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.