SURRENDER TO THE MASTER
SURRENDER to the feet of the Master
means to merge one's individual will in the will of the Master, and to
completely place oneself at his mercy. It is the surest and easiest way
to escape from all cares and anxieties. It comes only when a disciple has
complete faith and confidence in the competency of the Master.
This type of self-surrender is like that of a completely helpless patient who, trusting in the skill of a competent surgeon, places his life in his hands and quietly submits himself to his knife and lancet.
Or it may be compared to the trust given by the hopelessly lost traveler in the wilderness to the forest ranger who finds him and leads him out.
In exactly the same way, the work of the Master does not consist in merely teaching the theory of Para Vidya (Science of the Beyond), but it includes the practical demonstration of results of spiritual experiments, and help and guidance through all the disciples' difficulties. A true friend does not only give theoretical lessons in how to escape from mind and matter; he helps in effecting the escape itself.
Suppose, for instance, that a person has to go abroad. He will begin by making inquiries as to the various means of transportation available, land, sea or air, as he may choose. After he makes his choice he enters the plane, ship or train, and relying on the skill of the operator, takes his seat comfortably without the least anxiety. Should the ship flounder, or the plane be caught in a storm, it is the duty of the captain or pilot to take every possible care to save the conveyance along with the passengers for whom he is responsible.
In exactly the same way, an aspirant for spirituality has, after careful investigation, to decide first about the spiritual worthiness of a Master, and then to submit himself wholly and solely to his authority and direction without any mental reservations whatever; for he alone knows the turns and twists of the spiritual path and is in a position to act as an unerring guide.
The term surrender therefore means that a disciple should have full confidence in the skill and competence of the Master, and scrupulously follow and act on his instructions whatever they may be, whether in conformity with his own reason or not - for his reason being limited may be faulty or fall far short of the depth or prove uncertain.
It is not for him to question the propriety of the Master's commandments. He must learn, like a soldier, to obey his command without knowing the why and wherefore of things; for the Master knows what is best and most suitable in each case.
One must therefore obey the Master literally, and straightway engage himself in the sadhan or spiritual practice and discipline as it may be laid down for him.
This is the only way to spiritual success; there is no other.
In this context, we have the testimony of Hafiz, a great Sufi poet of Persia, who declared:
Dye thy prayer carpet in wine should the Master so desire;
For he is not ignorant of the turns of the highway ahead.
When a disciple entrusts his all to the Master, he becomes
carefree and the Master has of necessity to take over the entire responsibility;
just as a mother does for her child who does not know what is good for
As the disciple develops in his sadhan, he fits himself to receive more grace from the Master. Under his kind and benign influence, the disciple begins to thrive from day to day, and all his wishes are fulfilled without the least trouble on his part.
Sages and seers cry from the housetops:
Ye seekers after peace, hie to a Master Saint.
In Discourse 17, Verse 66, of the Bhagavad Gita, the Blessed Lord Krishna as a world teacher announces:
Abandon all duties and come to me, the only refuge; I will deliver thee
from all sins: grieve not.
In the Holy Koran, we have likewise:
Whosoever surrenders his purpose to Allah while doing good,
his reward is with his Lord, and no fear shall come upon him,
neither shall he grieve.
And in the Bible:
And I will turn my hand upon thee and purely purge away thy dross,
and take away all thy sins.
Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest.
Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee.
Self-surrender is not an easy task. To accomplish it,
one has to recede back to the position of an innocent child. It means an
entire involution, a complete metamorphosis, supplanting one's own
It is the path of self-abnegation, which not everyone can take.
On the other hand, the path of spiritual discipline is comparatively easy. Self-effort can be tried by anyone in order to achieve spiritual advancement.
It is, no doubt, a long and tortuous path, as compared with the way of self-surrender, but one can, with confidence in the Master, tread it firmly step by step. If, however a person is fortunate enough to take to self-surrender, he can have all the blessings of the Master quickly; for he goes directly into his lap and has nothing to do by himself for himself.
He is then the Master's Elect, his beloved son, the son of God Himself. But very rarely even a really blessed soul may be able to acquire this attitude.
Should the Lord so ordain, then, O Nanak!
a person may take the path of self-surrender.
Blessed indeed is one who surrenders at the feet of the Satguru;
Standing near Truth he revels in Truth and easily merges in Truth,
O Nanak! It is by the Lord's grace that one may meet
such a Gurumukh.
In the scriptures one finds a large number of advantages from adopting this path:
All ills and sorrows vanish by surrender at the Master's feet.
In the world of joys and sorrows, he alone escapes who gains
the feet of the Satguru;
A Gurumukh stands apart from the three gunas
and is acceptable to the Lord.
In self-surrender the mind becomes purified;
but chanting of God's name alone does not help.
For the world's good do those come who thirst for a sight of Him;
He who surrenders makes a clean escape, with desires all fulfilled.
All joys lie with Satguru; bow then at his feet;
blissful is the very sight of him.
With no regrets chant paeans unto him.
I see the world being consumed in the fire of egoism. Escape thou
by surrender to the Master, and then attend to True Shabd.
I surrender to One who alone is the cause, both material
and efficient. His grace has shown the native land
in the light of the moon.
With a Life Impulse from a perfect Master, Ram Naam rests in me;
O Nanak! With a surrender to the Master's feet
the Lord Himself becomes merciful.
In Kali Yuga Naam lies hidden everywhere, and the Lord
in fullness pervades;
But the precious Naam becomes manifest in that surrender
to the Master.
With the blessings of the Guru one becomes fearless of death and is successfully ferried across the sea of life.
He happily conquers death and never goes to hell. O Nanak! He is saved
by surrender, for Hari just takes him into His care.
Having been accepted by the Acceptor, all his acts become pure.
O Nanak! Never will he go to hell; such is the gift of surrender.
None but the Elect engage in the devotion of Naam.
O Nanak! With surrender at the Master's feet
one never comes and goes.
The dispeller of ills and Lord of all is attained through
surrender to a Sadh; and the tumultuous sea of life
is ferried across quickly.
When a jiva surrenders to the Satguru, the Lord takes him under His own protection and grants unto him the blessings of Sehaj (eternal happiness). All doubts and fears now disappear and he comes to his own real Self.