Question: What is the difference between devotion and surrender?

Sri Chinmoy: In a seeker’s devotion, there is a kind of give and take. The seeker says, “I devote my entire life to you, but you have to give me inner realisation, illumination or something else.” This is conditional self-offering.

After devotion comes the stage we can call selfless love. Selfless love is when we love and don’t care for anything in return; we become one with the object of our adoration. In this love there is a subtle feeling that the Beloved will give us the best fruit because we will not bother him with silly emotional problems or desires, with “Give me this,” or “Give me that.” In selfless love, that stage has been done away with. The seeker knows that the Supreme will give him something nice, something worth possessing; he has not to ask for anything. This is selfless love.

Surrender is the last stage. In surrender we feel the absolute acceptance of the Divine and the Supreme. If we surrender our life totally and say, “God, I place my life entirely at Your Feet,” then our whole existence enters into God. God is Omniscient, God is Omnipotent, God is Infinite, so our surrender immediately becomes the Omniscient, the Omnipotent and the Infinite. Surrender is the quickest road to oneness with God. If we just jump into the ocean of Peace and Bliss, then we will become one with God.

In surrender we say, “No matter what God wants to give me, no matter what He wants to do with my life, I am ready. I fully surrender with my very breath, my very existence. Even if God does not want my help, my life or my existence, I will be happy.” At that time the disciple wants only the Will of God, the Supreme. This is true surrender.

It is very easy to say, “Let Thy Will be done.” But when we say this, we have to identify ourselves with God’s Will. How? Through surrender. If we really surrender, then we become one with God’s Will. In the spiritual life, there can be no better achievement and no more powerful weapon than surrender.