Do we have the choice to Surrender? || Acharya Prashant (2016)


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Questioner: Sir, it takes a certain trust and surrender to accept. But then that is not a choice again;  we cannot choose to surrender.

Acharya Prashant: How do you choose to surrender to so many other things?

Don’t you choose to surrender to your boss when he is threatening you? Or does that happen involuntarily? 

Listener 1: Sir that happens due to conditioning also. For example,  we are told to behave in a certain way.

AP: The conditioning itself is the chooser. You are not choosing, the conditioning is choosing. But still, can the conditioning choose without your consent? Had that been the case we would all have been machines. The machine may be very well programmed but still it requires someone to push the button. And you are the one who pushes the button, after that the process may be automatic. But you are the one who takes the initiating steps.

It is all, bluntly put, our own self-deception.

You never go and ask the real questions. You ask, “How to surrender to the Truth?” but you never ask, “How to surrender to money?” There you very conveniently and easily surrender. Anybody who has faced difficulty in surrendering to fear? Have you seen how easy that is!

But in surrendering to Truth you say, “It is so impossible, how do I make that choice?”

Surrendering to all kinds of rubbish, do you face any difficulty? No. Going to the office, going to parents, you don’t face any difficulty. But coming closer to the Truth you have the whole world against you and you face an insurmountable barrier. Don’t you?

I am still waiting for the one who would say, “I face great difficulty in doing rubbish, how do I do rubbish?” You face no difficulty there. You face no difficulty in comprehending all the convoluted, complex messages that the advertisers throw at you. You face no difficulty in decoding the half-smirk of a flirtatious girl.

But you face great difficulty in understanding what the innocent smile of a child means. The girl looks at you for half a second and throws half a smirk, and you very well know what that means. Right? You have no doubt about that. A child stands naked in front of you and keeps smiling in your face and you say, “How do I comprehend it! It’s greatly difficult.”

Finally, the question is—Do you want to?

At one point, I used to ask, “Chahiyein Kya? (Do you want it?)”

That’s the only question—Do you want to?

Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Do we have the choice to Surrender?

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Further Reading:

Advait in Everyday Life

final-book-cover_advait-in-everyday-life-4-copyAdvait has since long been revered as the crown jewel of all spiritual philosophies. However, there are very few books, if any at all, that practically demonstrate the presence, applications, methods and benefits of living as per the golden teaching of Advait-Vedanta.

This book is a much needed and rare attempt to bring spirituality and philosophical teachings to everyday life. The author’s genius lies in being delightfully able to bridge the abstract world of theorizations and principles with day-to-day circumstances, happenings, emotions and relationships.




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