There are four ways in which we may surrender to Lord Narayana, explained M.K. Srinivasan, in a discourse. One way is to utter the words of surrender oneself. Another way is to have an Acharya say them and then to repeat after him. Yet another way is when the Acharya says the words on our behalf. In the third instance we may not be able to repeat it after him, for some reason or other- sickness perhaps. But his uttering the words for our sake is enough to earn liberation for us. If an Acharya is not available, then a learned devotee can do it on our behalf. These four are the ways to surrender. Parasara Bhattar, in his Rangaraja Stavam says to the Lord, “I’ve been placed at your feet by my preceptors. I have uttered the words that you are the sole means for liberation. Observing these two actions, it is now Your responsibility to liberate me.”
A verse in the Sandilya Smriti says that there is no room for doubt as to what the Lord will do, when we have been recommended to Him by His devotees. And in this aspect of saving the one who surrenders, the Lord does not discriminate between sinner and virtuous. In the Ramayana, He says even if Ravana were to surrender to Him, He would save him. When He takes the Narasimha avatara to save Prahlada, He does not kill Hiranyakasipu right away. He delays the slaying, just in case there is a change of heart on the part of the demon. But there is no change in Hiranyakasipu’s thoughts. The Lord could have disposed of the demon in no time, or in case there was a change in his heart, the Lord could have pardoned him. But He finds no trace of Himself in the asura’s heart, and that is when He decides to kill Hiranyakasipu.