Lord Narayana is generous, when it comes to rewarding His devotees. No one else can equal His generosity. Indra and other celestial beings will be careful not to yield much to us. The story of Yayati shows this, explained Valayapet Ramachariar, in a discourse.
Yayati was a generous king, who, as a result of his good deeds, reached the abode of the celestial beings upon his death. He sat on a throne which equalled Indra’s. Indra did not relish this and wanted to get rid of Yayati. But he could not dismiss Yayati from their world because of the good deeds he had performed.
So Indra decided to trick him into saying something that would get rid of the effects of his good deeds. He asked Yayati who had been the most generous one on earth. The honest answer to that would have been ‘Yayati.’ But for Yayati to describe himself as the most generous one on earth would amount to self-praise, which is a sin. So Yayati could not say this.
But if Yayati were to say that someone else was the most generous person, he would be uttering a lie. That would also be a sin. So Yayati was caught in a dilemma.
Finally, he decided that he would not tell a lie. So he replied that he had been the most generous person on the earth. When he said so, his self-praise destroyed the effect of all his punyas, and he was thrown out of Indra’s world. Thus, what we get by virtue of good deeds or by pleasing the celestial beings is only temporary, and we will soon be back on earth, again living through life, and adding to our burden of karma. That is why the Lord tells us to surrender to Him.
Bhakti yoga can lead us to Him, but it is difficult to adhere to. Yagas and penance will yield benefits, but these benefits can be lost in an instant. If we utter a lie, even inadvertently, during a yaga then the fruits of the yaga will be lost.
Thus saranagati is the only path for us, because of our weaknesses. Once we surrender, moksha will be ours, and moksha is permanent. Unlike Indra, the Lord will treat us as His equals, once we attain moksha.