The Vaishnava sampradaya describes six factors of surrender. First is to entertain favourable thoughts of wanting the Lord and be willing to do everything conducive for reaching Him. One must create an appropriate environment, attend satsang, follow the instructions of the teacher, cultivate the qualities for gaining His vision and become a fitting recipient for His grace.
Secondly, in order to attain the Lord, one has to reject the unfavourable and the non-conducive. Effortlessly give up all pleasures, name, fame, power, relationships, wealth, objects and attachments if they obstruct spiritual progress. Willingly renounce all false notions and prejudice and work tirelessly to remove negative sentiments like anger, jealousy, pride, hypocrisy. Vibhisana had an intense longing for the Lord and continued his spiritual practices, but remained a passive witness to the evil around him until Hanumanji inspired and transformed him. Only then was he able to courageously resist his unrighteous brother, stand up to him and forever leave the adverse atmosphere of Lanka. Tulsidas advised Meera to forsake her persecuting relatives. Dashrat repelled his wife and Bharat his mother, when Kaikeyi sent Sri Ram to the forest.
The third aspect is firm faith in the Lord’s protection, at all times and under all circumstances. He is kind and compassionate and His love is unconditional. The devotee knows that despite all shortcomings he/she is sheltered by the Lord’s abundant blessings. The fourth is to actually seek refuge in the Lord. Pray for protection, blessings and grace: “I have come this far, take me further, hold me, and guide me to the truth.” The fifth factor is to throw oneself totally at the mercy of the Lord: “I am yours to do what you wish. I am a flute in your hands; play whatever tune you wish to play.” There are no reservations. Bali not only gave his entire kingdom to Lord Vamana but also finally gave himself to the Lord. He surrendered both his possessions, the sense of “my-ness”, and his ego, the sense of “I-ness”.
The last aspect is expressing one’s total helplessness. As long as we think we can do things by our own effort, independent of the Lord, He does not interfere. As soon as we seek refuge, surrender and reveal our helplessness, He responds and comes forward to uplift us.
Vibhisana left Lanka with the firm conviction that the Lord would protect and shelter him. His surrender was complete when he saw the Lord and was totally captivated by His beauty, love and compassion. The last two steps happened in a flash. He fell at the Lord’s feet and an expression of total helplessness burst forth in him. Instantly, he was blessed with unswerving devotion. The Lord’s vision bestows both worldly and spiritual wealth and he was blessed with both.