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Concept Of Self Surrender In Vedic Literature

It may be interesting to note that even the concept of prapatti or saranagati (the path of self-surrender through total subservience to God in Hinduism), usually associated with the bhakti tradition in Hindu religion, has its origin in the Vedas. This supreme ideal of devotion consists of six factors (six forms of self surrender):

  1. A sattvic motive
  2. Abstinence from all kinds of disservice to God
  3. Conviction and unflinching faith in the saving grace of Bhagavan,
  4. Seeking His grace
  5. Complete self-offering,
  6. Longing for the earliest extinction of this worldly existence

The Varuna Suktam found in the seventh mandala of the Rig Veda is, perhaps, the origin of the ideal of self-surrender which later became an essential element of Vaishnavism. In the first four mantras the rishi is repeatedly asking Varuna to have mercy on him, to bestow joy and happiness on him. He is craving for mercy and favour.

The word nyasa is often used to mean the saranagati ideal that is normally denoted by

prapatti in Vaishnava devotional scriptures.

It is said in the Taittiriya Aranyaka that self-surrender is the highest form of austerity. It is also stated that renunciation is Brahman, and Brahman is the Supreme.

The ideal of complete abstinence from all types of negative action or disservice is indicated in the Rig Vedic mantra 8.48.14.

The well-known shanti mantra of the Krishna Yajur Veda beginning with ‘Sahana Vavatu; May He protect us’, reflects the soul’s yearning to take refuge in God.

Offering prayers, performing Vedic rituals to various gods and goddesses and leading an integrated life of pursuit of the path of artha and kama without deviating from the path of dharma, in complete harmony with nature and the rest of creation – this was the guiding ethical principle of Vedic society.

Source - Excerpts from The Concept of God in the Vedas by Swami Tattwamayananda published in June 2005 issue of Prabuddha Bharata