Surrender is to one’s own original Being
Talks With Ramana Maharshi
It is enough that one surrenders oneself. Surrender is to give oneself up to the original cause of one’s being. Do not delude yourself by imagining such source to be some God outside you. One’s source is within yourself. Give yourself up to it. That means that you should seek the source and merge in it. Because you imagine yourself to be out of it, you raise the question “Where is the source?”
If you merge in the Self there will be no individuality left. You will become the Source itself. In that case what is surrender? Who is to surrender what and to whom? This constitutes devotion, wisdom, and investigation.
Among the Vaishnavites too, Saint Nammalvar says, “I was in a maze, sticking to ‘I’ and ‘mine’; I wandered without knowing my Self. On realizing my Self I understand that I myself am You and that ‘mine’ (i.e., my possessions) is only You.” So says Saint Nammalvar.
Thus, you see, Devotion is nothing more than knowing oneself.
Dr. Syed: How is Grace to be obtained?
M.: Similar to obtaining the Self.
D.: Practically, how is it to be for us?
M.: By Self-surrender.
D.: Grace was said to be the Self. Should I then surrender to my own Self?
M.: Yes. To the one from whom Grace is sought. God, Guru and Self are only different forms of the same.
D.: Please explain, so that I may understand.
M.: So long as you think you are the individual you believe in God. On worshipping God, God appears to you as Guru. On serving Guru He manifests as the Self. This is the rationale.
D.: I want to know how I can gain that peace of mind. Kindly be pleased to advise me.
M.: Yes – devotion and surrender.
D.: Am I worthy of being a devotee?
M.: Everyone can be a devotee. Spiritual fare is common to all and never denied to anyone – be the person old or young, male or female.
D.: Grace is necessary for the removal of ignorance.
M.: Certainly. But Grace is all along there. Grace is the Self. It is not something to be acquired. All that is necessary is to know its existence. For example, the sun is brightness only. He does not see darkness. Whereas others speak of darkness fleeing away on the sun approaching. Similarly, ignorance also is a phantom and not real. Because of its unreality, its unreal nature being found, it is said to be removed.
Again, the sun is there and also bright. You are surrounded by sunlight. Still if you would know the sun you must turn your eyes in his direction and look at him. So also Grace is found by practice alone although it is here and now.
D.: By the desire to surrender constantly, increasing Grace is experienced, I hope.
M.: Surrender once for all and be done with the desire. So long as the sense of doership is retained there is the desire; that is also personality. If this goes the Self is found to shine forth pure.
The sense of doership is the bondage and not the actions themselves.
“Be still and know that I am God.” Here stillness is total surrender without a vestige of individuality. Stillness will prevail and there will be no agitation of mind. Agitation of mind is the cause of desire, the sense of doership and personality. If that is stopped there is quiet. In the statement, “Be still and know that I am God”, ‘Knowing’ means ‘Being’.
D.: Miseries appear in the waking state (jagrat). Why should they appear?
M.: If you see your Self they will not appear.
D.: If I turn to look who I am, I do not find anything.
M.: How did you remain in your sleep? There was no ‘I-thought’ there and you were happy. Whereas there are thoughts flowering in the wake of the root-thought ‘I’ in the waking state (jagrat) and these hide the inherent happiness. Get rid of these thoughts which are the obstacles to happiness. Your natural state is one of happiness as was evident in your sleep.
This is exactly what is conveyed by the Mahavakya Tatvamasi (You are That). Find your Self, and then “That” is known.
D.: But I am unable to do it. I am too weak to realize my Self.
M.: In that case surrender yourself unreservedly and the Higher Power will reveal Itself.
D.: What is unconditional surrender?
M.: If one surrenders oneself there will be no one to ask questions or to be thought of. Either the thoughts are eliminated by holding on to the root-thought ‘I’ or one surrenders oneself unconditionally to the Higher Power. These are the only two ways for Realization.