The principle of surrender is central to the spiritual quest of every individual and it implies absolute faith in the protecting power of the Lord to grant salvation from the cycle of birth. This faith springs from the promise of the Lord at specific instances during His incarnations to protect and grant salvation to the Jivatma who has surrendered to Him. In a lecture, Sri M. V. Anantapadmanabhachariar pointed out that the Lord and His consort are always engaged in this task and it is up to the Jivatma to strive to avail of this invaluable offer. In one sense, the Divine Couple wish to bring the straying Jivatma back to their possession and try various tactics — incarnations, teaching the Sastras or the spiritual tradition, taking the form of preceptors who can enlighten the Jivatmas, offering the helping hand of succour to those who offer surrender at His feet and so on.
Countless Jivatmas are constantly passing through the cycle of births without realising the purpose of life. Neither is the Jivatma aware of its everlasting relationship with the Supreme Being to whom it owes its existence. During the Varaha Avatar, Lord Vishnu took the form of a boar to outsmart the demon Hiranyaksha, who had terrified the worlds with the display of his unrestricted power. The Lord fought with the demon to retrieve the Vedas and save the earth from the deep ocean. At that time, Bhu Devi extracted a promise from Him on behalf of the suffering Jivatmas.
The compassionate Lord vowed that He would save each one at the time of death if only the Jivatma had thought of Him when in good health and sincerely wished to be saved by Him. At the required moment of the Jivatma's journey through life and death, the Lord would be at the Jivatma's side to escort it. Similarly, in the context of Vibhishana's plea to join Lord Rama's camp, the Lord affirmed His vow to protect those who seek His help. It was an unconditional promise and the truth is that no other force or power has the capacity to protect or grant salvation. This is the prerogative of the Divine Couple.
The oft quoted statement in the Bhagavad Gita reiterates this assurance once again. The Lord takes up the responsibility to absolve the Jivatma from all sins and this promise remains a beacon of hope for all Jivatmas seeking salvation. The Lord's incarnations are for the specific purpose of establishing Dharma and destroying evil forces.