Sharanagatbhav (Attitude of surrender) is an essential element of spiritual practice. It is challenging to understand but relatively easy to practice. This article is a sincere attempt to share what I read and experienced. I surrender unto Sachchidananda Parabrahman (Dr) Athavale and pray to Him to get this done through me.
Earlier, I had the egoistic personality trait that I could accomplish anything I focused on. My experience increased my ego, and many aspects of my ego manifested, such as doership, a thought that I was better than everyone around me or that I knew everything, etc.
I realised my egoistic personality traits when I met Sachchidananda Parabrahman (Dr) Athavale in 1989. It was His grace that after I started spiritual practice, I realised the enormous importance of Sharanagatbhav in Spirituality.
The 34-year-long spiritual journey also taught me that millions of people were better than me and that Shri Guru and God were the best, and we cannot truly accomplish anything meaningful in Spirituality without unconditionally surrendering to them.
1. I realised the importance of Sharanagati after performing sadhana (Spiritual practice)
1A. Sharanagati is an essential element of sadhana for faster progress : I heard of ‘Surrendering unto God’ and ‘Sharanagati’ during my school days for the first time. After I was introduced to Spirituality and when I started performing sadhana, I realised the reason we are born – To undergo the fruits of prarabdha (Destiny experienced in this birth) and to attain Moksha (The Final Liberation) by performing sadhana. Sharanagati is an essential element of sadhana. We should surrender ourselves to Shri Guru or God for faster spiritual progress. A seeker who remains in Sharanagatbhav can eliminate his ego aspects; hence, the grace of Shri Guru helps him progress spiritually.
1B. Saints have emphasised the importance of Sharanagati, and thus, shown the path of faster spiritual progress : Many Saints, including Sant Jnaneshwar Maharaj, Sant Eknath Maharaj, Sant Tukaram Maharaj, Samartha Ramdas Swami, Guru Nanak and Saint Bhaktaraj Maharaj (Baba), have emphasised the importance of Sharanagati through their personal experiences and guided the spiritually curious on how to develop Sharanagatbhav.
1C. Shrikrushna had advised Arjun to surrender : Shrikrushna gave Arjun Jnan (Supreme Knowledge), Bhakti (Devotion) and Vairagya (Detachment) through the Bhagawad Gita. Later, to simplify the process of Moksha, Shrikrushna advised His beloved disciple – Arjun – to surrender unto Him.
In the 18th Chapter of the Bhagawad Gita, Shrikrushna says – Abandon all varieties of Dharmas and simply surrender unto Me alone. I shall liberate you from all sinful reactions; do not fear. II 66 II
2. The etymology of the the word – ‘Sharan’
This word has been derived from a Sanskrut verb शॄ (Shru). As per the renowned dictionary – Shabdkalpdrum – ‘Sharan’ is an act that eliminates all suffering, pain and unhappiness.
3. The definition of Sharanagati
I-ness takes credit for everything. For example, we often say, “I did this”, “It happened because of me”, etc. The process of surrendering this I-ness unto God is called Sharanagati.
4. Why surrender to God ?
4A. In the initial phase of sadhana, you may surrender to Shri Guru or a Saint with the expectation that He will eliminate the obstacles in your day-to-day life. I was fortunate to have had a good upbringing which taught me to surrender to the wise, elderly and those who abide by Dharma. I was heartbroken by failures, admonishments, financial distress and family issues in my day-to-day life. Thus, I looked out for someone to sympathise with.
I thought about surrendering to friends, people in my social circle, astrologers, Saints and Spiritual Masters with an honest and clear intention to eliminate all obstacles in my life. I soon realised that the greater the intensity of the troubles, the greater the need to surrender to God.
4B. Surrendering to Sachchidananda Parabrahman (Dr) Athavale after watching a fall from grace and the deterioration of sadhana of many seekers and Saints who did not surrender themselves to Shri Guru or God : We have seen many seekers and Saints who incorrectly thought they were on the right track. In reality, their sadhana worsened since they did not surrender themselves to either Shri Guru or God. After countless struggles in day-to-day life and various obstacles in sadhana, finally, I completely surrendered myself to Sachchidananda Parabrahman (Dr) Athavale.
5. How to develop Sharanagatbhav ?
5A. Unwavering faith in Shri Guru : Sharanagati is not merely an act or a mechanical process, it is a sadhana of the highest order. Seekers should yearn to be in a Sharanagat state. The right thought process could be – ‘I have completely surrendered myself to Shri Guru and sacrificed my body, mind and wealth unto His Holy feet. Shri Guru will take care of me during every seemingly challenging situation. I do not need to worry about anything as Shri Guru will certainly do what is right for my sadhana. I should not have any egoistic thoughts that I have surrendered myself unto Shri Guru’.
5B. Effective implementation of ego removal process helps develop Sharanagatbhav : The ego removal process, which is one of the aspects of sadhana according to Gurukrupayoga as advised by Sachchidananda Parabrahman (Dr) Jayant Athavale, plays a crucial role in helping develop Sharanagati. Ashtanga sadhana accelerates the development of Sharanagatbhav. When a seeker constantly contemplates surrendering unto the lotus feet of Shri Guru, he completes the first step in nurturing Sharanagati.
6. Getting transformed into one who has a positive and serene attitude, experiences Bliss only because of the grace of Sachchidananda Parabrahman (Dr) Athavale
Sachchidananda Parabrahman (Dr) Athavale did not just provide theoretical information on Sharanagatbhav and Sharanagati; He is nurturing Sharanagatbhav in me. Whenever I feel dejected or lost, and self-doubt starts to manifest, I remember His blessings and teachings He bestowed on me throughout my life. He has blessed me with everything and Chaitanya (Divine consciousness), which will last forever. This grateful thought helps me surrender myself unto His Holy feet. Since He planted the seed of Sharanagatbhav in my subconscious mind, I have transformed into one who has a positive and serene attitude, who experiences Bliss.
I am grateful to Sachchidananda Parabrahman (Dr) Athavale for compiling this article through me.
– H.H. Shivaji Vatkar (Age 76), Sanatan Ashram, Devad, Panvel, Maharashtra, India. (7.2.2023)
Individual spiritual experiences of seekers published in SanatanPrabhat are according to the Principle – ‘Where there is bhav (Spiritual emotion), there is God’. It is not that every individual will have similar experiences.
According to the ancient and profound Nadibhavishya, the Saptarshis have written the future of every individual.