18.66 – The bond that sets us free
Surrender. The idea often conjures images of a warrior accepting defeat and being bound by the enemy. When the Bhagavad-gita (18.66) asks us to surrender, does it imply that we will have to undergo something similar?
Not at all. This surrender is motivated by not force, but love – love for Krishna. When we surrender thus, we do become bound, but bound by love. And this is a bond that sets us free. The bond of devotion heralds the following freedoms:
- Obligations: When others do something for us, we become obliged to them. But Gita wisdom explains that whatever anyone has done for us is ultimately done by Krishna through that person. So, when we devote ourselves to him, we are no longer obliged to anyone. That’s the rationale behind his asking us to give up all obligations (sarva dharman parityajya) and just surrender to him (mam ekam sharanam vraja). Of course, we still carry out our worldly responsibilities as a way of serving Krishna and of connecting others with him, but we are no longer bound.
- Sinful reactions: Krishna indemnifies us from any sinful reactions that we might incur in devoting ourselves singularly to him (aham tvam sarva papebhyo mokshayishyami). Though we may still undergo some suffering, it will soon end; it’s like the residual suffering as a disease is being cured.
- Material desires: The more we bind ourselves to Krishna with devotion, the more we relish a deep inner fulfillment that frees us from the craving for material things, a craving that is otherwise nearly irresistible.
- Material existence: When we stay devoted to Krishna throughout our life, we naturally think of him at the moment of death and thereby return back to him, forever free from the miseries of material existence. That is life’s ultimate freedom.