and Surrender Part 2
by M. Govindan Satchidananda
"Rise up, prostrate, surrender, embrace, wonder;
Appeal in all the ways to the Holy feet of the Lord.
That brings the benefits of this birth;
Hold Him with reverence; He responds in turn."
- Tirumandiram, verse 1499
Self-surrender to the Divine at all times and in all circumstances
is the key to the sadhana of Integral Yoga as well as the Kriya
Yoga of Patanjali, who said "Ishvara-pranidhanad-va," ("Or because
of one's surrender to the Lord, one achieves cognitive absorption,
ie. Samadhi.) Yoga Sutras I.23) "My God and my all" summarizes
its heartfelt expression. The day that a student surrenders to
the Divine, the Divine itself intervenes in the life of the student
and helps to remove all difficulties and weaknesses, and brings
joy into the consciousness with its Presence.
For this to occur the prerequisites
are: (1) the student must feel the vanity of one's own power,
(2) he must believe with all his heart that there is Someone called
Divine who really exists, loves him, and has the omnipotence to
do anything according to Divine wisdom, and (3) the student must
turn to the Divine alone as his or her sole refuge.
In the surrendered state of
consciousness whatever one does, or feels, all movements are made
as an offering to the Supreme Being, in absolute trust, freeing
oneself of responsibility for oneself, handing over to the Divine
all of one's burden.
There is much resistance and
obstruction in the sadhaka's habitual consciousness and nature
that works against this surrender. One must unreservedly resign
oneself to the sole guidance of the Divine. How to know if one
has done so? Sri Aurobindo has given a detailed description of
the inner mood of a truly surrendered sadhak:
"I want the Divine and nothing
else. I want to give myself entirely to him and since my soul
wants that, it cannot be but that I shall meet and realize him.
I ask nothing but that and his action in me to bring me to him,
his actions secret or open, veiled or manifest. I do not insist
on my own time and way; let him do all in his own time and way;
I shall believe in him, accept his will, aspire steadily for his
light and presence and joy, go through all difficulties and delays,
relying on him and never giving up… All for him and myself
for him. Whatever happens, I will keep to this aspiration and
self-giving and go on in perfect reliance that it will be done."
- Sri Aurobindo, Letters on Yoga Cent. Ed., p. 587
Consequently, it is the Divine
itself who takes charge of the entire course of the sadhak's sadhana.
"If one gives oneself to the Divine with trust and confidence
and even if one cannot do so fully at once, yet the more one does
so, the more the inner help and guidance come and the experience
of the Divine grows within. If the questioning mind becomes less
active and humble and the will to surrender grows, this ought
to be perfectly possible." Letters on Yoga, p. 586-88
So, if the power of self-surrender
is so potential, then why does man fail to do so? "Why is it not
done? One does not think of it, one forgets to do it, the old
habits come back. And above all, behind, hidden somewhere in the
inconscient or even in the subconscient, there is this insidious
doubt that whispers in your ear… and you are so silly,
so silly, so obscure, so stupid that you listen and you begin
to pay attention to yourself and everything is ruined." The Mother.
Does personal initiative then
cease? No, the ordinary sadhak's consciousness and will is far
from being united with the Divine's Consciousness and Will; one
is still living in the separative ego-consciousness, with all
of its likes and dislikes, so the essential principle to follow
is to surrender the fruit or results of one's actions to the Divine,
otherwise it is only for the ego's satisfaction that one acts.
One must maintain the following attitude:
"The Divine is my sole refuge;
I trust in Him and rely on Him for everything and Him alone. I
am utterly resigned to His Will. I will see to it that no obstacle
on the way nor any dark mood of desperation, ever make me waver
from my absolute reliance on the Divine." - Sri Aurobindo.
However, this should not make
the sadhak complacent. One should not feel that there no effort
on the part of the sadhak, that the Divine will do everything
for them. Sri Aurobindo's words make this very clear: "But the
supreme Grace will act only in the conditions of the Light and
the Truth; it will not act in conditions laid upon it by the Falsehood
and the Ignorance. For if it were to yield to the demands of the
Falsehood it would defeat its own purpose." There are conditions
for everything. If someone refuses to fulfill the conditions for
Yoga, there is no use in appealing for Divine intervention.
One essential condition is faith.
Genuine faith is a deep and quiet illumined feeling of conviction
arising from the depths of one's being, when the outer mind and
heart are stilled and made pure of all egoistic desire and expectation.
It can pierce the haze of adverse movements of the moment and
concentrate on the ever-present truth. It is not a fair-weather
friend, nor is it merely based upon reasoning or willpower. True
faith shines like a flame; it is self-existent and independent
Does this mean that the surrendered
sadhak will face no difficulties or misfortunes? In this world
of dualism, with all of its ups and downs, and contradictions,
its meaning lies in this opposition. "It must be an evolution
which is leading or struggling towards higher things out of a
first darker appearance. Whatever guidance there is must be given
under these conditions of opposition and struggle… through
the double terms of knowledge and ignorance, light and darkness,
death and life, pain and pleasure, happiness and suffering; none
of the terms can be excluded until the higher status is reached
and established." -Sri Aurobindo, Letters on Yoga p. 1627
While an effective surrender
does not necessarily ensure the sadhak against all future storms
and stresses; it does assure the absolute security of the sadhak's
spiritual health even in their midst. No promise is made that
the path will be a sunlit path of rose petals; what is promised
is that He will lead the surrendered sadhak to his cherished spiritual
goal through every possible misfortune in life. The surrendered
sadhak also knows that misfortunes and suffering are not in vain,
but are sanctioned by the Divine for fulfilling a necessary spiritual
purpose whose significance will be revealed in time. The surrendered
sadhak knows and feels that the Divine is not far away or absent
during his suffering, but sitting in the heart of his acutest
difficulty, guiding from there the course of circumstances to
lead the sadhak to union with the Divine. The surrendered sadhak
also knows that if faced with courage, patience, and right attitude,
in a spirit of surrender, every difficulty bring great spiritual
benefit. Finally, the surrendered sadhak knows that there is an
underlying purpose leading to some future spiritual good. His
mantra remains: "Let Thy Will be done always and everywhere."
Having heaped the fuel of devotion
onto the fire of aspiration, and having rejected all that seeks
to smother the growing flame of inner realization, it now remains
to dive into the fire of tapas, of self-surrender. Surrender of
the contracted ego's petty perspective to the expanded bird's
eye view of the higher Self. Here are suggested practices to cultivate
1. By abiding as the Witness,
as pure consciousness, at all times, in all circumstances. Whatever
karma brings, one never ceases to stand firm as the Seer, in para-vairagya,
2. By cultivating mental silence.
The mind creates the delusion of separateness, and the intellect
divides unceasingly between this and that; when their chatter
subsides one beholds the absolute Oneness of all, and the background
comes to the foreground; so when faced with difficulties, go beyond
the surface. "Be Still and Know." The guidance will come.
3. By surrendering fear, lust,
anger, and all desires, remaining poised, neither liking nor disliking,
neither having nor not having, neither gaining nor losing, but
remaining in that place of balance, transcending the dual opposites
that worldly attachments afflict one with.
4. By remembering "This too
shall pass," when things go well and when things go badly. Banish
all moods of trepidation, worries, and anxieties regarding the
possible course of life. The slightest appearance of fear or worry
should make the sadhak alert and begin to immediately rectify
the flaws in his attitude, renew his resolution, and establish
his consciousness in a state of tranquil trust in the Divine.
5. Reaching for the Divine above,
with utter faith in its providence, by practicing the "complete
surrender pose," lying face down, completely vulnerable, with
arms outstretched above the crown, the seat of the guru, to the
Supreme Being above, hands together, in sacred union.
6. By piercing the veil of dark
thoughts, which habitually envelope one, seeing psychically the
bright light of consciousness beyond them.
7. By opening oneself to intuitive
guidance, putting and keeping the mind in a calm receptive state,
listening to the inner guidance or insight, which comes spontaneously.
8. By accepting things as they
are, seeing the lessons which every situation brings, and beholding
the perfection that they lead to.
9. By cultivating patience,
especially when expectations are not met.
10. By remembering "Om Namah
Shivayah": That (Supreme Being Shiva) I am!
11. By seeking the immanent
one in the midst of all changes; the underlying Supreme reality
which transcends all. "Watch for God in the events of your life.
See only the hand of God in it all."
Om Tat Sat
Copyright: M. Govindan Satchidananda,
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