Srila Sridhar Maharaj Early Sannyas 1

The Limbs of Saranagati

Continuing our series on saranagati, this post presents the definitions of the six limbs of saranagati given by Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj in his Sri Sri Prapanna-jivanamrta.

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.”

Anukulyasya Sankalpah: accepting anything that is helpful for obtaining Krishna.

kṛṣṇa-kārṣṇaga-sad-bhakti prapannatvānukūlake
kṛtyatva-niśchayaś-chānukūlya-saṅkalpa uchyate
(Sri Sri Prapanna-jivanamritam: 3.1)
“Resolute conviction to execute everything favourable to the service of Krishna, to His devotees and to surrender, is called anukulyasya-sankalpah—acceptance of the favourable.”

Pratikulya Vivarjanam: rejecting anything that is an obstacle to obtaining Krishna.

bhagavad-bhaktayor bhakteḥ prapatteḥ pratikūlake
varjyatve niśchayaḥ prātikūlya-varjanam uchyate
(Sri Sri Prapanna-jivanamritam: 4.1)
“Resolute conviction to abandon everything that is opposed to the service of the Lord, to His devotees and to surrender, is called pratikulya-vivarjanam—rejection of the unfavourable.”

Raksisyatiti Visvasah: faith that Sri Krishna will assuredly grant His protection.

rakṣiṣyati hi mām kṛṣṇo bhaktānāṁ bāndhavaś cha saḥ
kṣemam vidhāsyatīti yad viśvāso ’traiva gṛhyate
(Sri Sri Prapanna-jivanamritam: 5.1)
“‘Certainly Krishna will protect me, because He is the true friend of the devotees. He will definitely bless me with all good fortune.’ Herein, such faith is sustained.”

Goptritve Varanam: embracing the Lord’s guardianship.

he kṛṣṇa! pāhi māṁ nātha kṛpayātmagataṁ kuru
ity evaṁ prārthanaṁ kṛṣṇaṁ prāptuṁ svāmi-svarūpataḥ
goptṛtve varaṇam jñeyaṁ bhaktair hṛdyataraṁ param
prapatty ekārthakatvena tad aṅgitvena tat smṛtam
(Sri Sri Prapanna-jivanamritam: 6.1-2)
“‘Oh Krishna, please protect me! Oh Lord, kindly accept me as Your own.’ This prayer to obtain Sri Krishna as one’s master is the supreme source of satisfaction for the hearts of the pure devotees, and is known by them as goptritve-varanam, ‘embracing the Lord’s guardianship’. Because it expresses one and the same ideal as saranagati, goptritve-varanam is accepted as the basis (angi) of surrender (and the other five elements are considered its limbs).”

Atma-niksepa: Self-dedication.

kṛṣṇāyārpita-dehasya nirmamasyānahaṅkrteḥ
manasas tat svarūpatvaṁ smṛtam ātmā-nivedanam
(Sri Sri Prapanna-jivanamritam: 7.4)
Atma-nivedanam is known as the condition of having offered one’s self to Krishna (solely to satisfy Him), while being devoid of possessiveness and false egotism.”

Karpanya: experience of one’s own lamentable condition.

bhagavan rakṣa rakṣaivam ārta-bhāvena sarvataḥ
asamorddhva-dayā-sindhor hareḥ kāruṇya-vaibhavam
smaratāṁś cha viśeṣeṇa nijāti-śochya-nīchatām
bhaktānām ārti-bhāvas tu kārpaṇyaṁ kathyate budhaiḥ
(Sri Sri Prapanna-jivanamritam: 8.1-2)
“‘Oh Lord, please protect me, protect me …’ Praying thus in a mood of distress, while remembering in all respects the greatness of the mercy of the Supreme Lord, the unparalleled ocean of compassion, and remembering in particular one’s own extremely lamentable lowliness—this distressed condition of the devotees is described by the learned as karpanya.”

In the invocation of auspiciousness within Saranagati, Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur sings:

dainya, ātma-nivedana, goptṛtve varaṇa
‘avaśya rakṣibe kṛṣṇa’—viśvāsa pālana
bhakti-anukūla-mātra kāryera svīkāra
bhakti-pratikūla-bhāva varjanāṅgikāra
ṣaḍ-aṅga śaraṇāgati ha-ibe yā̐hāra
tā̐hāra prārthanā śune śrī-nanda-kumāra
“Sri Nanda Kumar hears the prayers of whosoever surrenders unto Him in accordance with the six limbs of saranagati: (1) humility, (2) self-submission, (3) embracing the Lord’s guardianship, (4) maintaining the faith that ‘Krishna will surely protect me’, (5) engaging only in activities which are favourable to devotion, and (6) utterly rejecting everything unfavourable to devotion.”

In his commentary on Saranagati, Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj notes that ‘Sri Nanda Kumar hears their prayers’ means Krishna reciprocates with the surrendered souls in accordance with their prayers. As an example of this, Srila Sridhar Maharaj cites the following evidence from the scriptures:
sakṛd eva prapanno yas tavāsmīti cha yāchate
abhayaṁ sarvadā tasmai dadāmy etad vrataṁ mama
(Ramayana: Yuddha-kanda, 18.33)
[When Vibhishan, the brother of Ravan, prays to Him for shelter, Ram Chandra proclaims before Hanuman and all His devotees:] “Anyone who even once sincerely surrenders unto Me, declares, ‘I am Yours’, and prays for fearlessness—it is My vow that I will always supply that to them.”

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