The Path of Surrender

Nearly two months ago I had an experience which, for some reason I am compelled to share here today, with you.

I was driving through town on a Saturday afternoon, on my way to Wendy’s for a little guilty pleasure cheeseburger (I confess to breaking a lot of yogi rules). The sun was high and the weather pleasant, with the fragrance of fall promise coming through in sweet wafts on the breeze. I recall being particularly at ease and joyful when suddenly I became aware of Durga Ma’s presence as she said “Take care of my children.”

Initially I was taken aback, because in all of our years I never heard her speak quite like this. It was clear that she was talking about all of you, but it was still odd for me to hear it. The words came through my entire body in a visceral experience of understanding that they weren’t simply a directive, but were filled with a compassion and concern of a variety that reaches inside oneself and beyond with a knowing that is hard, at best, to articulate.

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What does it take to let go and open ourselves up to divine love?

I have never felt terribly comfortable sharing these types of experiences openly, because we all know the potential for being misunderstood, criticized, and even persecuted. Durga Ma was one of the first and only people I ever felt safe enough with to openly share the wild and sometimes even freightening things that I experienced. She taught me what it is like to be truly accepted and loved unconditionally.

Which is why Im writing this, I suppose.

I inquired with her about this task of “taking care of her children,” and it comes down to this: we need one another. Satsang, community, tribe, sangha, or any other name you give to it… it is an essential part of this journey. We are the few, and our lives are not ordinary, or easy.

Spirituality done with any conviction means that we will, sooner or later encounter obstacles of one variety or another. This is when it is the most beneficial to have the support of one another. Our human selves don’t always know what’s on the other side of the next step, and that’s ok. Sometimes it’s not knowledge that’s necessary, but the courage to go ahead anyway. This was the foundation of my relationship with Durga Ma. I trusted her and she loved me unconditionally – and because of that I always had the courage to continue, and still do.

Ultimately our courage grows and we discover that it is ever-present within us. But when we can’t find our own courage, we can lean on those who believe in us, and they will bolster our catapult into the unknown so we can re-discover what we have forgotten or lost sight of. So we have one another not only to break through obstacles, but to celebrate the victories of our survival on the other side!

Durga Ma transmitted the lineage to me before she left her physical body. It is now my responsibility, and I admit that it was not a decision I made easily, or a task I accepted with full understanding.

She told me that I would be a great guru… one day. I told her that I would be a truffle farmer if it didn’t work out. I have always relied on my sense of humor when I am nervous or the discussion get’s too serious, and she reminded me that “levity” and “levitation” are a superpower. There was no way she was ever going to give up on me, and I am eternally grateful for her love.

So here is where a new path in this journey begins to unfold… from me to you. Our connection is eternal, our realization is already complete. Still we must walk this road to the far shores of understanding and abiding in the Reality of Truth. Mine is a story of love in a world of suffering, and if it only serves as a reminder that you are not alone on this adventure then I will have been successful.

While I continue in the maturation of what has been laid before me by Durga Ma, I would like to share something of great value that she wrote regarding Surrender Meditation/Sahaja Yoga. It points to (on one hand) that there is space for everything on this journey. We can range the spectrum of experience and appearance and be well within the range of our own divinity, which is something I feel is incredibly valuable to our human expression of connecting and communicating with one another.

Sahaja yoga, shaktipat kundalini yoga, Surrender Meditation, also called sahaja yoga, shaktipat kundalini yoga, and other names, are synonymous terms for the path of surrender as taught by Durga Ma’s lineage. The unique feature of Surrender Meditation is that, with the release of the life energy in the body through shaktipat diksha, meditation occurs effortlessly on its own and kundalini awakens naturally and safely. The aim of this practice is spontaneous meditation and union with God, freedom, and spiritual evolution. Surrender Meditation is aimed at union with God, spiritual evolution and liberation.

This practice is not about balance because it is not about using the will. Will is the domain of techniques and ahamkara (“I do-it”). The body is always thrown out of balance when the will is used, because the life energy is not free but in the service of the will, the seat of which is the mind and it’s core drive, ahamkara (ego).

Even when balance is attained, it is not possible to maintain this tenuous balance indefinitely by using the will. Sooner or later, one must surrender. People devoted to control and willful practices will tell you otherwise.

What we truly are is, and has always been, in union with God, already perfect and already free. Through surrender to God, obstacles are swept away until nothing stands in the way of our awareness of this truth, then we live in Truth and the bliss of union without a break. At this point, the body can eventually cheat death. How long this takes varies with every individual, from weeks, to months, to years, to lifetimes.

-Durga Ma (personal notes) Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga Master

With great love and gratitude,

Anandi

 

The Diamond Shloka – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 64-66

Absolute (unconditional) Surrender to Absolute God will get you to Absolute God
God and Me

Absolute God, whether personal God or the abstract Absolute, is Absolute Goodness, Love and Happiness.

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Now hear Me again, concerning this most profound secret of all. You are certainly loved by Me, so what I speak is for your benefit:

Now, because you are still contemplating this secret teaching, out of love for you, Lord Krishna is going to try again to bring it home and awaken you, because it is for your benefit to know it. 

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Devoted to Me, always thinking of Me, surrender to Me, and offer pranamas to Me, and you will doubtless come to Me. This is my promise to you, for you are dear to Me.

“Offer pranamas to Me” means ‘to bow down to, to make obeisance to, make reverential salutation and show adoration’. This is pranama, ‘bowing down in respectful salutation to God and Guru. If you are able to do this, you are ready and able to surrender to God in meditation (Surrender Meditation: shaktipat kundalini yoga).

The purpose of pranama is to increase your ability to surrender to God.

The Diamond Shloka

(shloka – verse in duple meter) 

Now we come to the Diamond Shloka. It is so called because it is the verse within this Gita that is the KEY to everything Lord Krishna has been teaching Arjuna (and us), and all of it is contained in this one single verse:

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Abandon all dharmas and take refuge in Me alone, and I will give you freedom from all evils. Fear not!

  • Evils – misfortunes and sorrows
  • Fear not, also means, ‘grieve not’.
  • Freedom is from the Sanskrit word, moksha, which has to do with being free of recurring cycles of death, rebirth, and the influences of the past (samsara).

SurrenderAlternate translation:
Abandon all ‘shoulds’ and surrender only to Me, and I will liberate you from all misfortunes and sorrows. Fear not!

  • Misfortunes – The word for misfortunes means just about everything from suffering to bad luck.  

“Abandon all dharmas and surrender only to Me.”
In this verse, the word dharma is plural — rules, laws, duties, responsibilities, etc. This suggests that we should take the meaning of dharmas to be concerned with the laws of man, rather than with the singular law of Truth, the Absolute.

Relying on ‘shoulds’ is not surrender, renunciation, or sacrifice, and does not lead to the highest Yoga (Divine Union), or to liberation. It is only through surrender “to Me”, Absolute God, that one can reach God/Truth, become liberated and freed of all misfortunes, sorrows and fears.

SurrenderLord Krishna is also using dharmas to get across the idea of how to meditate correctly by suggesting what not to do: You do not to try to control your meditation or try to do it yourself, but you leave everything to God.

In this kind of meditation, in the secured privacy of your meditation room, you are to abandon all rules and surrender only to Absolute God/Truth.

  • You do not surrender to anything but God. 
  • You do not surrender to anything that comes up in your meditation.
  • You do not concern yourself with what you think your meditation should be like. 
  • You abandon any sense of doing anything yourself, however much it may seem to you that you have caused everything.

Abandon all ‘shoulds’ and surrender to me only, and I will give you freedom and deliver you from all misfortunes, fears and sorrows.

Only

“Only” means that your surrender should never be mixed with anything that is not Absolute God — no matter what your word is for That. 

After forty years of surrender yoga sadhana, I still catch myself falling into this trap. It’s that easy. I will give you an example:

I am in a dither about what is coming, and it isn’t pretty. I can see ahead to it, and find no solution for it. I can either be a worry-wart and get stressed out trying to find some kind of solution, or I can surrender to God completely. I choose God. And here is where it gets interesting:

My mind pictures me dying of some exotic disease in the streets of Phoenix, friendless and alone, with not a penny to my name, and talking to God and asking for help that never comes. It is such a subtle thing, hanging out in the peripheral vision of the mind, that at first I don’t realize what is happening. Then, the minute I look, it slips away as something else takes it place, and I miss its message. But sometimes I miss it because of correct reasoning. Two and two makes four. Who can disregard correct reasoning, right?

No, not right. I have had so many experiences of being at the edge of the abyss and about to fall in, when God steps in saying, “Well, here we are again, my dear,” lifts the situation, parks it on the side of the road, and takes me Home for a visit.

Yet this still small voice of reason continues to try to exert itself. What is happening is that this world is so dense, thick and demanding, that it seems to be the only reality. The mind says, “Well shucks, All is God, so how can I miss?” And even though one understands that this Relative (‘inferior’) aspect of God is something they most certainly should not surrender to, it is easy to miss seeing it for what it is. 

It is possible to surrender to something without meaning to. There is no awareness of having surrendered. No choice was consciously made to surrender. In this case, it is not a matter of tricky reasoning or intention, or even mentally based coercion. I suspect that, in this case, one is so conditioned to adapt to the wishes and demands of other’s, that it is automatic. One just gives in.  

So between tricky reasoning, inappropriate intention, and mentally based coercion, there lies this unconscious giving-in to circumstances. Anyone can fall into any of these, or any combination of them, at any time — in the meditation room, or in daily life.     

These two verses are what has saved me every time:  

Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and ego constitute the divisions of My eightfold material nature (relative). Such is My inferior nature, but otherwise know My Highest nature (absolute) by which all life is sustained.  — Chapter 7, verses 4-5.

Now do you see why I refer to the God we surrender to in meditation as Absolute God? This distinction is crucial. You do not surrender to the “All Is God” kind of God, but ONLY to Absolute God.

I hope that sharing this with you will help you to remember this critical distinction concerning Absolute God, and surrender ONLY to That. No matter how you think of God, or what name you give It, or whether you conceive of God as personal or impersonal, never, never, never surrender to anything other than Absolute God.

You (absolute) are a god in a body made of God being human (relative).

  • Relative – subject to change; existing only in relation to something else; having characteristics only in comparison to something else; something whose existence is dependent on something else.

This is what you do not surrender to: people, places, things, circumstances, situations, or beings of any kind, even spirits, guides, angles, etc., however divine they may be. 

  • Absolute – unchanging; independent; having unrestricted power; not qualified or diminished in any way; not subject to any limitation; existing independently and not in relation to anything else, or dependent on anything else; Ultimate Reality, God.

This is what you consciously choose to surrender to: Absolute God Only.

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

Attaining Godhood, Part 2 – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 57-59

Embraced by God

.Attaining Godhood, Part 2

Previously:
Even though he performs many actions, he is surrendered to Me, thus attaining the realm of the eternal Imperishable Abode, by My Grace. — Verse 56

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Relying on this Knowledge of Yoga, surrender all actions to Me. With Me as the Highest, and always thinking of Me, you will always be absorbed in Me.

“Always thinking of Me”: The word for ‘thinking’ is from the Sanskrit, chitta. Chitta is the stuff the mind is made of — pure consciousness. At this point your consciousness is purified and you begin to think of God all the time.

“Relying on this Knowledge of Yoga” suggests that even merely through rational intelligence (buddhi), one can hold God as the Highest goal, surrender all actions to God, and be absorbed into God (yoga). The teachings given in this Gita have shown us what we must do to reach this point. Now that we are here, it is only natural that we rely on this knowledge of Yoga, because we know it works. 

“With Me as the Highest” means with God as the highest goal. God is Krishna, who is Purushottama, Absolute God, and this is That to which we aspire.

“Surrender all actions to Me” By knowing that all actions are not your own, but are merely Nature in action, you easily and gladly leave everything to God/Truth. 

“You will always be absorbed in Me” Because your consciousness is always absorbed in Krishna, it is always absorbed in God, and your state is the same as That. 

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Thus always conscious of Me, you will overcome all obstacles by My Grace. But if out of ego (ahamkara) you do not listen, you will perish.

Krishna and Radha“You will overcome all obstacles by My Grace,” means that all obstacles encountered are now God’s to deal with. That God deals with them, is God’s Grace. This is not an action of God’s any more than it is yours, but it is God’s grace, God’s kind benevolence.

The overcoming of obstacles is a matter of getting in sync with God/Truth, so you might say that God/Truth approves and Grace is the result. You don’t deal with obstacles because your state is one in which you are not a doer of actions. So even when it may look like you are involved in an action for the purpose of eliminating an obstacle, it is God’s Grace at work, not you.

God approves and Grace ensues.

“But if out of ego you do not listen, you will perish.” The doer-ego is your nemesis. It will try to take the credit or the blame for any action, however great or small, whether for good or ill. Attending to this will get you nowhere and stop your progress. Then when you leave your body at death, you will find yourself waiting in line for a return performance. You will not achieve that realm of the Eternal. 

  • Ego (ahamkara) – believing that you are the doer of actions.

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If you resort to ego and rationalize, “I shall not fight,” your resolve will be in vain, for your own nature will compel you.

This is where this Gita began: with Arjuna becoming reluctant, and then adamant, about not fighting this war to regain his rightful place of rulership of his own kingdom … because family and friends might get hurt or go away. And indeed this is something that will come up for any sincere seeker — friends and family will criticize you, call you crazy, accuse you of being selfish and indulgent and hurting them (you’re not; you are actually helping them but they can’t see it). 

During this chapter we found that, although Arjuna was in disagreement with Lord Krishna who had urged him to take up this challenge, all his complaints revealed to us that he was already in possession of True Knowledge without realizing it.

This is like most of us. Every one our reasons for not going forward are loaded with messages suggesting the very opposite of what is being taught in this Gita. We resist these teachings with innumerable and perfectly rational excuses. Then things start coming up that make it impossible for us to go forward with it. 

Once you awaken to your Inherent Knowing, you will realize that these teachings are True. You will notice that they feel somehow familiar to you, and you will stop resisting. At this point you will let go of your concerns about friends, family and society in general, and you will get on with finding your guru and moving forward … no matter what. It is inevitable, “for your own nature will compel you.”

You already know everything. You have but to learn what you know.

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