Chapter 18. Conclusion: The perfection of Renunciation : Verse 62
tam eva śaraṇaṁ gaccha
tat-prasādāt parāṁ śāntiṁ
sthānaṁ prāpsyasi śāśvatam
tam — unto Him; eva — certainly; śaraṇam gaccha — surrender; sarva–bhāvena — in all respects; bhārata — O son of Bharata; tat–prasādāt — by His grace; parām — transcendental; śāntim — peace; sthānam — the abode; prāpsyasi — you will get; śāśvatam — eternal.
O scion of Bharata, surrender unto Him utterly. By His grace you will attain transcendental peace and the supreme and eternal abode.
In this verse two important words stands out. These are “ tam eva saranam gaccha” and “sarva-bhavena bharata”. In this verse “Saranam” means surrender and “Sarva bhavena” means all respects. Srila Prabhupad uses the word “Sasvatam” which means eternal. It also means entirely, totally, completely, absolutely to the full extent. If we put together it becomes complete surrender.
What do you mean by complete surrender in this material world ? Lord Krishna says in BG: 15.7
mamaivāṁśo jīva-lokejīva-bhūtaḥ sanātanaḥmanaḥ-ṣaṣṭhānīndriyāṇiprakṛti-sthāni karṣati
Translation: The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind.
So, we living entities are part and parcel of Krishna, qualitatively same but quantitively very limited. The Lord is compared to an Ocean and the spirit soul is compared to a tiny drop of the ocean. This tiny drop of water from the ocean has the same chemical composition like the ocean but it is not the ocean. This explains the qualitative and the quantitative aspects. Now the God is independent and he is referred as “Swarat” that means fully independent, but we are independent only proportionally since we are the part and parcel of the Lord. Think of the ratio of a drop of ocean and an ocean that is the extent of our independence. When we misuse our independence, we forget about it and become dependent. Here the misuse of our independence is our desire to enjoy separate from Krishna.
Srila Prabupad give an interesting example. Sometimes a child forces his father. And father says my dear child don’t do this or don’t go there. But the child will keep insisting that he want to do this. Then the father let the child do it at his own risk because the father loves the child. There is no force in love as the father loves the child. Same way the Lord does not interfere with little JIVAS independence. Krishna is the supreme enjoyer in his kingdom. If the JIVA insists that he want to enjoy separate from Krishna just like him in his own kingdom then it is not possible. So, to fulfill JIVA’S desire to enjoy separate from the Lord the JIVA is facilitated to take birth in this material world where there is a facility to enjoy independently from Krishna. That is why when everyone loves when they are the in the center of attraction. This is result of us wanting to enjoy separate from Krishna. Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita that he is the best of everything. In BG 10:21 Krishna says that he has limitless opulence’s
ādityānām ahaṁ viṣṇurjyotiṣāṁ ravir aṁśumānmarīcir marutām asminakṣatrāṇām ahaṁ śaśī
Translation: Of the Ādityas I am Viṣṇu, of lights I am the radiant sun, of the Maruts I am Marīci, and among the stars I am the moon.
Same way in BG 10: 21, Krishna says
vedānāṁ sāma-vedo ’smidevānām asmi vāsavaḥindriyāṇāṁ manaś cāsmibhūtānām asmi cetanā
Translation: Of the Vedas I am the Sāma Veda; of the demigods I am Indra, the king of heaven; of the senses I am the mind; and in living beings I am the living force [consciousness].
In BG 10:28 Krishna says
āyudhānām ahaṁ vajraṁdhenūnām asmi kāma-dhukprajanaś cāsmi kandarpaḥsarpāṇām asmi vāsukiḥ
Translation: Of weapons I am the thunderbolt; among cows I am the surabhi, givers of abundant milk. Of procreators I am Kandarpa, the god of love, and of serpents I am Vasuki, the chief.
From these verses we can understand that Krishna is the best of everything and he is our ultimate father and authority “ ahaṁ bīja-pradaḥ pitā “ BG 14:4
Now even from the mundane perceptive we can understand that a good father is loving and fair to his children. So does Krishna who is pretty fair in his dealings.
In BG 4:11 Krishna says
ye yathā māṁ prapadyantetāṁs tathaiva bhajāmy ahammama vartmānuvartantemanuṣyāḥ pārtha sarvaśaḥ
Translation: As all surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly. Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of Pṛthā.
If Krishna is not fair then all faith in him will break loose that is why in BG 3:24 Krishna says
utsīdeyur ime lokāna kuryāṁ karma ced ahamsaṅkarasya ca kartā syāmupahanyām imāḥ prajāḥ
Translation: If I did not perform prescribed duties, all these worlds would be put to ruination. I would be the cause of creating unwanted population, and I would thereby destroy the peace of all living beings.
Let us understand this by an example. There is father who has two sons. During the cultivation season he asked both the sons to go to the farm and work. One son works in the farm whole day in the hot sun. When he comes back home, end of the day the father says well done my son. I see you are obedient, loyal and hardworking. Here is a reward and gives him some money. The other son does not do anything but whole day laying around , sleeping , watching TV, playing games and in the end of the day father goes to the son and says never mind my son after all you are my son here is some reward and gives him also some money and says go and do whatever you want to do with this. The result of this is that the first son’s motivation will be destroyed. He will think if this is how my father ‘s rewarding system works then what is the use of me working hard. So Krishna is very aware of his supreme position and acts fair.
In BG 3.21 Krishna says,
yad yad ācarati śreṣṭhastat tad evetaro janaḥsa yat pramāṇaṁ kurutelokas tad anuvartate
Translation: Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.
Knowing that Krishna is the supreme he makes sure that he leads the best possible way. It is very important for us to understand that our enjoyment is not separate from Krishna. It is always linked with Krishna always. For example, a leaf of a giant tree complains to the tree that I am the one who makes the food by use of sunlight. You are the one whom seems to enjoy all the time. I want to prepare my own food and enjoy it myself. So, the leaf breaks off from the tree and started to enjoy by itself. But will it be able to enjoy separate from the tree? No, it will eventually wilt and dries down. It does not remain happy but it suffers and eventually the wind takes away the leaf for a ride. So again, the same principle the desire to enjoy separately from Krishna puts us in suffering condition and then the Maya Devi like how the wind blew away the dried leaf take us away for a ride and we have no control to stop it.
Krishna says in BG 5:29
bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasāṁsarva-loka-maheśvaramsuhṛdaṁ sarva-bhūtānāṁjñātvā māṁ śāntim ṛcchati
Translation: A person in full consciousness of Me, knowing Me to be the ultimate beneficiary of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods, and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attains peace from the pangs of material miseries.
So, Krishna clearly states here that he is the beneficiary of the all the human activities because he is the sole proprietor of everything animate and inanimate He is the supreme, everything else is subordinate so when we focus our efforts to Krishna considering as “ sarva lokha maheswaram “, as the supreme benefactor then we immediately become peaceful and come out of suffering condition. When we fall down to this material world we are controlled by Maya Devi. We all learn by experiences that we cannot act independently. Even though we are fallen down in this material world and have taken many many births our propensity to become happy does not go away. We are always constantly looking out for new things which always makes us happy like new models of I phone, Apple watches, camera, cars etc. Why do these things appeal us, because we are expecting certain happiness from them. But they do not give us true and permanent happiness. If we open our closets, we can see lots of old gadgets which we had brought some time back now lying around. Because they don’t give us that happiness anymore. We are bored with them and moved on with our lifes. We like to connect with people hoping they would make us happy but that happiness is also not permanent. Your best friend of yesterday’s will be the most annoying friend in your life now. So, what is going on is end of the day this give us frustration. In this world we all are trying to act independently but we are not able to come out of the misery’s and we keep trying hard to be happy. One can think that they are intelligent, rich or physically strong , beautiful, resourceful to find ways out of the problem but eventually we are beaten. It is like someone falling in to the quick sand. However hard they try to escape they remain stuck or worst case keep drowning.
There is an equation: Expectation – Achievement = frustration.
So, what is the nature of the expectation here . The nature of expectation here is Spiritual that I want to be happy. It is the natural property of the JIVA or SOUL. Krishna is Sat-chit-ananda. Brahma Samhita says
ishvarah paramah krishnah
anadir adir govindaha
Translation: Krsna who is known as Govinda is the Supreme Godhead. He has an eternal blissful spiritual body. He is the origin of all. He has no other origin and He is the prime cause of all causes.
So, once we are in this material world, we have forgotten that we are the part and parcel of Krishna, and by doing devotional service unto him we can be eternally happy. Instead of this we are always looking for Ananda or happiness everywhere and we are trying to achieve it by material achievement. So, any amount of material happiness will not meet the spiritual needs of complete happiness this is the cause of our frustration. Our material existence makes us totally dependent on God and his grace and there is no other alternative. Think of a scenario. There is a blind man standing on the side of the road struggling to cross the traffic. Another blind man approaches him and says, hey let me help you. Will this work. No, this won’t work because one blind man cannot lead another blind man. The blind man here represents the conditioned soul. However, we try hard to help ourself or try to take help from others including the so-called leaders of the society or the nation we cannot get out of thorns.
Another example is whenever we buy a new car it comes with an instruction manual. The owner’s manual is written by the manufacturer who created the car similarly Bhagavad Gita is an operator manual for all those who have taken birth in the human form. We don’t often read the operator manual of the car. But when a weird sign shows on the dash board we try to find the manual and see what is going on. Then we take steps to get the problem fixed. We will try to approach an expert who will try to fix the issue. We don’t try to fix the car by approaching a cheap or a bogus car repairer. Even though we don’t understand the nature of the problem we know it is something serious. The purpose of the dash board is keep you informed regarding what is going on. A cheap car mechanic won’t be able to solve the problem. He may create additional complications. Similarly, these unhappiness and misery are the big red sign on the dash board of our life’s. And there is a red dashing board sign on everybody’s life. It is on the plain sight. Whether we pay attention to it or not but we must address it. We don’t want to ignore it. We can address is by getting knowledge from Bhagavad Gita. Just like car manual comes from the manufacturer of the car the Bhagavad Gita comes from the manufacturer of this human body Lord Krishna himself. So, we need to approach a Bona fied Spiritual Master who is the authoritative representative of Krishna. He will be able to help us but a bogus guru will misdirect you. Only when God bestows his grace you will get divine knowledge , bliss and relief from the bondage of this material energy or Maya. So, in this verse Krishna is saying that a living entity should therefore surrender to the Supreme personality of God head. Only then one will be released from all miseries in this life and in the end will reach the Supreme Lord. So those who understand this act accordingly. They automatically align and get protection of Krishna and those who continue with rebellious attitude will stay around under the spell of maya.
In this verse when Krishna says “tam eva saranam gaccha” surrender un to me he is referring to himself not anyone else. Example when a president addresses people and says you must listen to the president; he is referring to himself. So, Krishna says one who surrenders to him with all their thoughts, words and deeds he will get eternal peace. Remembering and surrendering to Krishna is natural. Forgetting Krishna is artificial. Since we have forgotten Krishna there is no natural happiness. There is a phrase which says getting under the sin which means making one upset or annoyed. We are upset and unhappy in our life because we JIVAS have literally gotten under the skin which is this material body. As soon as we realize we are not this skin and the body and act accordingly we are not upset anymore. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s teachings are not different from Bhagavad Gita. They are practical demonstrations of Krishna’s teachings . In Sri Caitanya- caritamrta, Madhya-lila, Chapter 22, verse 100, defines the Process of devotional service. It is a very important chapter which talks about the 6 steps of devotional service. Every aspiring devotee of the Bhakti process must read it.
goptṛtve varaṇaṁ tathā
Translation: The six divisions of surrender are the acceptance of those things favorable to devotional service, the rejection of unfavorable things, the conviction that Kṛṣṇa will give protection, the acceptance of the Lord as one’s guardian or master, full self-surrender, and humility.
One who is fully surrendered is qualified with the six following characteristics:
(1) The devotee has to accept everything that is favorable for the rendering of transcendental loving service to the Lord.
(2) He must reject everything unfavorable to the Lord’s service. This is also called renunciation. Example: Avoid association with unnecessary material objects that will entangle one to possessiveness. This can be compared to a Piston of the steam engine. The Piston works in and out, similarly when it come to a devotee, he should accept things favorable and reject things unfavorable and simultaneously how the train moves in one direction and stay on the track we will be on the track of devotional service. Characteristics one and two will help one to be situated above the material entanglement and to be a perfect yogi
(3) A devotee must be firmly convinced that Kṛṣṇa will give him protection. No one else can actually give one protection, and being firmly convinced of this is called faith. This kind of faith is different from the faith of an impersonalist who wants to merge into the Brahman effulgence in order to benefit by cessation of repeated birth and death. A devotee wants to remain always in the Lord’s service. In this way, Kṛṣṇa is merciful to His devotee and gives him all protection from the dangers found on the path of devotional service. Example is Sri Prahalad Maharaj who had firm conviction in the Lord’s protection and that the King of demons could not hurt him.
(4) The devotee should accept Kṛṣṇa as his supreme maintainer and master. He should not think that he is being protected by a demigod. He should depend only on Kṛṣṇa, considering Him the only protector. The devotee must be firmly convinced that within the three worlds he has no protector or maintainer other than Kṛṣṇa. The reality is Demigods themselves are dependent on Krishna. Example is in Thulasi- Shaligram Past time. Tulsi, the daughter of a giant Nemi and the faithful wife of Jalandhara, also known as Chalantarana. He had got a boon from Brahma that no demigods could kill him until his wife Thulasi chasity is violated. He fought with Shiva once. Eventually Shiva had to approach Vishnu. And Vishnu disguised as Jalandhara violated Thulasi Devi’s chasity. Vrinda in her wrath cruses and turns Lord Vishnu into a Black stone (Shaligram) for his deceit. Vishnu too retaliates but in admiration of her impeachable chastity and piety, he transfers her into the sacred Tulsi plant and promises to marry her annually on this day of Kartik. Mean time Lord shiva kill Jalandhara. This shows that a devotee should not accept protection from Demigods. Instead he depends only on Krishna. Considering him as the only protector.
(5) Self-surrender means remembering that one’s activities and desires are not independent. The devotee is completely dependent on Kṛṣṇa, and he acts and thinks as Kṛṣṇa desires. He thinks Krishna desires are his supreme desires. The devotee uses his senses for the master of all senses Hrikesha.
(6) The devotee is meek and humble.
tṛṇād api sunīcena
taror api sahiṣṇunā
kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ
Translation: “One can chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking himself lower than the straw in the street. One should be more tolerant than the tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige and ready to offer all respects to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.” (Śikṣāṣṭaka 3)
The main instruction in Bhagavad Gita is Surrender and the importance of surrender is repeated many times. In mundane perceptive when someone repeats something every time what does it mean. It means whatever is repeated it is very important. Similarly, Krishna emphasizes the message of surrender several times.
In BG: 7:14 Krishna says:
daivī hy eṣā guṇa-mayīmama māyā duratyayāmām eva ye prapadyantemāyām etāṁ taranti te
Translation: This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.
Like we talk about getting caught in quick sand. It is difficult to get out of it by yourself. But one who is surrendered to Krishna and to a Bonafied Guru will get over it easily.
In BG 18:66 Krishna says
sarva-dharmān parityajyamām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vrajaahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyomokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ
Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.
Krishna explains so many types of knowledges and processes to Arjuna like the knowledge about Supreme Brahman, super soul, orders and status of social life, sense control, mind control and in the end he simply says just surrender un to me. I will take care of everything else. There is also a verse in Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 11.12.14-15 this shows how consistent is the message of surrender where the Lord instructs Uddhava.
tasmāt tvam uddhavotsṛjya
pravṛttiṁ ca nivṛttiṁ ca
śrotavyaṁ śrutam eva ca
mām ekam eva śaraṇam
mayā syā hy akuto-bhayaḥ
Translation: Therefore, My dear Uddhava, abandon the Vedic mantras as well as the procedures of supplementary Vedic literatures and their positive and negative injunctions. Disregard that which has been heard and that which is to be heard. Simply take shelter of Me alone, for I am the Supreme Personality of Godhead, situated within the heart of all conditioned souls. Take shelter of Me wholeheartedly, and by My grace be free from fear in all circumstances.
Therefore, surrender is the ultimate instruction of Bhagavad Gita, Srimad Bhagavatam, andinSri Caitanya- caritamrta
So, what happens when one fully surrendered to Krishna’s feet. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu says Krishna will accept him as one of the confidential associate. He is fit to enjoy the spiritual bliss derived from loving exchange of Krishna in the spiritual world. Another beautiful example of Surrender is the beautiful story of Gajendra crises and eventually surrender from Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 8 , Chapters 2 to 4 which shows that all Material means family, friends, opulence won’t come at the time of death. Gajendra did not invoke Demigods mercy but invoked the Supreme Lords mercy and blessings. So, the Lord pulled Gajendra and crocodile out of water and severed crocodile head. Similarly, this material world is described as padam padam yad vipadam [SB 10.14.58], which means that at every step there is danger. A fool wrongly thinks that he is happy in this material world, but in fact he is not, for one who thinks that way is only illusioned. At every step, at every moment, there is danger.Thinking that this material world is the safe place is mere ignorance. We all try to stay off the danger, but there are many crocodiles of Maya which can grasp us. Every day we see many terrible things happening. At present the great pandemic Corona Virus where millions died and millions affected. We never thought this virus will affect us. Like Gajendra we too will try to enjoy our life when unforeseen situations occur, we think we have it in control which means like Gajendra we too have an illusion we can defeat the crocodile ourselves. When we cannot we look around and see if others can help. We like to have several plans ,strategic arrangements, insurances etc., but this won’t help. When Gajendra could not overcome crocodile attack he just looked at his family, his associates to this disappointment they could not help. We too have the same mind set as the Gajendra. We depend on everything except the Supreme Lord.
Govinda Kavi Raja sings in his song Bhaja Hu Re mana
e dhana, yaubana, putra, parijana
ithe ki āche paratīti re
kamala-dala-jala, jīvana ṭalamala
bhajahū hari-pada nīti re
Translation: What assurance of real happiness is there in all of one’s wealth, youthfulness, sons, and family members? This life is tottering like a drop of water on a lotus petal; therefore, you should always serve and worship the divine feet of Lord Hari.
People generally thing that animals are dumb. Here Gajendra contemplated intelligently and arrived on to the conclusion of properly surrendering to Supreme Lord when everything else at his disposal fails.
Where did this intelligence come from? It came from his previous life’s devotional service. In BG 15:15 Krishna says that I am seated in everyone’s heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas am I to be known; indeed, I am the compiler of Vedanta, and I am the knower of the Vedas. Krishna says from him comes the forgetfulness and remembrances. Sinful people cannot come to the conclusion of surrender. They keep either fighting the crocodile or lose and sometime do not notice that the crocodile is chewing on their feet. They do not want to give the control over the enjoyment of their senses. Only those who are pious decides to take shelter of the Lotus feet of Lord in danger and when awkward position arrives and Krishna will protect us just like Gajendra by helping us to remember him if we surrender.
Full surrender means giving up everything to Krishna. Surrendering our independence to Krishna and not wanting to use it for oneself. When we do this, you belong 100 percent to Krishna and Krishna belongs to you 100 percent. Listening to this past time will strengthen our faith and level of our surrender to Krishna. When one is fully surrendered and always remain in the service of Krishna he is protected by Krishna and attains transcendental peace and attain his supreme eternal abode. When a devotee accepts Krishna as the supreme maintainer and master, he always feels grateful and to Krishna. God is meeting all our necessities and all the necessity of this whole material world. He provides us many things like fresh air, water, sunlight, grain, rain, fruits, vegetables shelter all free. When God provides something free it is actually free. But when a man says something is free you many never know. Example When God gives oxygen it is free, but when a man puts oxygen in a small tank it is charged. When God provides water, it is free but a man charges for water in a bottle. Man wanted to make profit out of everything and lays his hands on everything. Man spends so much energy and dedication to greed that if he applies the same level of energy to dedicate and to remember Krishna then he will be out of cycle of birth and death.
Bhaktivinoda Thakur prays that let me love your Lotus feet as much as I know I love sense gratification. Transfer my attention from the objects of sense and to your lotus feet. We should have this feeling of gratitude in order of appreciation of all the blessings which we have received. We have to be thankful to the Lord and Srimati Radha rani for providing everything and also giving us access to relish the transcendental pastimes in Vrindavana. To the Pachatavava for their blessing to us. To Nrsimha Dev for protecting our family, to all the Vaishnava Acharya’s for their life time effort and struggle to keep Lord Caitnaya Maha prabhu’s movement alive. To Srila Prabhupad for guiding us through his books and bringing the Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s movement to our doorsteps, to ISKCON for propagating Srila Prabupada’s movement, to all Vaishnavas and devotees for extending their mercy and association and engaging us in the devotional service and to our dear family members for all their support and co-operation so that we can practice our Saddhana sincerely and to our Congregation members for engaging us in Krishna’s service.
We have to show our gratitude through our actions not by becoming a surrendered soul, but also by distributing Srila Prabupada’s books, Distributing Prasadam, by giving charitable donations, telling to your friends and family, extending your hands to help others to spread the word. If you truly believe that you are fortunate that someone has extended his hand to help you then now it is your turn to extend your hand to help others, by this you get lots of mercy from Lord Caitanya and Srila Prabupad. For this we need to surrender always to Krishna and we should not wait for a day when we get purified then we will surrender. No, surrender should be in the present.
When we hear that God help those who help themselves, we need to look at it in spiritual angle not in terms of material angle. Best is to surrender everything to God. When we do this God will help. Our problems become God’s problem. When we take in to our hand thinking we are the controllers and have a plan a or b thinking we can do it, thinking ourself to be God, then God will leave. Be surrender to the super soul which is Krishna situated in our heart, surrender like Gajendra or Prahalad Maharaj. If we are rich or poor and have all resources still the material problem is beyond that. No Demigods can help us. Our problems can be solved only by Krishna who is beyond these 3 modes of material nature. Otherwise if we don’t surrender Maya Devi will take us for a ride. We have to surrender ourself to Krishna and chant the Holy names of the Lord. It will remove the layers of anarthas from our heart and make it clean. Just like how you see a decorated window of the mansion, we should see there are many levels which support that window, the walls of the mansion, the foundation of the building, the paintings, the structure everything. The window cannot take the credit for itself. Same way we need the support of Krishna, the Chanting of Hare Krishna Maha Mantra, the association of devotees, the reading of scriptures , the services , association of Guru. So, this will all help to clean all the dirty things from our heart and bring closer to Krishna and eventually we will get out of the cycle of birth and death by surrendering fully ourself to Krishna by our thought, words, deeds and actions.