The Ramayana tells us about various people who resorted to Saranagati- surrender. That is why the Ramayana is known as Saranagati Sastra. The first step towards surrender is to accept and acknowledge that we are nothing and undeserving of the Lord’s mercy. This attitude of utter humility does not come easily to us. We think we have relatives who are influential. With such a network of relatives and friends, how can we say we are nothing, we wonder. But who are all these people? Can they grant us moksha? They are as impermanent as we ourselves are. Our knowledge cannot liberate us either. Vedanta Desika, who learnt everything that can be learnt from Lord Hayagriva, was known for his humility. If a genius like Desika, who had the grace of Lord Hayagriva, was so humble, should we not realise the importance of humility? His simplicity should open our eyes to what is required of us.
We must not doubt the efficacy of Saranagati, said Navalpakkam V. Vasudevachariar, in a discourse. We must have utmost trust in Saranagati and in Lord Narayana.
The story of Kakasura should reassure us that the Lord’s mercy extends even to those who have sinned against Him. Kakasura, taking the form of a crow, had committed the unpardonable sin of pecking at Sita’s breast. Yet the Lord forgave him and did not kill him, because he surrendered at the Lord’s feet.
When Sugriva approached Rama for help, he did not completely trust the Lord’s ability to defeat Vali and save him (Sugriva). So he narrated the feats of Vali, to drive home the point that Rama was up against a strong enemy, defeating whom would not be easy. Sugriva’s aim was to know if Rama indeed was capable of fighting Vali. Sugriva described to Rama the fight between Dundubhi and Vali. Vali had lifted Dundubhi, who had the strength of one thousand elephants, and flung him away a considerable distance. Although Sugriva surrendered to Rama, he was not completely free of doubts.
Vibhishana on the other hand, had complete trust in Rama. Thus Vibhishana’s Saranagati is held out as an example of what Saranagati should be like.