Love, devotion and surrender
American International School; Zurich, Switzerland
27 November 1970
Love is sweet, devotion is sweeter, surrender is sweetest.
Love is sweet. I have felt this truth in my mother’s spontaneous love for me.
Devotion is sweeter. I have discovered this truth in my mother’s pure devotion towards the perfection of my life
Surrender is sweetest. I have realised this truth in my mother’s constant surrender towards the fulfilment of my joy.
Again, love is mighty, devotion is mightier, surrender is the mightiest.
Love is mighty. This truth I feel when I look at my father’s face.
Devotion is mightier. This truth I discover when I sit at my father’s feet.
Surrender is mightiest. This truth I realise when I live in the breath of my father’s will.
Love, devotion and surrender. St. Augustine has blessed us with a profound message, “Love and then do what you like.”
Our mind thinks that this is absolutely true. Our heart feels that this is undeniably true. But unfortunately, in our day-to-day life we are not able to practise it. That is to say, we do not know what love is. We do not know why we love something or someone. Finally, we do not know how to love.
What is love? From the spiritual and inner point of view, love is self- expansion. Human love binds and is bound. Divine Love expands and enlarges itself. Here we are dealing with Divine Love.
Devotion is the intensity in love, and surrender is the fulfilment of love. Why do we love? We love because at every moment we are pinched with hunger to realise the Highest, to feel the inmost, to be consciously one with the universe, with the Universal Truth, Universal Light, Peace and Bliss, and to be completely fulfilled.
How to love? If we love with a view to achieving something from others, then our love is no love. Love means constant self-offering on the strength of our own inner aspiration.
This world of ours needs peace, joy, bliss, harmony, and understanding. We feel that here on earth there is no light, no truth, no divinity—nothing of the sort. All the divine qualities, all aspects of the Lord Supreme, are in the skies, in the deep blue skies, not here: this is what we feel. Hence we always look up high for help. We feel that God is in Heaven, not on earth. To rescue us, God will come down into the world. He is not to be found here on earth. Here we are wallowing in the pleasures of ignorance. There can be no light, no truth here.
But we must realise that God, being omnipresent, is here, too. He is within us. He is without us. In the inmost recesses of our heart, we feel His living Presence.
As you all know, George Bernard Shaw has warned us, “Beware of the man whose God is in the skies.” But our God is everywhere. He is not only in Heaven, He is also here on earth. He is with us, He is within us, and He is for us. We do not have to enter the highest regions of consciousness to see God. Our inner cry will bring to the fore our inner divinity, which is nothing other than God.
Surrender. Surrender is protection, and surrender is illumination. Surrender is our perfection. We begin our journey at the very commencement of our life. We surrender our existence to our parents and receive, in return, protection. We listen to our parents. We surrender to their will, to their advice and suggestions, and we are protected, well protected. Joy boundless we feel in our day-to-day life when we are children. Why? Because we surrender our personal will, our own inner thinking, to our parents, and immediately we receive joy plus protection. In protection is joy, and in joy is protection.
Now, in the evening of our life, what happens? If we follow the inner life and the spiritual life, in the evening of our life we also surrender. To whom? To the Inner Pilot, the Lord Supreme. At the end of our journey we surrender our very breath to the Supreme. Then we again get joy, perfect joy, unalloyed joy.
To quote Dante, “The happiest man is he who can connect the evening of his life with the beginning.”
Now, if we are all sincere seekers of the Ultimate Truth, then our journey begins with surrender to our parents, who are our well-wishers, our dearest and nearest ones. When we surrender our existence to them, we get joy in abundant measure. Then, when we walk along the path of spirituality, at every moment we try to listen to the dictates of our inner being. The more we listen to our inner being, the greater is our joy, and the higher our fulfilment. And then, when our term is over, when we have to enter into another world for a short rest, if we consciously surrender to God’s Will, ours will be the supreme joy, the glory supreme.
It is difficult to love mankind. It is difficult to devote ourselves to mankind. It is difficult to surrender ourselves to mankind. This is true. In the same way, it is difficult to love God, to serve God, to devote ourselves to God, and to surrender our living breath to God.
Now, why? The simple reason is that we want to possess and be possessed. We are constantly making ourselves victims of ignorance. That is to say, our desires can never be fulfilled. We have countless desires. God will fulfil only those desires that will be of some use, from which we will derive benefit. If He were to fulfil our countless desires, then He would be doing an injustice to our aspiring souls. That He will not do. He knows what is best for us and He has given us beyond our capacity, though unfortunately we are unaware of this.
St. Francis, from his own experience, has offered a unique truth to the world at large, “He who thinks that God’s Love is inadequate is very greedy.” Truly, we are all greedy people. If we go deep within, we see, we feel, we realise that God has given us infinitely more than we need and, needless to say, more than we deserve.
Love, devotion and surrender. These are the three rungs in the spiritual ladder, or should we say the ladder of our evolving consciousness. The first rung is love; the second, or penultimate, is devotion; and the ultimate is surrender.
A tiny drop enters into the ocean and becomes the mighty, the boundless ocean. Unfortunately, in the West, surrender is misunderstood. We feel that if we surrender to someone, he will then lord it over us. We will have no individuality or personality. From the ordinary point of view, the human point of view, this is true. But from the spiritual point of view, it is absolutely wrong. When the finite enters into the Infinite, it becomes the Infinite all at once. When a tiny drop enters into the ocean, we cannot trace the drop. It becomes the mighty ocean.
Each moment we are given ample opportunity to love mankind. And if we really love mankind, then we have the feeling of wanting to offer devoted service to mankind. And then when we really want to enlarge our existence, expand our consciousness and be one, inseparably one, with the Vast, then surrender is the only answer.
Each moment we see right in front of us a barrier between one human being and another—an adamantine wall between two people. We cannot communicate properly, wholeheartedly, and soulfully. Why? Because we are wanting in love. Love is our inseparable oneness with the rest of the world, with God’s entire Creation. We can break asunder this adamantine wall on the strength of our soulful love.
India’s greatest poet, Rabindranath Tagore, said, “He who loves finds the door open.” So our heart’s door is already open for those who really, truly and soulfully love.
God loves us out of His infinite Bounty, and His Heart’s Door is always wide open. Just because He is all Love, we approach Him. He is our dearest, not because He is omniscient and omnipotent, but just because He is all Love.
Love, devotion and surrender.
To serve and never be tired is love.
To learn and never be filled is devotion.
To offer and never to end is surrender.
Love is man’s Reality.
Devotion is man’s Divinity.
Surrender is man’s Immortality.
Reality is all-pervading.
Divinity is all-elevating.
Immortality is all-fulfilling.