As all surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly.
Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of Pritha.
– Bhagavad Gita, chapter 4, verse 11.
Krishna says, “as all surrender to Me…”. Do all really surrender to Him? Why did He say that when we see atheists around us all the time? We see agnostics swinging both ways. And there are the makers of Gods, owners of religions. While the worshippers of demigoddesses and demigods flood temples, the tantriks capture the darkest zones at the darkest hours, as do shamans in Mexico or elsewhere. As the new age spiritualists create their own Gods and styles of worships, yogis perform the highest austerities to control the material energy.
Surrender wears many facades. Many times we succumb to situations and habits, and sometimes we give away our life to a cause in all purity. Surrendering with knowledge is better than surrendering in ignorance, and better than the mere knowledge of this world is the knowledge of the Absolute Truth.
Everything has its origin in Krishna, including us. So when Krishna says as all surrender to Me what He means is, whatever we invest our heart and soul in and with whatever knowledge and intent, its ultimate source is Krishna. This surrender takes place in many ways. “Everyone is searching for Krishna in the different aspects of His manifestations.”, says Srila Prabhupada, the founder acharya of ISKCON. Behind this powerful oneliner is the knowledge he brought from a genuine Tradition of bhakti, not one of those sprouted in an artificial environment. He exuded an aura of God-realization, and his words and actions illuminated millions of dark hearts.
Srila Prabhupada says, if you don’t surrender to Krishna, you end up surrendering to Maya. Who is Maya? Krishna’s shadow! Everything, animate or inanimate, is Krishna’s manifestation. Ferrari is Krishna’s bahiranga shakti’s (mahamaya, material energy) manifestation. We, the souls are His Tathastha shakti’s (marginal energy) manifestation, but our mind-body are His bahiranga shakti’s manifestation. The spiritual world, called Krishnaloka or Goloka Vrindavan, is His Antaranga shakti’s manifestation (Yogamaya, spiritual energy).
The constant object of our meditations becomes the object of our prayers to Krishna. The direction our time and energy take attracts our rewards. Centering our lives on sex, power, money, and worldly knowledge is like inhaling the polluted soot and leaving out the fresh air. We have traded-off Krishna, the Sat-Cit-Ananda Vigraha (Eternal-Knowledge-Bliss) for a speck of His material energy. Who trades off their lover for a stinky pair of the lover’s sox? It’s a gross analogy to make sense of divinity. But we have to make the best of a bad bargain, as Srila Prabhupada says.
“I reward them accordingly…” For material rewards, He works through His material energy, and for the highest spiritual reward, he works through His spiritual energy. The lowest rewards He bestows upon us are purely material in nature, a class higher than these are the rewards of liberation and siddhis, and the highest reward, which He bestows upon the select few, is pure and unconditional love that flows from us to Him, and consequently toward His entire creation.
“Everyone follows My path in all respects…” One of my teachers says, while all roads lead to Krishna, it’s our freewill to walk toward Krishna on those roads, or walk away from Him on the same roads. All roads lead to the President’s house, but our practical intelligence tells us that we should take a well-constructed road and a short route to get to his house. Our practical intelligence knows that the same road that takes us to the President’s house, it also takes us away from it.
The three choices we should make consciously are:
- What to invest our internal and external resources in
What’s my goal? The supreme person, Krishna, or the soot of His material energy? Or, the swimming pool of His effulgence where I should annihilate my existence temporarily?
How am I going to accomplish my goal? Driving aimlessly on the roads to escape my boredom, my fears, my anxieties? Or, follow a geniune path with consistent determinatation?
- In whose guidance
Who will be my guide? My speculative mind, or a genuinely experienced and realized teacher?
Krishna is very liberal. He accompanies us wherever we go. He’s our eternal companion. He guides us through His song, pure devotees, incidents and accidents, and insights. He has been waiting on us patiently. He has been accompanying us as Time as He knows our excuse: when the time is ripe, this too shall happen.