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Saranagati Defined

Following the appearance of Thakur Bhakti Vinod, we are starting a series of posts about saranagati which will gradually present the content of the upcoming release of Saranagati accompanied by the Sri Laghu-chandrika-bhasya by Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj from Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math.

To begin, this post features some of the definitions of saranagati present within the text.

atyanta durlabha prema karibāre dāna
śikhāya śaraṇāgati bhakatera prāna
(Saranagati: 1.2)
Saranagati is the very life of the devotees and the sole means to obtain the prem Sriman Mahaprabhu distributed to this world.”

Saranagati means sarva-bhave Bhagavad asraya: to take shelter of the Lord in all respects.
(Sri Laghu-chandrika-bhasya: 1.2)

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj writes in his introduction to the Sri Laghu-chandrika-bhasya:

Srila Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami Prabhu has described the distinction between surrender (saranagati) and the state of having abandoned all desire for anything of this world (akinchanatva) as follows:
śaraṇāgatera, akiñchanera—eka-i lakṣaṇa
tāra madhye praveśaye ‘ātma-samarpaṇa’
śaraṇa lañā kare kṛṣṇe ātma-samarpaṇa
kṛṣṇa tā̐re kare tat-kāle ātma-sama
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita: Madhya-lila, 22.96, 99)
“Although a devotee surrendered to Krishna (saranagata) and a devotee who is devoid of all desire for anything of this world (akinchan) have the same external characteristics, the surrendered devotee has the superlative qualification of having fully offered their very soul to Krishna. As soon as a surrendered soul takes shelter of Krishna and fully offers themself to Krishna, Krishna immediately accepts them as His own (as an associate equal to Himself).”

“Being devoid of desire for anything of this world (akinchan), maintaining genuine faith (sraddha) within the heart, and taking shelter of the lotus feet of Sri Krishna in all respects, is said to be ‘saranagati’.

Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj defines saranagati in his Sri Sri Prapanna-jivanamrta (1.35):

bhagavad-bhaktitaḥ sarvam ity utsṛjya vidher api
kaiṅkaryaṁ kṛṣṇa-pādaikāśrayatvaṁ śaraṇāgatiḥ
“Being impelled by the faith that everything (all necessities and fulfilment) is obtained by serving the Supreme Lord, abandoning servitude to even scriptural injunctions (pertaining to dharma, artha, kama, moksha, and vaidhi-bhakti), and taking shelter of the feet of Sri Krishna in all respects, is known as saranagati.”

The Scriptures explain that saranagati has six integral aspects:

ānukūlyasya saṅkalpaḥ prātikūlya-vivarjanam
rakṣiṣyatīti viśvāso goptṛtve varaṇaṁ tathā
ātma-nikṣepa kārpaṇye ṣaḍ-vidhā śaraṇāgatiḥ
(Vaisnava-tantra)
“Accepting everything favourable to devotion to Krishna, rejecting everything unfavourable to devotion to Krishna, being confident that Krishna will grant His protection, embracing Krishna’s guardianship, fully offering one’s self to Krishna, and realising one’s lamentable lowliness are the six limbs of saranagati.”

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