Love, Devotion and Surrender
A lecture by Sri Chinmoy
at the American International School, Zurich, Switzerland
Love is sweet, devotion is sweeter, surrender is sweetest.
Love is sweet. I have felt this truth in my mother's spontaneous love for me.
Devotion is sweeter. I have discovered this truth in my mother's pure devotion towards the perfection of my life
Surrender is the sweetest. I have realised this truth in my mother's constant surrender towards the fulfilment of my joy.
Again, love is mighty, devotion is mightier, surrender is the mightiest.
Love is mighty. This truth I feel when I look at my father's face.
Devotion is mightier. This truth I discover when I sit at the feet of my father
Surrender is the mightiest. This truth I realise when I live in the breath of my father's will.
Love, devotion and surrender. St. Augustine has blessed us with a profound message, "Love and then do what you like."
Our mind thinks that this is absolutely true. Our heart feels that this is undeniably true. But unfortunately, in our day to day life we are not able to practise it. That is to say, we do not know what love is. We do not know why we love something or someone. Finally, we do not know how to love.
What is love? From the spiritual and inner point of view, love is self-expansion. Human love binds and is bound. Divine Love expands, enlarges itself. Here we are dealing with the Divine Love.
Devotion is the intensity in love, and surrender is the fulfilment of love. Why do we love? We love because at every moment we are pinched with hunger to realise the highest, to feel the inmost, to be consciously one with the universe, with the universal truth, universal light, peace and bliss, and to be completely fulfilled.
How to love? If we love with a view of achieving something from others, then that love is no love. Love means constant self-offering on the strength of one's own inner aspiration.
This world of ours needs peace, joy, bliss, harmony, and understanding. We feel that here on earth there is no light, no truth, no divinity, nothing of the sort. All the divine qualities, all aspects of the Lord Supreme are in the skies, in the deep blue skies, not here. This is what we feel. Hence we always look up high for help. We feel that God is in Heaven, not on earth. God will come down into the world to our rescue. He is not to be found here on earth. Here we are wallowing in the pleasures of ignorance. There can be no light, no truth here.
But we must realise that, God being Omnipresent, He is here too. He is within us. He is without us. In the inmost recesses of our heart, we feel His living Presence.
As you all know, George Bernard Shaw has warned us, "Beware of the man whose God is in the skies." But our God is everywhere. He is not only in Heaven, He is here on earth. He is with us, He is within us, and He is for us. We do not have to enter into the highest regions of consciousness to see God. Our inner cry will bring to the fore our inner divinity, which is nothing other than God.
Surrender. Surrender is protection, and surrender is illumination. Surrender is our perfection. We begin our journey at the very commencement of our life. We surrender our existence to our parents and the result is protection. We listen to our parents. We surrender to their will, to their advice and suggestions, and we are protected, well protected. Joy boundless we felt in our day to day life when we were children. Why? Because we surrendered our personal will, our own inner thinking to our parents. Here immediately we received joy plus protection. In protection is joy and in joy is protection.
Now in the evening of our life, what happens? If we follow the inner life and the spiritual life, in the evening of our life we surrender. To whom? To the Inner Pilot, the Lord Supreme. At the end of our journey we surrender our very breath to the Supreme. Then we again get joy, perfect joy, unalloyed joy.
To quote Dante, "The happiest man is he who can connect the evening of his life with the beginning."
Now, if we are all sincere seekers of the ultimate Truth, then our journey begins with surrender to our parents, who are our well-wishers, who are our dearest and nearest ones. When we surrender to them our existence, we get joy in abundant measure. Then, when we walk along the path of spirituality, every moment we try to listen to the dictates of our inner being. The more we listen to the inner being, the greater is our joy, the higher is our fulfilment; and then, when our term is over, when we have to enter into another world for a short rest, if we consciously surrender to God's Will, ours will be the supreme joy, ours will be the glory supreme.
It is difficult to love mankind. It is difficult to devote oneself to mankind. It is difficult to surrender oneself to mankind. This is true. In the same way, it is difficult for us to love God, to serve God, to devote ourselves to God, and to surrender our living breath to God.
Now, why? The simple reason is: we want to possess and be possessed. Now, here we are constantly making ourselves victims of ignorance. That is to say, our desire can never be fulfilled. We have countless desires. God will fulfil only those desires that will be of some use, from which we will derive benefit. But if He fulfilled our countless desires, then He would be doing an injustice to our aspiring souls. That He will not do. He knows what is best for us and He has given us beyond our capacity, even beyond our necessity. But unfortunately we are unaware of this fact.
St. Francis, from his own experience, has offered a unique truth to the world at large, " He who thinks that God's Love is inadequate is very greedy." Really we are all greedy people. If we go deep within, we see, we feel, we realise that God has given us infinitely more than we need, needless to say, more than we deserve.
Love, devotion and surrender. These are the three rungs in the spiritual ladder, or should we say the ladder of our evolving consciousness. The first rung is love; the second, or you can say the penultimate, is devotion; and the ultimate is surrender.
A tiny drop enters into the ocean and becomes the mighty, the boundless ocean. Unfortunately in the West, surrender is misunderstood. We feel that if we surrender to someone, that means he will lord it over us. We will have no individuality and personality. From the ordinary point of view, the human point of view, this is true. From the spiritual point of view, it is absolutely wrong. When the finite enters into the Infinite, it becomes the Infinite all at once. When a tiny drop enters into the ocean, we cannot trace the drop. It becomes the mighty ocean.
Each moment we are given ample opportunity to love mankind, and if we really love mankind, then we have the feeling of devoted service to mankind. And then when we really want to enlarge our existence, expand our consciousness and be one, inseparably one with the vast, then surrender is the only answer.
Each moment we see right in front of us a barrier between one human being and another human being — an adamantine wall between two human beings. We cannot communicate properly, wholeheartedly, and soulfully. Why? Because we are wanting in love. Love is our inseparable oneness with the rest of the world, with God's entire creation. We can break asunder this adamantine wall that we feel between us on the strength of our soulful love.
India's greatest poet, Rabindranath Tagore, said, "He who loves finds the door open." So our heart's door is already open for those who really, truly, and soulfully love.
God loves us out of His Infinite Bounty, and His Heart's Door is always wide open. Just because He is all Love, we approach Him. He is our dearest, not because He is Omniscient and Omnipotent, but just because He is all Love.
Love, devotion and surrender.
To serve and never be tired is love.
To learn and never be filled is devotion.
To offer and never to end is surrender.
Love is man's reality
Devotion is man's divinity.
Surrender is man's immortality.
Reality is all-pervading.
Divinity is all-elevating, and
Immortality is all-fulfilling.
Published in My Rose Petals, part 1
I Thank You
A prayer-offering by Sri Chinmoy
during the Thanksgiving Concert
at The Society for Ethical Culture New York
Listen to Sri Chinmoy offering this prayer...
I thank You, O my Beloved Supreme, because You have given me the soulful receptivity to need You only.
I thank You, O my Beloved Supreme, because You have given me the fruitful capacity to love You only.
I thank you, O my wise soul, because you know who I eternally am. I am a God-lover. I am a God-server.
I thank you, O my aspiring heart, because you love me.
I thank you, O my searching mind, because you think of me.
I thank you, O my dynamic vital, because you struggle for me.
I thank you, O my conscious body, because you suffer for me.
I thank you, O Earth, because you have given me patience-light. Because of patience-light I still exist on Earth.
I thank you, O Heaven, because you have given me promise-delight. My promise-delight is to manifest God unconditionally.
I thank you, O India, because in you, India, I achieved the beauty of God-Realisation.
I thank you, O America, because in you, America, I am entrusted with the duty of God-Manifestation.
I thank you, O East, because I am one of your God-worshipping flowers.
I thank you, O West, because I am one of your man-nourishing fruits.
I thank you all, O my seeker-friends, because in me you see a simple instrument of God.
I thank you all, O my seeker-friends, because in you I see the living Presence of my Beloved Supreme.
I thank you, O my dear friends, because you inspire me to bring to the fore my good and divine qualities.
Finally, I thank myself, because I am all gratitude, within and without.
Published in I Thank You
Sri Chinmoy reaches the halfway point of his poetry epic Ten Thousand Flower-Flames when he completes his 5,000th poem, in Jamaica, Queens, New York.
Published in Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, part 50