About Saranagati

Our Lord and Master Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has predicted that the Holy Name of Krishna will be preached in every town and village on earth:

prthivite ache yata nagaradi grama
sarvatra prachara haibe mora nama

"In as many towns and villages as there are on the surface of the earth, My Holy Name will be preached."

To futher the above prediction of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu the devotees at Gosai Publishers, located in Sri Rangapatna, South India have decided to publish an electronic magazine, "Saranagati."

The inspiration for the name of this publication was derived from an origional collection of songs and compositions of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura, the founding father of the Krishna consciousness movement in the 20th century. For that original collection of songs, which was named Saranagati, the Thakura wrote an introductory song, and in that song he explained the very gist of saranagati as being the indispensable necessity of the true devotees - sikhaya saranagati bhakatera prana.

sri-krsna-caitanya prabhu jive doya kori'
swa-parsada swiya dhama saha avatari

atyanta durlabha prema koribare dana
sikhaya saranagati bhakatera prana

dainya, atma-nivedana, goptrtve varana
'avasya raksibe krsna - visvasa, palana

bhakti-anukula-matra karyera svikara
bhakti-pratkula-bhava varjanangikara

sad-anga saranagati hoibe jahara
tahara prarthana sune sri-nanda-kumara

rupa-sanatana-pade dante trna kori
bhakativinoda pode duhun pada dhori

kandiya kandiya bole ami to' adhama
sikhaye saranagati koro he uttama

"Sri Krishna Caitanya Prabhu descended from the eternal spiritual world along with His personal associates and divine abode, incarnating in this temporary material world out of compassion for the fallen souls.

"In order to freely distribute the gift of ecstatic love of God, which is very difficult to obtain, He taught the path of saranagati, devotional surrender to the Supreme Lord. This saranagati is the indispensable necessity of the true devotees.

"The six ways of surrender through saranagati are humility, dedication of the self, acceptance of the Lord as one's maintainer, the consciousness that Krishna will surely protect me, execution of only those acts favorable to pure devotion, and renunciation of conduct adverse to pure devotion.

"Sri Nanda Kumar, the youthful son of Nanda Maharaja, hears the prayers of anyone who takes refuge in Him by this six fold practice of surrender.

"Bhaktivinode prostrates himself at the feet of Sri Rupa and Sri Sanatana Goswami, places a straw between his teeth, and clasps their lotus feet with his hands.

"Weeping and weeping, he tells them, 'I am certainly the lowest of men! Oh please make me the worthiest by teaching me the ways of saranagati!"

The very basis of pure devotional life is saranagati which in a word means surrender. The prerequisite for pure devotional service is surrender. First surrender, then pure devotional service begins. There are many varieties of devotional services performed under the names of karma misra-bhakti and jnana misra-bhakti (fruitive activity and philosophical speculation). However, these are not to be confused with suddha-bhakti or pure devotional service. Both karma and jnana are selfishly motivated desires culminating in material enjoyment and liberation respectively. Therefore, the devotees (bhaktas) in the stages of karma or jnana are not considered pure devotees.

The pure devotees of the Lord are distinguished from others due to their following the six intrinsic principles of exclusive surrender to the Supreme Lord mentioned above by Bhaktivinode Thakura and which are also found in the Vaishnava-tantra as follows:

anukulyasya-sankalpah, pratikulyasya-varjjanam
raksisyatiti visvaso, goptrtve varanam tatha
atma-niksepa-karpanye, sad-vidha saranagatih

"Acceptance of the favorable, rejection of the unfavorable, the faith that 'He will surely protect me,' embracing the Lord's guardianship, complete dependence on Him, and the perception of one's utter helplessness without Him, these six are the essential limbs of exclusive surrender unto the Lord." (Sri Sri Prapana-jivanamrtam 2.32)

A pure devotee is sometimes called a saranagata-bhakta or a surrendered soul. Literally saranagati means to take complete shelter or refuge in Sri Nanda Kumar, the youthful son of Nanda Maharaja, who has appeared at Sri Navadwip as Sri Krishna Caitanya.

The necessity of surrendering to Sri Krishna was indeed the essence of the teachings of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. The same has been confirmed by Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita.

The conclusion of Bhagavad Gita is surrender, wherein Sri Krishna advises Arjuna to abandon all varieties of religion and simply surrender unto Him.

sarva-dharman parityajya
mam ekam saranam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo
moksayisyami ma sucah

"Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear."

Arjuna is herein advised to abandon all varieties of religion - particluarly those mixed with karma and jnana. By such surrender Krishna promises that His devotee will come to Him. The confidentiality of surrender is revealed in this verse by the use of the word 'vraja'. When the rule of Sanskrit grammar known as Alankar is applied to this verse it is shown that Sri Krishna is saying that by exclusive surrender unto Him Arjuna will attain the land of Vraja, the Supreme Abode of Godhead. It may also be understood through this instruction to Arjuna that exclusive surrender is the only method of achieving the Lord's eternal association.

To obtain the shelter of the lotus feet of Sri Krishna one must surrender to the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya. This is also the conclusion of great acaryas.

samsara-sindhu-tarane hrdayam yadi syat
sankirttanamrta-rase ramate manas cet
premambudhau viharane yadi citta-vrttis
caitanya-canra-carane saranam prayatu

"If you have a desire to cross the ocean of material existence, an aspiration to taste the ecstasy of the nectarean congregational chanting of the holy names, and a longing to sport in the ocean of divine love - then please surrender unto the lotus feet of Sri Caitanyacandra." (Caitanya-candramrta 8.93 by Prabhodananda Saraswati)

Hence the editoral policy of "Saranagati" is to present sastra (scripture), writings of previous Acaryas, and essays by contemporary Vaishnavas (sadhus) that will inspire one toward a life of self surrender and pure devotion at the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Saranagati is indeed the indispensable necessity of the true devotees.

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