If there is a sure way to attain God it is by surrendering oneself totally at His feet, say the scriptures and the Vaishnava tradition implicitly believes in this act. Implied in saranagati are two important truths — the inability of the jivatma to fight against the odds of samsara and the infinite compassion of the Lord to enable the jivatma to find salvation. The hurdles in the way for the jivatma are many — destiny, ignorance that is the cause of wrong perceptions, one’s ego, etc.

The Kakasura episode in the Ramayana exemplifies the supremacy of the Lord and His ability to grant pardon for our wrongs, pointed out Kalyanapuram Sri R. Aravamudhachariar in a lecture. When Sita hands over her ornament worn on her tresses (chudamani) to Hanuman, she also relates this incident that had happened in Chitrakuta and was known only to the divine couple.

Once when Rama was resting on her lap, Indra’s son had attacked Sita in the form of a crow. Rama woke up when drops of blood trickled down from the wound caused by the crow. An angered Rama used a blade of grass as an arrow against the crow. The crow flew in all directions seeking the help of all the celestial beings in vain. Finally, it sought Rama’s help and, on Sita’s plea, was let off with losing sight in one eye.

Sita now wonders what prevents Rama (who had used a blade of grass to chastise the erring crow) from rescuing her from this predicament. Sita bemoans her plight and assumes her sins of omission or commission to be the cause.

Bhagavata Purana relates an instance of the wives of a group of holy men surrendering to Lord Krishna. The men were in a sacrifice ritual and hesitated to give food meant for the ritual to cowherds and Krishna who had sought it. When the boys approached the women, they readily offered it knowing that Krishna was their Lord. The women then beg Him to save them from the wrath of their husbands and Krishna offers them protection and promises to clarify the wrong perception of their husbands who would eventually realise the truth.