I wrote about surrender from a few different angles… for example, how surrender is not a bad word, and how surrender must be intelligent. In this post, I will dwell a bit about what surrender is practically.
The essence of anything is shown in the action that follows from it. For example if I am a fan of a sports team, then I spend my time, money, and energy in everything related to that sports team. If I am a professional of some kind, then I spend my time and energy trying to be better at that profession. If I support a cause, then I use my time, money, energy, and intelligence in pushing forward that cause.
In other words, in whatever way I spend my time, energy, my money, use my influence, in that way I am said to be “surrendered”. This is because I have a choice at every moment, to focus my consciousness on something.
For example, if I was surrendered to my mind, then I spend all my energy listening to the dictates of my mind. I invest a lot of my consciousness in identifying with my mind, and then I do everything in my power to make the rantings of my mind happen. All sorts of people do all sorts of things chasing the mind. And this happens for other things too, for example, if, with my mind, I identify with my body, then I may spend all my time and energy trying to keep my body fit and healthy, stout and strong.
Most of us here in the material world are surrendered to our senses, and to gratify our senses, we indulge in all sorts of activities, and to fuel those activities, we work very hard. To a person surrendered to the mind and senses, there is no peace in this world, there always some other sensory experience to be had, there is always a “bucket list” of desires, coming from an endless wellspring of desires, keeping us busy all our lives, life after life. And it quite often ends very badly, to start badly, and a continuous stream of such unfortunate nonsense.
यतो यतो निश्चलति मनश्चञ्चलमस्थिरम् ।
ततस्ततो नियम्यैतदात्मन्येव वशं नयेत् ॥ २६ ॥
yato yato niścalati
manaś cañcalam asthiram
tatas tato niyamyaitad
ātmany eva vaśaṁ nayet
From wherever the mind wanders due to its flickering and unsteady nature, one must certainly withdraw it and bring it back under the control of the Self.vedabase.io/en/library/bg/6/26/
Some people claim to be surrendered to God, but actually they are not surrendered to God, but want to propitiate God so that their sensory desires can be satisfied. This is surrender, but not really, it is practically a form of slavery. This is because a person in the grip of the material senses has no freedom, just like a dog who barks uncontrollably or goes around sniffing other dogs’ urine, it is an instinct, and it cannot be stopped.
But in human life, one can has more developed consciousness, to question this knee-jerk reaction to sensory stimuli, and to actually understand our own identity as spirit souls. We can then choose to surrender to God.
But what does it practically mean to be surrendered?
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/
Surrender means loving devotional service to God.
Just like “Love is as love does”
Just like “Actions speak louder than words”
ये तु धर्मामृतमिदं यथोक्तं पर्युपासते ।
श्रद्दधाना मत्परमा भक्तास्तेऽतीव मे प्रिया: ॥ २० ॥
ye tu dharmāmṛtam idaṁ
bhaktās te ’tīva me priyāḥ
Those who follow this imperishable path of devotional service and who completely engage themselves with faith, making Me the supreme goal, are very, very dear to Me.https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/12/20/
So, the symptom of a soul surrendered to God is 100% total absorption in the service of God. Everything they do, they do as a service to God, in spirit and in result, offering everything they have to God. Everyone they meet, they meet as a soul who belongs to God. Everyone they treat in relation to God… they love God, so they love “God’s”.
Arjuna, a great surrendered soul, did exactly this:
नष्टो मोह: स्मृतिर्लब्धा त्वत्प्रसादान्मयाच्युत ।
स्थितोऽस्मि गतसन्देह: करिष्ये वचनं तव ॥ ७३ ॥
naṣṭo mohaḥ smṛtir labdhā
sthito ’smi gata-sandehaḥ
kariṣye vacanaṁ tava
Arjuna said: My dear Kṛṣṇa, O infallible one, my illusion is now gone. I have regained my memory by Your mercy. I am now firm and free from doubt and am prepared to act according to Your instructions.https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/18/73/
They may or may not proclaim their love, but if you observe their actions carefully, you will see that they eat, sleep, exercise, interact, work all for the satisfaction of God. In fact, you can see that a person in an advanced stage of surrender does not even breathe if it not beneficial for the service of God.
In Arjuna’s case, God Himself proclaimed His love:
स एवायं मया तेऽद्य योगः प्रोक्तः पुरातनः ।
भक्तोऽसि मे सखा चेति रहस्यं ह्येतदुत्तमम् ॥ ३ ॥
sa evāyaṁ mayā te ’dya
yogaḥ proktaḥ purātanaḥ
bhakto ’si me sakhā ceti
rahasyaṁ hy etad uttamam
That very ancient science of the relationship with the Supreme is today told by Me to you because you are My devotee as well as My friend and can therefore understand the transcendental mystery of this science.https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/4/3/
So, surrender means loving service. And it is filled with mystery, adventure, excitement, and satisfaction! To surrender to Krishna is to be in Love with Him.