The word surrender, in a dictionary, states… “cease resistance to an enemy or opponent and submit to their authority”. No wonder the word gets a bad rap? Who wants to cease resistance to an enemy or an opponent?
No one wants to capitulate, to give up, to submit oneself to the whims of an enemy!
So when the ancient spiritual texts say “surrender”, anyone with some intelligence rebels against the concept. What do you mean surrender? Naah! Nope, this spiritual stuff is not for me.
सर्वधर्मान्परित्यज्य मामेकं शरणं व्रज ।
अहं त्वां सर्वपापेभ्यो मोक्षयिष्यामि मा शुच: ॥ ६६ ॥
mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo
mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ
Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/18/66/
So then, reading something like the above, atheists, either staunch ones or newly minted ones, or even recovering ones, sometimes say, “NO THANKS!”.
Even though surrender means defeat in the material sense, still surrender to God is the Ultimate victory! Why so? Boy, those spiritual types must be bonkers, no?
Let’s consider the example of a person who has somehow or other landed in the midst of an ocean – no matter how great of a swimmer they may be, they have no chance of swimming home. A watery death is certain if no help arrives in time. This material world is regarded as an ocean of birth and death. No one who is born here gets out of here alive, is that not true?
In addition to birth and death, there is always old age and disease, to make it more of a bummer. Now add to it miseries caused by other living entities, all the way from little mosquitoes, viruses, to cruel criminals and despots in the guise of certain powerful personalies… Add to this the miseries caused by factors outside our control- earthquakes, floods, famine, and so on… and finally miseries caused by our own mind and body! No one has a chance against these miseries.
Generally speaking, the more powerful a personality is, the less they want to surrender, but here is a most powerful personality, Lord Jesus Christ, who said “Not my will, but Thine, be done”. Jesus Christ is pretty powerful. In fact, his power has transcended most others who strive so hard to be powerful.
Why did Jesus Christ surrender?
Because God is not our enemy! God is not our opponent!
God is our best well-wisher!
भोक्तारं यज्ञतपसां सर्वलोकमहेश्वरम् ।
सुहृदं सर्वभूतानां ज्ञात्वा मां शान्तिमृच्छति ॥ २९ ॥
jñātvā māṁ śāntim ṛcchati
A person in full consciousness of Me, knowing Me to be the ultimate beneficiary of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods, and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attains peace from the pangs of material miseries.https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/5/29/
Just like the lifeboat or the coastguard or sea rescue, God and His representatives the great spiritual masters, are coming to help us back to shore, back to our home. Surrender simply means accepting help from someone more competent.
I have a Most Powerful Friend. He is my Best Well-Wisher. He wants me to be in a better place, while I am still here in this world of birth, death, old age, and disease, and forever beyond.
I will let My Best Friend help me. Won’t you?