On Niyama: Ishvara Pranidhana, Surrender To God

On Niyama: Ishvara Pranidhana, Surrender To God

July 23, 1977 am

[Bapuji chants Hari Krishna, Hari Rama.]


My beloved children: Among the niyamas, there is one called surrender to God.

In the aphorisms of Patanjali, he has mentioned the aspect of yoga which is concerned with the practices, called kriya yoga.

In that kriya yog he has described three aspects.

That is tapas, means to heat, means practices of disciplines.

Svadyaya means study of the scriptures.

And Ishvara pranidhan means surrender to God.

The entire kriya yoga is covered by these three aspects.

From this point of view, surrender to God can be considered to be the highest.

We cannot just call it as one of the niyamas it should be considered to be one of the main aspects of yoga.

Its usual or ordinary meaning is surrender, means total surrender to God.

We will think little bit on this word called surrender.

One to whom we are going to surrender: if we do not know him, how can we surrender to him?

Suppose one individual wants to travel, and there is ocean that he has to cross.

So he will have to take the help of the boat.

Only after taking his seat on the boat, we can say that he has surrendered himself to the boat.

Is it possible that one can surrender to boat without even getting the boat?

Before surrendering to God, it is necessary to make contact with God.

We can surrender completely only when we know the one to whom we surrender is Almighty.

When you have no other way out, means you are crawling the wall, then only you can truly take the surrender to God and this you cannot understand by thinking.

It is a matter of direct experience.

If I tell you my own experience, that I gave lectures and discourses on Gita for many years and I have spoken on the subject of surrender for many years.

And yet I did not understand what is surrender at that time.

Only when I entered into the true sadhana of yoga, I knew little bit about God and understood more about sharanagati [sp], means surrender to God.

The mental surrender is also one kind of surrender and it is basic, it is elementary.

It can be considered as imaginary surrender.

That is, there is one God, you don’t know about him, but we have surrendered our life to him, we can do that way.

It is very much like a kamari [sp], the maiden girl marries with an imaginary man.

In Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, this subject is very deeply thought about.

But the Shrimad Bhagavad Gita is a book for those who are searching for total liberation.

But it does not mean that it does not have the guidance for those who wish to fulfill their religion, material prosperity and desires.

They can fulfill any one of these through its teachings also.

Can’t you cut the vegetables with the sword that cuts the head?

So that means that the book of Bhagavad Gita that can lead one to the highest liberation, can also provide everything that is below it also, other three purushartha [sp] which I described.

There are 18 chapters in the Shrimad Bhagavad Gita.

They have thought about such intricate questions of life that anyone who reads it would be enchanted by the penetrating intellect of the writer.

Without the solution of those questions, it is not possible to begin with true sadhana.

The questions that are discussed in that book, are the immortal questions; rather, they are just perpetual questions of mankind.

And they come in the path of every individual who is doing sadhana.

It makes no difference what country or nationality that sadhak belongs to, that spiritual practitioner belongs to.

This is why it can be said that Shrimad Bhagavad Gita is a universal book.

In that only thoughts are given only regarding sadhana, means spiritual practices.

At the end of its last 18th chapter there is one shloka which is like an essence of everything.

In that, Lord Shri Krishna Chandra tells to his beloved devotee, “Oh Arjun, give up all your attachments to all duties of every kind.”

Give up all your duties?

Should we really hold onto duties, just to give them up?

Lord Krishna himself, says in the Gita itself, that I am born again and again to establish dharma.

Dharma I translate as duty, here.

Lord Krishna who is being born to establish the dharma, why does he say to give up all dharma?

Then what is the purpose of his incarnation?

That means that these words are to be understood with a little more depth, with steadiness.

What is the meaning of dharma word in this particular verse?

In Bhagavad Gita there is no discussion about paths.

It is the universal truth that picked it from the beginning to the end.

So here this dharma is not related to any one path or any one branch of religion.

Some intellectuals and logicians will say very clearly that you cannot give up dharma.

It is impossible.

The religion has such a nature that you cannot just give it up.

Then they will give an example that the dharma of the fire is to burn.

If we take the fire out of the ember, it would simply remain a coal.

So fire and its ability to burn cannot be separated.

Similarly, religion and the practitioner of the religion cannot be separated.

This creates one more confusion.

Then we have to find the solution of that also.

And what does Lord Krishna say actually?

He says give up all religions.

Bapuji says the first meaning that I had made, duties, is a better word here, is more suitable.

So give up all duties.

So whatever is considered to be good actions, give up even those actions.

Then there will be another question, that if you give up good actions, then should you hold onto bad actions?


With good actions, you have to give up bad actions also.

Then what is left?

When there is no good karma left and no bad karma left, then what is left?

What karma is left, then?

It feels like nothing is left after that.

But yet there is something.

That you can only find with sadhana.

What is left?

Prakriti dharma means the natural religion.

You need mind to perform good actions; you need mind to perform bad actions.

They both happen through the medium of mind.

Lord says give up all actions that are performed through the mind.

Then what is left is the kriya of prana, whatever is the order of prana, you live according to its guidance.

That is what is called sahaj yoga, the spontaneous yoga.

To take away the control of the mind from the body and surrender the body to the prana.

This prana which could be more likened to air is not God, and surrender to that prana is not really surrender to God.

Then what is God?

So Lord is the prana of the pranas.

His form is extremely subtle.

How could be, just imagine how subtle would be the prana of the prana, because prana itself is so subtle.

This room is filled with air.

In one form we call that air, prana.

Can you see it?

You can’t see it.

When one who is the father of that, or the master of that, can you see?

If you don’t see son, how can you see the father?

I know you can understand Christ as the son.

It is very difficult to imagine the form of the Lord.

Then where did the incarnations of Rama and Krishna all come from?

Aren’t they the prana of pranas, that there is someone other than them?

They are prana of pranas, means life of lives.

But they cannot be seen by these physical eyes.

For that you need a divine eye.

The eye of knowledge.

And that divine eye is useful only in meditation.

When one is established in samadhi, then only that divine eye works in the outer fields.

Then he sees only one element everywhere, means uniformity or oneness in everything.

That element is called brahma tattva.

Duty is worth practicing.

Its good action is worth practicing.

It can be called worth practicing action or duty.

Another, which is called another aspect, or opposite aspect, which is called adharma, is evil action, which is weaker, means opposite action to.

The action that is worth avoiding.

One is worth doing, another is worth avoiding.

There is one third kind of karma in between those two, that is called akarma, means non-action.

It is not the action of doing, it is not the action of non-doing, it’s the inaction.

And that non-action has also two different parts.

There is one kind of inaction, where the mind is there but it is not the leader of the action, then even though there is action, it is called inaction.

When the mind works, the ego is the leader, and it says that I am performing the action.

So whenever there is the presence of the ego, or I, there are actions that are good and there are actions that are bad, and they both arise from it: polarity, in other words.

So where the actions are performed in the absence of mind, even though they appear to be actions, it is called inaction.

That means it is called inaction in action.

It is little difficult.

It is difficult, but it becomes very simple by the practice of sadhana.

Now, how the mind remains inactive, in that, just for example, just sit still, say that I don’t want to move or do anything.

And yet the action is going on.


If eyes are open, we keep seeing different things, if the ears are open the sounds keep coming in.

These are all different Kriyas going on.

There is no possibility of remaining without action at any time.

So where there is mind, there is an actor.

He is the one who is performing the action.

Only when the prana is performing the actions, then there is no one to perform it.

The ego is not present.

That is called sharnagiti [sp]; that is called surrender.

Because behind that prana there is prana of prana who is in control or who is the source.

So at the earlier stage it is the surrender to prana in the form of vayu, working through the body, but as we go further, we are surrendering to the source prana from which this prana in the body receives its energy.

The kriya of that prana, the function, actions that happen through those pranic activities, is called karma sanyas: giving up of all attachments through the surrender to prana.

So Lord Krishna says give up all karmas, good and bad, simply surrender your life to the prana, and that prana will bring you close to me.

He says, just take, come and surrender to me alone, he says.

When an individual surrenders to the prana, he’s doing the actions directly directed by God himself.

One who accepts the surrender is called bhakta or devotee.

checked by Sarvangini to tape this far 12/30/93

The devotee believes that, “I’m not the performer of any actions.

Whatever actions I perform are directly directed by the Lord Himself and I have nothing to do with its good and bad actions.

Whatever My Lord directs me to do through my body, through my mind, through my intellect and through my consciousness, I perform.

It is all His wish.”

That means that there is no desire left on the part of the devotee.

The devotee acts only in accordance with God’s will.

In other words, whatever actions the devotee performs, whatever they are, he offers it all to the Lord.

Or, we can say that in order to fulfill his own selfishness, he does not perform any actions.

So he has no desire, that is his own or his own selfish desires.

In other words, he has gotten rid of all desires except one and that is that, “I may attain to the Lord.”

So Lord himself takes over the burden of all his actions.

After taking your seat in the boat, you need not swim.

Only the boat swims.

It is so subtle and it is so full of interest that it cannot be described in words.

Sometimes when I read these old scriptures of India after sadhana, I’m so moved that my eyes are shedding tears continuously.

It is so unusual that I cannot describe it.

Only when there is only the Lord’s will and none of our desires are left, then it is real life.

One king had seven queens.

Among those seven queens, the king liked one queen very much.

This queen always used to perform the actions that would please the king.

Other queens used to make the king act according to their desires.

So, but his very loved queen was always trying to live according to the king’s will, more in harmony with him, his personality.

One time, the king decided that, “I would like to go to foreign country.”

It was to take about 6 to 8 months to complete this entire journey.

This king was travelling in a very prosperous country.

So the queens started making lists of things, what are the things that they would like to get from that country.

The queens were making long lists for one month as to what are the different things they would like to get.

Bring this and that, all those different things.

The day of departure came.

The king met the queens one by one.

“Be careful, make sure you don’t forget, make sure you bring everything that is on my list.

Don’t forget single item.”

The king promised everyone that, “I will do that.”

At the end, when he came to his most beloved queen, she honored him and welcomed him well.

He said, “Whatever you would like to get for yourself, give me the list.”

She said, “Okay.”

But she was crying often.

She was saying often, “Come back soon, come back soon.”

No other queen had said that.

No other queen had even cried that much.

King was understanding clearly that this queen loves me very much.

And he himself loved her very much.

It was the day of departure and this loved favorite queen had not given him any list.

Other queens were discussing about that list for a long time, while this queen had never discussed anything about what she wanted.

So after meeting all the queens at the end, he came to his loved queen.

She was trying very hard to control her mind, so as not to disturb the mind of her husband.

She was very depressed.

King couldn’t understand all those things.

Then she gave him the final goodbye, she cried a lot and the king gave her the solace that he would try to come back as soon as possible.

Then the king again remembered that she hadn’t given the list.

“Give me that list,” he said.

The queen went to another room and quickly wrote something, closed the envelope and gave it to the king.

The king himself was in great hurry, so he didn’t even look at what she had written.

He placed that list with the rest of the lists.

The king left for the foreign country.

Then he finished his work with this time he had for himself.

So after he finished his own work, he started going through the list to purchase the things his queens wanted.

He had kept the list of his loved queen separate.

He thought that I will buy her request in the end.

He had also guessed that she would have very few things, not too many.

He purchased all the items of all the lists and then he opened the list of the queen whom he loved very much.

There was a big paper but there was only the number one written in it.

The king couldn’t understand what is this number one for.

The meaning was that she hadn’t written anything else.

Then king purchased everything that he liked for her.

He imagined that this is what she would like, this is what she would like and he collected all different items for her.

He returned home.

He went to the residence of the first queen, and the first queen asked, “Have you brought everything that I asked?”

King said, “Yes,” with love.

“Yes, I brought everything for you.”

She said, “Show me what you have.”

The king displayed everything and this first queen was pleased.

Same thing was repeated with all the other queens.

When he went to the last, she welcomed him with tears and love.

And with love she got busy in welcoming him.

She did not question a single question as to what he brought for her.

The king was greatly pleased by her welcome.

And he remembered that she hadn’t asked for anything yet.

He said, “Oh, when I was leaving you just gave me a paper with the number one in it and I couldn’t understand what was that number one for.”

“That I have found as soon as you came in my life.”

“What is that?”

“That is you.

I didn’t want anything; all I wanted is that you come back early.

All my happiness is hidden in you.

I have no need for anything.

There is nothing more that I like in this world than you.”

King was greatly pleased to hear these words.

All the love that he had in his heart, he offered it to that queen.

The devotees who work with their selfish desires or individual desires are like those six queens.

The devotee of surrender to God is like that last queen who was very beloved to the king.

When the king started showing her the things that he had selected for her, he was asking her, “Do you like this, do you like this, do you like this?”

and so on.

So she said, “Yes, I like this very much, I like this very much, I like this very much.”

She said all that to please him.

“Because I love you so much, whatever you bring, I love it.”

Whenever you just love God very much, whenever sharnagiti [sp] means total surrender comes, that’s fine, but at this time love him and Lord God is: remember that.

Bapuji chants Hara Hara Mahadeva.

I came to America attracted by your attraction.

It could be said that what was impossible became possible.

Means through your love.

I am greatly pleased by meeting you all.

Days pass very quickly.

Today I am going to leave for Sumneytown ashram.

From there I will go to Toronto after a few days.

From there I am going to on a longer journey.

As I have told you before the purpose of my travel is just to meet the devotees.

I haven’t come with a mission of spreading a knowledge of religion or yoga.

You have given me lots of happiness and comfort.

I can call it like a dream for me.

Lord Krishna had a childhood friend called Sudama.

He was his friend as well as his devotee.

One day Lord Krishna came to the residence of Sudama, his friend.

Sudama had a very thin body.

So even today in India if somebody is very thin he is called Sudama.

He was a very close friend and devotee of lord Krishna.

Lord Krishna was the king and Sudama was very poor.

Lord had come with great love to his small hut.

As soon as he entered this hut he told wife of Sudama that, Babi, I am going to stay here.

She was also greatly pleased.

Both of the friends got together in a small room and kept on talking and talking.

They never could finish their talking.

They forgot to eat and bathe.

They forgot everything they just kept on talking with each other.

Then Sudama’s wife would come and say you just never exhaust your talking, do you?

You don’t even like it when I come.

Then they both got up just to please her.

One day both of them decided to bathe in the river and started going towards one.

They came to the bank of the river and started preparing to bathe.

Suddenly Sudama remembered something.

“Oh Krishna I have heard that your maya is very miraculous.

Maya means the illusion that you create.

Show me that maya.”

Lord Krishna said “that’s not worth seeing.”

“Everybody says that your maya is very unique, very unusual.

And you are my friend you must show it to me.””I told you it is not worth seeing.”

He said no I want to see it.

He said ok let’s bathe first.

They both had a competition as to who was gong to bathe under water for the longest time.

Both of them took a dive under water.

The maya started.

Sudama went across the river to the opposite bank.

He found that he had come to a different city.

He entered the city.

He found a relationship with a family.

He lived in the family.

There he started earning money and engaging in business.

He built a big palatial building and got married.

There was a special arrangement in that city.

If the wife died they used to burn the husband with her.

And really his wife died and he was seized and taken to the crematory.

They arranged for him to lie beside his wife on the pile of dry wood.

Then the fire was lit all around it.

He started shaking with fear.

He started calling Krishna, Krishna, Krishna.

And he came out of his dive and stuck his head up out to the water.

Within a few seconds, he lived a life of a many years.

Lord Krishna asked “did you see the maya?”

He said, “my lord, don’t show it to me again.”

“The same thing has happened in my life also.

Lord has made a maya and has brought me here.

It looks like a dream almost.

I am greatly pleased to see you all doing sadhana.

Continue your sadhana.

The world is really an ocean of problems.

It is really foolishness to try to find happiness in it.

One must love God.

Consider every unhappiness and pain in the world as a prasad or a grace of God.

If you can’t do anything else just continue the word Ram.

Hold on to the mantra ram.

Even in a big body of water, or ocean, if someone holds on to wood or a goad he will never drown.

Same way hold on to the name of the Lord.

After coming here, I have felt that I should stay a little longer here and do sadhana.”

Short time he says.

So don’t interpret anything.

“So probably I may return after completing this journey.

Then I will simply enter into my sadhana and not come out.

I’ll simply stay alone and do my sadhana.

With the grace of God my sadhana is progressing well.

The highest stage that I have been expecting, I may receive it right here.

Even after attaining to that I will have to continue my sadhana for a long time.

This stage that I am talking about is called the stage of complete fearlessness.

Means no possibility of degrading from that in any way or form.

The meaning of that fearless stage I understand it as that the Lord himself takes hold of the hand of the devotee and takes care of him completely, protects him completely.

I desire that I again enter into my sadhana as fully as I did before.

Your love, your service is quite an invaluable gift to me.

My blessings to you.”