Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj explains the value of the spirit of surrender to the Lord.
Student: Maharaj you have excellently represented Sriman Mahaprabhu and His teachings using the the idea of an erupting volcano. What about the earthquake? What does it represent?
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: Anything He likes. God works wonders.
Pain that comes from Him is also pleasure. We should accept Him with that attitude, an equal basis. Chandi Das says,
In viraha [separation] there is suffering, but there is also pleasure. They are both present, and in such a way that suffering becomes sweet. When we suffer for our country or for the health of others we feel some pleasure. Many have happily accepted a rope to be hanged for the benefit of their country. Externally we cannot always distinguish who experiences pleasure within their suffering, but in some cases people do. “Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thoughts” (Shelley).
Virahe milan [union in separation] is a peculiar thing: by giving we get, by sacrifice we gain. Outwardly, it appears painful but internally it is pleasurable.
If we get something, then our desire for it ends. We desire things we do not have, and that desire gives us energy to move, to acquire it. If we get what we want, then our endeavour ends, but there is no end to the search for Krishna consciousness, for the Absolute. It is an eternal life of questing, searching. We will never reach a state of satisfaction and be finished. As much as we make progress, so much we feel that we must go farther, farther, farther. It becomes more and more tasteful. There is more suffering, and it becomes more tasteful. There is unconscious suffering, and the taste is overwhelming.
adarsanan marma-hatam karotu va
yatha tatha va vidadhatu lampato
mat-prana-nathas tu sa eva naparah
The last verse: “I am a lost soul. I am neglected. I am crushed by Your indifferent dealing. In my face, others are becoming gainers. I am being deceived.”
In spite of all the tendencies of the Upper, we must be faithful to Him. Such tolerance and earnestness are necessary in our search for Krishna.
All the inconveniences and the whole of the risk we face on our journey are our responsibility. We should not blame anyone for them. “Oh! I am the centre of all trouble.” If your whole attention is on this, then you will find that automatically the atmosphere you are in is very pure and happy. When you are able to see that all poison is within you, that you yourself are the root of all displeasure and difficulty, then automatically you cannot but see that the environment is very good and happy.
Blaming the environment for our difficulties and thinking that we are good is the opposite of making real progress in our life. I am to digest all the poison, then I will find nectar all around me.
Control yourself; don‘t try to control the environment. This is the sum and substance of the advice of Bhagavad-gita: don’t try to control the environment; it is beyond your power. Control yourself; that is possible for you. That is the only possibility you have for freedom. Try that and automatically the environment will become your friend. The Gita says that we should be totally indifferent to the atmosphere, to the environment, and dive deeply within ourselves to find the proper adjustment. And the Bhagavat goes one step farther: the environment is pure. Everything within the environment is necessary for you at present. You should not only be apathetic, you should see that everything is good and all evil is within you. “Everything is good, and you are bad.” That is Krishna consciousness. Generally we are habituated to thinking the opposite. We put all blame on the environment, but our real chance for progress is in just the opposite line.
You are responsible for all your difficulties. Your freedom has taken you away from the sweet environment. The culprit is within. Why have you fallen here? You are responsible for that. When that is detected, the real symptom of the patient, then purification, curing, will begin. Our disease is here; the poison is within us.
You are meant for good. Your prospect is real good, but you have acquired this stage of your life. It is self-acquisition. Saranagati [surrender] means this. It presupposes that I am the worst. Saranagati presupposes this first condition that I am the worst, the most wretched, the most needy. “Please forgive me and give Your grace.” Saranagati presupposes this.
Saranagati is not a form; it is a very life-giving thing. It is not a form or an ornament. It is within. From the innermost heart, it must come out that really, really I am fallen. Then real progress will begin. Saranagati is not a form, a dress. “I am putting on this garment.” It is not like that. It is an innate property. When you have it you think, “I can’t become a saranagata [surrendered soul]; I can’t become a true saranagata.”
Some say we should become a saranagata and then go on with our sadhana. There is another class, however, that say otherwise. It is mentioned in Prapanna-jivanamritam, “Saranagati is the end of life. It is so powerful, so simple, plain, and natural. Saranagati is itself fulfilment.” Some are of this opinion.
Saranagati is itself the end of life. So much stress has been put on saranagati. Saranagati means automatic acquisition of the highest association. It cannot but be. “First surrender, then get.” No. As much as you surrender, so much you are getting already. It is like a cash payment, not a post-dated check.