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Namah Journal

The Body

Surrender Each Moment

Arul Dev


Love and only Love, above all, has the capacity to surrender. Even human love which is conditional can accelerate and release all the bonds of our littleness. The aim of surrender is a love for the Divine, an aspiration to unite with the Divine and to find Delight in the Divine doing the sādhanā within us and through us in the world. It is a dynamic path where we wholeheartedly engage with for the entirety of our life, work and relationships and offer it all to our beloved Divine. We deeply aspire for the Divine to be very ‘near us’, in each moment. We deeply aspire that the Divine graces Their presence and qualities in us and others, within our works and in the world.

This article explores a few quotes from the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. From these inspirations, we shall glean insights and explore the practices to cling to for the aspiration to surrender and wait to receive the incoming Grace. The widening of consciousness is an outcome of surrender. Surrendering is ultimately about receiving New life, light, love and substance from the Divine Supreme directly within all parts of our body and being.


We begin this exploration with a reflection — to what aim and to whom do we offer our surrender? We need to consciously make the highest aim of our life absolute and clear. Surrender is a process where the human being aspires to link with the Divine, experience union and through that aspires for a divine body and divine life. If we make this choice of divine life, we need to learn to cling to that. We need to free ourselves from constantly clinging to our small desires and ambitions and eventually allow these desires to merge with our highest aim and become fit instruments to fulfil That.

Surrender is the epitome of joy. We aspire to experience this Delight. A constant surrender (initially with some mental effort/moulding the will and later absolutely spontaneous as a natural response of our whole system) has the power to unite the surrenderer with the surrendered. This is the potential of our exploration and in this article let us take some baby steps in an experiential way.

The aim of this article is to explore living with the practice of surrender in each moment. This would include at least four aspects. First, is to connect to our Divine Supreme in some way which comes naturally to us or is graced to us. Second, is to offer all the limiting states or less than divine Qualities that are passing through our mind, emotions, sensations and body, to the Divine Supreme. Third, is to stay with this aspiration to surrender in a conscious, living way and wait for the Grace to inflow into us. Fourth, is the joy of receiving the New vibrations of Love, Light, Power, Harmony, Beauty and Substance within us and which slowly flows into our outer relationships, activities and works.

Surrendering our breath practice

Let us practise surrendering and receiving the new life-forces within our breath. Either in a sitting, walking or any normal posture, bring your awareness to your body overall — at the surface and within the body. Remember to include the front, back and sides of your body. Now slowly become aware of the movement of breath in each part of your body. You can even bring your awareness from head to toe and wait to see how the breath is moving in each part. Is it a free flow or is it being held/stuck in some parts? Is it a full breathing or a partial breathing that is going on?

In its natural state, the body does not hold its breath and lets it out in its own time. Only that allows our body to receive the next dose of prāna, deepening the connection with Mahaprāna (universe). So in each part of your body detect where breath is being held back, not released fully or is in a partial flow state. Surrender or offer this part and what it is holding to the Divine and wait till your breath flows fully and is released fully too. Surrender your breath to the Universe or Divine Supreme. Wait and see how your body feels and whether qualities like calmness, peace, stillness, joy or light are received or infilled within your body.

This practice of surrender bestows us slowly with equality in our being. In pain or pleasure, win or lose, pleasant or unpleasant and in all such experiences of dualities, surrender can help retain the joy of an equanimous posture.

You can do this practice on your own or in small groups where the experience for each could be more tangible and palpable, as all are paying attention to the same practice.

Negation of surrender

Let us begin a deeper reflection through this quote by the Mother:

“You see, the mass is still under the great rule of Nature. I am referring to mental humanity, predominantly mental, which developed the mind but misused it and immediately set out on the wrong path — first thing.

“There is nothing to say since the first thing done by the divine forces which emanated for the Creation was to take the wrong path!’ That is the origin, the seed of this marvelous spirit of independence — the negation of surrender, in other words. Man said, ‘I have the power to think; I will do with it what I want, and no one has the right to intervene. I am free, I am an independent being, IN- DE-PEN-DENT! So that’s how things stand: we are all independent beings (1)!”

How many seconds in a day are we consciously in a state of surrender? Do we actually remember to offer our inner experiences, aspirations, desires, outer pursuits, relationships, works and so on to the Divine and its Creative Force? Very few of us remember to do the sadhana of offering in real time. Very few of us, in the moment when a fear grips us, a depression sucks us, a doubt stirs, or emotional memories surge, actually become aware of these states and offer them to the Divine, to be taken up for transformation.

While doing the sādhanā of surrender, how close do we feel the Divine within, above, below or around us? Who do we feel is doing this sādhanā? What are we aware of primarily — our experiences or the divine Presence? For most of us, we will feel a sense of our individual self, the ‘I’ doing something with a surrendered poise to touch the Divine. This still is a part of the negation of surrender, even mentally if we remind ourselves that as sincere children of the Divine Mother we need to do our effort and aspire. Yet it is the Divine Mother who is primarily doing the sādhanā in us, according to each of our capacities. She brings us to the greater depths that we don’t have direct access to. Even if we take surrender as a faith, bringing in the aspect of love to remind us that it is the Divine who is actually doing the practice in us, we can swing more to the side of absolute trust in the sacredness of surrender. Though the Divine Mother does not need our will and can anyway act and mould us, surrender makes the process more harmonious, joyful and conscious.

It is love that will help us to expand and widen our consciousness, to feel the Divine and aspire to connect to the Divine. It is love that will help us to aspire to go beyond what we are holding now, to wish that we embody more of the Divine within us. Then our eyes can see more clearly and our deeper hearts can guide us more directly.

We then see that the challenges in our life are arranged for us. The support and solutions for the same are also arranged for us. We need to make our choice — to not get entangled and offer the challenges to the Divine. We need to wait till we receive the solution and new states. We need to connect to the Divine and remember that She is doing the work in us. First, this is a mental belief and slowly we can feel the presence of the Divine and the changes naturally unfolding within us. Then we slowly discover that what we do as our sādhanā is just a way to bring us to a state of aspiration and sincerity. Things evolve by a greater Hand at play. We slowly aspire to cling to the will to surrender, so that we can be open to the continued inflow of the Divine moulding us.

Practising surrender with the body as a base

Surrender is practised at all times and with all parts of our body. It becomes tangible when done during physical exercises like yoga āsanas along with inner bodywork. So we shall explore surrendering while doing something concrete like a physical yoga āsana, and then we shall take our exploration of surrender into its other aspects.

Here is an example of how we can bring a yoga āsana practice, inner bodywork and surrender together. One way this practice can be done is hinted here. You can explore this while doing your yoga routine or any other physical workout.

While you are doing the yoga exercises, integrate it with your bodywork. Be fully aware of your body on the surface and depth. Be with your breath. With each movement touch your body inwardly with your awareness and senses. Any tightness, stiffness or old patterns connect the body to the space or consciousness above your head, sacredness below the core of the earth or the deeper presence within the cave of your heart. Surrender your body to the higher consciousness and wait till the body gains new capacities, becomes more fluid, develops strength and gains greater flexibility.

We share some examples of how you can do this practice. Once you get the hang of it, you can apply this bodywork and surrender, for the entire duration of all your physical body workouts.

During any yoga āsana be aware of your body and its sensations. Connect to the substance of your body — the matter or more solid part of your body’s flesh, muscles, bones and organs.

• Slowly learn to do the yoga āsana by staying in touch with the substance of your body. Whatever stiffness and limitations you experience in the body, offer it to the Divine. You must also remember that there is Divine in matter and offer the challenge to the belief of pure substance in the depth of your body. Surrender and wait. Aspire that the body releases its limitations and resumes its natural flow, flexibility and strength states.

• While doing any yoga āsana or physical exercise, connect to the cave of your heart. During each interval or tiny break in your practice, dive deep down and reconnect to the cave of your heart. Allow qualities of eternal love, faith, light, silence, peace and joy to emerge within the cave of your heart. Surrender to these higher qualities. Wait and aspire that they flow into all the cells of your body.

• While doing any breath practice, like alternate nostril breathing, or at the end of the practice, connect to the Vastness above and around. You can connect parts of your body or being to the vastness as you do the breath practice. For example, while in practice, you can connect to the vastness behind the head and the back. Aspire to become aware of the constant support and protection of the divine Supreme ever-present at the back too, guarding forever. Then with each inhalation, let the awareness expand at the back, connecting to the Supreme Presence and with each exhalation connect to the vastness in the front. At the end, connect to the Supreme Divine's presence enveloping the whole body, the whole being and existence.

• In backward bends, our Anāhata cakra (heart centre) is exposed to the vastness/energy or Source descending from above. It is not so much about effort. We become aware of our body bending and our heart open to the Supreme above and we simply surrender and wait for new Inflow of nourishing qualities. This practice will help those who have insecurity and fear issues, as they are learning to sense that unseen support. For example, through backward bends in āsanas, psychologically one is working on fears, trust issues, insecurities, etc. With increasing faith, trust and surrender one can lean back, relax one’s limitations and drop oneself back, more and more effortlessly.

These examples are indicative of how you can do the practice on your own, integrating physical exercises, inner body workout and the surrender poise. Slowly we can allow the Vastness to spread behind, in front and all around us. We can allow it to extend into the unknown terrains once walked, evolving through many births. We can surrender all of this to transform and integrate with the present moment consciousness of the concrete presence of the Supreme.

Surrender: a mantra of Love

It is from love and with love that we can do the surrender. Without love it is just a dry routine. Let us read these lines from the Mother on Raadha’s prayer. May our body and being grasp the inner practice beneath this and may we aspire to do this practice sincerely through our days and nights.

“To complete what I told you yesterday about Radha’s dance I have noted this down as an indication of the thought and feeling Radha must have within her when she stands at the end in front of Krishna:

‘Every thought of my mind, every emotion of my heart, every movement of my being, every feeling and every sensation, each cell of my body, each drop of my blood, all, all is yours, yours absolutely yours without reserve. You can decide my life or my death, my happiness or my sorrow, my pleasure or my pain; whatever you do with me, whatever comes to me from you will lead me to the Divine Rapture (2).’”

This practice translates as this:

• Either individually or with someone else who is doing this sādhanā together with you connect to the Divine Supreme through the Universal Mother or Lord. You can also connect to any Master of your resonance as all are linked to the One Divine Supreme Mother or Lord.

• Stay in touch with the Divine through each activity of yours, clinging on to the aspiration to surrender.

• Take your individual efforts. Do your own sādhanā to make progress and let go within to receive the Divine’s response.

• Offer your inner life and reactions to the Divine. Offer your outer works to the Divine.

• Simply wait for the Divine to make of you, your life and work as the Divine pleases.

This is surrender in the path of Bhakti and Karma Yoga. We have been guided in Integral Yoga that before we begin anything or any work we should call on the Force of the Divine. That is all that is needed. Once we call the force we open ourselves as per the Raadha’s prayer provided earlier. We can say for example the prayer:

“Om Sri Aurobindo Mira
Open my mind, my heart, my life
To your light, your love, your power.
In all things may I see the Divine (3).“
If this is how we call the Force, aspire and request it to work through us, then automatically even the sense of ‘I’ am working or ‘I’ am doing is not there or slowly it is dissolved. Calling, inviting and invoking the Force and letting that Force work through us is surrender. Then surrender becomes natural after a point.

Surrender to the Supreme

Let us now turn our vision to Savitri of Sri Aurobindo, to draw some clues on our exploration:

“For still the human limits the divine:
Out of our thoughts we must leap up to sight,
Breathe her divine illimitable air,
Her simple vast supremacy confess,
Dare to surrender to her absolute.
Then the Unmanifest reflects his form
In the still mind as in a living glass;
The timeless Ray descends into our hearts
And we are rapt into eternity (4).”

If we take the middle line as our golden key or practice — “Dare to surrender to her absolute”, we would be able to understand and appreciate this process of surrender at a subtle level. Here we understand the full dynamic posture of surrender. What we open ourselves to through surrender, infills us. So if we connect our body, mind, vital and our works and offer them to the Divine, the highest qualities of the Divine will fill inside us.

We can aspire to do this as a practice, through the day and when parts of our night can become conscious too. While it is one posture, attitude or action, for the sake of our clarity let us examine this surrender practice as a few steps:

1. We become aware of portions or parts of our thoughts, emotions, sensations and body, that limits the Divine’s qualities and expressions. This has a dual posture. We are aware of ourselves and our nourishing or limiting states. We are aware experientially of at least some of the divine qualities like Light, Peace, Silence, Harmony, Love, Power, Union, Delight and Joy. It is by holding these two postures that we know in our experience that what is flowing through us, limits the Divine. This posture of surrender is a dual posture that bridges the human with the Divine. Our awareness is placed within the limiting part of body, sensation, emotion or thought. Also we are either connected to or calling or keeping our awareness present with or within the Divine or any of their qualities.

2. We bring in an element of choice now. This is a choice to evolve to leap and embrace divine qualities within the functions of our human existence — our thinking, feeling, emotions and body, and also to express it out through our actions and works.

3. We do our own healing, inner work or practice to correct our limitations, tune our strengths and learn new ways of existing and expressing.

4. We aspire to remember to surrender. For this we need to fully and internally believe in the importance and magnificence of this practice. This quote from the Mother points the full significance of this process:

“What Sri Aurobindo called the true ‘surrender,’ the surrender to the Supreme, is a truth higher than that of relying solely upon oneself (5).”

5. This surrender needs to be conscious. This would mean that there needs an aspiration, or a silent word or intent that says or feels something like ‘Svaaha or Surrendering’. This posture needs to be invoked experientially, else it is just something mechanical. Each time we need to say inwardly, feel or simply aspire that the thought-emotion-sensation-body is offered to the Divine and their qualities.

6. Now the key part of surrender is to learn to wait. Let us take the second-last line from the above Savitri quotation to glean an insight. “The timeless Ray descends into our hearts”. So if we connect a limiting or partially developed portion of our thought-emotion-feeling-body to the Divine, then we need to wait till a Divine quality descends or enters within the thought-feeling-emotion body, and they start functioning at a higher level of consciousness.

This is how the fullness of the surrender practice feels. This whole thing is to be done in the moment when the thought, emotion, feeling, sensation and body experience is beginning to unfold.

Clinging to the will to surrender

The process of surrender may sound delightful to read. However, in real-time practice, we go back to the question with which we started the article. How many seconds in a day and night are we actually able to consciously surrender? Can we first look at our will? Can we connect to our navel region and sense if there is sufficient will and power in the first place? Is our will open? How can we intensify our will-force? Then can we reflect if we are consciously willing? Do we have a conscious will to surrender our every action, thought and behaviour to the Divine? May our reflection intensify our calm aspiration to will and surrender every moment.

Let us absorb an insight by the Mother:

“Meanwhile, we should acknowledge that we don’t have the key, it is not yet in our hands. Or rather, we know quite well where it is, and there is only one thing to do: the perfect ‘surrender’ Sri Aurobindo speaks of, the total surrender to the divine Will whatever happens, even in the dark of night.

“There is night and sun, night and sun, and night again, many nights, but one must cling to this will for ‘surrender,’ cling as through a storm, and put everything into the hands of the Supreme Lord. Until the day when the Sun shall shine forever, the day of total Victory (6).”

So we have at least three concrete clues in our practice of surrender:

1. Practise the full posture of surrender as we have explored — Awareness, Conscious Choice, Connect to the Divine, Offer and Wait.

2. Consciously develop and strengthen our will to surrender.

3. Cling on to this will to surrender during both our joyful and challenging moments in life and work.

To be able to do this practice in the moment, we need to make this surrender practice very simple and direct and then repeat it a million times each day. To reiterate this practice, we get a clue from Mother’s Agenda on how the cells of Her body practise the surrender:

“So the first sound of my mantra is the call to that, the evocation. With the second sound, the body’s cells make their’ surrender,’ they give themselves. And with the third sound comes the identification of this [the body] with That, which produces the divine life. These are my three sounds (7).”

Let us take an example to apply the insight from the above quote. Let us say that someone says something critical towards us, without understanding us fully. The next second, we notice irritation coming in, our listening reduces, we move into some emotions or memories. Often we succumb to these reactions. We do not bring a clear and firm choice. Our inner will is weak. Our will to progress and evolve needs to be lit all the time. If we really are able to do this, the tell-tale sign will be that there will be a calm will from us saying, ‘No. It is not the job of my body to bear the weight of this. These reactions can be offered to the Divine and we can wait for the Divine to transform them’. So instead of tossing around inwardly with repetitive thoughts that replay the criticism, or feelings and emotions that churn, we become aware of them and open or offer them to the Divine. We wait. Instead of identifying more with the churns, we identify more with the Divine. We wait till we have Divine-touched thoughts, feelings and emotions incubating within us. This is an understanding of total surrender that is emerging now. With this we can act in the world to create something deeper and higher.

The key once again is to learn to wait and allow the transformation to be done, once we have called and offered ourselves fully to the Divine Force. We are reminded of this from the following lines by the Mother:

“But if they open themselves, if they give themselves over in an integral surrender, the work can be done for them — they have only to let it be done (8).”

Total surrender with joy

As we deepen in our sincerity and the Grace of surrender, we would start experiencing the increase in the joy of surrender, the abolition of fear overall, a vaster equanimity and greater aspiration for the Divine Manifestation on earth.

This practice of surrender needs to be dynamic and filled with joy or delight. If it is dry or mechanical, it will not be total. Here is an example of the Mother’s poise and through contagion how Durga surrenders to the Supreme. And perhaps there is a clue in the last sentence that it is through bliss that she made her surrender.

“And that's why.... How many times Durga came! She would always come, and I had my eye on her (!), because in her presence I could clearly sense that there wasn't that rapport with the Supreme (she just didn't need it, she didn't need anything). And it wasn't that something acted on her consciously, deliberately, to obtain that result: it has been a contagion. I remember how she used to come, and my aspiration would be so intense, my inner attitude so concentrated ... and one day there was such a sense of power, of immensity, of ineffable bliss in the contact with the Supreme (it was a day when Durga was there), and she seemed to be taken and absorbed in it. And through that bliss she made her surrender (9).”

So we can remember to check if there is joy present in our practice. And if not, to aspire that we feel the joy in the Divine union and wait for the Divine to do the sādhanā in us, within us and through us.

Also it is good to practise surrendering to the Divine Supreme directly. In the beginning, if we are surrendering to one of their forms of a god or goddess, it is fairly important that we make an aspiration that the god or goddess stays connected to the Supreme. Many in sādhanā often are vigilant about the intrusion of adverse forces, ill-wills of others and the like. To glean some insights on this, let us examine a quote by the Mother:

“And while I was walking, Durga was there — really, it was beautiful! Durga, with that awesome power of hers, forever bringing the adverse forces to heel — and she surrendered to the Supreme, to the point of no longer even recognising the adverse forces: ALL is the Supreme. It was like a widening of her consciousness. (10).”

As per this quotation, our surrender is still not complete when we are experiencing or are in fear of these small forces. We can bring in some sincerity and love for the Divine Supreme who is toiling within us for our evolution. Let us aspire to make our surrender so full and complete with the Divine Supreme, that in our experience we feel the ALL as the Supreme. We are all the time serving the Supreme through our offerings, allowing the fullness of qualities to come through. It is the human who can do this surrender to the Supreme Divine the most, as the Divine Presence is within — in the heart and in every cell of the body.

In this way, all the opposites and downfalls that exist in us and in the world are our raw-material to offer to the Supreme Divine so that She may manifest her full Grace and Love within us and in the world. Absolute surrender bestows equanimity in each level of our being. This is such a vast equality towards each so-called high and low of life that there is no sense of pain or pleasure, less or more, near or far, pleasant or unpleasant, etc. Everything is accepted as just perfect for that moment. Everything is aspired to be offered to the Supreme Divine for Their full Presence to manifest on earth.


1. The Mother. Mother’s Agenda, Volume 1. Paris: Institut de Recherches Évolutives; (English translation) 1979, pp. 178 -79.

2. The Mother. The Collected Works of the Mother, Volume 15. 2nd ed. Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust; 2004, p. 209.

3. Sri Aurobindo. The Complete Works, Volume 35, Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, 2011, p. 832.

4. Sri Aurobindo. Complete Works, Volume 33-34; 1993, p.276

5. The Mother. Mother’s Agenda, Volume 1; (English translation) 1979, pp. 213 -14.

6. Ibid., p. 238.

7. Ibid., p. 433.

8. Ibid., p. 300.

9. The Mother. Mother’s Agenda, Volume 3; (English translation) 1982, p. 235.

10. Ibid., p. 224.

Arul Dev, based in Chennai, is a facilitator of ‘Body healing and transformation’ retreats and workshops.

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Surrender in each moment


Negation of surrender


Widening the consciousness,


Yoga āsanas


Anāhata cakra


Bhakti Yoga




Sri Aurobindo


The Mother




Goddess Durga