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Saranagati – Absolute Surrender – Hindu God Vishnu Devotees

Saranagti is the concept of absolute surrender to Hindu God Vishnu (Ishwara). It means seeking refuge, and in religion and philosophy it has come to denote seeking refuge in Paramatma. It is particularly held sacred by Vishnu devotees (Vaishnavas) as the surest means of liberation from births and deaths. Through this act of absolute surrender, the grace of Paramatma Vishnu is believed to be accessible to all.

The act of self-surrender signifies a resolve to follow the will of Bhagavan Vishnu as revealed in the knowledge texts, to believe that Paramatma will save one, to seek help from him and him alone, and to yield up one’s spirit to him in all humility.

The doctrine of surrender finds a place in many Hindu knowledge texts. Svetasvatara Upanishad declares that, desirous of salvation, one seeks refuge in him, who created Brahma in the beginning and taught Vedas. Taittiriya Upanishad states that surrender is supreme among all austerities, and recites the holy chant for performing this act of surrender. Mundaka Upanishad prescribes surrender to Bhagavan Vishnu in a metaphorical form, saying that the word om (pranava) is the bow, the individual self is the arrow, and Brahman is the target. One should hit the target unerringly with the arrow, with deep concentration of mind. In the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna prescribes surrender as the easiest and the surest means to liberation (Bhagavad Gita 18 – 66).

This tenet, as a means to salvation, attainable by everyone, without any distinction of caste creed has led to the social upliftment of the lower classes in Hindu society. Psychologically, saranagati implies total effacement of one’s ego by surrendering to the will of Paramatma.