Happiness & Surrender Yoga – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 12, Vs 16-17

Himalayan Sadhu

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.

Alternate translation:
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’

“Capable” Able.

“Uninvolved” The Sanskrit means, ‘sitting apart, indifferent, unprejudiced, uninvolved, free from likes, neutral, and ascetic’.

Content dog meditating“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. 

Surrender Yoga

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

EffortingThere 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.

Relax 1The 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.

Spiritual Leadership

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),
Durga Ma


You Get What You Worship – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 9, Vs 24-25

“I am the enjoyer of all sacrificial worship and the power that impels it, but people do not recognize Me, hence they fall. Those who worship the gods go to the gods. Those who worship the ancestors go to the ancestors. Those who worship the spirits go to the spirits. Those who worship Me assuredly come to Me.” — Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 9, Verses 24-25

I am the enjoyer of all sacrificial worship and the power that impels it, but people do not recognize Me. Hence they fall.

Alternate translation:
I am the motivator, the experiencer and the Chief of all sacrifices, but the people do not recognize My True Reality, thus they fall down and return to the mortal world.

“They” refers to those mentioned in the previous verses. “Fall down” refers to the Life Energy in the body, Prana, falling to the lower chakras at death and causing the yogi to relinquish liberation and “return” to mortal existence.

It is God that motivates sacrifice, and God that enjoys it. Put another way, the instigator of the yogi’s surrender is God (Shakti), and the yogi in union with God (yoga) enjoys it.

Worship = Sacrifice = Surrender
The sacrificial offering is yourself

Surrender alone is not the answer. The answer is in what one surrenders to, and how surrendered the ‘worshipper’ is.

One must always surrender only to Absolute God. You will think that it is you who enjoys and experiences this, and that it is you who desires it. But God is the Enjoyer, the Experiencer, and the Desirer—the motivator who impels your surrender to God.

Love is Surrender. Radha loves Krishna. You get what you surrender to.
Love is Surrender. Radha loves Krishna. You get what you surrender to (worship).

Surrendering to anything other than Absolute God, one falls. When one is not surrendered, does not understand what sacrifice really is, does not recognize God, does not experience God, and the Life Energy in the body does not ascend but “falls down”. Only through surrender to Absolute God can the energy ascend and remain ascendant.

You may disagree with this. If you do, you won’t be the first. I have been accused of being elitist because I practice surrender yoga and think it is better than the path of the will, but this is not so. The path of the will is necessary. Not only does it provide many different paths for the many unique individuals that we are, but it always takes one who persists to the path of surrender.

Many people who have left the spiritual path of the will have done so because they came up against a wall and couldn’t get any further. Some became lost and disenchanted and quit altogether. Some dealt with this disappointment by changing gurus…over and over again…hoping to find one that knew what he or she was doing.

Are these seekers reluctant to surrender for fear of losing control? Or do they simply not know that there is something more that can take them where they want to go?

Unknowingly, at a very auspicious point in their practice, they were ready for this phase of yoga sadhana but they didn’t know it existed. This is one reason I speak openly about it. There are those who are ready for it and need it, but they don’t know about it, what it is, or how it is practiced.

Teachers of surrender yoga are hard to find. In my opinion, this is the very reason Vyasa wrote the Bhagavad Gita into his epic Mahabharata: because it is really about surrender yoga.

It is true that the Gita addresses how to live a successful and spiritual life, but in the very places that are translated in willful terms, there are underlying teachings on surrender yoga hidden in the cracks for those who are ready to hear them.

Why not just get straight to the point? Because not everyone is interested in this path. The Gita is written is such a way that anyone can benefit no matter what their path. One who is interested and ready to hear about surrender yoga will, at the very least, realize that there is something more going on and seek to understand it. Their curiosity and longing will naturally lead them to seek someone who can satisfy their interest.

God is the power behind all sacrifices. God is the power behind your surrender to God. God is the desire for God that impels you to surrender to God, and it is God who enjoys the sacrificial offering. It is because of your yoga, your union with God who enjoys your surrender, that you enjoy it. Now are you beginning to get it?

Through surrender to God, Self-realization will fall into your lap and raise you up.

Those who worship the gods go to the gods. Those who worship the ancestors go to the ancestors. Those who worship the spirits go to the spirits, but those who worship Me (God) assuredly come to Me.

You get what you worship.

Read the Addendum on this verse > > >

Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that You really are),
Durga Ma

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Real Surrender

This post was inspired by current events relevant to our last issue and those that came before it and will come after it, in this chapter.  

I have recently come out of my metaphoric cave and been presented in Connecticut. It has been an education. While I have been telling people about the practice of Surrender Meditation, they have been hearing something else entirely. It seems that the word ‘surrender’ has a different meaning to them than it has to me, and that I will either have to find a way to get this difference across, or change the name of this exquisite practice. 

From what I am hearing, it seems that the word ‘surrender’ has become trendy, and amounts to getting out of one’s own way when in the midst of a challenge of some kind or other, and to not try to control things but go with the flow, etc. The element of abandoning one’s attachment to getting a certain outcome is more to the point. I applaud this. It is a very good practice, and a prelude to real surrender. Though it has elements of surrender, it is not surrender as I mean it, and would more aptly be defined as a ‘momentary renunciation of attachment’. 

Scriptural texts on the subject of surrender yoga are plentiful, and all are in agreement that real surrender is the full surrender of oneself to God (whatever your name is for That) under certain conditions meant to make this degree of surrender possible.

Surrender Yoga

The purpose of this practice is union (yoga) with God—union, unity, communion, reunion, unification, with Truth—and liberation from the cycles of birth and death. It is not about navigating life, though this is inevitably affected in the process. 

Surrender Yoga requires that the proper conditions are in place, and that one fully surrenders oneself to God within this context by abandoning the personal sense of being the one doing things, or being the cause of actions—thoughts, bodily movements, feelings, or even falling asleep…etc. One doesn’t try to control what happens or doesn’t happen, but abandons these kinds of desires, along with the expectations and preconceived ideas associated with them.

What I am calling ‘real surrender’ as it is taught in mystical texts on Yoga, and my own lineage of teachers, is the full surrender of oneself to God—the whole package, not just the mind, not just feelings, and not just the body, but all of it. This surrender is not just an ah-ha moment of realization in the midst of life in general. 

Real surrender requires that you know what you are surrendering (yourself) and what you are surrendering it to (God). These two keys are vital. Then your surrender will protect you and take you to the Divine, God, Truth, the Absolute.

You get what you surrender to, whether you are aware of what you are surrendering to or not.

The trendy form of surrender is mild enough that you may not run into any trouble with it, though there will be some who will. I have come across some of them. Just surrendering, or just opening up, is never a good idea. It is no different than parking your car in a tough part of town with the windows down and the key in the ignition. One must be clear on WHAT one is surrendering, and WHAT one is surrendering it TO—and what that is, should always be God/Truth. If you aren’t specific, anything can come along and drive away with your car.

To the degree that one can do this, to that same degree one is surrendered. It takes time and practice like anything else, but with the proper conditions, it is easy and pleasant, and leads to profound experiences and jet-fast progress. By resorting to God in this way, God will drive your car for you.   


This is not a practice done in groups. And it is not for everyone. It is not a good fit for someone who wants what the world has to offer in the way of enjoyments, success, money, fame, family ties, approval, etc. It is only useful to those who are interested in God, Truth, the Absolute, the Divine, the Real, and to whom this comes first and is not at the bottom of a wish list.

Privacy is of paramount importance. You will not surrender much if there is someone around, or if you can be heard, walked in on or interrupted. While you might start out in less than perfect conditions, you must work toward this kind of privacy.

Another component is time. One tries to practice during the same time-period daily, for at least one hour. It is best not to do more than two hours a day if you have duties and responsibilities that take most of your time. It is a seductive practice, effortless, pleasant and laced with amazing experiences, and after some time of regular practice, there may be a temptation to increase the time.

After a few months, you will begin to notice subtle changes in yourself, often without knowing how or when they changed. This is God at work, taking care of you, because you surrendered to That.

So now, coming to the end of this discourse, I am thinking that I may revert to calling this practice by its Sanskrit name, Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga, meaning ‘the activating force given (shaktipat) for the purpose of accelerating evolution (kundalini) through union with God (yoga)’

But will such a long and enigmatic (though literal) title be acceptable? Click on “Leave a comment” at the bottom, and let me know what you think. If you have an interest in learning more about this practice, click here.

Namaste (I bow to the divine one that you really are),
Durga Ma