Surrendering to Lord – what does it mean?

gurudev (2)Surrender is a slow process

Lord Krishna says, “Draw all securities from Me.” We think we are deriving security from other people or things, but, in fact, nothing can provide us comfort or security because everything in the world is itself insecure. The Lord is the only one from whom we can get total security. That is what is meant by मत्पर: matparah. The Lord says that if you have trust and confidence in him you can never go wrong. Giving up one’s source of security becomes very difficult and painful unless one has trust and confidence in the scheme of things, in the fairness of things or in the words of the scriptures. We look upon these words of the scriptures as a valid means of knowledge and, therefore, these statements become very important to us.

In the Bhagavad Gita [18-66], Lord Krishna says,

सर्वधर्मान्परित्यज्य मामेकं शरणं व्रज |
sarvadharman-parityajya mämekami saranamı vraja, giving up all dharmas, take refuge in me alone.

What is this dharma? How does one give up dharma? In this context, dharma means agenda. Give up all agenda. Mämekami saranam vraja, take refuge in Me. By ये तु सर्वाणि कर्माणि मयि सन्न्यस्य मत्पराः। sarvani karmani mayi sannyasya matparah, the Lord means, ‘Dedicate all your actions to Me; may I be the only agenda that you have and may you surrender to me.’ This does not happen right away; it is what we need to work for in our lives. It is not possible that we can dedicate all our actions to the Lord immediately. It is a process and we slowly progress in this direction. Matparah are those who are dedicated to the Lord, devoted to the Lord, trust him, and have faith in him. Devotion calls for faith and trust.

Ananyenaiva yogena mam dhydyanta upäsate, अनन्येनैव योगेन मां ध्यायन्त उपासते meditate upon me all the time. If you have decided to follow the values, you have to meditate upon those values all the time. Every situation calls for a response and the response can be of different kinds: What is our intention in performing an action? What is our attitude? What kind of perception do we have of the other person? What kind of perception do we have of ourselves? We always have a certain perception of ourselves and of those we confront and these perceptions decide how we interact with the world. It is these perceptions that decide our values. Following a value is not confined to just a few occasions a day. It is involved in every moment of our lives.

Accepting the Lord requires the letting go of our resistance

Accepting the Lord means accepting the infinite wisdom that He represents. When we say that the whole universe is a manifestation of the Lord, it means that the whole universe is a manifestation of the knowledge, of the omniscience, of his infinite wisdom. Letting go of our limited perceptions or limited conclusions and accepting that wisdom is accepting the Lord. This is prasada-buddhis ng an action and accepting the reward as it comes; recognizing that the outcome of our actions is determined by iśvara; accepting the infinite wisdom, and letting go of any resistance to it. When the results are not favorable to us, we are apt to resist or reject them. Therefore, recognizing that the outcome of every action is in accordance with that order and accepting that it must be fair is prasada-buddhi. A large part of the worship of the Lord lies in adhering to the universal order when performing the action and in accepting the outcome of the action gracefully.

The different situations that we face are not without reason; every moment that we encounter is the outcome of an action. We do not control the outcome of an action; it is the result of prarabdha or destiny. What is destiny? It is the result of whatever we have done in the past, and it presents itself before us in the form of the various situations that we encounter in the present.

What should be our attitude towards things that we cannot control? The result of our actions, whether in the present or in the past, is one of the things that we do not control. For instance, why should a given thing happen to us? There must be some reason for that. We do not know what the reason might be. Yet we grant that there must be some reason, some fairness involved, or that there must be some benefit in it for us. Again, this is called matparah, having trust that the Lord is always our well-wisher. The Lord declares, सुहृदं सर्वभूतानां ‘suhrdam sarvabhutanam’ [Bhagavad Gita, 5-29], “I am the well wisher of all living beings.” Therefore, we need to accept the Lord as our well wisher. This will require us to let go of our resistance and give up many of our complaints and the blaming which is, again, a habit. It is the ego that is responsible for the complaining, blaming, and resisting because we always want to control everything. We want the whole world to be favorable to us. If anybody or anything is not favorable to us, we react with intolerance, impatience, anger, or frustration. Our anger and frustration only show our discomfort with the realities of life. Therefore, accepting iśvara in our lives means accepting the realities of life gracefully. It means accepting that which is determined by the omniscient Lord, who is all knowledge, power, and fairness. Thus, letting go of our resistance, letting go of our complaints, letting go of our tendency to blame, letting go of intolerance, and letting go of frustration is a great process of growth.

Pujya Swami Dayanandaji says, “I make it impossible for the world to upset me or do anything to me.” You can’t tighten a screw if there is no spiral thread on the screw. Blaming, complaining, intolerance, impatience, and non-acceptance are the ‘threads’ on our ‘screws’. The world, the order or iśvara, has an uncanny knack of tightening our screws or pushing our buttons. Isvara pushes these buttons so that we may learn something from our experiences. Every experience of frustration or disappointment can teach us something. It shows how there is a tendency on our part to resist, to not accept or to reject the reality. It challenges us to develop comfort with the realities of life. Karma-yoga is not an ordinary thing; it brings about a complete transformation.

According to Pujya Swamiji, iśvara is the greatest therapist; we should accept him as a therapist and allow him to work. In what way is he a great therapist? He pushes our buttons, often very gently. If we accept him or accept the very order, have trust in him, and give him the benefit of the doubt, we can give up our resistance, intolerance, and impatience. The ego is nothing but the product of ignorance and all these tendencies are nothing but the manifestations of that ignorance.

Swami Viditatmananda Saraswati
Satsanga with Swami Viditatmananda, Vol. 2