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Friday, March 19, 2010

Surrender

Some time ago my friend Rukmini and I was talking about the subject of ‘surrender’. She said in Sanskrit it is called ‘saranagati’ and a shining example is when the great monkey god Hanuman prostrates in front of Lord Ram and surrenders to him. I remember the recollection of this had moved her to tears.

Thereafter, I’ve often thought about this thing called surrender. What does it mean by surrendering to God. Most of us think of ‘God’ as an external entity who is greater than us, above and beyond us and to whose divine and implacable will we have to surrender our will. Bt doing so somehow takes all the power away from us and turns us into a weak puppet whose strings are held by this omnipotent God. But the Advaita concept of “aham brahmasmi’ or Jesus’ teaching that the kingdom of God is within us contradicts the concept of an external powerful God surrendering to whose iron will renders us impotent.

Recently, while reading some spiritual teachings I came upon a passage that said just ‘God is not some external being, God is the God-consciousness that exists in all of us’. The book said ‘Christ-consciousness’ but we can call it ‘Krishna-consciousness’ or ‘Buddha-consciousness’ or ‘Allah-consciousness’ (the words themselves don’t mean anything). When I meditated on this, it all became clear to me.

All of us have an egoic self, a false self that we have built over the years, by adding layer upon layer of personality, a shell we have woven around ourselves, a shell that exists only in our minds. Unfortunately, for most of the time we are identified with this false egoic self. We believe it to be our real self, so much so that we guard it, protect it and go to great lengths to keep it intact. But if we ever slip into a state of awareness, we will be able to see that this self is just a chimera, a fabrication, a totally made-up entity and if we remain in that awareness, we can see the falseness for what it is and it begins to fade or diminish in importance and leave the centre-stage.

At the same time we can become aware of a subtle presence, a deep silence, a gentle joyous presence, a deep wisdom, so full of love, energy and knowing. This is god or rather the god-consciousness within us. This is our true self. And saranagati occurs when our egoic self surrenders to our true self, the god within us. Because the egoic self has fallen away, all fears and doubts also fall away, together with hatred, envy, pain, desire, attachment, because all of these belong to the false self.

The image of Hanuman surrendering to Lord Ram is a powerful symbolism for our monkey-mind surrendering to our divine self. Total surrender to our own god-nature is indeed powerful, liberating and essential. That is the only way we can find ourselves and be our true self. This is the only way we can be free. Like Jesus said, ‘Seek ye the truth, for the truth shall set you free.’ The truth lies nowhere but within ourself.