Preceptors such as Ramanuja, Adi Sankara and Madhva have interpreted Vedantic texts and expounded the path to salvation. Even though the trails may be different, the final goal is the same.
Ramanuja who established the Visishtadvaita philosophy showed people the way to reach God through Saranagati. The doctrine of surrender details the attitude of the Jivatma who accepts the protection of the Lord with total faith. Adi Sankara of Advaita fame, while propounding Nirguna Brahman Upasana, also refers to worship of the Saguna Brahman in his Brahma Sutra Bhashya. It is shown that the same fruit of Moksha that is attained through severe penance and meditation involving sravana, manana and nidhidyasa on Nirguna Brahman is also attainable to those who practise Saguna Brahman Upasana, that is, when one remains devoted to a Krishna, Rama or Siva.
These preceptors draw sustenance for their guidance to the devout from the Lord’s own words in this matter. Rama’s declaration at the time of Vibhishana’s Saranagati has a very wide reach among not merely the scholars and the erudite but also the common man. In a discourse, Sri B. Sundarkumar alluded to Vedanta Desika’s prayer to the deity Vijayaraghava at Tiruputkuzhi, wherein this sentiment finds expression. Rama had told Sugriva: “Be it Vibhishana or the erring Ravana himself, bring him to my presence for I have already granted protection to him.” The acharya pegs his plea to this assurance of Rama and states it would be improper on His part to ignore anyone, however much he may be at fault.
Krishna says in the Gita that it is possible to attain Him by remaining faithful to Him at all times. He makes it clear that the Jivatma is dear to Him and that if only the Jivatma holds Him in his heart and worships Him with love and devotion, He can be realised. The Lord’s supremacy rests on His ultimate power to grant salvation and protection to those who seek Him. But far greater is His compassion towards the Jivatma as is seen in His promise to protect all of them and lead them towards this invaluable and ultimate end that would otherwise remain an inaccessible target.