Life of Self-Surrender

Appendix II
The Wheel of Life — The Law of Action and Reaction”

The problem of one of prime importance for success on the spiritual path. A loving Achar or personal conduct of man as an individual is faith in, and a complete surrender to, the Will of God or to that of His Elect, the God-man, constitute the basic principles for the life of the seeker after Truth.

The sages and the scriptures alike all tell us that while living in the world, we should not conduct ourselves as if we are of the world, but maintain an attitude of self-abnegation or total detachment from the world and all that is of the world. We should, therefore, live like a lotus-leaf which has its roots in the mire below but raises its head far above in the light of the glorious sun shining over the murky water, or like a royal swan (a water-fowl) that sails majestically on the surface of the water which is its native habitat, and yet can fly high and dry if and when it chooses, or feels the necessity, to do so.

This kind of disinterested isolation or separation from one’s surroundings and above all from his lower self, the body, the mind and the mental world, comes only when one dissolves his ego or the individual will into the Will of God or the Will of his Guru, the God-man, for then he acts like a mere pantomime in a dumb show which dances and plays at the will of the wire-puller behind the screen. This is called complete surrender, which silently craves for “Not my but Thy will, O Lord.” Such an attitude easily helps to make a person Neh-Karma. While apparently doing one thing, or another, he is now not doing anything on his own but is carrying out the Will of his Father — God or his Divine Preceptor for he verily sees within Him the Divine Plan as it is and he is just drifting along the Great Current of Life and finds himself a conscious instrument in the invisible hands directing all his movements.

Self-surrender then means surrendering one’s everything to God or His Elect, the Preceptor (God-in-man), including one’s body, riches and his very self (the thinking mind). It does not mean a state of total bankruptcy for an individual, as some might be prone to think. The great God and His Elect are the Giver of all these things and do not stand in need of those very gifts which they have already given freely and in abundance to their children for their best and legitimate use.

We in ignorance think of these as our own and adopt an attitude of aggressive possessiveness and try to grab them by all means fair or foul and then guard them jealously with all our might and main. Attached to these gifts and clutching them fast, we forget the Great Giver Himself and herein creeps imperceptibly the great delusion, the root cause of all our sufferings.

No doubt these things, having come to us, are ours but they have been given to us temporarily as a sacred trust to be utilized according to the Will of the Donor which, of course, is all perfect and immaculately clean with no flaw in it. But as we live in the realm of matter, we, with all our worldly wits about us, cannot escape attracting to us the gross impressions and allowing them to accumulate freely from day to day until they form a granite wall around us and we, losing clarity of perception, become blind to the reality and come to identify the self in us with the pinda and pindi-manas (the body and the bodily mind). With these smoke-coloured glasses and blinkers added to them, we dwarf our vision and see not the white radiance of Reality as it is now covered by a dome of many-coloured glass.

The Saints tell us of the Reality and help us to break these false glasses, tear down the vision-limiting blinkers, and see the manifested world as a beautiful handicraft of God. They tell us that the world we see is a reflection of God and God dwells therein. This being the case, we must keep God’s gifts of body, mind and riches, neat and clean as when they were given to us and use them wisely in His service and the service of His creation, according to His Divine Will which is already wrought in the pattern of our being (or else how could we exist?); but we have, by a continuous sense of separation from the Reality, lost sight of it in the mighty swirl of the world and also lost our hold on the vital Life-lines within: the Light and Sound of God. The Saints tell us to reverse the process from projection outside to the reality inside by understanding the true values of life, for “life” is much more precious than the flesh (body) and flesh more than the raiments (worldly riches) with which we clothe our little selves of the body and of the mind, wrongly thinking them as ours and making use of them recklessly and egoistically for sensual pleasures and earthly shows.

If once we rise above body-consciousness, then we know what we are, how best to utilize our gifts in the service of God and Gods plan and not in sinful activities born of carnal appetites, self aggrandizement, or as means for acquiring temporal power or for personal benefit and gain.

This was the great lesson which the sage Ashtavakra gave to Raja Janak after giving him a practical experience of the Reality. We have in fact to part with nothing but egoistic attachment to the treasure-house of the heart and this makes us none the poorer for it but attracts more of the love-laden gifts from the Supreme Father when He sees the wisdom of His child, a prodigal son before but now grown wiser. This is called surrendering the little self with all its adjuncts of body, mind and riches for the sake of the higher self (soul) according to the Divine Will and becoming Neh-Karma, the very goal of life.

Now we will take an illustration to make the point more explicit. In the time of Guru Arjan, the fifth in line of succession to Guru Nanak, we have an account of a model sikh, Bhai Bhikari by name. A disciple once asked the Guru to introduce him to a Gurbhakta or a devoted disciple.

The Guru directed him with a letter to Bhai Bhikari and asked him to stay with the Bhai Sahib for a few days. Bhikari received his brother-in-faith very warmly and entertained him to the best of his means. The day he arrived, his host was calmly sewing a piece of cloth which looked like a coffin-covering. The disciple, after spending a few days happily in his company, proposed to go back, but Bhikari requested him to stay on for some time more and to attend his son’s wedding which was due shortly. At the loving insistence of the host, he agreed to do so. The wedding day came. There were festivities in the house but Bhikari was as serene as ever. The disciple like all the rest accompanied the wedding procession, witnessed the merry nuptials, and escorted the bride’s procession back to Bhikari’s house. The following day, as ill-luck would have it, Bhikari’s only son, the newly-wedded youth, took ill suddenly and died. Bhikari quietly took out the cloth that he had prepared on purpose a few days earlier, wrapped the dead body of his son in it, took it to the cremation ground, and performed the last rites with his usual equanimity. Bhikari’s steadfast attitude of composure all through this varying panorama of life, struck the disciple dumb with astonishment, for in Bhikari there was no trace of joy and sorrow, but perfect resignation to the Will of the Lord, which he knew right from the beginning; and he had acted accordingly, without exhibiting any personal feelings or emotions in the least.

Guru Nanak used to pray:

“O Lord! Do nothing of what I say, but administer Thy Will.”

Similarly, Sant Kabir used to call himself a dog with Moti as his name and described all his doings, as those of his Lord who held the leash in His hands and dragged him wherever he liked.

Christ always prayed:

“Let Thy Will prevail on earth as it is in heaven.”

“May Thy Will be done” has ever been the concluding part in the daily prayer of the Hindu monks, Muslim darveshs and Christian priests followed by the words “Tatha Astit” or “Amen” all of which mean “may it be so.”

From the above, it should be clear how truly sincere disciples of the Masters and the Masters themselves always consider that they have no individual existence of their own apart from that of the God-man or of God. Such people read the past, the present and the future as an open book and do things in conformity with the Divine Plan. This leads one to the irresistible conclusion that God helps those souls who do His Will.

But this is only for men of firm faith and is not to be taken as a means of escape by ordinary individuals living always on the plane of the senses, for they are governed by the law that God helps those who help themselves. The quality of self-surrender, with whatever degree of faith, does bear its own fruit, and quickly, according to the level at which it is practiced. By gradual experience one learns of its full value as he advances on the path until he reaches a stage when he altogether loses his own ego in the Divine Will and thus himself becomes Neh-Karma, the crown and glory of all human existence. A loving faith in the inherent goodness of God and complete self-surrender to the Divine Will lead one on the highroad to Spirituality without any great continuing effort on the part of an aspirant. These two things constitute the secret “Sesame” and the magic key that flings wide open the portals of the Kingdom of God that lies within the temple of the human body which we all are:

“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God
and God verily resides therein?”

say all the Scriptures.

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