The prescription given is – surrender to Him and act on. What we do is act and then surrender. – Chinmaya
This is a common story of every north Indian household:
During the winter season, the lady of the house, after the kitchen work, is busy knitting sweater for her family members. As the large ball of wool rolls round itself on the table with the movement of the knitting needles, her little son gazes at it with wonder. He wants to play with the woollen ball but the mother doesn’t allow.
One day, when the mother is busy in the kitchen, the child thinks it to be the right opportunity to fulfil his long-cherished desire. He crawls up to the table and lays his hands on the woollen ball. As he pulls the thread out, the ball rolls. It becomes a fascinating play. To see the ball rolling, he keeps on pulling the thread. He is so absorbed in this play that he is unaware that in the process he is getting entangled in a thread-mess.
Soon the ball disappears and the boy becomes aware of the messy bondage he has created for himself. Being scared of his mother, at first he tries to come out by himself in all quiet. But his efforts to disentangle himself only create a greater mess. When all his attempts to free himself go in vain, helplessly, at last, he gives out a loud cry. Mother, hearing her child scream, comes running from the kitchen. Seeing the boy in the mess, she is filled with anger and gives two tight slaps for mischief and disobedience. But soon the motherly tenderness of love and compassion overpowers and she frees her child from all entanglements.
Our story is no different.
We act as though we know all. We act as though we can achieve everything by our abilities and talents, contacts and influence. And when things go wrong, we use all our resources to set things straight. When nothing goes right, when all options have failed, when no stone is left unturned, and when we are totally helpless, then we turn to Him.
The above quote says – don’t make Him the last resort, make Him the first choice.
There is a story in Srimad Bhagavatham about Brahmaji’s tapas which carries a lot of symbolism in it.
- Four-faced Brahmaji is seen seated on a lotus. Lotus symbolises Perfection. It remains in water but untouched by it. A spiritual Master exists in BMI but is untouched by it. The lotus gains the nourishment from dirt but brings out fragrance. A Master brings out, even from the bitter experiences, the fragrance of the Self. A lotus blossoms in sunlight and is closed in darkness. A man of realisation is open to the light of Knowledge and is closed to the darkness of ignorance.
- Being seated on a lotus means being supported by Perfection. Whether we know or not, accept or not, the fact is we are all supported by the All-Perfect Supreme Self.
- Brahmaji is the Creator. The four faces represent the four Vedas – the source of knowledge. Like Brahmaji, we also create our destiny using the four means – manas, buddhi, chitta and ahankara (mind, intellect, memory and the ego). With our knowledge (intellect), we desire (mind). With desires, we act. The actions give us experience, which is stored in memory. Based on these experiences our knowledge is updated and our personality (ego) is moulded. Thus we create our destiny.
- Brahmaji looks around and sees no one other than himself. In the spiritual path, we are all alone. Alone to the Alone all alone is the spiritual journey.
- Brahmaji is confused regarding from where he has come. Every individual is confused regarding Jeeva, Jagad and Ishwara.
- Brahmaji, in order to find his source, travels along the stalk of the lotus but finds that it is unending. As long as our attention is outward, we will never know the Truth. All outward experiments are unending.
- As long as we think that we can do it ourselves, guidance from the Higher does not come.
- Totally tired and exhausted, the dejected Brahmaji surrenders unto the Supreme. Wholehearted surrender comes only after we have tried everything we can.
- Brahmaji hears the word ‘tapa! tapa!!’ (Perform austerity).Guidance comes the moment we surrender.
- The guidance comes from the scriptures and the Guru. The guidance is of the nature of Shruti – as something which is heard.
- Brahmaji looks around, but does not see anyone. The ultimate source of Self-knowledge is unknown. (Or the Knowledge comes from God, who cannot be perceived through the senses.)
- Brahmaji hears but does not see. In spirituality, what I hear is not what I see. I see the world as real, but Shruti says the world is unreal; I don’t see God, but Shruti says God alone exists; I know myself as a mortal being, but Shruti says I am immortal; I consider myself as a miserable being, but Shruti says I am Absolute Bliss; I find myself in the world, but Shruti says the world is in me; I know myself as a limited creature, but Shruti says I am the All-Powerful Creator!
- With total faith in what he heard, Brahmaji performs tapas. Indomitable faith (Shraddha) in the Guru and the scriptures is a must in spirituality.
- In spirituality, none can do austerity for us. We have to do it ourselves. Others can only guide us. We alone are our best friend and the worst enemy.
- The tapas, with restrained mind and senses, goes on for one thousand divine years. The process of self-improvement is always difficult and time-consuming. The mind and the senses, which are trained to go outwards in innumerable births, have to be withdrawn. As the inward journey is unfamiliar to the mind, it takes a lot of patience and effort to withdraw the outgoing mind. Success comes only after very many failures.
- Through such an intense tapas, all the worlds to be created become clear to Brahmaji. When we dive deep into our within, we come to realise a great truth – that our external world is created by our internal world of thoughts and feelings. Our inner thoughts design the external world. So if we can intelligently format our inner thought world, we can create a beautiful external world around us. The outer gross world is only a reflection of the inner thought world.
- As a result of his tapas, Brahmaji gets the vision of the Lord. The end result of our sadhana is we come to recognise our true nature – the Supreme Self.
- What we value, we strive for; and what we strive for, we get.
Why should we surrender to the Lord? There are many reasons:
When we surrender, we are accepting the fact that everything belongs to Him alone – the body, the life, the abilities and talents, the world, the resources etc… His grace, guidance and protection come only when we surrender… Being Omniscient, Omnipresent and Omnipotent, He knows all. Hence it is wiser to allow Him to lead us… Through surrender, we get connected to the Infinite. He makes us capable of achieving anything… Being our Creator, He has infinite love for us. Hence He does only that which is good for us… When we surrender, we are allowing the Lord to enter into our life… When we surrender, we are guided by God, but when we don’t surrender, we are guided by the ego. The choice is ours… When we don’t surrender, we are as though telling God, “O Lord, I don’t need Your guidance as I know better than You. So please don’t interfere!”… All scriptures unanimously declare that surrender is what the Lord expects from us… It is this surrender, which dissolves the ego and ultimately unites us with God… The cause of repeated birth and death is only because of the lack of surrender… In surrender, the false ‘i’ falls, and the true ‘I’ shines forth. Hence through surrender, we come to know our true nature…
The moment we surrender, the mind is filled with peace. The burden of taking care of oneself is instantly gone.
A lean doctor was making fun of a fat mahatma, “What do you eat because of which you are so fat?” The mahatma replied, “I eat up all anxieties, worries etc. Being junk food, I am fat. You are being eaten away by worries and anxieties and hence you are so thin !!”
The more we surrender, the closer are we to God. Greater the closeness, the greater the peace.
A boy asked his father, “Dad, how big is God?” Looking up at the sky, his father saw an aeroplane and asked his son, “How big is that plane?” The boy responded, “It is small, Dad! You can hardly even see it!” Then the father took his son to an airport hangar. Standing in front of one of the aeroplanes, the father asked, “And now how big is this plane?” The boy responded, “Oh Daddy! This plane is enormous!”
The father smiled and said, “That’s how it is with God! How big He is depends on the distance between you and Him. The closer you are to Him, the bigger He is in your life! And more the surrender, more is the closeness!!”
O M T A T S A T