Surrender and Salvation
Surrender to the Lord seems to be the opposite of what we are told to do in this world. We are encouraged to be independent, stand up for our rights, and do whatever it takes to get ahead so we can be the master of our own destiny. Yet surrender to the Lord is the only thing that can lead to our salvation so we can be released from returning to this world over and over.
In the Bible there is a well-known prayer that pleads for the Lord’s help:
Our father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
If we take this message – “Thy will be done” – to heart, what will we gain? We can relax and let someone else take over. When we are going on a long journey by car, it is much easier if we have a co-driver. Let’s think of the Master as our co-driver who has come to help us navigate our way on this worldly journey.
In fact, he has already taken over and is guiding our life, but we are slow to realize it. It’s like a driver’s education class, where we drive with an instructor who has a dual wheel and brake so that he can take over if we are about to hit something. As novice drivers we gladly give up the wheel and let our co-driver take over to avoid an accident. Similarly, to get out of this world we must surrender to the Lord and follow the instructions of a Master.
Let’s think a minute about why people surrender. Some of us may surrender to the will of others because we are afraid of the consequences if we don’t. If we’ve been a naughty child, we surrender to the will of our mother. Otherwise she might punish us in some way – by taking away our allowance or, worse yet, our cell phone. We surrender to the will of our boss, even if we don’t want to do our assignments at work, because otherwise the boss might threaten to fire us. If we are mean or unkind to friends and family, they might ignore us. When we’re threatened by a robber, we turn over our money to avoid being harmed. Any one of these fearful situations might prompt us to surrender.
From a spiritual perspective, however, surrender is prompted by a very different motivation. We surrender out of love and longing for the Lord. The Master tells us that he comes with unconditional love. And if we really want to experience that love, we need to surrender to him, to let him guide us.
Surrender is difficult for most of us. We humans don’t seem to be wired to surrender. We fight; we resist; we rationalize our actions to suit our needs. We tend to put ourselves rather than the Lord at the centre of the universe. However, surrender is essential if we want to meet the Lord within.
The Lord sent us here and we have been separated from him for lifetimes. Over those lifetimes we have carried out deeds from virtuous to evil, and now we have a karmic account that ties us to this world. We are attached to people, places, and possessions that hold us captive. But when the Lord calls us back, our worldly attachments start to fade over time. Our only permanent relationship is with the Lord. We belong to him, and he belongs to us. He has an unbreakable bond with us. As we strengthen our bond with him through meditation, we gradually clear our karmic debt.
Maharaj Charan Singh says in Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III:
Whatever our store of karma is, good or bad, we have to go through it. But I can assure you that by meditation our will becomes so strong that these good and bad karmas do not affect us at all. We rise above the effects of good and bad karmas, and we easily and happily account for all these karmic debts with the help of meditation.
In the early days of our spiritual surrender, we may not fully realize the value of what we have been given as we continue with our day-to-day lives and the struggles we may encounter. But over time we can see what a great gift it is to place our lives in the hands of the Lord and put our trust in him. Trust is vital to surrender.
Every day we see how easily small children put their trust in their parents. When a parent and child are crossing the street the parent will automatically reach his or her hand down and the child will reach his hand up, so they can safely cross. The parent is protecting the child, and the child puts not only his hand but his trust in the parent to cross only when it is safe. As the child gets older, he wants to cross on his own, and the parent eventually lets him, but not before the child learns to look both ways before crossing the street to be sure it is safe.
The Lord has sent the Master to the world to put out his hand and take ours to help us cross this world. But we have to lift our hand up just like the child and put our trust in the Master. Through trust we learn that he has our best interest at heart and is helping us constantly. One of the greatest gifts the Master gives us is the confidence that we can go home to the Lord.
Through meditation, we are automatically surrendering. It takes courage to surrender. Ironically, from a worldly perspective, we may think of surrender as cowardice. But from the spiritual standpoint it is exactly the opposite. It takes courage to trust someone, to let him take over and guide us. Through surrender, we get everything. Every Master tells us to just lean into him.
Maharaj Jagat Singh says in The Science of the Soul: “So long as we lean on others, he lets us do so, but when after repeated disappointments, we surrender to him completely, regarding him as our only sheet-anchor, he comes to our succour instantly.”
We are very fortunate that the Master has been sent to help us navigate our way back home. Even so we are constantly faced with making choices every day. We need to ask ourselves, should I follow the dictates of the mind and dig myself deeper into this worldly existence, or should I follow the guidance of the Master and work at digging myself out of this world of illusion? Making the right choices would seem obvious; but the world is strong and pulls us in different directions all the time.
Our daily meditation is our effort to help us make the right choices, so that our karmic account is eventually cleared and we no longer have any need for this human body. Then we are ready to give ourselves over to the Lord. We surrender completely.
We have to put our whole being into it, as difficult as it may seem. In doing so, we have everything to gain and nothing, absolutely nothing, to lose. In fact, through surrender, we are rewarded with salvation from the woes of this world.
Such salvation means being pulled out of this life of misery, pain, and separation by our one true Friend, the Master. Imagine that we are the cargo of a sunken ship. Just like those hunting for buried treasure, the Master comes to dredge us up from the deep sea, to polish the rust off of us, and save the treasure that is inside of us by freeing us from the mind and our passions so the light of our soul can shine through.
Maharaj Charan Singh advises in Die to Live:
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.… In love you don’t exist. You just lose yourself, you just submit yourself, you just resign to his will.… The more we give, the more it grows, the more we lose ourselves, the more we become another being.
Surrender comes gradually, bringing with it our salvation. Let’s embrace and follow the advice “thy will be done” from the Lord’s Prayer. Now is the time to surrender so that we may go back home to the Lord.