You say that religion is total freedom or moksha, and you also stress the importance of surrender in religion. But are not freedom and surrender contradictory in terms?
They appear contradictory but they are not. And they appear so because of the language; existentially they are not. Try to understand two things. First: you cannot be free remaining as you are, because as you are is your bondage. Your ego i s the bondage. You can be free only when this ego point disappears – this ego point is the bondage.
When there is no ego, you become one with existence, and only that oneness can be freedom. While you exist separate, this separation is false. Really, you are not separate; you cannot be. You are part of existence – and not a mechanical part, but an organic part. You cannot exist for a single moment separated from existence. You breathe it every moment; it breathes you every moment. You live in a cosmic whole.
Your ego gives you a false feeling of separate existence. Because of that false feeling, you start fighting existence. When you fight you are in bondage. When you fight you are bound to be defeated, because the part cannot win against the whole. And because of this fight with the whole, you feel in bondage; everywhere limited. Wherever you move, a wall comes. That wall is nowhere in existence – it moves with your ego; it is part of your separate feeling. Then you struggle against existence. In that struggle you will be defeated constantly; in that defeat you feel bondage, limitation.
By surrender it is meant that you surrender the ego, you surrender the separating wall, you become one. That is reality, so whatsoever you are surrendering is just a dream, a concept, a false notion. You are not surrendering reality; you are just surrendering a false attitude. The moment you surrender this false attitude you become one with existence. Then there is no conflict.
And if there is no conflict you have no limitation; nowhere there comes a bondage, a boundary. You are not separate. You cannot be defeated, because there is no one to be defeated. You cannot die, because there is no one to die. You cannot be in misery, because there is no one to be in misery. The moment you surrender the ego, the whole nonsense is surrendered – misery, bondage, dukkha, hell – everything is surrendered. You become one with existence. This oneness is freedom.
Separation is bondage. Oneness is freedom Not that you become free, remember this – you are no more. So it is not that you become free – you are no more. Really, when you are not, freedom is. How to express it is a problem. When you are not, freedom is. Buddha is reported to have said, ‘You are not going to be in bliss. When you are not, the bliss is. You are not going to be liberated. You are going to be liberated from yourself.’
So freedom is not freedom of the ego. Freedom is freedom from the ego. And if you can understand this – that freedom is freedom from the ego – then surrender and freedom become one, then they mean one. But if you take the ego as the standpoint from which to think, then the ego will say, ‘Why surrender? – because if you surrender, then you cannot be free. Then you become a slave. When you surrender, you become a slave.’
But really, you are not surrendering to someone. This is the second point to be understood: you are not surrendering to someone; you are simply surrendering. There is no one who will take your surrender. If there is someone and you surrender to him, then it is a sort of slavery. Really, there is not even a god to whom you are surrendering. And when we talk about a god, that is just to find you something to help you to surrender.
In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, God is talked about just to help you to surrender. There is no God. Patanjali says there is no God, but it will be difficult for you to surrender to one; it will be difficult for you to simply surrender. To help surrender, God is talked about. So God is just a method. This is rare, very scientific – God is just a method to help you surrender. There is no one who is going to take your surrender. If there is someone and you surrender, then it is a slavery, a bondage. This is a very subtle and deep point: there is no God as a person; God is just a way, a method, a technique.
Patanjali relates many techniques. One of them is ishwara prandihan – the idea of God. There are many methods to reach the surrender; one method is the idea of God. That will help your mind to surrender, because if I say, ‘Surrender,’ you will ask, ‘To whom?’ If I say, ‘Simply surrender,’ it will be difficult for you to conceive. Try to understand in a different way. If I say to you, ‘Simply love,’ you will ask, ‘Whom? What do you mean by “simply love”? If there is no one to be loved, how to love?’ If I say, ‘Pray,’ then you will ask, ‘To whom? Worship to whom?’ Your mind cannot conceive non-duality. It will ask, it will raise a question, ‘To whom?’
Just to help your mind, so that the mind’s question is satisfied, Patanjali says that God is just a way, a technique. Worship, love, surrender – to whom? Patanjali says, ‘To God.’ Because if you surrender, then you will come to know that there is no God – or you yourself are that to which you have surrendered. But this will happen when you have surrendered. God is just a trick.
It is said that even to surrender to a god who is nowhere seen, who is invisible, is difficult, so scriptures say, ‘Surrender to the guru, to the master.’ The master is visible and a person, so then the question becomes relevant – if you surrender to a master then it is a slavery, because a person is there and you are surrendering to him. But then too you will have to understand again a very subtle point – even more subtle than the notion of God. A master is a master only when he is not. If he is, then he is not a master. A master becomes a master only when he is not. He has achieved non-being; there is no one.
If someone is sitting here in this chair, then there is no master; then it is going to become a slavery. But if there is no one sitting in this chair, a non-being, one who is not centered anywhere, one who has surrendered – not to anyone, but simply surrendered and achieved non-being, has become a non-person – who is simply there, not concentrated in an ego, diffused, not concentrated anywhere, then he can become a master. So when you are surrendering to a master, again you are surrendering to nobody.
This is a deep question for you. When you are surrendering, if you can understand that this is simply surrendering, not a surrender – surrendering, not a surrender. . . A surrender is to someone. A surrendering is something on your part. So the basic thing is surrendering – the act, not the object. The object should not be important, but the one who is surrendering is important. The object is just an excuse – just an excuse.
If you can understand, then there is no need to surrender to anyone – you can simply surrender. Then there is no need to love someone – you can simply love. You are significant, not the object. If the object is significant, you will create a bondage out of it. So even a god who is not, will become a bondage; even a master who is not, will become a bondage. But that bondage is created by you; it is a misunderstanding. Otherwise surrendering is freedom. They are not contradictory.
From The Book of Secrets, Discourse #60, Q1
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