Take Refuge in God

Swami Satyananda Saraswati

How can I become a better person?

Do a little bhajan and kirtan. First bhajan and then kirtan. Always pray to God, He will guide you. Man comes into life for only a short time. Nothing will work if God does not wish it. I don’t know of any way to influence Him. I have no approach. If I am able to find that approach, I will help you later.

Kakabhusundi says to Garuda:

O enemy of serpents,
No one can cross the ocean of the world
Without the attitude of master and servant.
With this thought in your mind,
Remember the lotus feet of Rama.
Blessed are those who remember Rama,
Who is capable of transforming
The animate into the inanimate.

How can an ordinary person reach the point of total self-surrender?

Total self-surrender is known as atma nivedan or presenting yourself completely to God. It can also be called atma samarpan or self-surrender. This is the ninth and last stage of bhakti. Before self-surrender can take place, the entire personality has to be rearranged. Self-surrender is not just the thought that you want to surrender; it is an inborn quality. For surrender, you require innocence. But everybody has lost their innocence. The heart and mind have become tough and rigid. In order to soften your heart, mind and intellect, satsang is necessary for a sustained period of time. Satsang is a very powerful tool.

Then again, why should you be so tense about surrender? Surrender is spontaneous. If you want to rise, you have to use energy, force and effort. But if you want to fall down, you do not have to do anything. You do not need to use strength; instead you have to lose it and just fall down. The more worried you are about surrender, the less likely you are to attain it. Surrender happens spontaneously. Don’t worry about surrender, worry only about satsang, bhakti and discovering your relationship with God.

What is the most important thing in life?

The ultimate point in life is God consciousness. You may have everything: intellect, money, power, beauty, but without bhakti, your life is barren; you have no stuff. Devotion to God is the ultimate sadhana. Yoga is not the ultimate sadhana; yoga prepares the road. Just as the road roller from the Public Works Department prepares smooth roads for cars to drive on, yoga prepares inroads for the mind. Bhakti is not going to a temple or a church to pray. It is love and romance with God. Your mind is dancing with God. He is my lover, my beloved. He is everything to me. That attitude must come. When all the passions are transformed, then you will have no passion for anything except Him.

It is said in the Narada Bhakti Sutras that bhakti is characterized by complete dedication of all activities and observances to God and by the experience of extreme agony when he is forgotten. The gopis of Vrindavan are an example. The last goal of life is the attainment of total surrender to the Lord, and refuge in Him, nothing else. If you do not achieve this, then you have to come back with a return ticket in your next birth!

Rikhia 1994