"The very first step in understanding what this is all about is giving up the concept of an active, volitional 'I' as a separate entity and accepting the passive role of perceiving and functioning as a process." - Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Surrender to get Grace

Sri Annamalai Swami

For the Guru's grace to work on us, we have to surrender. We have to give up all the things of this world, and all other worlds, and direct all our attention towards the Self. If we want anything in this world or the next, our energy will be dispersed in these desires, and to fulfill these desires we shall have to be born again and again.

I once told Bhagavan that I had a desire to go and live in a cave where I could do meditation by myself.

Bhagavan told me, 'If you keep a desire like that in your mind, you will have to take one more birth. Why keep such a desire? If it is destined for you, it will happen by itself. Leave this idea alone.'

So, give up all your desires, your likes, dislikes and preferences. If you are truly the whole, which part of yourself will you like or dislike?

To strengthen my resolve Bhagavan would sometimes tell me inspiring stories of service and devotion from the lives of other great teachers. He twice told me about Virupakshadeva and Guhai Namasivaya, two great beings who lived on Arunachala several centuries ago.

These two served their Guru in Karnataka very faithfully for many years. At the end of this period the Guru sent both of them to Arunachala and told them to meditate there. They came here and picked different spots for their tapas: Virupakshadeva sat in the cave that is now named after him, and Guhai Namasivaya picked a cave that was further down the hill. Eventually, they attracted devotees of their own and started ashrams here.

Perhaps Bhagavan told me this story because he knew that it was my destiny to be sent to meditate by myself after many years of service.

If a disciple serves a Guru, the Guru does not gain anything from it, but the disciple, by his service, becomes purified and fit to receive the truth. A ship may be taking you to the other shore of the ocean, but the ship itself is not gaining anything from you.

There is one more verse that I want to quote for you. It was sung by Manikkavachagar whose supreme devotion to Shiva enabled him to realize the Self. Bhagavan often quoted Manikkavachagar's poems to us.

'I gave myself to you. In return, you must give yourself to me. So in this business of giving and taking, who is the real winner? In our transactions I received limitless ananda from you. But what did you get from me? Nothing! Just a useless ego. So now you are residing in my Heart. What more do I need? I have become fulfilled. I need nothing because you are in my Heart.'

Manikkavachagar could sing like this because Shiva himself was residing within him as his own reality. His desires were fulfilled. He needed nothing.

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सर्वभूताधिवासं यद्भूतेषु च वसत्यपि।
सर्वानुग्राहकत्वेन तद्स्म्यहं वासुदेवः॥

That in whom reside all beings and who resides in all beings,
who is the giver of grace to all, the Supreme Soul of the universe, the limitless being:
I AM THAT. -- Amritabindu Upanishad