Blessed with the teachings of numerous saints and enlightened beings, our rich cultural heritage has echoed the words Ashray, Samarpan and Sharanagati for a long time. These words, which mean ‘surrender-ship’, are discussed in our scriptures as often as the Guru-disciple relationship. But what does it truly mean to surrender yourself to a Guru? Why is it important? How does one invoke this essential virtue? Who better to answer these questions than our living Master, Sri Guru!
Why surrender is essential for the path?
To begin with, surrendership does not signify submitting to an oppressive power like a prisoner or a slave does. In fact, its meaning is quite opposite because it is a virtue that leads to liberation! Surrendership towards an enlightened Master is a core value that a seeker must embrace to traverse the spiritual path. Without a compassionate Guru, even our scriptures would struggle to explain the vastness of God, for their verses can only lead to wisdom and not experience. Moreover, it is not possible to understand and experience the omnipresent God-consciousness by remaining entangled among the binding forces of this material world. We need a Guru who has an elevated perspective, one who can help us rise too. This is why every being who has ever attained self-realisation knows that the only way to discover our true nature is by surrendering to the lotus feet of the Guru. The ability to surrender is a privilege that no other species has, except human beings.
How to invoke surrendership?
In the 111th verse of Shri Atmasiddhi Shastra, Param Krupadu Dev says,
Through this verse, he associates the notion of surrendership towards a Guru with Experience, its Aim and its After-influence. Thus, the meaning of surrendership can be broken into three aspects:
- When we aren’t in a Guru’s physical presence and congregation, we should have a deep yearning (Lakshya) for it in our hearts. Having a sincere aim and longing to be in Guru’s aura is an important step to invoke surrendership.
- When we are in the presence of our Guru, we must flow in the experience that can manifest at physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level. This experience is what ignites the flame that burns and demolishes our long-held vices and attachments within.
- The feelings of joy, peace and purity are effortlessly invoked in the aura of a living master. However, when ripples of these profound experiences keep resonating within us long after we have been in Guru’s presence, then only we can say that the seeds of surrendership have been sown. The after-influence that lasts long is a clear way to ascertain that a seeker is ready for surendership.
Surrendership helps transform easily
The human conscience, Antahkaran, comprises the faculties of Mann (mind), Buddhi (intellect), Chitt (subtle layers of conscious mind) and Ahankar (ego). Sri Guru says that when we deeply commit ourselves to an enlightened Master, it transforms these faculties and brings about a radical shift in our Antahkaran:
Transformation of Mann (Mind)
With the guidance of the master, feelings such as anger, resentment, jealousy or inferiority that we have been harboring since long, begin to diminish. Simultaneously, our thoughts become inclined with the spiritual and holistic well-being of every creature. By letting go of our greedy & selfish tendencies, we are able to think about the welfare and prosperity of others. When this happens, it is a sign of the transformation of mind.
Transformation of Buddhi (Intellect)
When we develop the awareness, wisdom and courage to choose between the right and wrong, irrespective of the circumstances, it shows that the intellect is transforming in Guru’s surrendership.
Transformation of Chitt (Consciousness)
Chitt is an essential facet of our consciousness. It is associated with our sense of awareness, the ability to focus and concentrate as well as our memory. Thus, when our Chitt transforms, we become more aware both outside and within. Our focus improves and we observe elevated concentration levels. This holds immense importance, especially in today’s world where the dominance of digital media has caused our attention span to drop at an alarming rate. The ability to concentrate on a singular subject matter is weaker than ever due to widespread practice of multitasking. Sri Guru often reminds us to check our overindulgence of digital media and tendency to do several tasks at once because they damage our Chitt in unprecedented ways.
Transformation of the Ahankar (Ego)
In Guru’s surrendership, we understand the true nature of Self. Therefore, we start relating ourselves with our eternal Self, rather than our short-lived and limited identities. Transformation of ego does not mean its elimination. It simply means that instead of being constantly occupied in our temporary mortal identities, we embrace our true and permanent nature of existence.
The arrival of a Guru is a blessing. But the awakening of love and surrendership towards a Guru is one of the most profound moments in a seeker’s journey.—Sri Guru
Surrendering to a Guru in no way compels us to renounce the world we live in. In fact, it brings forth remarkable changes within us by adding the virtues of oneness, awareness and wisdom. In the presence of a Guru, our life becomes like a river stream that goes through various twists and turns without offering any resistance, before it finally merges into the Ocean of Self.
Understand more about Surrendership with Sri Guru’s Satsang series on Shri Ambalal Bhai – an epitome of devotion, whose surrender to Shrimadji was the sole reason behind his awakening.