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Secret of Surrender

by Swami Sivananda

Sakrudeva prapannaya tavasmeeti cha yachate;
Abhayam sarvabhutebhyo dadamyetad vratam mama.

"I remove all fears of all beings even if they come to Me only once and seek My refuge; calling themselves as Mine-This is My vow. " -Sri Ramachandra's vow.

Throughout the Gita there is a ringing note that surrender and devotion are absolutely necessary for the attainment of God-consciousness. In reality, the nine modes of devotion (Navavidha Bhakti) are reducible to one, viz. , Atmanivedan. The following Gita Slokas will impress on your mind the importance of devotion and self-surrender:

Tameva saranam gachha sarvabhavena bharata;
Tatprasadat param santim sthanam prapsyasi sasvatam.

"Flee unto Him for shelter with all thy being, O Bharata; by His Grace thou shalt obtain supreme peace, the everlasting dwelling-place. " (XVIII-62. )

Manmana bhava madbhakto madyajee mam namaskuru;
Mamevaisyasi satyam te pratijane priyosi me.

"Merge thy mind in Me, be My devotee, sacrifice to Me, prostrate thyself before Me, thou shalt come even to Me. " (XVIII-65. )

Sarvadharman parityajya mamekam saranam vraja;
Aham tva sarvapapebhyo mokshayishyami ma suchah.

"Abandoning all duties come unto Me alone for shelter; sorrow not, I liberate thee from all sins. " (XVIII-66. )

Slokas 65 and 66 of Chapter XVIII are the most important Slokas of the Gita. The gist of the teaching of Lord Krishna is here. If anyone can live in the true spirit of these Slokas, he will realise the goal of life soon. There is no doubt of this.

The self-surrender must be total, ungrudging and unreserved. You must not keep certain desires for gratification. Mira says: "I have given my whole heart, mind, intellect, soul, my all to my Griridhar Gopal. " This is perfect self-surrender.

A real devotee will not ask the Lord even for Mukti. So long as the subtle desire for liberation lingers in one's heart he cannot claim himself to be a true devotee of the Lord. Though the desire for emancipation is of Sattvic nature, yet the devotee has become a slave of Mukti. He is still selfish and so is unfit to call himself a sincere lover of God. He has not yet made total, unreserved self-surrender. To ask for Mukti is a variety of hypocrisy. Can a true devotee dare ask anything from God, when he fully knows that He is an ocean of love and compassion?

A real devotee never complains anything against God. A raw Bhakta speaks ill of God when he is in distress. He says, "I have done 25 lakhs of Japa. I am studying Bhagavata daily. Yet God is not pleased with me. He has not removed my sufferings. God is blind. He has not heard my prayers. What sort of God is Lord Krishna? I have no faith in Him."

A real Bhakta rejoices in suffering, pain and destitution. He welcomes grief and sorrow always, so that he may not forget God even for a second. He has the firm belief that God does everything for his good only. Kunti Devi prayed to Krishna: "O Lord! Give me pain always. Then only I will remember Thee always. "

In Puri a saint who completely dedicated himself to Lord Hari was seriously ailing from chronic dysentery. He became quite helpless. Lord Jagannath was serving him for months in the form of a servant. The law of Prarabdha is inexorable. Nobody can escape from the operation of this infallible law. The Lord did not want the Bhakta to take another birth for the exhaustion of his Prarabdha. So His devotee had to suffer from protracted ailment. This was his Karmic purgation. But He Himself served him, as the devotee surrendered himself completely. Look at the unbounded mercy of the Lord! He becomes a slave of His devotees when they entirely depend upon Him.

Self-surrender does not mean retirement into the forests. It does not mean giving up of all activities. Tamas or inertia is mistaken for self-surrender. This is a sad mistake. What is wanted is internal surrender. The ego and desire must be annihilated. This will constitute real surrender. The Rajasic mind stands obstinate to effect complete self-surrender. Obstinacy is a great obstacle in surrender. The lower nature again and again raises up to assert itself. There is resurrection of desires. Desires get suppressed for some time. Again they manifest with redoubled force. Man is dragged hither and thither by these desires. Believe in the divine possibilities. Completely dedicate yourself to the Lord. Have full trust in Him. Rest in peace. All cares, worries, anxieties, tribulations and egoistic efforts will terminate now.

Look at Prahlada's surrender and faith in God! He completely resigned himself to Lord Hari. No other thought save thoughts of God occupied his mind. He had His full Grace and benediction even though he was ill-treated by his father in a variety of ways. He was hurled down from the top of a cliff. He was trampled by the elephant. He was poisoned. He was thrown into the sea with the legs tied by iron chains. Cobras were thrown over him. His nose was filled with poisonous gases. He was thrown over fire. Boiled oil was poured over his head. Yet his faith in Narayana was not shaken a bit. The Name of Narayana was always on his lips. Such must be the faith of every devotee.

The lower nature must be thoroughly overhauled. All old, wrong habits must be completely destroyed. Then the surrender becomes complete. Do not make plans and speculations. "Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof. " Keep the mind and the intellect passive. Allow the Divine Will and Grace to work through your mind and Indriyas. Become silent. Feel His Grace and Love and enjoy the Divine Ecstasy. Be at ease.

Pray to God fervently, "O Lord! Make my will strong to resist all temptations, to control my Indriyas and lower nature, to change my old evil habits and to make my surrender complete and real. Enthrone Thyself in my heart. Do not leave this place even for a second. Use my body, mind and organs as instruments. Make me fit to dwell in Thee for ever. "

Give up all ideas of duty and responsibility. Allow the Divine Will to work unhampered now. This is the secret of surrender. You will feel yourself a changed being. This exalted state is ineffable. A great transformation will come upon you. You will be enveloped by a halo of divine effulgence. You will be drowned in indescribable bliss, peace and joy. Your old little self is dead now. You are now a changed spiritual being. Your individual will is merged in the Cosmic Will. You are now illumined by the Divine Light. All ignorance has melted now. Enjoy the immortal, divine life wherein there is neither despair nor fear, neither hunger nor thirst, neither doubt nor delusion. Shine in Divine Splendour and Glory, O my beloved Visvanath! Radiate peace and joy all around.


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