It is common knowledge that the essence of the Ramayana is the concept of Saranagati (surrender). It is the simplest way to reach the feet of the Lord. Saranagati is enunciated in the Tiruvaimozhi, as it is in the Ramayana, said Akkarakkani Srinidhi.

That is why, it is said there is no danger to the Vaishnavite religion, as long as the Ramayana and Tiruvaimozhi are popular.

It is in the episode of Vibhishana leaving Lanka and arriving at Rama’s camp that the concept stands best exemplified in the Ramayana.

When Vibhishana arrived, with four demons accompanying him, there were doubts among those around Rama about the purpose of his arrival. The monkeys cautioned Rama against the asura’s intentions. Each of the monkeys came up with suggestions for dealing with this new arrival. Some suggested that he be killed; some said Vibhishana should be watched carefully for his motives. There were those who felt Vibhishana had arrived at the wrong place and at the wrong time. Some said he should be subjected to intense questioning. Hanuman said Vibhishana’s motives were not to be doubted. His switched to Rama’s camp because he had realised the righteousness of His cause and the wickedness of his brother. Moreover, harsh questioning of a genuine person would prove counter-productive. Vibhishana’s face did not reveal any evil intention; wasn’t a person’s face a mirror of his mind?

Rama listened patiently to all the arguments and then gave His opinion. Even if a person came to Him without any good quality to recommend him, He would still accept him. Thus, Vibhishana was to be accepted for no other reason than that he had surrendered to the Lord.

A person can surrender only once, and that is enough for the Lord to save him. The person who surrenders may be a person with more blemishes than good qualities. Yet, the Lord will protect him.

Vibhishana Saranagati thus shows the Lord’s kindness and magnanimity to those who seek His protection. The Lord does not look for great merit in the one who surrenders. The act of surrender is enough for Him to save us.

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