Letting Go and Opening to the Self
Surrender—Our Best Chance for Realization
The human capacity to consciously let go of the ego and open to atman (the Supreme Self) is surrender, our main chance for Realization. If human beings were not endowed with the capacity to surrender, there would not be any chance to go beyond the cage of personal limitations. Without the surrender of the personality, there would not be empathy, compassion, or love. Surrender is not fatalism, lethargy, passivity, inertia, or resignation. It does not mean giving up, abdication, being unable to answer the challenges of life properly, or being phlegmatic, docile, or abused. What we surrender or abandon is our limitations (dogmas, attachments to sensations, emotions, feelings, thoughts, states of consciousness, etc.). Ultimately, it is ahamkara (the “I”-feeling), our ego, that is surrendered. The Witness Consciousness (atman, our Real Essence) can never be surrendered.
Giving up the Sense of “I”
Ramana Maharshi explained that real dispassion is not an external renunciation of objects, but the surrender of the sense of “I” to Supreme Oneness: “You give up this and that of ‘my’ possessions. If you give up ‘I’ instead (the egoic consciousness), all are given up at a stroke. The very seed of possession is lost. … Eagerness to do it must be equal to that of a man kept under water trying to rise to the surface for his life.”
Surrender to a limited aspect is just another limitation. Because of this, Jnana Yoga advises us to surrender to the Spiritual Heart (atman). For a jnani, real surrender means sacrificing individuality to universality, the temporal to the eternal, and the limited form to infinity. That is why Nisargadatta Maharaj recommended and encouraged surrender to the inner guru (the Supreme Self, the Spiritual Heart), rather than surrender to any form or person:
“Q: This is what I call surrender to the guru.
M: Why exteriorize? Surrender to your own self, of which everything is an expression.”
Ramana Maharshi also affirmed: “Surrender is to give oneself up to the original cause of one’s being. Do not delude yourself by imagining such a source to be some God outside of you. Your source is within yourself. Give yourself up to it. That means that you should seek the source and merge in it.”
Some Quotes by Sahajananda, the Founder of Hridaya Yoga, on Surrender:
- “Surrender means enjoying the strength of being fragile.”
- “Surrender requires courage. In meditation, you confront yourself with your problems again and again until you finally understand the absolute need to let go. Otherwise, you will continue to emphasize the lack of acceptance, regrets, pain… When acceptance comes, I can see smiles on your faces.”
- “In surrender, you move from the position of “negotiating with God” about an action you are considering, to a total, unconditional availability to the present moment.”
- “When the decisive moment comes, when you hear the call of the Beloved from the depths of your being, offer yourself completely. Surrendering body, mind, and soul, let his sweet appeal give you the courage to face the imminent death of your illusions.”