlighted – marjala kishora nyaya – the way kitten gets transported by the powerful female cat which holds it with their sharp teeth or markata kishora nyaya – the way little monkey clings on to its mother, which is busy jumping from tree to tree. Sarnagati is the former method, where Bhagwan does all the heavy lifting for the Saranagatan. Now the busy digesting Christian missionary needs to know this logical flaw if they try digesting Saranagati. This is not like dumping all our karma on poor Son of God who is busy suffering for you. Karmaphala is not subject to bankruptcy or cannot be transferred. Note in Saranagati, the Prapannan is evolving beyond the reach of Karmas. There is no substitutional atonement, but a complete takeover of the Jeeva by Paramatma’s grace. There is no silly account tallying and hence trying to copy Saranagati into Christianity is not only untenable, but also starts exposing more holes in Jehovism. Perhaps the poor copycats can first start eating food for their beloved ones, ingesting medicines for others, before trying to peddle substitutional atonement in this modern world, to anyone who can use their intellect.

Exemplary role models

            Sanatana Dharma scriptures are replete with stories and incidents of great exemplars whom we can role model for Saranagati. In fact, Vaishnavites view Ramayana as Saranagati Shastra as every Kanda has one or more examples. Let us briefly see a few examples from our scriptures:

Prahlad: On numerous occasions, the little boy did not give up, questioning “Why Me, God”, but was more than content to ignore the catastrophes he was hurled into, by his own father. Prahlad’s complete Saranagati is highlighted by Krishna in Bhagavad Gita as Krishna himself is Prahlad amongst Daityas. When the Jeeva is totally devoid of vasanas and ahamkara, the Jeeva functions as a mere part of Paramatma. Prahlad’s Saranagati, as we will see in other Saranagati’s almost forces Divinity to act and intervene or is it the divinity created that opportunity to shine light on the character of the devotee?

Gajendra: This is the best example to show that there are no qualifications needed for Saranagati, even an elephant could. Gajendra wrestled with its ahamkara when battling a crocodile that was trying to pull it inside water. Once the ego got depleted, paving way for complete Saranagati, words or thoughts are not needed, nor are special language. Gajendra thinks of Adimoola, and Vishnu comes running to its aid, carrying even the Garuda as the divinity rushes to the aid of a Prapannan. The Bhagavatam details on a lighter note that Vishnu had to bring all the paraphernalia like Garuda, shanka, so that Gajendra will believe its savior to be the one it worships.

Draupadi: During the vastra haran episode when she was totally helpless, with all her five husbands in their own moral bind, the elders like Bhishma and Drona bound by their illogical loyalty, Dritarashtra blinded by his love for his son, Duryodhana. Karna taunts her as a prostitute (something none of the Karna fans can ever argue for his case). Duryodhana launches the beast in Dushasana to disrobe the mensurating Draupadi clad in single cloth in public. Draupadi tries her best to seek the help of the onlookers, even tries her best to fend off Dushasana with her hands and clasping the cloth with her teeth. When she came to a point of total realization that only Bhagwan is the sole refuge, only HIS support sustains everything, she lifts both her hands in her realization and exhibition of Saranagati. As long as she was fending for herself, no divine intervention came. A very important lesson in Saranagati is total surrender of ego – 100%.

            Ramayana is studded with so many gems of Saranagathas that it may need special attention at some other time. Lakshmana does Saranagati and pleads Rama to take him to the forest. It also might appear that Bharata’s Saranagati went in vain, but in reality Bharata is the example Rama takes all the time as a good devotee and follower over even Lakshmana who follows his like a shadow. Bharata’s Saranagati shows that the divine actions and preferences naturally overpower individuals’.

            Even in the case of Kakasura, a crow that hurts Sita, trying to escape Rama’s arrow, goes around the world, but when it does Saranagati at the feet of Rama, is forgiven for its horrendous acts. A wonderful example of a grave sinner qualifying for mercy. We are all aware of Hanuman’s Saranagati. Sundara Kanda is filled with numerous instances of Hanuman’s actions depicting complete Saranagati. We also saw that one of the primary reasons behind Vaali vadam is Vaali’s ignoring the pleas of surrendered saranagata in Sugreeva.

            Vibhishana is perhaps one of the best exemplary Saranagata’s. He had to overcome his natural asuric tendencies and his affinities to his own brother to stand against Ravana. Standing for Dharma, he did not hesitate to sacrifice his country, his people and everything at his disposal. Foolish western interpreters and braindead mythologists busy feeding the sepoy army will rather claim that this was treachery to defect to the enemy camp for potential gain. Nothing can be more illogical and demeaning. Vibhishana’s Saranagati provides a lot for us to emulate.

            Maa Sita is perhaps the best of the best Saranagati examples; usually that escapes most of us. Maa Sita gives two concrete examples of her ability to control agni – when Hanuman’s tail is set on fire, her prayers keep his tail untouched by the fire, which seemed to burn everything in Lanka but Hanuman’s tail; also during agni pravesha episode where she comes unscathed despite entering fire. Though she is fully capable of reducing Ravana to ashes, she prefers to play a mere causatory role in his death not a direct one. She prefers Rama to be the ONLY actor. A Saranagata prefers to let Divinity be the ONLY guide. It does not imply they will quit their karmas.

            Meera is a historical example from few centuries ago. She consumed the poison given by the family, who thought her Krishna Bhakti was causing dishonor and infamy to the clan. The poison had no effect and is recorded in her own words in bhajans. She did not rush to die or wish away, went through the motions without any emotion or commotion, knowing fully well it is only the will and grace of Sri Krishna that prevails, not human efforts.

Satchitananda’s Microscope:

            The final words of Krishna in Bhagavad Gita gives a clear direction as to how one can approach HIM. The Dharmas of our plane are different from the Cosmic and Universal Divine Dharma. If we abandon ours, by shedding our ahamkara, and by accepting HIS complete direction, no conditions attached, Saranagati becomes a reality. We can map ourselves against this golden standard how far we are.

            सर्वधर्मान्परित्यज्य मामेकं शरणं व्रज।
            अहं त्वा सर्वपापेभ्यो मोक्षयिष्यामि मा शुचः।।18.66।।
            sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja           
              aham tvam sarva-papebhyo moksayisyami ma sucah

            Abandoning all Dharmas (of the body, mind and intellect), take refuge in Me alone; I will liberate thee from all sins; grieve not.

            Saranagati gives us a simpler way to fine tune our body, mind and intellect. In our scriptures where using divyastras are described, there is only one antidote for Narayanastra – Surrendering unconditionally. An episode occurs when Aswaththama deploys it against the Pandavas. Krishna and Arjuna have tough time trying to convince Bhima that surrendering is the only option, which he believes is worse than even death or capture by enemies. We need to educate the Bhima in us.

            In Vishnu Sahasaranama, Parvati’s request for a shortcut to the entire Vishnu Sahasaranama fetches a response from Shiva as Rama Nama. Along the same lines, Saranagati can be viewed as a shortcut for doing Bhakti, Jnana and Karma Yogas all rolled into one. Bhagwan is bound due to Saranagata’s attitude, as only HIS actions are reflected in Sarnagata’s. 

            May we all surrender our egos and vasanas to the Lotus feet of Sriman Narayana. May HIS GRACE descend upon us that we can even see this wonderful path that is a shortcut to rise above samsara. The only trump card we humans have in this game is Sadhana. This one card we are allowed to multiply as much as we want. Sadhana purifies our mind and intellect enabling us to do complete Self Surrender or Saranagati at HIS feet. Bhagavad Gita Chapter 6, Sloka 5 lays out the path of how we can aid ourselves in this wonderful inner journey. A travel where there is no destination, only realization. A good mantra to keep chanting is "Sree Krishna Saranam Mamah". May HIS Lotus feet guide us in this endeavor.  

Om Tat Sat