The Bhagavad Gita appears in the story of the Mahabharata. It is a conversation between Lord Krishna and his devotee and childhood friend, Arjuna. Listening in, we receive the teachings of Lord Krishna as he relates them to Arjuna.
The subject of this chapter is Devotion.
This post addresses Surrender Yoga, freedom from unhappiness and other characteristics of the yogi and devotee.
One who is impartial, pure, capable, uninvolved, free of unhappiness, relinquishing all undertakings and is devoted to Me, is beloved by Me.
The state of freedom from unhappiness is gained by remaining impartial, pure, able and tolerant, and by being devoted to God/Truth, and avoiding projects that demand anything else.
“Impartial” Sameness in all things, or “moderation in all things.” This brings us back to the previous verse where we learned about letting go of our investment in “likes and dislikes” and their effects, “fear and anxiety.” The Sanskrit for ‘impartial’ also means ‘indifferent, irrespective of, disregarding, and irrelevant’.
“Pure” Unmixed. Untainted or mixed with other things, ‘clear, clean, innocent, honest, and virtuous’
“Uninvolved” The Sanskrit means, ‘sitting apart, indifferent, unprejudiced, uninvolved, free from likes, neutral, and ascetic’.
“Free of unhappiness” Happy, contented, ‘free of sorrow, fear and anxiety’. While you may still find that you experience unhappiness, over time and practice of surrender yoga, you will notice it diminishing and going away after only a few minutes. Then a day will come when you are no longer struck by unhappiness — no sooner does it arise than it is gone.
“Relinquishing all undertakings” means not ‘starting new projects’. All of one’s energy goes into beginning new projects. This stifles the energy when it should be free for yoga.
He who is neither overly pleased nor displeased, neither mourns nor desires, is impartial to good and evil and filled with devotion for Me, is beloved by Me.
When you become devoted to God (by any name) you will be equally devoted to Yoga (by any name), and the qualities mentioned in these verses will naturally become fulfilled through the practice set forth by your guru lineage. I am not saying that you should wait for that day and not try to practice them now, but that you can expect them to unfold spontaneously through surrender to God/Truth in meditation.
When I use the word ‘meditation’ I am referring to this practice. Only through surrender to Absolute God in meditation, will these things unfold spontaneously without you having to try to master them. When I use the words ‘God, Yoga or Guru lineage’, it is with the idea that this is all in the context of surrender sadhana (by any name).
By Any Name
I want to make it clear that, while I am addressing all this in terms of Yoga, there are movements afoot wherein those who had formerly had a religion as their context for spirituality, are now seeking out the Truth on their own. In some cases, this has been going on long enough to begin to produce teachers. However, without extensive experience gained through meditation carried out correctly, they will not have much to offer compared to the tried and proved lineages of Yoga.
But Truth is Truth, God is God, no matter where these words are found, and will always be essentially the same everywhere when knowledge and practice are correct according to the dharma of Absolute God/Truth.
Anyone sincerely open and seeking Truth, will arrive at the same place, even though their path may go by a different name.
I think it is important to understand that the idea of surrender as I am presenting it in these commentaries is specific. What I don’t mean by ‘surrender’ is just being “open” or “letting go.” What I do mean is presented in this Bhagavad Gita.
I have been accused of being elitist by putting this approach above the willful approach, but it is not I who does this. It is a simple fact of nature that puts it at the top:
The Three Stages of Life
There are three stages of life: innocence, will and surrender. We all know about the innocence of childhood that comes first, and the use of the will that is necessary to navigate the second, but hardly anyone makes it to the third: surrender. This is so not because there is anything lacking in us, but because we don’t know about it. We don’t know what to look for, even though it is staring us in the face.
The stage of life that is meant to be one of ‘surrender’ eventually knocks on everyone’s door. We send it away as irresponsible, or even dangerous. But it is neither. It is the third stage of life trying to happen, and, even though it normally arrives around the age of fifty, it can happen at any age. Because we reject it, we go through all kinds of difficulties that could otherwise be avoided. Reaching this stage of life requires that there has been some kind of spirituality at work that is True in its teachings. Otherwise one cannot expect to hear surrender knocking on the door.
The stage of surrender naturally sets in (or tries to) when one has had enough of efforting and trying to control things (using the will).
Surrender means not using your will. This may look like innocence, but there is a huge difference between innocence and surrender: with surrender, we are conscious of what is happening and why.
As a child, one is at the mercy of nature, and our inherent power of choice is given very few options. But now we have been through both innocence and adulthood, made proper use of the will, and are ready for surrender.
When the stage of surrender arrives, we are already experienced in making choices consciously and ethically, and now we can hear surrender knocking on our door. We are well primed for this third stage, and looking forward to more happiness and contentment than all the work and effort associated with willfulness could ever produce.
Are you a spiritual leader in hiding? How would you know? Take this short self-survey and let me know what you think:
- Deep down you feel that your life has a purpose, but you struggle with taking action.
- You get inspired at the possibility of fulfilling your desire to be a spiritual leader, but you struggle with acting on it.
- You see your relationships as catalysts for mutually beneficial growth, but feel a lack of support and fulfillment while being emotionally drained.
- You know that you are meant to have a positive impact in the world in a big way, but you aren’t sure how to do this while maintaining your current responsibilities.
I am interested in hearing your story. On this page, under “Subject,” please write “Spiritual Leadership,” and tell me about it.
Namaste (I bow to the divine one you really are),