In the spiritual journey, surrender is the starter, sustainer and summit
The Bhagavad-gita recommends surrender in its beginning, middle and end. This consistent stress conveys that in our spiritual journey, surrender is the starter, sustainer and summit.
Starter: In the Gita’s beginning, the gruesome prospect of a fratricidal war bewilders Arjuna. Desperately seeking guidance, he surrenders to Krishna, enquiring about dharma (02.07). Similarly, our spiritual journey begins when we acknowledge that our present knowledge can’t provide us the key to a meaningful and fruitful life. If we seek higher knowledge in God’s words, such seeking is a preliminary form of surrender.
Sustainer: The Gita explains how material nature binds us and then (07.14) assures that we can overcome that bondage by surrendering to Krishna. This declaration offers a more positive vision of surrender – not just as an admission of ignorance, but also as the vehicle to knowledge. Surrender involves engaging ourselves in serving Krishna externally and remembering him internally. Such surrender attracts his mercy, which enables us to stay free from illusion and fixed in spiritual growth.
Summit: Surrender is recommended even in ashtanga-yoga texts. But some yogis see surrender as a tool to the summit of liberation, which they conceive as merging with the absolute oneness. However, the Gita (18.54) reveals pure bhakti to be a post-liberation achievement. Such pure bhakti is the privilege of those utterly surrendered to the personal absolute.
Reflecting this sublime position of surrender, the Gita concludes by calling for surrender (18.66). And Arjuna responds by surrendering in words and in action. In words, he declares that he will do Krishna’s will (18.73). And in actions, he raises his bow in readiness to fight for Krishna’s cause (18.78).
When we too surrender out of love for our Lord, that surrender comprises the summit of our spiritual journey. Therein, our heart finds the supreme fulfillment.
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