Vanity thought #293. What is “surrender” anyway?

Continuing from yesterday – for quite some time I was thinking of our relationships with the Lord in terms of devotional service. Surrender, however, is not the same thing.

In this world we can serve someone without surrendering anything, just because we want to. Sometimes rendering service here is done through clenched teeth and brings a lot of resentment, so when I think of the spiritual world I imagine that all service there will be done completely voluntarily and out of sheer love.

Surrender, however, implies certain unpleasantness. It means giving up something one is attached to, things like comfort or free time. It also means yielding to the higher power, so it implies there’s resistance.

Does it exist in the spiritual world?

Down here we think of surrender in terms of our material aspirations, we give them up and take on the attitude of service, but is it all there is to it? Is there something more? Do living entities in the spiritual world even have anything to surrender? Do they have any interests separate from the Lord that they have to give up?

Surrender also means losing respect, and having an opponent. Right now Krishna is our opponent in our attempts to lord over the nature so surrender makes total sense, and losing respect makes sense, too, as we stop identifying with our bodies. Does it exist in the spiritual world?

Does Krishna have respect for His devotees? Most of the time He does, but not required to.  I think this surrender of self-respect when dealing with Krishna is the foundation of viraha bhava, love in separation – when Krishna abandons the gopis He stops accepting service from them and leaves them alone. And that is besides losing self-respect as chaste women of farming community, that identification is kind of external for them anyway.

In light of yesterday’s topic I’m wondering if surrender in the spiritual world means giving up our preferred way of service to Krishna and letting Him enjoy us in the way He likes even if it completely disrupts our plans of serving Him? Or even if He doesn’t want to enjoys us, that’s okay, too.

Or how about this – Lord Chaitanya came here to relish His service in the mood separation precisely because it doesn’t exist in the spiritual world. Consider this – Krishna went to Mathura and then Dvaraka but on the spiritual platform, in unmanifested pastimes, Krishna had never left Vrindavan and His pastimes there never stopped for one minute, so there was no real separation. It existed only on the material platform, if we can call Krishna’s manifested pastimes that.

So, perhaps, Lord Chaitanya felt that the best place to experience love in separation is by coming down here.

That would mean that it is very hard to have Krishna trample on our hearts in the spiritual world and it’s very hard to surrender to Him there, but that is also the highest possible bliss in our relationships with Him.

If only I stopped looking at it through my material perceptions, because like it or not, but I’m trying to making this “surrender” business as painless as possible – I like that the detachment from material things comes naturally as one progresses in devotional service.  On the spiritual platform, on the other hand, the approach would be the opposite – we would take as much pain as possible because pain of separation from Krishna brings the highest bliss.

I wonder if I can try this approach with material attachments, too, or would it be a perversion on one hand, and sahajiya mentality on the other? In a sense of equating material emotions with spiritual.

There’s an undeniable sense of satisfaction when one’s ego is being cut but the words of the spiritual master. Painful but blissful, just like surrender to Krishna is supposed to be.

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