Surrender and Understanding
In his commentary on the Gita, 2.39, Sri Sankara explains Krishna's words to Arjuna thus-"You will become free from bondage by the attainment of knowledge through God's grace". Again, in 18.65 -"Knowing for certain that liberation is the definite result ofdevotion to God, one should be intent only on surrender to God".
Finally, ultimately, (when it comes to spiritual enlightenment) the surrender and the Understanding are the same, even if they are apparently, in perception or experience, separated chronologically.
The very concept of 'the total Understanding' necessarily includes surrender, for it begins with the willingness, "Thy will be done;" and ends in seeing that one is not.
Thus there is a sensed rightness in the idea that humility in some form is a mark of a true sage; an intuitive sense that if one doesn't have a sense of humor about themselves and about what is happening, it is highly unlikely that awakening has occurred.
Taking oneself too seriously may be a fairly good sign that there has not been the giving up, the surrendering, of the false idea that one actually exists (as a separate entity).
Doubts about the authenticity of certain teachers often boil down to this: that while they may have an excellent understanding of the teachings, it is the complete surrender of the sense of individual self that has perhaps not occurred.
In this phenomenality of duality, there is always the flip side, the complementary opposite that completes. Male-female, Shiva-Shakti, jnana-bhakti, understanding surrender. Disdaining one or the other misses truth.
Despite traditions to the contrary, there simply cannot be true jnana without true bhakta, there cannot be the ultimate understanding without the ultimate surrender. Certain personalities will try to avoid one or the other under the guise of some higher wisdom, but always at the cost of wholeness.
There is a tradition that jnana is the higher path because the bhakta relies on a belief in someone or something to be devoted to, whereas the jnani knows there is neither. But true bhakti is pure devotion with no object; and the true jnani knows nothing.
Jnana and bhakta, knowledge and devotion, understanding and surrender, inseeing and outpouring, mind and heart, cannot be divided or opposed; because they are the same.
- "The essential basis of self realization is the total rejection of the individual as an independent entity, whether it comes as a spontaneous undersnding or through an utter surrender of one's individual existence." ~ Ramesh Balsekar
It can be seen that the path of the bhakti in devotion leading to surrender, and that of the jnani in knowledge leading to understanding, meet when each takes the final step.
The ultimate surrender is the total Understanding; the complete Understanding is the utter surrender unto death of the individual self.
Jesus: "Only he who loses his life will find it." Again, "Not' my will, but Thine be done," because it is understood that there is no 'mine,' no 'me' to will.
It is the surrender of all vestiges of the sense of the individual person, including, ironic as it may seem, all those hopes and dreams and prayers of ever becoming a good or better person or a person other people might love or like or be drawn to. It is the complete surrender into 'This Is All That Is.'
And yes, that final surrender, that total Understanding is sudden and happens once. And that once is now. And that now is eternal.
From, Brilliant Perfect Stillness, by David Carse