Just Give Yourself to Him
The battle cry of ‘never surrender’ has been heard throughout history. It doesn’t come naturally to the ego to allow someone else to take us captive; our instinct is to fight for freedom. We are taught to hold on to our independence, and never give up. In worldly terms, surrender and freedom are opposing ideas.
But as with so many of our acquired beliefs, there are depths to this that the mind doesn’t immediately comprehend. Saints explain that rather than being opposites, surrender and freedom are two sides of the same coin; and they say that spiritual surrender - inner surrender -will bring us true freedom. In Spiritual Letters, Baba Jaimal Singh writes:
So long as the disciple does not take out the self by surrendering his all to the Satguru and removing himself from everything, he will not be liberated. So surrender your self and step aside…. Consider that each and every thing in the world - body, mind and wealth - belongs to the Satguru, that you are nothing.
This liberation from self is our spiritual goal, but surrendering our all is not so easy for the mind to accept. Saints know well the self-absorbed intransigence of the mind, and Maharaj Charan Singh tells us in Divine Light:
We never try to tell the mind that it should act according to the will of the Lord, that it should adapt itself to his commands. Rather we ask the Lord to carry out the wishes of our mind.
How often do we find ourselves doing this? We say that we live in the will of the Lord, but is this any more than lip service? Don’t we pray to him for things to turn out as we want? When difficulties occur in our lives - such as financial loss, bereavement, marriage breakdown or serious illness - we bemoan our circumstances, rather than saying to the Lord: “Thy will be done.”
Perhaps it is, for most of us, too much of a leap to surrender our mind to his will. In that case, we can start gently, by remembering that we are also practising this submission of the mind every day when we give time to meditation. Progress towards inner surrender is a journey; surrender its endpoint. The journey can start with the first step of a conscious effort of submission. In Die to Live, Maharaj Charan Singh says:
Just give yourself to him. To love somebody means to give yourself without expecting anything in return. To give yourself, to submit yourself, to resign to him is all meditation. We are losing our own identity and our individuality and just merging into another being. We have no expectation then. Expectation comes only when there is I-ness, that I exist and I want this. When I don’t exist, what do I want? In love you don’t exist. You just lose yourself, you just submit yourself, you just resign to his will.
Maharaj Charan Singh says that to submit oneself and to resign our lives to the Lord is in itself a form of meditation. Conversely, when we sit for the prescribed period of meditation each day, then submission of the mind is exactly what we are practising. Submission is meditation, and meditation is submission.
Gradually over time, the effects of regular, devoted meditation will be felt in our lives. Our practice of daily meditation will support us in adapting our mind to his commands. The submission of the mind will lead to love of the Lord, which will wear down the ego, and evolve into an acceptance of whatever the beloved wills. Maharaj Sawan Singh describes this mind state in The Philosophy of the Masters, Volume III:
The devotee feels that the Lord is always with him. He hands over all his sufferings and worries to him and is unmoved by either pain or pleasure. He is convinced that the Lord is thousands of times more intelligent, wise, strong and merciful than himself, and that he looks after his devotee and is his greatest well-wisher…. He surrenders everything to the Lord and says, “O Lord, you are the refuge of all living beings. You came here for the sake of all. Whatever you will is good for me. This is my only prayer.”
This feeling of acceptance, which we can work towards, is a beautifully quiet, joyful and liberated state. It is not yet complete surrender, because that can only happen inside when the individual mind has merged into the whole. But acceptance is the mindset on this plane that is the springboard to the non-existence of self and the bliss of true surrender and God-realization. Maharaj Charan Singh explains this in Die to Live:
Real surrender comes only by meditation. Resignation or surrender or living in his will - they are practically one and the same - you can achieve only when you go beyond Trikuti. As long as the mind is dominant there’s no surrender, there’s no living in the will of the Father, there’s no elimination of the ego. You can achieve real surrender only when all coverings are removed from the soul. Then the soul shines, it becomes perfect, and then it is capable of merging into the perfect being. That is real surrender.
This inner surrender of which the Masters speak is just a concept to us while we are still under the sway of the mind. It is impossible to understand it truly until we reach that point in our spiritual development where this amazing thing actually happens inside us. In Quest for Light, Maharaj Charan Singh writes: “One day we have to achieve this state and the method given to us by the Masters is only for this purpose.”
So all we can do now is to cultivate within us an acceptance of the will of the Lord, from the love we develop through meditation. With his grace, this will take us a step further towards inner surrender. Maharaj Charan Singh explains in Spiritual Discourses, Volume I:
The real surrender consists in withdrawing one’s attention from the objects of the world and attaching it to the Word or Nam. It is to turn one’s back upon the world and one’s face towards the Lord. The greatness of the inner surrender is unique and it comes about only when, through the practice of Surat Shabd Yoga, we see within ourselves the Radiant Form of the Master. Once this has happened, there is no wavering. We develop an unshakeable faith in the Master and our love and devotion to him are boundless. Then alone do we comprehend the greatness of the Master.
He is saying that it is simple: we just have to give up the objects of the world and turn towards the Lord. A certain Sufi mystic has a beautifully succinct formula for total surrender; it is simply this: “You do the giving up, and he will do the giving.”