Just Surrender, Prabhu! Really?
BY: MAHANANDA DASA
Jun 14, 2016 — ALACHUA, FLORIDA (SUN) — How many times have we heard this? “Just Surrender, Prabhu!” Good advice… but what exactly does it mean? Go limp and passively accept whatever comes our way as Krsna’s will for us? I don’t think so.
Surrendering to Krsna is a gradual thing. It is not that we just find out that we are the low man on the totem pole and Krsna is the Boss, and so and so is there in some bodily chain of command whom you had better submit to and just blindly obey because they are in the position of “authority”. That would be horrible — like some totalitarian government that insists that you just get in line with everyone else and do mindless, obedient servitorship, and there is no love or enthusiasm to please a loved one urging you on.
In that type of situation there is no relationship or joy derived from connecting with another with love, nor the satisfaction of willfully sacrificing part of what is ours in order to express that love in our endeavor to please a beloved. But surrender to Krsna is not like that depressing environment. It is prompted not by guilt or force, but by attraction.
At first, we may only philosophically understand the concept of submission to Krsna in devotional service, and in the beginning we may engage in the regulative principles of devotion only under the order of the bona fide spiritual master. But quickly one begins to taste the different mellows of Krsna’s association through serving Him, and these become the impetus for desiring to go further into the practice of bhakti yoga. This serving Krsna through practice in devotional service under the order of the guru gradually leads to the second division of saddhana bhakti, called raganuga bhakti.
When you reach this second stage, you are technically still in conditional consciousness because you have not surpassed the material empasse, but still in this stage there is a spontaneous attraction for Krsna and a desire to please Him. In raganuga bhakti the impetus for service is more or less out of love for Krsna. You are thinking, “Oh, let me buy these beautiful flowers for a garland for my Lord, Govinda.”
How does this surrender and attachment to Krsna develop? By serving Him favorably. We find out from the pure devotee what activities please Krsna and what activities to avoid that will bring us more entanglement. And after finding out which behavior to avoid and which behavior will purify us, we then have the free will to make a choice. Just like in the Bhagavad-Gita. After Krsna took so much trouble to explain everything to Arjuna, His close friend and devotee, still he told him, “Make your choice.”
All through the Bhagavad-gita, Krsna explains more and more confidential knowledge to enlighten His friend so that he could make the choice that was best for him. Then after finishing His discussion and as the conversation comes to an end, Krsna still said to Arjuna “I have explained to you the most confidential knowledge. Deliberate on it fully, and then do what YOU wish to do.”
So there is no doubt that we are to follow in the footsteps of Arjuna and use our intelligence to deliberately decide our course of action. It is not up to others to do this. It is our own responsibility. There will be others (like temple managers) to help us and give us opportunities to do service and they may encourage us, but ultimately the choice has to be made by us after full deliberation. Not that we can just passively accept whatever we are told to do. We have to think it over and decide what course of action will advance our Krsna consciousness. And if we are successful in making the same decisions as Arjuna after deliberating on the philosophy fully, then there is much glory and happiness awaiting us. That is a fact.
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