What is Surrender? How to do it?
An American Devotee said to Maharshi : I pray for a message to keep me up when I am away from the Master.
Maharshi said to him: The Master is not outside you as you seem to imagine. He is within, is in fact the Self. Recognize this truth. Seek within you and find Him there. Then you will have constant communion with Him. The message is always there; it is never silent; it can never forsake you: nor can you ever move away from the Master.
D.: I am a partner in an Engineering firm. But it is not of vital concern to me. I try to bring spiritual ideals into the work-a-day life of the firm.
M.: That is good. If you surrender yourself to the Higher Power all is well. That Power sees your affairs through. Only so long as you think that you are the worker you are obliged to reap the fruits of your actions. If on the other hand, you surrender yourself and recognize your individual self as only a tool of the Higher Power, that Power will take over your affairs along with the fruits of actions. You are no longer affected by them and the work goes on unhampered.
Whether you recognize the Power or not, the scheme of things does not alter. Only there is a change of outlook. Why should you bear your load on the head when you are traveling on a train? It carries you and your load whether the load is on your head or on the floor of the train. You are not lessening the burden of the train by keeping it on your head but only straining yourself unnecessarily. Similar is the sense of doership in the world by the individuals.
Maharshi explained to a Devotee about surrendering to the Higher Power.
The present difficulty is that the man thinks that he is the doer. But it is a mistake. It is the Higher Power which does everything and the man is only a tool. If he accepts that position he is free from troubles; otherwise he courts them. Take for instance, the figure in a temple tower (gopuram), where it is made to appear to bear the burden of the tower on its shoulders. Its posture and look are a picture of great strain while bearing the very heavy burden of the tower. But think. The tower is built on the earth and it rests on its foundations. The figure (like Atlas, the Greek God bearing the earth) is a part of the tower, but is made to look as if it bore the tower. Is it not funny? So is the man who takes on himself the sense of doing.
In another conversation with a Devotee, Maharshi explained about Surrender as follows.
In sleep you are centred within. Simultaneously with waking your mind rushes out, thinking this, that and all else. This must be checked. It is possible only for the agent who can work both within and without. Can he be identified with a body? We think that the world can be conquered by our efforts. When frustrated externally and driven internally, we feel “Oh! oh! There is a power higher than man.” The existence of the higher power must be admitted and recognized. The ego is a very powerful elephant and cannot be brought under control by anyone less than a lion, who is no other than the Guru in this instance; whose very look makes the elephant tremble and die. We will know in due course that our glory lies where the ego ceases to exist. In order to gain that state, one should surrender oneself saying “Oh Lord! You are my Refuge!” The master then sees, “This man is in a fit state to receive guidance,” and so guides him.
D.: What is Self-surrender?
M.: It is the same as self-control; control is effected by removal of mental tendencies (samskaras) which imply the functioning of the ego. The ego submits only when it recognises the Higher Power. Such recognition is surrender or submission, or self-control. Otherwise the ego remains stuck up like the image carved on a tower, making a pretence by its strained look and posture that it is supporting the tower on its shoulders. The ego cannot exist without the Power but thinks that it acts of its own accord.
D.: How can the rebellious mind be brought under control?
M.: Either seek its source so that it may disappear or surrender that it may be struck down.
D.: But the mind slips away from our control.
M.: Be it so. Do not think of it. When you recollect yourself bring it back and turn it inward. That is enough.
No one succeeds without effort. Mind control is not one’s birthright. The successful few owe their success to their perseverance.
A passenger in a train keeps his load on the head by his own folly. Let him put it down: he will find the load reaches the destination all the same. Similarly, let us not pose as the doers, but resign ourselves to the guiding Power.
A devotee asked about Sri Aurobindo’s views on Yoga, Surrender and Self-Realization.
Maharishi said : Aurobindo advises complete surrender. Let us do that first and await results, and if necessary, discuss further afterwards and not now. There is no use discussing transcendental experiences by those whose limitations are not divested.
Learn what surrender is. It is to merge in the source of the ego. The ego is surrendered to the Self, the Being that always prevails. Everything is dear to us because of love of the Self.
The Supreme Power, the Real Self is that to which we surrender our ego and let the Self, do what it pleases. The ego already belongs to the Self. We have no rights over the ego, even as it is. However, supposing we had rights over it, we must surrender them.
Self-Realization is only the removal of obstacles to the recognition of the eternal, immanent Reality.
Some Congressmen handed over some questions to Maharshi about India’s struggle for independence and Mahatma Gandhi.
The above questions were not answered categorically. Sri Bhagavan simply remarked:
Gandhiji has surrendered himself to the Divine and works accordingly with no self-interest. He does not concern himself with the results but accepts them as they turn up. That must be the attitude of national workers.
Q.: Will the work be crowned with success?
M.: This question arises because the questioner has not surrendered himself.
M.: First surrender and see. The doubts arise because of the absence of surrender. Acquire strength by surrender and then your surroundings will be found to have improved to the degree of strength acquired by you.
Three European ladies from the Theosophical Conference visited Maharshi. One of them asked :
“Is the whole scheme, the Plan, really good? Or is it in the nature of an error, a mistake of which we have to make the best?”
M.: The Plan is indeed good. The error is on our part. When we correct it in ourselves the whole scheme becomes all right.
D.: How can we help to change world suffering?
M.: Realize the Real Self. That is all that is necessary.
D.: Can we hasten our illumination for greater service to the world? and how?
M.: As we are not able to help ourselves, so we have to surrender ourselves to the Supreme completely. Then He will take care of us as well as the world.
D.: What I want is realization. I do not feel my inherent happy nature.
M.: Because the Self is now identified with the non-self. The non-self too is not apart from the Self. However, there is the wrong notion that the body is apart and the Self is confounded with the body. This wrong identity must be ended for happiness to manifest.
D.: I am unable to help myself.
Another engineer devotee suggested surrender to the Master.
M.: Your nature is happiness. You say that is not apparent. See what obstructs you from your true being. It is pointed out to you that the obstruction is the wrong identity. Eliminate the error. The patient must himself take the medicine prescribed by the doctor in order that he may be cured of his illness.
D.: The patient is too weak to help himself and places himself unconditionally in the hands of the doctor.
M.: The doctor must be given a free hand and the patient must only remain quiet without saying anything. Similarly keep quiet. That is Surrender. That is effortlessness.
D.: That is the most effective medicine too.
D.: I do not have peace of mind … Something prevents it. Probably my destiny….”
There was silence for a few minutes.
M.: “Well. What is destiny? There is no destiny. Surrender, and all will be well. Throw all the responsibility on God. Do not bear the burden yourself. What can destiny do to you then?”
D.: Surrender is impossible.
M.: Yes. Complete surrender is impossible in the beginning. Partial surrender is certainly possible for all. In course of time that will lead to complete surrender. Well, if surrender is impossible, what can be done? There is no peace of mind. You are helpless to bring it about. It can be done only by surrender.
D.: Partial surrender – well – can it undo destiny?
M.: Oh, yes! It can.
D.: Is not destiny due to past karma?
M.: If one is surrendered to God, God will look to it.
D.: This being God’s dispensation, how does God undo it?
M.: All are in God only.
Being “I AM” is God. Therefore enquire “Who am I?” Sink deep within and abide as the Self. That is God as BE-ing.
Surrender to that God and abide by His will. If you ask Him to do as you please, it is not surrender but command to Him. You cannot have Him obey you and yet think that you have surrendered. He knows what is best and when and how to do it. Leave everything entirely to Him. His is the burden: you have no longer any cares. All your cares are His. Such is surrender.