The Meaning of Surrender

SJ78Discourseby Alireza Nurbakhsh

The first step on the path of Sufism is to surrender oneself to God.

The essence of surrender to God is our acceptance of the world as it is.  There is a story in the Bhagavad Gita illustrating this point about acceptance in a profound way.  There was a sage who repeatedly pulled a drowning scorpion out of the Ganges and who was repeatedly stung for his efforts.  Asked why he kept rescuing the venomous creature, the sage replied that it was the nature of a scorpion to sting but that the nature of a human being is to save.

… in a fundamental sense, spiritual surrender does not have to be in conflict with the effort to better ourselves and our surroundings.  Accepting the world as it is does not mean that we should not or cannot contribute to its harmony and beauty.  One of the hallmarks of those who have surrendered to God is that such people are no longer motivated and driven by self-interest since it is this quality that brings them into conflict with others, thereby terminating the path of their surrender.  It goes without saying that it is only when we are not at war with ourselves and others that we become creative and sympathetic to others.  After all, it is our essence to save.

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