So, when you say that you are surrendering to God your thought, your word, your deed, it is simply a kind of trivial satisfaction to yourself. This cannot represent the truth and the meaning of the word surrender. God also never wants you to surrender, and hand over to him, everything that you own. In fact, God has never asked for such a thing. If you make a proper attempt to understand the true meaning of the word saranagathi or surrender, you will understand that saranagathi really relates to another aspect and it should be interpreted in the background and context of Divinity only. Only when you accept and when you believe that the Divine is present in every human being and in every living thing, that Divinity is omnipresent can you understand the meaning of surrendering in thought, word, and deed and you will also become one with God. There is some justification for your talking of saranagathi or surrender when you are in full control of your mind, your words and your body. As soon as you are able to recognize the aspects of the omnipresence and the omnipotence of God, the feeling of ego, the feeling that there is an “I”, which is a distinct thing, will disappear.
In other words, when we try to understand the meaning of the word saranagathi or surrender, you will note that, in the beginning, Arjuna started asking questions of Lord Krishna, thinking that he is using his own intelligence, his own capacity of enquiry and his own ability of distinguishing right from wrong. He is thinking that he is using his own strength. Because he relied heavily upon his own powers and thought that his own powers were capable of excelling and exceeding God’s powers, he landed himself into a difficulty and was not in a position to decide what he should do and what he should not do. As soon as Arjuna found it not possible to go ahead or even to go back; in fact, when all his actions came to a stop, then he turned to Lord Krishna and said: “I will take your orders, I am not in a position to decide what I should do. I am ready to obey you and carry out whatever you want me to do and I will do so with my full heart.” Thus he surrendered his thought, word, action, and all, entirely to God. Such surrender is the lesson of the Bhagavad Gita.
It is not correct to say that even this is complete surrender. A situation has arisen when he is ready to take whatever order God gives and obey it implicitly. In this situation, the position is that God gives orders and another individual is willing to execute them. In other words, there is a duality here, in that the one who gives the order is God and the one who wishes to execute them is man. As long as there is this distinction in the mind of the individual, between God on the one hand and “I” of the individual on the other hand, this cannot be accepted as complete surrender. There is bliss and happiness in unity. There is no bliss and happiness in duality. So when you are looking at the word surrender or saranagathi, in common parlance, in the ordinary way of doing routine things and interpret it by telling yourself that God has given you the order, God has told you what to do and you will accept that and will follow that, this meaning of surrender is right only in a limited sense.
- Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Source: Summer Showers in Brindavan, 1972.