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A lot of scriptures talk about saranagathi. For eg., the charamaslokam of the Bhagavad Gita. Also, the Ramayana talks about it.

It is often translated loosely into english as 'surrender'. However, I feel this english translation does not convey the correct meaning.

What is the true meaning of saranagathi? And how to perform it?

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This is from commentary of Baladeva Vidyabhusana, Vishwanath Chakravarty Thakur on Bhagavad Gita 18.66

sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja aham tvam sarva-papebhyo moksayisyami ma sucah

As per Vayu Purana,

anukulyasya sankalpah pratikulyasya varjanam raksisyatiti visvaso goptrtve varanam tatha nihksepanam akarpanyam sad-vidha saranagatih

Surrender has six factors: accepting what is favorable, rejecting what is unfavorable, having faith that the Lord will protect one, accepting dependence on the Lord, placing oneself fully to the Lord, and meekness.

Below are the explanations given by different acharyas:

As per Baladeva Vidyabhusana:

Actions pleasing to the Lord that are prescribed by the scriptures are called änukülya or favorable. Opposite actions, displeasing to the Lord, not prescribed by the scriptures, are called prätikülya or unfavorable. Ätma nikñepa means “to place responsibility for ones maintenance in the object of surrender, the Lord.” Kärpaëya means “not bold.” Sometimes the line reads nikñepaëam akärpaëyam. In that case, akärpaëya means “not showing ones miserable position to others.” The rest is clear.

As per Vishwanath Chakravarty Thakur

Anukulya means conduct pleasing to the Lord and according to the scriptures. Pratikulya means the opposite. Goptrtva means to think of the Lord and no one else as ones protector. One should have faith (visvasah) that in times when ones own existence is threatened, the Lord will give protection, as in the case of Gajendra or Draupadi. Nihksepanam means employment of ones gross and subtle bodies for Krishna’s service. Akarpanya means that one should not make a show of ones own humility.

Below two are from footnotes in the book I referred:

As per Jiva Goswami

Jiva Goswami explains in Bhakti Sandarbha 236 that goptåtve varanam, accepting the Lord as master, is the very definition of surrender, and is therefore the main item. All other five items are its assistants. Ätmanikñepa means to have no independence from the Lord. “Whatever he orders, I do.” Kärpaëya means complete humility. “No one is more merciful than you, and no one is more fallen than I.”

As per Vedanata Desikan

Vedänta Desikan takes ätma nikñepa, placing responsibility for ones maintenace in the Lord , as the main item. Goptåtve varaëam is praying for protection, which is similar to rakñayiñyatéte viçvasaù, faith that the Lord will protect one. Kärpaëya is feeling hopeless and incapable, and therefore with humility surrendering to the Lord.

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