Path that seeks Moksha is the most relevant form of Dharma. On the other hand, rituals and activities observed to fulfil desires are not considered as a part of Sadhana, in Sanatana Dharma.
What are the different paths to attain Bhagawan ?
In the first 9 chapters of the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna explained the paths of Karma, Jnana and Bhakti Yoga as means to attain Him.
From chapter 2 to 6, He elaborated on Karma and Jnana. “Subsequently with these two paths devotees can attain Bhakti, and through Bhakti one can attain Me.” Krishna says. He clarifies these facts in chapters 7 to 9.
What is Sharanagati?
Now a true devotee does not entirely accept his effort invested to attain Bhagawan. He is surrendered to the process laid by God and accepts the position of a person merely following the path. Such a devotee does not credit himself for treading the path of Sadhana but in turn appreciates the involvement of Bhagawan in His life.
This is Sharanagati.
His mood is like this: “I have no power to attain you, my Lord. But, instead You have to show me the process which can subdue You, which can please you.” A person who has surrendered totally to the Lord makes no differentiation as “This is Karma Yoga”; “This is Jnana Yoga” or “This is Bhakti”.
A surrendered being is totally dependent on the Lord and has even surrendered his deepest intelligence to the Lord. Now it is for the Lord to decide, what liberation is, what is karma or Jnana for His surrendered devotee.
This is the state of being of a devotee who dives in Sharanagati. Noting else can qualify as Sharanagati.
Why should we depend on God?
Sharanagati is the backbone of the Bhakti process. Whatever we do by our own intelligence is bound to cheat us. Due to the flickering nature of the mind, we get cheated time and again. Whatever appears today changes down the line. Some people perceive this phenomenon as ‘tragedy.’ But depending on the Lord relieves one of all misfortune. The flickering mind starts getting a grip over life. Let us look at the cat and the monkey example mentioned in the scriptures.
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Comparing Life of a Kitten and a Baby Monkey
The cat picks up its kitten with its teeth because it has surrendered to its parent. Due to this complete faith, the mother takes full responsibility for the child’s security. With most love and care, it protects the child from all danger. Now here, the teeth of the cat appear gentle to the kitten. But, it is not the case with the baby monkey. It is the little monkey who holds tight, his mother.
Mother monkey jumping from one tree to another while the baby clasps her tight to find protection. The mother is least concerned about the child. One can imagine the consequence if the baby’s grasp loosens while the mother keeps jumping mindlessly.
When does the Lord help his Devotees?
In the first case, the kitten has no work to do. It is free of all worries. But, in the second case, the baby is burdened with its responsibility. Another fact is that the chances of the cat letting go of its hold are slim. Due to its smallness and lack of experience, the child might bid ways with its mother!
Now let us see the philosophy of “Dependence on the Lord.” None better than the Azhvars could explain this practical philosophy. They proclaim, ” The Lord’s beautiful body fills my eye.”
Please note: The Lord’s body and His self are non-different. But, our body and self are distinct. The Lord is available to us at all times and under all circumstances.
If we seek Him like the baby monkey, we likely encounter failure. But, if He follows us, there is no chance of failure. Hence, man should desire Him under all circumstances. Because He is everywhere, observing how we seek Him. Our sincerity makes Him available to us such that He never leaves us.
Why do some prayers not get answered?
We see that many times, we seek Him, but His help does not reach us. One must have faith. He is ever-supportive. However, we lack the vision to behold His glory. When He becomes assured of our sincerity, he stands by our side. Such an experience compels one to shed tears of joy. The Shastra claims thus. The philosophy speaking about Liberation can only qualify as Sanatana Dharma. All other definitions of Sanatana Dharma are baseless and drive us towards wasted chores.
Prayers intending to live a materially fulfilled life may not get satisfied in the way we assume. Lord has his own ways. One things is certain that suffering shall not entrap the individual who does Sharangati.
“The supposed suffering is momentary.”, this is the mood of a true Bhakta. All suffering becomes trivial as a devotee starts to depend on the Lord completely. Material desires not getting fulfilled simply means that our desiring is unjustified.
The Shastras say: “What you are supposed to get, you’ll get.” Asking the lord for what is not meant for us, is baseless. The transaction of receiving and losing falls under the domain of our individual Karma.