Saranagathi (Surrender) — The Ultimate Guideline in All Religions

Bhagawan Sri Ramana Maharshi guides how the state of mental bliss can be achieved.

by N.S.Venkataraman

Everyone, whether man or woman, rich or poor, literate or illiterate, would have wondered at one time or another in their lifetime about where they were born and where they would go after death. Such thoughts inevitably arise, particularly when a loved one passes away.

Sri Ramana Maharshi

Most people who undergo such thought processes find that they do not readily and convincingly provide them with any clarity. Therefore, they suppress such thoughts and carry on with the business of making a living.

Thought Processes of Exceptional Thinkers:

However, there have been some exceptional individuals who, over the last thousands of years, have persisted in contemplating the origin and end of life. They have struggled to find a credible explanation through sustained meditation. Such individuals are generally referred to as saints, sages, or deep thinkers.

Even these determined seekers of clarity on the origin and end of life must have found a dead end and finally concluded that the desirable level of clarity would be beyond human comprehension. Therefore, they must have reconciled themselves to this scenario and concluded that they have to accept some concept to gain a certain level of clarity.

There is a well-accepted basic concept that there cannot be an object without a creator. Deep thinkers, after prolonged and sustained meditation, have extended this concept to explain the life process. They have declared that there should be a Superior Force (termed as God) without which the lives of humans, animals, and creatures could not have happened. Since visualizing God is beyond human comprehension, the advocacy of these deep thinkers is that the concept of God has to be accepted without questioning, as it is the only way to explain the origin and end of life.

Saranagathi (Surrender) Advocacy:

Different religions have been founded across the world over several centuries to explain the phenomenon known as God and recommend ways to realize God.

While saints, sages, and founders of religions have recommended methods to realize God, billions of men and women have accepted these recommendations and guidelines without questioning, seeing it as the appropriate strategy for living in the world with peace of mind.

With religions asking people to accept the presence of God unquestioningly, the concept of Saranagathi (Surrender) to God has come into play and remains the essential theme of all religions. All religions stress that total surrender to the Supreme Force (God) should be the be-all and end-all of human life and should be the essence of the philosophy of everyone’s life process.

Religions say that Saranagathi (Surrender) is the easiest way to worship God, which would enable individuals to attain mental peace.

Saranagathi (Surrender) is essentially a mental process. To ingrain this mental process into the physical selves of individuals and instill the concept of Saranagathi deep in the minds and behavior patterns of individuals, Hindu religion asks devotees to prostrate before God and pray. In Christianity, devotees are asked to kneel down and pray, while in Islam, they are asked to bend their bodies and lower their heads to touch the earth’s surface while offering prayer.

God in Different Religions:

While Christianity asks people to surrender to God Jesus Christ, Islam asks people to surrender to the God Allah. However, Hinduism asks people to surrender to multiple Gods with different attributes to fulfill specific prayers.

Careless observers are often critical of the multiple Gods proclaimed in Hindu religion. However, the great Hindu scripture, Upanishad, elegantly explains the concept, stating “the truth is one – one God is worshipped in different names.”

Bhagawan Sri Ramana Maharshi Clarifies:

While all religions, including Hinduism, ask people to surrender to God and pray with devotion, Hinduism goes further in explaining the basics of Hindu philosophy.

Hinduism explains further by referring to Jeevatma (individual soul) and Paramatma (Supreme Force – Absolute) present in every human being.

Bhagawan Sri Ramana Maharshi, one of the great saints of the 20th century, has explained the deep-rooted Hindu philosophy and has said that everyone should strive to achieve a mental state where Jeevatma would become one with the Paramatma, providing the ultimate state of mental bliss, referred to as Ananda in Hinduism.

The entire Hindu philosophy is expressed briefly in the extraordinary statement: ‘Hari Om Tat Sat.’

‘Hari Om Tat Sat’ means “That is Truth.” That which I see with my eyes and that which is beyond my eyes are both the same, not different. The creator and the creation are not two. The creator has not created creation but has manifested or transformed himself into creation.

Bhagawan Sri Ramana Maharshi guides how the state of mental bliss can be achieved. The guidelines center around the concept of Saranagathi (Surrender) to God, which would be the first step in seeking the state of mental bliss.

Bhagawan Sri Ramana Maharshi asks individuals to introspect and ask themselves “who am I?”. Obviously, this question in the mind would lead the thinker to find a vacuum in their thought process initially. Inevitably, the thinker would further introspect and resort to a deeper level of meditation.

When the deeper introspection/meditation stage is reached in the mindset, the individual would see the world phenomena from a different perspective and with “different eyes”. Feelings of detachment and disinterest in worldly affairs would develop. Feelings of hatred, anger, prejudice, and greed would inevitably appear as irrelevant and absurd, while feelings of love and compassion would replace them. This mental state would elevate to a level leading to a feeling of mental bliss when Jeevatma (individual soul) becomes one with the Paramatma (Absolute). This is the ultimate mental state of human life that should be desired by everyone in their lifetime.

Hinduism, as espoused by Bhagawan Sri Ramana Maharshi, has never asked people to refrain from normal activities. However, normal human activities need to be conditioned by introspection and meditation lifelong to seek the TRUTH.

Bhagawan Sri Ramana Maharshi implies that one can reach the state of mental bliss by sustained meditation on the query “Who am I?”, even while leading a normal life. Actually, Bhagawan Sri Ramana Maharshi proved this fact by his own lifestyle, where he lived normally, interacted with people, and wrote his thoughts, even as he attained a state of mental bliss, “Ananda”.

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause and to promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.