How can I surrender to Krishna?
Transcribed by: Shalini Ahluwalia
Question: Hare Krishna! Question from Kunal Goyal Prabhu – How can I fully surrender to Krishna? Please give me authentic reason and proof also.
Answer: The reason we surrender to Krishna is because of love. We need food, clothing, shelter, these basic necessities are there for life but they are not life’s purpose. The great mistake of modern civilisation is to mistake the necessities to be purpose. We need them but its not that by getting them we become completely happy. What makes us happy, what satisfies and fulfils our heart is love. At our innermost core we want to love and be loved and we also do not ever want to die. So the Bhagavad Gita and the Vedic scriptures in general explain that both these- our longing to live forever and our longing to love – both of these can be fulfilled when we direct our love towards an eternal object and the most attractive of all eternal objects is Krishna. Krishna, when we love him, naturally we want to surrender to him thats why even in contemporary language we say a man and woman, a boy and a girl, they develop a relationship , what do we say – they fall in love. The idea of falling is that when we love someone we at that time actually subordinate our will, subordinate ourselves to that person. And we subordinate ourselves by subordinating our will to that person’s will. That means we do what will please that person, we try to serve that person. And as such pleasing and serving is an essential expression of love. So when we surrender to Krishna that is because we love him or we want to love him. That is our expression of love, our intention of love and our trust in him. Sometimes the surrender maybe because we are helpless and we realise that no one can help me except God. Thats why we surrender. So that is ofcourse good atleast then we are surrendering to Krishna. But the important thing is for the surrender to be steady and the surrender not just to relieve us from one particular danger in life but to free us from this mortal level of existence, to help us attain liberation and return to Krishna. For that the surrender has to be constant. So thats why we surrender. Because that will bring us the fulfilment of eternal love. Now what is the reference for this? The Bhagavad Gita itself concludes very clearly by declaring in 18.66 one of its concluding verses,
sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja aham tvam sarva-papebhyo moksayisyami ma sucah
sarva dharman partityajya – give up all varieties of religion and just surrender to me.Just surrender to me – Krishna is telling over here. Now how will we surrender? What does it mean? Does it mean that like in the movies we see surrender – raise your hands, hands-up, surrender ! So is it just becoming passive? No. We see Krishna calls Arjuna to surrender in the Bhagavad Gita but Arjuna far from becoming passive becomes active. He actually wages a war. Infact before surrendering to Krishna Arjuna was passive. So surrender – we should not carry the stereotype of just raising one’s hands passively although that can also be one expression of surrender. Now Bhaktivinod Thakur, very learned acharya and a commentator on the Gita – he has explained surrender by a six-point formula which he draws from the scriptures, from the Puranas. So what are these six points? Practical ways in which we can understand what surrender is. So,
Anukulasya sankalpa pratikUlsya varjanam
raksisyati iti visvAso goprtve varanam tathA
Atmaniksepa kArpanye Sadvidha saranAgati
Anukulasya sankalp – accept that which is favourable. Pratikulasya varjanam – reject that which is unfavourable. Now if we see, both these aspects are actions. To surrender is not just an action but both these aspects are actions. But again returning back to the expression of love, you know when we love someone if we know something displeases that person we avoid that. If it is unfavourable for our love we avoid that. Pratikulasya varjanam. And whatever is favourable we accept that. i. We accept that. Now what is anukul for bhakti? Actually we can say that basically those things which connect us with Krishna, which remind us of Krishna, which take us closer to Krishna. So they can be summarised with a simple formula – a, b, c. A is association. Association of devotees, those who are surrendered to Krishna or are trying to surrender to Krishna. That will stimulate us in our spiritual lives. B is books, we need to study scriptures like the Bhagavad Gita by which we philosophically understand why we should surrender, how we should surrender, how Krishna is the ultimate goal of life. C is chanting, this is chanting the holy names of Krishna especially the Hare Krishna mahamantra which is the yugadharma for Kaliyuga. Actually Krishna manifests in a portable form within us, wherever we are we can have the holy name on our tongue and that way we can connect with Krishna. This is the most important link in this age. Kalikaalen naam rupen Krishnavatar. And d is diet and deity. We can worship Krishna at our home and we can offer the food that we take to Krishna before taking the food and that will become prasada. Not only nourish our body but purify our mind and awaken our heart with Krishna prem. Now pratikulasya varjanam – reject that which is unfavourable. What are those activities? Those activities are those which disconnect us from Krishna. They are primarily four – meat-eating, intoxication, gambling and illicit sex. Meat-eating makes us violent towards other creatures of God and that naturally displeases God. We are all brothers in God’s family and Krishna does not want any of his creatures to be wounded or killed for the sake of the taste buds of somebody else. So similarly no intoxication. Now intoxication – we want to go towards reality, understanding our relationship with Krishna. We are illusioned but intoxication puts us in greater illusion and of course it makes us do many harmful things also. It hurts our health also. Gambling – again it stimulates our greed. There is principle of simple living and high thinking but gambling makes us just crazy for wealth and it paralyzes our thinking in the hope of getting some quick gains. That also we avoid. And illicit sex. Sex can catch our mind and drag us down to the physical level where we cannot think of anything spiritual. Therefore sex needs to be regulated and within the sacred institution of marriage. That is no illicit sex. In this way one can actually reject the unfavourable things. Now beyond that there are emotions that we can try to cultivate along with actions. So anukulasya sankalp pratikulasya varjanam. Raksisyati iti visvaso – that when we are in danger we have to have faith that Krishna will protect me and having that faith is itself an act of surrender because although we may not know how Krishna will protect us but we do not let anxiety, worry or resentment or any of that negativity come in our heart, just hold on to faith that Krishna will protect me and go on with the understanding that Krishna is my maintainer not just in the time of danger but at all times. It is he who is running my body. When i eat food i don’t know how it is digested. It is Krishna who has created the bodily mechanisms by which it is getting digested. Varnam tatha atmaniksepa karpanye – atmaniksepa means i will offer my whole existence to Krishna – i am nothing without Krishna and kripa arpanye means humility. So these are emotions which we can try to cultivate but if we do the first anukulasya sankalp pratikulasya varjanam these emotions will grow quickly in our heart also and that way we will be able to move faster towards Krishna. So this is how as an expression of love we can surrender to Krishna.
Thank you, Hare Krishna!