Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Ramana Maharshi on Bhakti and Total Surrender

While Bhagawan hailed Self-enquiry (jnana marga) as the sure, direct path, he would often say that the goal of Self-realization can also be reached through surrendering oneself to God: "Jnana Marga and Bhakti Marga (prapatti) are one and the same. Self-surrender leads to realization just as enquiry does."

"What the bhakta calls surrender, the man who does vichara (enquiry) calls jnana. Both are trying to take the ego back to the Source from which it sprang and make it merge there."

Lest we be lulled into thinking that surrender was the easier of the two, he asserted that, "A devotee concentrates on God; a seeker, follower of the jnana-marga, seeks the Self. The practice is equally difficult for both."

Why is that so? "Surrender appears easy because people imagine that, once they say with their lips 'I surrender' and put their burdens on their Lord, they can be free and do what they like. But the fact is that you can have no likes or dislikes after your surrender and that your will should become completely non-existent, the Lord's will taking its place. Such death of the ego is nothing different from jnana."

But he held out hope by stating that "Complete surrender is impossible in the beginning. Partial surrender is certainly possible for all. In course of time that will lead to complete surrender."

- From the Mountain Path, July-September, 2010 issue