Question: Can you explain to us your philosophy of love, devotion and surrender?

Sri Chinmoy: We all know human love. Human love is to possess and be possessed. We feel that today or tomorrow we will possess someone. But to our wide astonishment, we find that before we possess that person we ourselves are mercilessly possessed by that person. Once we have possessed someone, we feel that we are strangling that person in the name of love, or we are already strangled in the name of love. But divine love is not possession. Divine love is only expansion. Real love is total oneness with the object loved and with the Possessor of Love. Who is the Possessor of Love? God. Love is the inner bond that connects man with God. We must always approach God through love. Love is the first step. The second step is devotion. The third step is surrender.

In the human world, devotion is attachment. We feel that if we are attached to someone, then we will get Peace, Light and Bliss from that person in abundant measure. But eventually we come to realise that our attachment is nothing short of our ignorance. We feel that if we are attached to a human being, we will get what he has and what he is. But, unfortunately, what he has is darkness and what he is is ignorance. And when he is attached to us, we do not feel that we are able to give any light to him. So attachment is something that constantly is taking us away from our reality. But if we have real devotion, devotion to a higher cause, to some higher reality, to the light within us, to the truth above us, at that time the highest Truth can operate in and through us. Attachment is to the world around us, the world which is full of ignorance. But when we are devoted, we enter into a higher world to bring down Peace, Light and Bliss from above and bring to the fore our own inner divinity. This is devotion.

Then comes surrender. We can surrender to our boss, who is equally ignorant and who will lord it over us, or a slave can listen to his master out of fear. That is one kind of surrender. But spiritual surrender is different. It does not arise from compulsion; it comes spontaneously from our joy, inner joy. In surrender to God, I become one with Infinity and I feel Infinity as my own reality.

There is a great difference between the surrender of laziness or utter helplessness and dynamic surrender, which is surcharged with aspiration. If out of laziness or helplessness we say, “I have surrendered. Now I don’t have to do anything,” this is not enough. Our surrender has to be dynamic, constantly aspiring to grow into or merge into the Infinite. Our surrender has to be conscious and spontaneous. When we surrender consciously and spontaneously to the infinite Truth, Peace, Light and Bliss, we become a perfect channel for these qualities to manifest in and through us on earth. In the West, surrender has been badly misunderstood. Here surrender is seen as submission to something or to somebody else. It is seen as a loss of individuality, an extinction of individuality. But this view of spiritual surrender is a mistake. If we really want to be one with the Infinite, the Ultimate, the Boundless, then we have to enter into it. It is like the tiny drop surrendering its individuality and entering into its source, the vast ocean. At that time, it doesn’t lose anything. It becomes the ocean itself. When we enter into the Ultimate, we do not lose our so-called little individuality. On the contrary, we become the Infinite itself. On the strength of our total oneness, we and the Infinite become indivisible.

When we surrender to God, we feel that God is our most illumined existence. The difference between man and God is this: man is God yet to realise totally who he is, and God is man yet to be fully manifested. Man is God; he is definitely God, but he has not realised fully who he is. And God is man, but He has not yet fully manifested Himself on earth. When we surrender our earthly existence to the divinity within us, we come to realise that man and God are one and identical.