My self-giving is my God-becoming

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Surrender clings to God with all the might of the soul.
Surrender clings to God with all the love of the heart.
Surrender clings to God with all the will of the mind.
Surrender clings to God with all the dynamic energy of the vital.
Surrender clings to God with all the snow-white emotions of the body.

— Sri Chinmoy

Question: What is the most important inner wealth that a seeker can have?

Sri Chinmoy: In the spiritual life our most precious wealth is surrender. We are born with surrender, so that no one is without this wealth in infinite measure. But unfortunately, some seekers are unable to use this wealth.

Sometimes we can have infinite wealth, but this infinite wealth may not be worth much. We cannot feel that an infinite amount of cotton is the same treasure as an infinite amount of gold. Naturally, even a small quantity of gold will be more precious than an infinite amount of cotton.

In our path, surrender is the most effective key to open the door of the Eternal. This surrender has to be vigilant, conscious and constant. Before each action is performed, while it is in the process of being performed and after it has been completely performed, the seeker has to feel the living breath of surrender. To whom? To the Inner Pilot.

Question: What is the meaning of conscious surrender?

Sri Chinmoy: The meaning of conscious surrender is to surrender our ignorance to our light, our imperfect nature to our perfect nature, our undivine consciousness to our divine consciousness. We have to know that although the feet and the head are in the same body, there comes a time when we see or feel that the feet are in deep ignorance, whereas the head is in light and delight. If the feet want to enjoy the light and delight that the head is enjoying, then they have to surrender their existence to the head. But before surrendering, the feet have to feel that they are part and parcel of the head. Similarly, when our lower consciousness is aware of the fact that it is part of the higher consciousness, the higher existence, then we can try to transform our lower nature into our higher nature.

It is like climbing up a tree: we have to climb up from the root at the bottom of the tree. When we reach the topmost bough, there we get the most delicious fruits. But if we don't start at the root, if we don't climb up right from the ground, then how are we going to get the fruits? While we are on the ground we have to know that there is fruit at the top.

Conscious surrender means awareness, awareness of our highest existence or our most aspiring part and awareness of our lowest existence, our least aspiring part. The moment our lowest existence surrenders itself to our highest existence, the lowest becomes completely one with the highest.

When earth surrenders, the unaspiring qualities in us surrender. To whom do they surrender? To Heaven. What is Heaven? Heaven is our aspiring part, our illumining part.

Question: How can we surrender to the Supreme?

Sri Chinmoy: Let us say that as a child, when you were about three years old, you used to always listen to your mother. Perhaps you don't always listen to her now; but when you were a child, there were many things your mother asked you to do or not to do. Did you do anything wrong at that time by listening to her? No. Your mother asked you not to touch fire and you believed her. If you had touched the fire, it would have burnt your hand. But just because you were obedient and you surrendered to your mother's will, you escaped being burnt. There were many things she asked you not to do and you didn't do them. As a result you were saved.

You have to have this same kind of faith in the spiritual life. You need to have a childlike simplicity and sincerity to tell you that your spiritual Master, like your mother, will not disappoint you or deceive you. You are now a child, a baby in the spiritual life. You have to feel that if you can have the kind of implicit faith which you had in your childhood, then you will again be fulfilled. When you were a child, the moment you saw that your mother was not near or around you, you felt helpless. A child needs his mother around him all the time. In the spiritual life also, we have to know that when we need the inner guidance, the guidance of the Master, we are safe. When we miss or lose that inner guidance, we are unsafe. Your spiritual Master will not deceive you; your Inner Pilot will not deceive you. No! Surrender comes only when one has faith in somebody else, when one has more faith in that particular person than he has in himself.

If you do not have a Master and you practise meditation, then you have to go deep within and feel that the inner voice knows far better than you do. Unfortunately, the seeker is very often misguided. Sometimes the voice of the vital resembles the inner voice of the soul. Then the seeker is mistaken and he suffers, thinking that he is listening to the soul's dictates.

You can also become a child just by unlearning. Ignorance and darkness have taught you many things which you have now to unlearn. A child knows practically nothing; he knows only how to love his mother and that is more than everything for a child. Everyone has to unlearn things that the mind has taught him.

So when we pray, when we meditate, the first thing we should do is to get rid of doubts, suspicions and other negative qualities. You have faith in your arms so that you can strike someone or you can fight with someone. That is your limited capacity. But if you can have faith in somebody else who is much stronger than you and if you can please him, then naturally he will be able to use his strength for you. In the spiritual life also, if you can please your inner being, your soul, your Inner Pilot, your spiritual Master, with your limited capacity, then you will see that the object of your adoration is bound to give you something far beyond your imagination. If you please your parents when they want you to do something, then if you ask them for money or for some other material help, immediately they will give it to you. They will give it to you because they have much more money than you have, much more capacity in various fields. But if you don't please them, then they will give you nothing.

When a child comes running to his father with a nickel he has just found in the street, he says, "Look, Father, I have found a nickel!" The father is so happy that his son has come to him. The child's sole possession, his only wealth is a nickel. With this nickel he could have gone to a shop and bought candy or used it in some other way, but he didn't do it. Instead he came home to his father with this little nickel. Naturally the father is pleased and gives the child a quarter or dollar instead of the nickel. The father sees that his child has the heart to give what he has: he gives his best possession without any hesitation.

In the spiritual life also, you give a little aspiration, which is your nickel, during your prayer or meditation for a few minutes early in the morning. Then immediately the spiritual Master will invoke so many things for you: Peace, Light, Bliss, Joy and Delight. But you have to give an iota of your aspiration, for five minutes or half an hour of meditation in the morning. When we feel that in order to learn something we have to give something of our own, then we will see the result.

God will never be indebted to us. We do have a little capacity; we meditate on God for a few minutes each day. But are we exercising this capacity or not? The moment He sees that we are regular in our meditation, that we are sincere and earnest and that we have accepted this approach to the spiritual life wholeheartedly, God showers His boundless Compassion on us in the form of Light, Delight and Peace.

So give to God what you have: your childlike faith and inner cry. If you can give Him your inner cry and have implicit faith in Him, then surrender will automatically loom large in your life of aspiration.

Question: Is there an art to surrendering? If so, how can we learn it?

Sri Chinmoy: Surrender itself is an art, the supreme art. How will you learn this art of surrendering? It is through gratitude. Right now you want to surrender your existence to the Supreme. There are many in your spiritual family who do not even have the word 'surrender' in their spiritual dictionary; but in your dictionary you have now discovered the word 'surrender'. So you should be grateful to the Supreme. At last you know that surrender is the key, whereas your sister or brother disciple has nothing to do with surrender.

Others will feel that "Might is right," but in your case right has become might. If somebody asks, "What is your right?" you will say, "My right is to surrender to God and become His chosen instrument, His chosen child." The moment you have the feeling that you are chosen, you try to develop the capacity to express your gratitude to the Supreme, to the Inner Pilot, for His inner guidance. Then automatically surrender comes. You feel that with the inner guidance you are everything and without the inner guidance you are nothing.

Question: How can I have grateful surrender to the Will of the Supreme?

Sri Chinmoy: You can have grateful surrender to the Will of the Supreme if you can just feel that not only is He doing everything for you, but He has already done everything for you. We show our gratitude to someone who has done something for us or who is going to do us a favour in the long run. Every day, while you are offering your gratitude to the Supreme and your surrender to the Will of the Supreme, please feel that everything that is fulfilling, everything that makes you a perfect instrument and an immortal divine soldier of the Supreme, has already been done for you.

When you think of grateful surrender, please feel that everything has been accomplished by the Supreme, for you and in you. When you read the book of universal knowledge, you have only to turn the pages; the book has already been read by the Supreme. It is His book and He has also given you the knowledge. The only effort you have to make is to turn the pages and feel that the Divine Supreme has already read the book. He has not read it for Himself; He has read it only for you.

Question: When we surrender unconditionally, are we conscious of the fact that we are surrendering?

Sri Chinmoy: We have to know that there are different types of surrender. One is partial surrender or limited surrender. This is the surrender of mutual good, giving and taking, compromise. If I give you fifty per cent, you give me fifty per cent. Or if I give you thirty per cent, you give me seventy per cent. I give you something, you give me something; I surrender to your will, you surrender to my will. In each case we make a bargain. But there comes a time for unconditional surrender. In unconditional surrender there is no expectation. Even if I don't give you anything, you give me one hundred per cent of what you have and what you are. This is the type of surrender that a real disciple makes to his Master.

The first time one sees a spiritual Master, if he gets real joy, then he knows that this is his real Master. From that day he tries to make total surrender with joy. He says to the Master, "To the end of my life, until I breathe my last, I shall offer you my devoted love and surrender." Even if the Master does not look at him, even if the Master intentionally, deliberately speaks ill of him, saying that he is the worst person on earth or the worst disciple, he will not mind. He says, "Let my Master not give me happiness. Let him not give me anything. On the contrary, let him speak ill of me at every moment." If he is ready to be a disciple and remain a disciple even if he gets no smiles or flattery or appreciation from the Master, then that disciple has made unconditional surrender.

In this world if we give someone five thousand dollars, tomorrow he will be kind to us. But whether we give five thousand dollars or five million dollars, it is all material wealth. Today we give it; tomorrow it is all gone. But spiritual wealth which is love, devotion and surrender, is infinitely more fulfilling. When a disciple offers his purest love, purest devotion and purest surrender to the Master, it can never be lost. The Master gives him everything in boundless measure. If a disciple gives a little love, a little surrender to the Master, then the Master surrenders to him wholeheartedly. The disciple may surrender to his Master once in a blue moon or once in six months. But the Master surrenders to all the whimsical thoughts, absurd ideas and imperfections in the disciple. The poor Master goes on surrendering to the disciple's doubt, to his fear and to his limitation. When it is a matter of surrender, who has made surrender to whom? It is the Master who has made surrender to all the disciples. Each disciple made surrender on the lucky day when he accepted his Master and that is enough for him; but in the Master's case, his surrender has to be constant.

Why does the Master make this unconditional surrender? Who wants to remain indebted? In this world only a fool will remain indebted. If you give something to someone and he does not give you anything in return, he is a fool. The disciple gives his capacity of surrender to the Master. This is why the Master gives his unconditional surrender to the disciple.

Total surrender means surrender according to one's capacity. One disciple has the capacity to surrender for four hours a day. Another has the capacity to make surrender for one hour a day. Another may have the capacity to surrender for only one second a day. Each has his capacity. But if he uses that capacity for one second, then total surrender he is making for one second. Those who have not accepted the spiritual life don't make even that one second of surrender in twenty years or during their whole life. So the Master will be pleased even if one second is the maximum capacity for a disciple. But if a disciple can give surrender for four hours, ten hours, or twelve hours and if he can keep this surrender as long as he is alive, then he can become the most perfect disciple. And this means that he will become the most perfect manifestation not only of his Master but of the Absolute Supreme.

When we have made total unconditional surrender to the Supreme, at that time we become totally one with Him. When a vessel is empty, it makes a sound. But when the vessel is full to the brim there is no sound; it is complete. Right now we are struggling and struggling, but when we are surrendered it is as if we are in a flow of consciousness.

When a runner begins to run he exerts his limbs to the limit. Then after a few minutes his movement becomes very spontaneous. When he doesn't run spontaneously he loses his coordination; then he feels that he is exerting the right hand, the left hand, the right shoulder, the left shoulder, all separately. But when he is running the fastest, he will feel that he is not running at all. His movement becomes automatic and he feels that there is no exertion. The legs, the hands and the shoulders spontaneously work together. Although his movement is very fast, it is as if he were doing nothing at all. Real surrender is like that. When we make our total unconditional surrender to God, we feel that we do nothing, absolutely nothing; we have become. When we become something, at that time we don't do anything. Action ends the moment we become. The act of our surrendering is being transformed into manifestation. Action ends the moment we become. The act of our surrendering is being transformed into manifestation. Action does not remain as action; it becomes the manifestation itself. When we make total surrender, we grow into the real divinity.

Question: How can I integrate the process of surrender in my whole being, in my body, in my mind, in my vital, in my heart, in my soul? How can they all come forward to the Supreme's Will?

Sri Chinmoy: Feel that there is a ladder right in front of you. The first rung is the body, the second rung is the vital, a little higher is the mind, then a little higher is the heart and then finally comes the soul. You have to remember all the time that there are five rungs in the ladder, not one rung. You have to feel that even if you reach the first rung, you will not be totally safe: you may fall down. You have to continue to climb up step by step and then only can you use your surrender.

When you place your foot on the first rung, look up to see if there is anybody to lend you a hand. Just place your foot on the rung that is the body and look up. Immediately you will see that somebody from above is pulling you. He will pull you up to the vital step. Then again look up. Again his hand comes and pulls you to the mind-step, the mental plane. Each time he will see your sincerity. He will notice if you are looking up or not, if you want to go higher or if you are satisfied where you are. If he sees that again you want to go one step higher, he will pull you to the heart-rung, then to the soul-rung.

This is how you will integrate surrender in the entire being. First with your inner aspiration you try to feel that inside your gross physical body there is Peace, there is Light, there is Bliss, there is Energy. Never think that in the body there is nothing. We have put all kinds of doubts into our physical being, but there also, amidst all kinds of silly nonsense, there is a diamond. That diamond is the soul. Right now it is covered by all kinds of rubbish as the diamond is covered by coal. But if we empty our inner vessel, we immediately see the diamond.

In your case, to integrate your surrender is to make yourself feel that there is not a single portion of your body where God or Light or Truth does not exist. Just touch your finger: immediately you have to feel that God is there. Just touch your knee, God is there. Don't think, "Oh, God cannot be in my leg, in my foot. He will remain deep inside me." Do not neglect the physical, thinking that the physical is integrally one with the vital. Do not neglect the vital, thinking that the vital is integrally one with the mind. No, everything has its own place. Without the physical you cannot do anything. If you are sick, then you cannot work or meditate, no matter how much you want to. The necessities of the physical are of paramount importance. Again, if you don't have the dynamic urge of the vital, you will never be able to do anything. And if you don't have the mind, you are lost, because the mind tells you where to go and what to do. Then you have the heart which tells you what is pleasing and satisfying. Each member of your family must cooperate with you and with each other. When all the members of your family cooperate with one another, divine Light illumines your entire being.

Question: I would like to know how one can tell the difference between a complacent attitude and surrender.

Sri Chinmoy: When you have a complacent attitude, you have the feeling that everybody is massaging your feet. You feel that the world is at your feet and you are getting joy by becoming its Supreme. You will feel that your joy is the result of something you have done. You have run two miles so you lie down and say, "I am exhausted; I deserve a rest."

But when you have real surrender, you feel that you are in a position to touch and massage everybody's feet and this will give you the greatest joy. At this time you will never feel that you deserve something. You will only feel that you have not yet finished your task. Still you have not served enough, or you have not yet expanded your consciousness.

When we have a complacent attitude, we feel that we deserve recognition and many other things after we have done something for only two hours. But when we have surrender, there is a cheerful expansion of our consciousness and to this expansion there is no end.

Question: Must one have humility in order to be surrendered?

Sri Chinmoy: Surrender and humility cannot be separated, although they are not one and the same thing. They can never be separated because one feeds the other. If you are really surrendered, then you are humble. If you are really humble, then you must also be surrendered.

Question: At times, when praying and meditating on surrender, I am moved to copious tears. I feel that these are tears of frustration. How can I aspire for and concentrate on surrender without becoming so emotional?

Sri Chinmoy: I am sure you know that when the soul expresses its joy with tears, it means that the soul is expressing its deepest gratitude through the physical being. In the soul's joy, there can be no frustration. There you feel only a vast and total oneness with the Highest on the strength of your surrender.

At times, however, during your meditation and prayer, you feel the uncertain drive of your yet-uncontrolled emotional vital. Since you have a few times experienced the tears of your soul's joy, which are a kind of divine Light, the frustration that lies in your unlit emotional vital cannot last for long. Again, if your prayer is flooded with purity and your meditation is surcharged with luminosity, even in the domain of the gross vital you will have, instead of frustration, a partial sense of psychic realisation in the form of the heart's spontaneous joy. The spontaneous joy of the heart will easily enable you to meditate on total and integral surrender. So please try to illumine your emotional vital through your soul's light. Once the limited emotional vital is illumined, it enters into the boundless sea of all-achieving and all-fulfilling Surrender.

Question: Guru, could you explain the differences between dependence and surrender?

Sri Chinmoy: First I must say that there are two types of surrender. One is the surrender of the slave to the master. He surrenders unwillingly; he is afraid that his master may punish him or do anything at all with his life. He surrenders out of fear.

The other type of surrender is to feel that our darkest part is surrendering to our brightest part, 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. They say, "We belong to a spiritual Master who has ten million disciples and we feel that if we can depend on his love, his affection, his smile, his grace, then we will become very, very great. People will appreciate and admire us." These people depend on the Master for some kind of recognition. Since this is their inner motive, their dependence is very bad.

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. When the child feels that he is helpless, immediately the mother herself comes. The child has the sincere inner conviction that he cannot budge an inch or do anything without his mother's help, so the child gets the mother's help. If the disciple also feels that he entirely depends on the Master's grace, his dependence is founded on a higher plane. If one depends in this way on the Master's will, affection and love, then he can make the fastest progress.

But if one has an independent will and wants to remain independent of the Master's will, then that person has to take full responsibility for his own will. Some people make the Master feel that they depend on him today, but tomorrow they can function perfectly without him. Perhaps for one day they will depend on the will of the Master hoping that their desires will be fulfilled. To depend on the Master with that kind of motive is all wrong.

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. Some are not fully aware or don't have the conviction that this higher part is also theirs. But if their dependence is based on the conviction that they do have something higher than they actually are now on the physical plane, then they are going to make very fast progress.

If we have a free access to that higher plane and feel that that 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.

Question: Is there a conflict between the heart and the mind in our efforts to surrender?

Sri Chinmoy: Very often it happens that it is the vital or the mind that causes conflict. Someone came to me the other day because he was getting pain in the chest near the heart. I told him that his vital and mind are on one side and his heart and soul are on the other side. There will come a time, for him and for others like him, when the heart and soul will allow a compromise. Who wants to fight all the time? The vital and mind are unruly children and they are not under our control. So after some time the heart and soul allow the vital and the mind to go their own way. They say, "All right, let us make a kind of compromise. What can be done?"

But again, there comes a time when the heart and soul of a seeker will not care for any compromise because they also have their strength. The soul is infinitely more powerful than the vital and mind, so the soul and the heart challenge and fight the vital and the mind. They say, "Now this time we really want your complete and permanent transformation. No compromise; we have to win."

At the time of this conflict, the mind has to surrender to the will of the heart and soul. The real aspiring heart has no will of its own because it is constantly crying and aspiring to reach the Highest. The heart's aspiration is already at the root of the tree, which is realisation. But until the mind is illumined, it will also cry; it will cry until it constantly cries with the heart.

The heart will never leave the mind behind. We have to allow the heart to capture the mind and not allow the mind to doubt, suspect or delay the progress of the heart.

Question: How can you surrender when your vital does not want to?

Sri Chinmoy: Think of your vital as a tennis ball. The tennis ball is in your hand. You have played with this ball for some time and you are very familiar with it. Usually you throw it against the wall and it comes back to you. But now all of a sudden you feel that you can throw it very hard and very far. Feel that you have thrown the ball out into the sea. That sea is the sea of ignorance. Just throw your vital there and forget about it. Also feel that you do not know how to swim. The sea of ignorance will take care of your vital. You just remain in the heart. The best thing is not to think of your vital; don't even think that you have a vital. But if you see that you do have a vital, throw it immediately into the sea of ignorance. Then forget about it and remain in the heart. That is one way.

There is also another way to control the vital so that you can make surrender. Each time you are tempted, observe the fulfilment that you get from your vital as you do the thing that you are tempted to do. Do what you want to do, but then be an impartial judge. The moment you become an impartial judge, automatically your divinity will come to the fore. Your soul will give a mark of zero out of a hundred to your vital demand. But if you don't become a judge, then you quickly become one with your action. You listen to the vital and your very willingness to accept the vital's demands is your surrender. When you become the judge you give zero out of a hundred to your action. Again, when you are ready to stand in judgement, you have to feel that there is something superior to your action which has inspired you to become the judge. The action you have performed, but you are no longer one with the action. When you become a judge, at that time you are totally separated from the action, you are a neutral party. Since you are neutral, whether your action is good or bad you will think that somebody else has done it, not you.

A judge has two parties to deal with. He himself does not belong to either party. When you become the judge, immediately you will see that the two parties are the vital and the heart; two members of the same family are both claiming you. The vital is claiming you as its very own and the heart is also claiming you as its very own. It is up to you to be partial to one of them. Immediately you will say, "O my heart, I want you and not my vital." In that way you separate yourself from the vital the moment you become the judge. You put the heart on one side and the vital on the other side. In this way you can make your surrender.

Ultimately it is the heart that will win, never the vital. And when the heart wins, the heart will illumine the vital; it will not destroy the vital. Our heart never destroys anything, it only illumines. If the vital is impure, then it will be purified; if it is unlit, then it will be illumined. Nothing is ever destroyed, it is only transformed — transformed and illumined.

Question: Is it advisable to pray to the Supreme to make a problem take a different form from what it now has?

Sri Chinmoy: No, it is not advisable. Everybody can pray in the morning to the Supreme, "Let Thy Will be done." That is a true prayer. But in the actual incidents that take place during the day, the desiring vital is asking one thing and the aspiring heart is asking something else. We see that our individual will does not surrender because of its own desiring qualities. But the aspiring heart will naturally want to be on the side of the Supreme's Will. Consciously and devotedly, if we take the side of the aspiring heart, then our individual will surrenders to the Will of the Supreme.

If you remember a time during the past fifteen or sixteen days, when you surrendered your will to the Will of the Supreme, then you should concentrate on that particular incident. It can inspire you to again offer your own individual will to the Will of the Supreme.

Question: How does karma affect surrender?

Sri Chinmoy: How your karma affects your surrender entirely depends on what kind of action you do. If it is divine action, then automatically surrender comes. We cannot separate a divine action from surrender itself. Now there is a difference between divine action and so-called good action. When you don't tell lies, when you don't scold, insult or strike anybody, that is a good action. But divine action is all the time to hear the inner voice. You cannot perform any divine action without hearing the dictates of the soul. First you hear the message from within and then you act. That is called divine action. And when you constantly do the divine action it is called surrender.

So-called good action you have heard about from your parents, from your friends, from everyone. But if you do good action it all becomes something moral; the mind is telling you how to act. You have got some idea such as, "Don't tell a lie." All right, you don't tell a lie; but even if you remain absolutely honest, even if you become the most honest person on earth, your honesty cannot take you to God. Honesty is also necessary, but just by becoming a sincere person one cannot reach the goal. For that one has to become divine. Who is a divine person? You are a divine person provided you hear the message that you get from within, and you listen to that message. When you listen to the message, your karma is bound to be divine. Your action itself is your surrender because you listen to someone within you who knows everything and who is everything.

If we can perform a divine action, it automatically helps our surrender; that divine action is surrender itself. But what if we just perform mental action or action that is to be done out of duty? It is your bounden duty to help your family. But are you constantly getting the message from your soul to say this thing to your son, that thing to your wife and something else to your daughter? If you don't get the inner message and you just offer your wisdom because you are the head of the family, you have every right to do so; but you do not know how many times you may be giving false and wrong advice. Your mind will say that it is the absolutely correct advice. But I wish to tell you that if it does not come from the soul, your advice can be totally wrong. Even the highest advice from your mind can be all false. Your false advice will definitely affect not only you, but your dear ones also. But if your advice comes from your heart, then even if your dear ones misunderstand you or do not listen to you at all, I tell you that your action is nevertheless bound to produce surrender in your own life. You have played your role. Now if your daughter does not listen, it is not your fault. You have said something which has come directly from God, from the Inner Pilot. God Himself will be responsible if your daughter does not listen because the message has come from Him. You have merely executed His Will; you are His instrument. But if the message does not come from God within you, then your action can be totally wrong and your karma will be wrong. So I always say that parents or elder members in the family have every right to tell the children what to do and what not to do. But they have to know whether their advice is coming directly from their soul or from the so-called information that they have acquired because they have been on earth much longer than the other members of the family. Naturally you have accumulated all kinds of information and knowledge, outer knowledge, during your life. But this is no indication that you are getting divine messages and direct vision in your inner life.

When you get some message from within, please feel that listening to the message is itself surrender to God's Will. While obeying, you are swimming in the sea of Light. That kind of action not only expedites your spiritual progress, but it is the best surrender. To listen constantly to the divine Will is the best surrender. Again, the karma from action done on the basis of the morality and earthly knowledge you have acquired may quite often stand in your way. It can create problems for you.

I always say that only divine action leads us to God and not the so-called good action or bad action of the moral life. That does not mean we should become immoral. Far from it! But sometimes we give too much importance to morality. Let us say that while walking a person looks around to see if there is an ant, a worm or an insect on his path. If he sees any tiny creature, then he stops in order to avoid killing it; he won't move even though there is somebody waiting for him and he is supposed to go straight towards his goal. But he does not consider that every time he breathes in, so many insects and little creatures are destroyed.

Everybody stays on earth through the sacrifice of somebody else. God makes a sacrifice for all of us and that is why we live on earth. God's action is the divine action. God has asked us to breathe in; He has commanded us. Out of moral action if we stop breathing and die, just because we will destroy some of the little creatures, this is very far from God's intention. So this is karma. But the wisdom that comes from the heart tells us that God wants us to stay on earth and that He is inside us; He is inside those things that are being destroyed by us. If God Himself is in these creatures, then naturally nothing is being destroyed. God Himself is there. So we have to know which is divine action and which is our so-called good and moral action. Good action and moral action are totally different from divine action.

Question: How can the aspirant surrender while living in the world?

Sri Chinmoy: If the aspirant is really sincere and absolutely honest, then he has to feel that the inner world is infinitely more important than the outer world. It is in the inner world that a divine decision first takes place. If the aspirant wants his outer life to be guided, moulded and transformed by the light of the inner world, then his outer life has to accept and abide by the decisions of the inner world.

When we say outer world and inner world, we are separating the two worlds. But for the real aspirant there is no outer world, no inner world; there is only one world. He listens only to his Inner Pilot, whom he calls his Guru, his Master. Then he is in the inner world, he is in the outer world and at the same time he is beyond both worlds. The disciple has to know that unconditional surrender comes on his part only when he feels that the inner world and outer world have become totally one.

How can the two worlds become one? The outer world can become totally one with the inner world when the aspirant listens to the dictates of the inner world. At the beginning, unconditional surrender is like a muscle. It can be developed slowly and steadily. But if it is not constant, this unconditional surrender will lose its strength. Today, somebody who makes unconditional surrender to the Supreme in his Master will say, "Whatever you say, Master, immediately I will do." Most of the time this surrender is for today only, for twenty-four hours; tomorrow it will be all conditional. But if total surrender becomes constant, that is to say, forever, then surrender becomes unconditional.

The outer world will always remain in doubt, anxiety, worry, fear and limited consciousness. But in the inner world, there is Peace, Light and Bliss in infinite measure. There the aspirant wants to deal with Infinity. That Infinity dawns on him only when he constantly listens to the Master. The Master's will and the Supreme's Will are always one; they can never be separated. The Master has no individual will. An ordinary person has his individual will, his egoistic will, his own personality. But the Master is not bound by personality or individuality; he just executes the Will of the Supreme. He is a channel. If the aspirant wants to make unconditional surrender to the Supreme in the Master or to the Master himself, then he has to feel that his inner world, his outer world, all his worlds, are inside the very heart of his Master.

Question: How can we surrender our anxiety for liberation?

Sri Chinmoy: First of all, you are using the wrong word: anxiety. In the spiritual world, there is no anxiety. When you are full of anxiety, it means you are disturbed and perturbed. Anxiety comes when you have done something wrong or somebody else has done something wrong or when people misunderstand you. But when it is a matter of liberation, the word you have to use is 'eagerness'. Some people are eager to get liberation; again, some people are overeager. They say, "I have to reach the goal right now." It is like crying to become a millionaire overnight. These people are eager to realise God overnight, in ten minutes or in ten seconds, in the time it takes to prepare instant coffee.

Now, how can you control your eagerness? Eagerness as such is not bad; it is good. But eagerness is often followed by impatience. You should be eager to realise God today. When today has ended, if you have not realised God, then tomorrow you should again be eager to realise God. The same eagerness you should maintain tomorrow also and the next day and so on. This way, one day you will see that you have touched the goal. But if you become impatient, then you are limiting the strength of your aspiration. Your impatience will pinch you like a monkey or it will be like a tiger inside you that will be devouring you.

Impatience makes you feel that everything can be had for the asking, but it is not like that. You have to pray for it. When you pray for it, then only you will be satisfied. If you work for something and then get the results, you are satisfied. Otherwise, you will not relish the results. The father has money, but if he gives all the money to his child, the child will squander it; he will not value it. But if the child works and then the father gives him money, then the child gets joy.

Eagerness should be maintained, but impatience should not be allowed to enter. In the spiritual life, when you want to realise God, eagerness is extremely good, but we have no right to the date. God has His own Hour and that is the time for you to realise Him. Pray to Him to grant you realisation at His choice Hour. Then you can try to accelerate your progress. At that time if He has decided that He will give you realisation in ten incarnations, He may change His plan and give it to you in forty years. But by pushing and pulling God you will not be able to get realisation today; by hook or by crook you will not get it. But if you pray, "O God, give me liberation, give me realisation at Your choice Hour," then God will be so pleased He will expedite your realisation.

There are many people on earth who say, "O God, I am in Your eternal Time. Let me take rest. I will live an ordinary life. You give me illumination in Your own time." But this is the wrong attitude. You have to work very hard every second, twenty-four hours a day, for liberation through your dedicated service, through your prayer, through your entire spiritual life. Then you surrender to God's Will. You say, "God, at Your choice Hour give me liberation." After doing everything that you can, you will see that realisation does not depend on your working very hard. It entirely depends on God's Grace. But He will give you Grace, He will show you infinite Compassion only when He feels that you have done your best, you have played your role. When you have played your role, He will play His role. He will give you what you wanted and infinitely more.

Question: How can I remind myself that my only aim here on earth is to surrender my life to you?

Sri Chinmoy: When you have many things to do, at that time you remind yourself so that you won't forget something. On earth you have twenty things to do at a time, so you constantly remind yourself of the thing that you consider most important in your life. Otherwise, the important thing you will miss. And sometimes you forget even the most important thing, while the most unimportant thing you do. If you feel that you have many, many things to reach in the spiritual life, then naturally there will be tremendous confusion and you will forget. But instead of reminding yourself, feel that there is nothing else for you to do except the most important thing. If you feel, "There is only one thing to do: to surrender to the Will of the Supreme," then why will you have to remind yourself twenty-four hours a day to do it? The Christ revealed the supreme secret when he said, "Let Thy Will be done." In the spiritual life, you should feel that surrender not only is the most important thing, it is the only thing.

Question: How can I lose my existence in you in total surrender?

Sri Chinmoy: You can lose your existence in me in total surrender only by feeling that I am your most illumined part. I am part and parcel of you — you and I are one. Now you have to know that one part of you is illumined, most illumined, and you are trying to grow into that part. You are still unillumined. One part of us is transformed and the other part is not transformed. So the part that is not transformed has to feel its oneness with the illumined part and then it will be transformed by this oneness.

Question: Do you feel that most of your disciples are devoted and surrendered?

Sri Chinmoy: There are insincere disciples who doubt what the Master does for them in the inner worlds. But they say, "Let us have some faith in the Master anyway. At least he says that he does these things, although we don't feel it and we don't realise it. But let us believe what the Master says and let us also do something for him." Although it does not come from the bottom of their hearts, they inwardly say to the Master, "You say that you have done much for us. Therefore we say that we are going to do something for you."

But again, there are really sincere, dedicated and devoted disciples who feel that every day their spiritual Master does something significant for them in the inner world. These disciples are aware of real progress in their inner life as well as in their outer life. What they were before they entered into the spiritual life and what they are now shows them the vast difference between their past life and their present life. When they see the difference they get tremendous joy and they spontaneously try to dedicate their inner life as well as their outer life to the Master.

The Master offers to the sincerely devoted and dedicated disciples his true Concern, his soulful Concern. He offers to the doubting and insincere disciples his Compassion-Light. While dealing with them his Compassion overflows.

Now we come to the surrendering and surrendered disciples. If disciples have true devotion, then they will also have dedication. When they pass the test of dedication, when their dedication is complete, then they try to enter into the surrendering-world. First they try to surrender their inner life, then their outer life. At that time the Master gets a much greater opportunity to deal more effectively with the disciples' inner and outer beings. When an aspirant actually starts to surrender his inner life and his outer life to the Supreme in the Master, then the Master really sees his divine hope in that disciple. Gradually, slowly and steadily the surrendering disciple enters into the realm of the surrendered-world. And finally, when the aspirant surrenders totally, integrally and unconditionally, he becomes in no time the highest transcendental Pride of the Master and of the Supreme.

Now all of you know that Mother Earth has been blessed with many great spiritual Masters. Unfortunately, all of them have been most unfortunate in the matter of true, unconditionally surrendered disciples. Sri Krishna had very few disciples when he was alive. Only four or five persons knew who he really was. The Buddha's disciples misunderstood him when he took milk from Sujata, a beautiful woman, and they left him, although afterwards the Buddha, with his soul's inner light, recaptured them. There were only three or four people who thought that Sri Ramachandra was a real spiritual Master, not to speak of disciples who had made unconditional surrender to him. Sri Ramakrishna also had very few true disciples. In fact all the other spiritual Masters had the same fate. True, some Masters have hundreds and thousands of disciples. But when it comes to unconditionally surrendered disciples, the fate of these Masters is really deplorable.

Question: How can your disciples accept you unconditionally?

Sri Chinmoy: If you try to accept me unconditionally, I will be happy and proud. But it is simply impossible with our limited aspiration, limited determination, limited devotion and dedication, to surrender unconditionally in the beginning. Each moment you have to think of me. Whatever you do, do it with the idea that you want only to please me and not to please yourself or others. When you have this feeling, you won't be able to do anything wrong because wrong things will never please me.

Before unconditional surrender there will be many other steps. If you try to climb up one step at a time, it will be much easier. Unconditional surrender is most difficult. It is the last stage of the journey, the last rung of the ladder. Many times before people reach the last rung, they will get tired and fall down and break their legs because the journey is very difficult.

Your surrender is your highest divine pride. One who is really divine can make absolute surrender, implicit surrender, unconditional surrender. Nobody can ever realise God unless he has made unconditional surrender. If you are under the impression that only a God-realised person can make unconditional surrender and that for ordinary human beings it is impossible, then you are mistaken. I did make unconditional surrender, long, long before I realised God. So everybody was like you once upon a time — even spiritual Masters.

There are many Masters who did not get unconditionally surrendered disciples and that is why they could not give realisation to their disciples. A child must have hunger for the mango and not for something else; a disciple must have hunger for realisation and not for something else. If I do get unconditionally surrendered disciples from any part of the world, then their names will be forever recorded in my heart. Not only that, but I will also declare their victory to the world. If a disciple does not achieve unconditional surrender, then he has to take incarnation again and again. But if he is praying and meditating most devotedly, according to his capacity, then naturally he will realise God long before others who are not aspiring at all.

Only the chosen few who are destined to play the major roles in the Mission of the Supreme can be surcharged with this dynamic light which is called surrender, conscious oneness with the Master's will and the capacity to see the Truth through the Master's eyes. The seeker has not to tell the Master, "O Master, show me the Light," No! Instead, the seeker must say, "Master, let me see the Truth through your eyes." There is the greatest difference between these two requests. When one wants to see the Truth through the Master's eyes, then the Truth is absolutely the purest. But when one wants to see the Truth directly with one's own eyes, without the Master's help, then the Truth may play some tricks on him.

Truth may come in the form of temptation and try to take you away from your path. You will see that, like ignorance, Truth also tries to tempt you when you go to it directly. But when you go to the Truth with the help of the Inner Pilot, the Master, then Truth in its absolute, divine aspect waits for you. At that time there can be no temptation. There is only the feeling of absolute realisation and oneness with the highest Truth. You have the greatest advantage when you see Truth with the Light of the Highest inside you, which is your Master, the Guru, the Supreme, the golden All.

Question: If we give you everything on the physical plane, will we grow more into your soul?

Sri Chinmoy: Absolutely. Physical work is the body's prayer, the body's meditation. You can surrender while you are washing dishes, while you are providing any kind of service. If you are surrendered to me, then you become a perfect instrument.

In prayer you go to God and ask Him to please do this or that; and in meditation God comes and tells you what to do. During your prayer you go up so your Father can please and fulfil you; and during your meditation He comes down and asks you to manifest Him. This kind of prayer and meditation you can do in the physical plane while you work. Devoted service is a real form of prayer and meditation. When you do dedicated service, you are performing the task of your soul.

Question: What happens to the ego of the disciple when he makes total surrender?

Sri Chinmoy: At that time the ego is transformed. While you are bathing, your body becomes clean. When you jump into the swimming pool, you surrender your whole existence to the water and immediately your body becomes clean. Similarly, think of the ego as something dirty and throw it into the sea of light. When you make total surrender to your Master, you enter into the sea of Light and become illumined. When you enter into the sea of water, the dirt is dissolved but the body remains the same. You have not lost your body, but the same body is clean, purified. One minute ago it was dirty, but now you have jumped into the water and it is clean. In the same way when the ego enters into the sea of Light, when it surrenders its existence to the sea of Light, then immediately it becomes illumined.

Question: How can we surrender ourselves to you every day?

Sri Chinmoy: Every day you can make your surrender to the Supreme in me. Before you make a decision, before you do something, before you even think of something, always have the feeling that there is someone who is inwardly concerned at every moment about your real progress, your real success, the real fulfilment of the Divine in you. When you feel that your Master is all concern inwardly for what you are saying, for what you are doing, for what you are thinking, then you can easily make your constant surrender to the Supreme in me.

Question: What should be the behaviour in the outer world of a disciple who has made surrender to the Master?

Sri Chinmoy: That is a very good question. A disciple who has made surrender to the Master has to feel at every moment that the Master is his harbinger and that he exists only for the Master, here on earth and there in Heaven. There are two worlds, Heaven and earth. Each disciple has to feel that he came to earth only for the Master and that in Heaven he will exist only for the Master.

Poems from the first edition

27. Reality

My mind-thought
Has no reality.

My life-actions
Have some reality.

My perfection-surrender
Is the final Reality.

28. Surrendering dedication

Damaging imperfection:
That is what I was.

Crying expectation:
That is what I am.

Surrendering dedication:
That is what I shall be.

29. He who surrenders

He who sees

He who believes
Not only knows, but does.

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

30. Drunk with surrender

Drunk with power
I came to my Lord.
He ignored my power.

Drunk with beauty
I came to my Lord.
He ignored my beauty.

Drunk with surrender
I came to my Lord.
He offered me His Throne of Light,
His Crown of Delight,
His Palace of Truth,
His Kingdom of Love.

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