Chapter 7.6 from "Study Circles for Divinity"
return to contents index

7.6  SURRENDER

WISE SAYINGS FROM DIFFERENT FAITHS

"We believe in God and what God revealed to us, and what God revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the Tribes, and what was given to Moses and Jesus and the Prophets from the Lord. We do not discriminate between individuals among them; we surrender to God."    Mohammed

"Leave it to Him, let His will prevail, do not ask for this or that other thing. He knows best."    Jesus Christ

"Thus by surrendering thyself unto Me through all thy actions, and remembering Me constantly, thou shalt come to love Me. When thou shalt come to love Me, there will be nothing for thee to achieve."    Sri Krishna

"I do not know what Thou art, O Ahura Mazda! but whatever Is, That Thou art."    Zarathushtra

"Surrender the grasping disposition of your selfishness, and you will attain to that sinless calm state of mind which conveys perfect peace, goodness and wisdom."
 
  Buddha



FROM DISCOURSES OF SAI BABA

EASIEST PATH

The easiest path to self-realisation is the surrender of the ego. Arjuna surrendered and so, the war in which he was engaged was transformed into a spiritual exercise! Daksha performed a spiritual exercise; but he did not surrender, he was so full of egoism that he slighted God! So, his spiritual exercise was transformed into a war reeking with hate. Do not pit your tiny ego against the Almighty; leave it to His will and you will have lasting peace. (231164)

Hislop:  But Swami has said that one cannot surrender that which he really does not own and of which he is not in control.
Sai:  It is not a question of surrendering or giving to some other one. One surrenders to oneself. Recognition that the Atma is oneself is surrender. Surrender really means the realisation that all is God, that there is nobody who surrenders, that there is nothing to be surrendered, nor is there anyone to accept a surrender. All is God. There is only God.
Hislop:  'Surrender' is not really a very good word. It quite fails to convey what is meant.
Sai:  'Surrender' is world language. To correctly describe it, language of the Divine is needed. There is no adequate word in the English language, therefore the use of 'surrender' goes on. (CSSB 93)
Hislop:  What does surrender to the Lord mean in such common things as shaving, going to the market, walking and so on?
Sai:  Surrendering to the Lord is surrendering all thoughts and actions, not wishing for the fruits of the action, not doing action to gain its fruit but doing the action because it is one's duty. The act is dedicated to the Lord and the results, therefore, are borne by the Lord. Actions done thus - fruits abandoned at the time of the action - such action is free of karma. Since the ego, in this way, is not fed and cultivated, it disappears before long. For example, if one shaves, which is classed as an uninspired mundane task, the attitude is that one is preparing the body for the sake of the Lord in the heart, and one is making the best of his appearance to honour the Lord, and not for one's personal vanity or reward. Also, in walking, offer the action to the Lord to maintain a body fit for the Lord to live in; and that is the attitude for every single act of the day.

Sweeping the house is dedicated to the Lord so that He may have a fit dwelling. And cooking also is dedicated to Him so that the body may be strong and vigorous for the benefit of the Lord. It is folly to seek the fruit of action. When one dies, the only items taken with one are one's good and bad deeds. None of the power, the money, the position, the prestige, the vigorous beauty of the body, the culture of the personality - these things are all gone, and therefore what folly to work for them. Man is life with desire; life without desire is God. Mind is desire; when mind disappears, desire disappears. (CSSB 13)

TOTAL SURRENDER

Let us take the case of Arjuna. He had the forethought; all the suffering and all the miseries that are likely to accrue if he fought this war, were thought of even before he commenced the war. He asked the question, "Why do I kill all my relations and all my elders?" He said that he would rather go out and beg for his food than ask for the kingdom after killing all these people. He further said that apart from the kingdom which he would get if he won this war, even if he was promised heaven itself if he won the war, he would not be willing to enter the war and kill all his relations. He would rather give up both. He prayed to Krishna to get him out of this mess. Thus Arjuna gave up all desires, was prepared to sacrifice all the pleasures of this world and the other world and he surrendered completely to the Lord. We can recognise in him a person who deserves to be taught the Gita.

What earned for Arjuna the right to be taught by the Lord is the fact that he stood in complete and total surrender and was prepared to take whatever instructions the Lord would give. It is to such a person and under such circumstances that one can give the sacred meaning of the scriptures or the sacred significance of the Divine. Every one will have to deserve this, earn this by good conduct, by good behaviour and by doing good things. (SSB 72,107)

It appears to me that the real meaning of the word surrender has not been properly understood. Our elders, by the study of many Scriptures and texts, have conveyed to us the meaning. Despite this, we get the impression that the word surrender means putting at the disposal of God our body, our mind, all our powers and all that we have. We take it that 'placing these before God' is the true meaning of the word surrender. This is not the correct and proper meaning of the word. Our body is not in our control at all. Our body, under some circumstances, is posing to us several problems. Under such circumstances, when the body is not under our control, it is not understandable how we can say that we will take such a body and surrender it to God.

When we look at the mind, it is even worse. It leads us to many distorted meanings. While we are not only not in control of our mind even for one moment, we are even slaves to our mind and we foolishly enjoy the mind's wanderings. Under such circumstances, to say that you are surrendering your mind to God is something quite un-understandable. When you have to struggle so much to control your own mind even for a short while and when your attempts in that direction are often futile, to take such a mind and put it at the feet of God and say that "I am surrendering my mind to you" seems to me to be ridiculous. Let us take the case of your various organs. When the situation is that the mind which is the ruler, which is the controller of all your organs, is in such a condition, what is the point in talking about the organs and surrendering all your organs to God?

So, when you say that you are surrendering to God your thought, your word, your deed, it is simply a kind of trivial satisfaction to yourself. This cannot represent the truth and the meaning of the word 'surrender'. God also never wants you to surrender and hand over to him everything that you own. In fact God has never asked for such a thing. If you make a proper attempt to understand the true meaning of the word 'surrender', you will understand that surrender really relates to another aspect and it should be interpreted in the background and context of Divinity only. It is only when you accept and when you believe that the Divine is present in every human being and in every living thing, that Divinity is omnipresent, then only can you understand the meaning of surrendering in thought, word and deed and you will also become one with God.

There is some justification for your talking of surrender when you are in full control of your mind, your words and your body. As soon as you are able to recognise the aspects of the omnipresence and the omnipotence of God, the feeling of ego, the feeling that there is an 'I' which is a distinct thing, will disappear.

In other words, when we try to understand the meaning of the word 'surrender', you will note that in the beginning Arjuna started asking questions of Lord Krishna, thinking that he is using his own intelligence, his own capacity of inquiry and his own ability of distinguishing right from wrong. He is thinking that he is using his own strength. Because he relied heavily upon his own powers and thought that his own powers were capable of excelling and exceeding God's powers, he landed himself into a difficulty and was not in a position to decide what he should do and what he should not do. As soon as Arjuna found it not possible to go ahead or even to go back, in fact when all his actions came to a stop, then he turned to Lord Krishna and said: "I will take your orders, I am not in a position to decide what I should do. I am ready to obey you and carry out whatever you want me to do and I will do so with my full heart". Thus he surrendered his thought, word, action, and all entirely to God. Such surrender is te lesson of Bhagavad Gita.

It is not correct to say that even this is complete surrender. A situation has arisen when he is ready to take whatever order God gives and obey it implicitly. In this situation, the position is that God gives orders and another individual is willing to execute them. In other words there is a duality here, in that the one who gives the order is God and the one who wishes to execute them is man. So long as there is this distinction in the mind of the individual, between God on the one hand and 'I' of the individual on the other hand, this cannot be accepted as complete surrender. There is bliss and happiness in unity. There is no bliss and happiness in duality. So when you are looking at the word 'surrender' in common parlance, in the ordinary way of doing routine things and interpret it by telling yourself that God has given you the order, God has told you what to do and you will accept that and will follow that, this meaning of surrender is right only in a limited sense. (SSB 72,96)

EXPERIENCE SURRENDER

"Fix thy thought on Me; be devoted to Me; worship Me; do homage to Me; thou shalt reach Me. The truth do I declare to thee; for thou art dear to Me. This is My teaching, My grace." "This is the path to come to Me. Give up all duties; surrender to Me; do not grieve; I shall liberate you from the consequences of all your acts."

Ah! Note the meaning and significance of these two stanzas. Is not this Act of Surrender enough to save you and to liberate you from the round of coming to - staying in - and leaving from this world? That is, seeing Him in every Being, being aware of Him every moment of existence, being immersed in the bliss of this awareness; That is, merged in the relationship caused by profound devotion and love to Him; all acts, big and small, dedicated to Him, Krishna (wish, will, attitude, activity, fruit, consequence) everything from beginning to end, the renunciation of all attachment to the self and the performance of all acts in a spirit of worshipful non-attachment. This is what the Lord seeks from you.

Of course, it is hard to effect this full surrender. But if man makes but the slightest effort towards it, the Lord Himself will confer the courage to pursue it to the end. He will walk with him and help him as a friend; He will lead him as a guide; He will guard him from evil and temptation; He will be his staff and support. He has said, "This course of action, if followed even to a small extent, will save him from terrifying fear." To follow righteousness is itself a source of joy; it is the path least beset with hurdles. That is the Teaching of the Lord.

"You will come near Me, you will be approaching Me"; that is to say, you will understand My Mystery, you will enter into Me, you will achieve My nature. In these terms, acquiring Divine Nature, Existence in God, Unity in God, are indicated. When one has attained the state of realising the Divinity in every being, when every instrument of knowledge brings the experience of that Divinity, when it alone is seen, heard, tasted, smelt and touched, man becomes undoubtedly a part of the Body of God and lives in Him and with Him. When this duty to your own progress is taken up you will get a new strength at the very first step; you will thrill to a new and purer joy; you will taste the fullness of bliss; you will be refreshed by a new holiness. (Geetha V 8)

The total dependence on God is considered as surrender. What is sought to be surrendered is your mind, but when it is itself turbulent and beyond your control, then how can you surrender it? Mind can only be surrendered when it is serene. In that stillness of mind one apprehends the all-pervasive aspect of God. Knowing that God is present in everything, then where is the question of surrendering? Who is to surrender and to whom is he to surrender? It is only when you have the idea of duality that this word has some significance. If you reach the stage of non-dualism in your mind, then there is nothing to surrender. (SSB 73,248)

SURRENDER - 3 STAGES

There are three types of surrender: I am Thine, You are mine and Thou art I. The first affirms, I am Yours; the second asserts, You are mine, and the third declares You and I are One, the Same. Each is just a step in the rising series and the last is the highest step of all.

In the first stage, 'I am Thine', the Lord is fully free and the devotee is fully bound, It is like the cat and the kitten; the cat shifts the kitten about as it wills; the kitten just mews and accepts whatever happens. This attitude is very gentle and is within easy reach of all.

In the second, 'You are Mine', the devotee binds the Lord, who is to that extent 'un-free'! Surdas is a good example of this attitude. "Krishna! You may escape from my hold, from the clasp of these arms; but you cannot escape from my heart, where I have bound you", challenged Surdas. The Lord just smiled and assented; for, "I am bound by My devotees", He asserts so without any loss of self respect. The devotee can tie up the Lord with his love; by devotion that overwhelms and overpowers his egoism. When man is full of this type of devotion, the Lord will Himself bless him with everything he needs. His Grace will fulfil all his wants. Remind yourself here of the promise made by the Lord in the Gita. "I carry the burden of his welfare".

Next, about the third stage: 'Thou art I'. This is the inseparable devotion. The devotee offers all to the Lord, including himself, for he feels that he cannot withhold himself. That completes his surrender.

The 'Thou art I' feeling is the non-dualistic surrender, based on the realisation that all this is God and nothing less, nothing else. So long as the consciousness of the body persists, the devotee is the servant and the Lord is Master. So long as the individual feels that he is separate from other individuals, the devotee is a part and the Lord is the Whole. When he progresses to the state when he gets beyond the limits of the body as well as of 'I' and 'Mine', then there is no more distinction; devotee and Bhagavan are the same. In the Ramayana, Hanuman achieved this third stage through devotion. (Geetha V 19)

 
return to contents index
return to top of this page