Question: Could you explain the difference between dependence and surrender?

Sri Chinmoy: In real surrender we feel that our darkest part is surrendering to our brightest part, that our unlit part is surrendering to our fully illumined part. Let us say that my feet are in darkness and my head is in light. My feet are surrendering to my head, knowing perfectly well that both the feet and the head are parts of the same body. This is the surrender of oneness. One enters into surrender knowing well that the brighter part is equally his.

We have to know what kind of dependence a seeker has. Some people are clever; they depend on the spiritual Master or on some higher authority, but only with a motive behind their dependence. But there is another type of dependence: a child’s dependence. An innocent child feels that his father and mother will do everything for him. He feels that he is helpless. He has the sincere inner conviction that he cannot budge an inch or do anything without his mother’s help, so he gets the mother’s help.

To have true dependence, one has to feel that he is hopeless without the divine Grace of the Supreme. This kind of dependence helps us immensely. Some of my disciples feel that if they leave me even for one day, they will be totally lost, like children in the desert. Those who have that kind of sincere feeling will make real progress. They are dependent, but not like beggars. They depend on the higher light. When they depend on me, they feel that they are depending on something higher, which belongs to them.

If we have a free access to that higher plane and feel that the higher plane is also ours, then naturally we can depend on the higher plane. In that sense dependence is very good. Otherwise, most of the time people are telling a lie when they say they depend on God’s Will or they depend on the Master’s will. By saying this they only try to draw the attention of other disciples. They say, “Oh, Guru has said to do it? Then we will do it.” Yet inwardly, two hundred times they have refused to do it. Outwardly they may do it, but with utmost inner unwillingness. So this kind of dependence is not good at all.

If your dependence is absolutely sincere, if you feel that without the help of the Supreme you cannot breathe, then this is surrender. When you breathe in, you depend on your life-breath. If your life-breath goes away, then you don’t exist. Similarly, if you can feel that you are totally depending on the Will of the Supreme, which is far more important than your life-breath, then this dependence is true surrender.