Surrender is not giving up but letting go
The notion of surrendering to someone often jars us because we mentally associate it with giving up.
Consequently, when the Bhagavad-gita (18.66) concludes with a call to surrender to Krishna, that call naturally evokes some reservations within us.
But might we be superimposing on the Gita our own preconceived misconception about surrender?
After all, the Gita’s event-line inverts our normal conceptions of surrender. Instead of a determined warrior on surrendering giving up the fight, what happens in the Gita is the exact opposite: a disheartened warrior who had more or less resolved to give up the fight (01.46) on surrendering becomes determined to fight (18.73) and win (18.78).
Letting go, far from being disempowering, is empowering.
What is this surrender that heralds not defeat but victory?
This spiritual surrender centers not on giving up but on letting go.
Giving up means to abandon all efforts to improve things and cave in to the circumstances.
Letting go means to stop trying to play God, to stop demanding and expecting that everything and everyone work according to our plans. It means acknowledging that the omniscient and omni-benevolent God knows far better than us what is best for us – therefore we are far better off leaving to him the things that are out of our control or that may go out of control.
Letting go thus, far from being disempowering, is empowering. By accepting that we are not the supreme controllers, but in the total scheme of things we are small parts who can’t do anything more than our best, we break free from needless worries and become capable of focusing on what we can do – while also feeing a sense of dependence and devotion for Krishna. This combination of inner devotional submission and outer dynamic action is the heart of surrender – and is the best recipe for success, material and spiritual.