Among all dharmas, surrender (saranagati) is the best. The Ramayana may be said to have been gifted to mankind to emphasise the greatness of saranagati. To accept surrender and to save the one who has surrendered are essential. This is not negotiable.

If someone surrenders, and his surrender is rejected there can be no greater wrong than this, said Navalpakkam Vasudevachariar, in a discourse. Even if the one who surrenders has committed sins, still he must not be turned away.

Example of Tvashta

The celestial beings wanted to kill Tvashta who ran to their wives and sought refuge. Tvashta was given shelter. When the celestial beings came looking for Tvashta, their wives refused to hand him over. Thus if a person surrenders, we must take care of him or her even if it means incurring the displeasure of one’s own family.

The celestial beings saw this act of their wives as an act of disloyalty, and angrily questioned their wives about their conduct. How could they take the side of a person who was the enemy of their husbands? But the women replied that the connection between a husband and a wife is a connection not of the soul, but of the body. It is a tie that has nothing to do with the atma.

After all, if there is to be another birth, who knows who will be a person’s wife? It is the atma, and not the body which is significant.

More important

The celestial women, in refusing to pay heed to their husbands’ request to hand over Tvashta to them, were adhering to atma dharma, which is more important than sareera dharma (dharma born of bodily ties).

If we do not save one who surrenders to us, then the sins of the one who surrenders will be transferred to us. This is what happened in the case of Vali and Sugriva.

Sugriva begged to be saved, but Vali did not accept Sugriva’s pleas for mercy. The result was that Vali was eventually killed, and Sugriva became the king.

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