A creeper clings to the tree, a cloud hangs on to the sky and a baby sleeps in the lap of its mother… the sweetness of these scenes is heightened by the fact that they have surrendered in all purity to the sources of their support. That which is self-realisation in the language of knowledge is known as the state of total surrender in the language of devotion. In the path of knowledge, the mind is made subtler by enquiry and finally the ego — the notion of the “finite I” — is destroyed by the knowledge of one’s infinite self. However, in devotion, the very first step itself is surrendering the ego at the altar of the Lord.
The attitude, “Thy will be done, not mine, not mine,” shows surrender. Meerabai, cheerfully drank the poison sent by her husband’s brother Rana, with the thought: “It is the Lord’s will. So I shall drink it with joy,” and the poison changed to nectar. We often claim to have surrendered to God, but continue to hold on to our own desires and ego. Both cannot go together. A criminal told a judge: “Everything happens by God’s will. It is he who inspired me to kill. Why do you punish me?” The judge replied: “Yes, it is true that everything happens by God’s will. It is he who inspired me to give you a death sentence!” Either we can exercise our will, act accordingly and graciously own the results of our actions or totally surrender to his will.
Why do we need to seek refuge? Just as we run for shade from the scorching heat of the sun, we seek support from others to alleviate physical and mental sorrows and solve our problems. Naturally, we only surrender to one, capable of assuaging our misery. Can a pauper help in a financial crisis? Furthermore, a person giving financial relief may not be able to provide psychological or physical security. Hence, surrender to the Lord alone; in him we get all protection, support and solace. Being omnipotent, all bliss, ever present and all love, we can attain real peace in him alone.
In the Bhagavad Gita after expounding the paths of action, meditation and devotion, Lord Krishna concludes: “Give up all other means/duties/paths and surrender all unto me alone. I shall free you from all sins. Rest assured, do not grieve.” Lord Ram has also declared: “It is my vow that if a person comes to me and says even once, ‘O Lord, I am yours,’ I will make him or her fearless.” The Lord’s promises made in different situations are both the same. Sin causes fear and vice versa. His assurance to those who surrender to him is complete freedom from all bondage and distress.