What does surrender really mean?

Surrender means oneness, inseparable oneness with our infinite, eternal, immortal life. Without surrendering, we will not know that we are infinite, eternal and immortal. As soon as we enter into the sea, we experience the consciousness of the sea itself. We may swim in only one particular spot, but the consciousness of the vast sea becomes ours. Here the finite consciously enters into the Infinite. Surrender means conscious oneness of our real Self with the Infinite. When we surrender, we become one with the infinite Eternity, which is a seeker’s birthright. At this time we do not lose our own finite individuality; instead we now become the possessor of divine Infinity. The imperfect nature becomes totally one with the perfect nature. Our surrender has become our accomplishment, our fulfilment.

Let us not play with the word “surrender”. It is a most significant and soulful word in the aspirant’s life. An aspirant can use the word in and out of season, but when the actuality of surrender comes, the aspirant will be ready for anything but surrender. Difficulty is one thing; impossibility is another. It is impossible for an aspirant to surrender unless he understands the meaning of surrender. He has to be careful not to desecrate the absolute purity of the word “surrender”.

In human surrender the slave surrenders to the master and we are shocked because that is beneath our dignity. Here, the slave pleases the master out of fear, not out of love. In ordinary human surrender, we lose our personality and our individuality. When we say, “I surrender to you,” we fear that the one to whom we are surrendering will lord it over us. When he says, “Stand up,” we have to stand up. If he says, “Sit down,” we have to sit down. We feel we are at the feet of this person.

Spiritual surrender is not the surrender of a slave to a master. Spiritual surrender is our absolute oneness with our own highest part, with the Supreme. We do not surrender to somebody other than ourselves. No! When our Master stands in front of us and bows down, to whom is he bowing? He is bowing to the Supreme in us. And when we bow down with folded hands to the Master, we are bowing to the Supreme in him. His Highest and our Highest can never be two different things; they are the same.

To understand the truest meaning of surrender, we have to remember that it must be constant and unconditional. The moment we ask the Supreme the significance of His Will or the motive behind His action, there is no surrender. In true surrender we do not ask what or why. Surrender means to jump into the sea of the unknown. Today we find ourselves in the sea of the unknowable; tomorrow, in the sea of the unknown; the day after tomorrow, in the sea of the known. The following day we have become the unknowable, the unknown and the known.

When I surrendered myself

When I surrendered myself
 To the morning light,
God‘s Eyes of Beauty
  Blessed me.

When I surrendered myself
 To the midday light,
God‘s Heart of Beauty
  Blessed me.

When I surrendered myself
 To the evening light,
God’s Hands of Beauty
  Blessed me.

When I surrendered myself
 To the inner light,
God the Eternal Beauty
  Blessed me,
   Embraced me,
    Claimed me.

The necessity of surrender

How can we surrender to the Will of God? First let us ask ourselves whether we can accomplish anything worthwhile by not following the Will of God. Can we be truly happy by not surrendering to God’s Will? The answer is “No”. We cannot be happy without surrender to God’s Will. Why are we going to surrender to God’s Will? Are we going to surrender to God just because we are helpless? If we are very sincere, we will have to answer “No”. We are not surrendering to God because we are helpless or because God is making us feel helpless. We are not helpless and God is not making us feel helpless. We shall surrender our will to God’s Will because we are not satisfied with what we have and with what we are.

There comes a time in our spiritual life when we realise that we are not satisfied with what we have, whether it is material wealth or inner wealth, or with what we are. At that time we are ready for surrender. How does one surrender? It is very easy. When we feel the need for surrender, automatically the means will come. If we are desperately in need of surrender, if we feel the soul’s inner urge, if our entire being wants to surrender to God’s Will, then automatically we will be given more than the necessary capacity, assurance, Compassion and Light from above and within. When we surrender, we empty all our impurity into God and He replaces it with His Purity and His Divinity.

Surrender to God’s Will entirely depends on our necessity. If we feel that our life is meaningless, that we won’t be satisfied or fulfilled without surrendering our earthly existence to God’s Will, then surrender will be possible for us.

The Christ’s message was, “Let Thy Will be done.” The Son said that we are all God’s children and God’s Will has to be fulfilled. What the Bible speaks of is repeated in our message of surrender. It also says the same but in a different form. All spiritual Masters have come into the world with one message: love God and inside God see and love humanity; then surrender the individual will to the Will of the Supreme.

All truths are the same. Truth is nobody’s monopoly. Before the Christ, Lord Rama came, Sri Krishna came and Lord Buddha came. They also spoke about love, devotion and surrender. Everything about love, devotion and surrender is written in the Bhagavad-Gita. When Sri Krishna became one with God, he said to Arjuna, his dearest disciple, “Surrender everything to me.” The Christ also said, “Surrender everything. Let the Will of the Almighty Father be fulfilled.” In the Buddha we can see his Compassion and what he did for humanity. He was ready to sacrifice his life for just a little bird. He was all Compassion and Love. Sri Ramakrishna was always Love: Love the Mother, Love the Truth.

Before we can prepare ourselves for surrender, we have to acquire the capacity for love and devotion. If we do not feel love and devotion, then what is the necessity for surrender? Is there anything that can compel us to surrender to someone? No. We surrender just because we love, just because of our devotion. God can never compel us to surrender; it is we who have to feel the necessity of loving God and devoting ourselves to God every second.

We start with love. Even in the ordinary life, when we love someone, what do we do? Just because we love that person we gladly surrender to him, even if he is an ignorant person. If I really love someone, then I have to devote my life and my entire being to that person or his life. In the spiritual life also, if we really love God, who is all Light and infinite Wisdom, then we have to devote ourselves to the inner life, to God. We will feel that without truly devoting ourselves to God, it is impossible to love God. So love and devotion must always go together.

We love and devote ourselves to the Supreme. But when we feel that this is not enough, we have to surrender to the Will of the Supreme. When we devote ourselves to something or someone, we may have an ambition or a hankering for a personal way of getting the Truth. Some will say to the Supreme, “I am doing this for You; I have devoted all my life to You and expect You to give me something in return.” This is quite natural, but in the highest spiritual life it is wrong. Others will say, “I shall give what I have and what I am to God. If God does not like me or want me, then He may give me nothing; it is up to Him. My duty is to serve Him with what I have and what I am; it is His Duty to give to me or not to give to me, to utilise me or not to utilise me. Anything I need to please myself, God will give me. If He has something else in mind for my life, I will do it. ‘Let Thy Will be done.’ ”

A real seeker will try to please God in God’s own Way. A real seeker will say that if God wants him to remain in the sea of ignorance, he will remain. This is called surrender.

Surrender is misunderstood in the Western world. We have to be very careful when we use the word “surrender”. It is not the surrender of a slave to the master. We are not slaves; we are God’s children. The Western world is a world of freedom where nobody is going to be a slave to anyone else. But in real surrender we are not surrendering our existence to a human being or to a human personality. No! We are surrendering our existence to the infinite Will within the person whom we call our teacher. While a tiny drop remains separated from the infinite ocean, it is just a tiny drop; but the moment it enters into the mighty ocean, it becomes the ocean itself. A tiny drop will be afraid of the ocean if it maintains its individuality. It will say, “I will be totally lost. It is such a vast ocean.” But if the tiny drop has a little intelligence, it will say, “If I enter into the mighty ocean, then I will become the ocean.” And as soon as it enters into the ocean, it will get the utmost satisfaction.

Our path of love, devotion and surrender will lead to the same goal as the path of jnana, wisdom. But we feel that the path of love is easier. The very word “God” conquers our heart, not because God has infinite Power, but just because God is all Love. God is the mightiest on earth. But if we concentrate on God as infinite Power, our human nature is so feeble that we shall not be able to approach Him. If we say, “God” and immediately feel that He is all Love, infinite Love, then we are right. His Love is His Power. If we approach God through love, this is the easiest and quickest way to surrender.

Just surrender!

Don't conclude,
 Just watch!
Lo, God is blessing you.

Don't watch,
 Just feel!
Lo, God is loving you.

Don't feel,
 Just surrender!
Lo, God is embracing you.

God’s Grace and surrender

Surrender is our ultimate achievement. There is no difference between God’s Grace and our unconditional surrender. God’s Grace and our unconditional surrender are like the obverse and reverse of the same coin. If God did not give us that kind of Grace, then we could not make unconditional surrender. To receive God’s Grace is a real achievement. To make unconditional surrender is also a real achievement. God is showing us Compassion, not because surrender is something inferior, but because surrender is something that God cherishes and treasures.

We are mistaken if we feel that our surrender is like a helpless child in the dark. We should feel rather that our surrender is like a roaring lion. We can say to ourselves, “I am surrendering to the One who is infinitely more powerful. I am surrendering to the One who really cares for me.” It is best to feel that there is nobody else on earth: no father, no mother, no brother, no sister, no husband, no wife. We cannot claim others or even ourselves. The Supreme is the only person here on earth and there in Heaven whom we can claim as our very own.

Touching God’s Feet is also a form of surrender. When we touch God’s Feet we feel that we are doing absolutely the right thing; we are not bloated with pride that Grace descended and gave us the chance to touch God’s Feet. But when we touch the feet of a human being, we feel that we are doing it under compulsion, not out of joy. If we surrender to human beings and not to the Divine, then in addition to stupidity, our surrender becomes a kind of bondage.

But when we surrender to the One in us who is illumined, who is realised, then our surrender is going to our Source, to our Highest.

Why should somebody get the power of surrender when somebody else does not get it? If the seeker desperately needs God, then only surrender is bound to come. But if he feels that he has to surrender like a slave, because God is infinitely more powerful than he is, then he will surrender only to his stupidity and his ignorance. The moment he offers his ignorance, he gets wisdom from God. He tells God: “God, I am giving You what I have.” God says, “Give it to Me, my son, with the condition that you don’t take it back.” If we give to God without asking Him to return something to us, then God will give us what He has. He will say, “All right, why should I remain indebted to you? You have given Me what you have; now let Me give you what I have.” If we give to God and then take back our gift, God does not owe us anything. But if we give to Him unconditionally, He will give us what He has: His Wealth. God’s Wealth is His Divinity, His Love and His Vision.

Thought, will, surrender

O face of thought,
  You are my abysmal disgrace.
O heart of will,
  You are my supernal lustre.
O soul of surrender,
  You are my sempiternal pride.

Personal effort and God’s Grace

To make the fastest progress, God’s Grace plus personal effort, self-effort, is required. Some seekers say, “If we care for God’s Grace, then what is the necessity of personal effort here on earth?” They are mistaken because personal effort will never stand in the way of God’s descending Grace; personal effort expedites the descent of God’s Grace to earth.

Surrender is not something we can suddenly offer to God. Total surrender requires personal effort; again, total surrender can play the part of personal effort. God can give us all that He wants without even an iota of personal effort from us. He says, “It is for your own satisfaction that I ask you to make this little personal effort.” When we can make this personal effort, our whole life will be surcharged with divine pride: “See what I have done for God?” Our conscious oneness with God, who is infinite, who is eternally immortal, prompts us to do something for our Dearest and not for our ego.

But if somebody asks, “What have you done for God?” what will be our answer? Silence. We can be bloated with pride and say, “God has done this for me, God has done that for me, God has done everything for me!” Or we can be consciously and spontaneously proud that God has accepted us as His very own, that He is helping us and blessing us.

If we sincerely make personal effort, then God is bound to be pleased with us. Why? Because He can tell the world, “My child, my chosen instrument has done many things for Me.” We can prove ourselves worthy of our existence on earth and at the same time we can make God proud of our personal effort. But while making our personal effort, we have to know that in God there is infinite Grace. When Grace descends, there is no more personal effort; it is only dynamic self-surrender. When we offer the results of our aspiration and inner urge to God, that is called true surrender. If we do not offer the results to God and just lie like a dead body at His Feet, letting Him work for us, in us and through us, it is wrong. God does not want an inactive body, a dead soul. He wants someone who is active, dynamic and aspiring; someone who wants to be energised so that he can do something for God; someone who wants to realise God and manifest all the divine qualities here on earth.

He who surrenders

He who sees
 Hesitates.

He who believes
 Not only knows, but does.

He who surrenders
 Not only has become,
  But eternally is.

Surrender and will-power

Divine surrender, from the spiritual point of view, comes from will-power. If we have an adamantine will, then we will get the capacity to make unconditional surrender. Again, if we can surrender unconditionally to God, then we will get the capacity to develop will-power. Inner will-power, which is the soul’s light, and surrender, which is the oneness of our heart with the Absolute, always go together. They are inseparable. There can be no difference between the soul’s will-power and the unconditional surrender of our entire being to the Will of the Supreme. Both are equally strong. If we can make unconditional surrender to the Will of the Supreme, it is the result of our inner will-power, our soul’s light.

In the spiritual life the real Guru is the Supreme. At every moment we have to feel that our own Guru, who represents the Supreme, knows infinitely better than we do. We must then surrender to his will, not to our own so-called conviction. The Master and God will do something for us and in return we will do something for them. There is a mutual feeling of surrender between the aspirant and the Highest. To surrender unconditionally to someone, we need tremendous will-power. We accept surrender only theoretically, because when it comes to the practical life, we cannot obey our superiors for more than one or two seconds. Although we say, “He is my superior,” we immediately revolt because we feel that we know better than he does.

If we can have tremendous soul’s will-power, we shall be able to surrender to the Will of the Supreme. There is no difference between the soul’s will and life’s dedicated surrender.

Can't you surrender?

  O mind of man,
Do not sleep any more.
Can't you hear God
Knocking and knocking
 At your door?

  O heart of man,
Can't you surrender
Your insecurity-drop
To God-ocean
  And
Become the ocean-soul,
 Ocean-body
  And God-satisfaction?

Human surrender, divine surrender

Divine surrender to God’s Will is a dedicated surrender, devoted surrender, loving surrender and unconditional surrender. In spiritual surrender there is no compulsion. It is our inner urge that compels us to reach the highest height. In human surrender we notice tremendous force because we feel that we are under compulsion to offer our surrender to our superior, to our boss. We know that our existence here on earth is the existence of imperfection, limitation and bondage. But we have another existence all our own which is perfection, plenitude and infinity. There we are divine.

It is like the top and the foot of a tree. At the foot we are imperfect, we are not what we want to be; but at the top we can and will be what we want to be. At the foot we are undivine, quarrelling and fighting and acting like animals. But there at the top of the tree is boundless harmony, the feeling of oneness, ecstasy, peace and light. So when we consciously give our lower existence to our higher existence, it is the surrender of oneness. This surrender we make to our own highest height; we offer our dedicated life to the highest Supreme, who is our very own. We offer our various limitations to our own perfections. We do not feel sorry, embarrassed or ashamed. We surrender one place which is our possession, to another place which is also our possession.

When we offer our devoted and unconditional surrender to the Will of the Supreme, we feel that we have become true, chosen and perfect instruments of the Supreme. At this time the Supreme manifests Himself in and through us in His own Way.

Human will, Divine Will

In the morning
 Human will is confusion-forest.
In the evening
 Human will is contradiction-sea.
At night
 Human will is contention-sky.

In the morning
 Divine Will is love-realisation.
In the evening
 Divine Will is truth-manifestation.
At night
 Divine Will is God-perfection.

Surrender in meditation

Surrender first arises at the time of our meditation. Then this surrender permeates the entire being of the aspirant. Our meditation has to be completely conscious because what we need is conscious surrender. Conscious surrender is the easiest and most effective way to realise our deepest aspiration.

Before surrender becomes sincere, genuine and profound, the first thing that is required is peace of mind or, in spiritual terms, the calm mind. There are many types of mind: the quiet mind, the silent mind and the tranquil mind; but the calm mind is needed most. The calm mind creates a new and divine energy in us. When we consciously feel this new energy flowing from the top of our head to the bottom of our feet, at that moment we will get a glimpse of the Infinite in the finite. What we represent right now is the finite, but within us is the Infinite which we will consciously represent either in the near future or in the distant future. When we are aware of the divine energy flowing through us, then we can surrender ourselves without any personal effort. The very nature of this divine energy is to pull us into the strength of surrender. The energy itself is already strength but it serves to intensify the strength of surrender within us. This surrender is our oneness with our Highest. When we are in the physical, we surrender ourselves to the soul bit by bit, drop by drop. But when we are in the soul, we surrender our whole inner and outer life to the infinite Peace.

Human surrender, which is the conscious surrender of the aspirant, is something dynamic, progressive and fulfilling. If our meditation is conscious, then surrender comes easily. In surrender, our entire being sees the Light and wants to grow into the Light. So when we meditate, we should always try to feel that we are inspired and that we will consciously try to surrender. Only during meditation can we make the conscious effort of surrendering ourselves. Then a day will come when our conscious effort during meditation starts to bear fruit. We will see that our very existence will be crying daily for twenty-four hours with conscious aspiration.

When I surrender

   When I pray
I discover my long-lost God-Height.

   When I meditate
I discover my long-lost God-Depth.

   When I surrender
I discover my long-sought God-Satisfaction.