Symbols of the world's religions



Charles Haynes

Meher Baba says "Greater than love is obedience. Greater than obedience is surrender." I often wonder about the meaning of "surrender," an important term because for Baba, it is the highest form of love. It is difficult to know what it means, and whether or not one has surrendered.

Once, some years ago, I asked Eruch about it. A group of us were sitting in Mandali Hall, in front of Baba's chair. During a lull in the conversation, Eruch looked at me and asked, "What should we talk about?"

I said the first thing that popped into my mind: "surrender."

Eruch said, "Yes, all right ... do it."

Taken aback, I said, "That's fine to say, but what does it mean?"

Eruch replied, "You people think I just say these things, but I'm not just saying it. Do it ... Do it!"

I said, "Well, I am trying. But isn't surrender the ultimate goal?"

He said, "No, no, just do it now. Right now."

I could only say, "Oh, all right." Eruch added, "Then surrender again tomorrow ... then the next day, surrender again. Why should we wait?" Then I began to grasp what was being said: surrender is something one does continuously, and each time one does it, it is a little bit more. One lets go a little bit more.

My favorite image for surrender comes from the East-West Gathering in 1962. During the darshan, Baba gave an image that has stuck with me all these years. I was thirteen at the time, and sitting on the couch and I was concentrating on inching my way closer to His knee. Baba was conveying something about the breaking of His silence. He said that the time would come when it might seem natural to leave Him, to let Him slip from our grasp. He said: "So I am telling you now that you must hold on to Me. That is the most important thing ... to hold on to Me."

I became alert as Baba had touched on a topic I was most interested in as a child. Then Baba picked up the hem of His sadhra, held it in front of us and said: "Remember to hold on to My Damaan, because what will happen will make it easy for your grasp on Me to slip away. So you must practice holding on to My Damaan." He compared our situation to that of a child in a village crowd. Unless the child holds on to the mother's hand, it will get lost.

Baba then took His other hand, and held His damaan tightly with both hands. He told us, "Don't hold on with one hand, but with both hands, so if, by chance, one hand should slip away, you will still be holding on." Remember, Baba told us, hold on with both hands.

To this day, I keep that image before me. What does it have to do with surrender? It occurred to me as a child (sometimes children have the best notions) that if you are holding on with both hands, you have no hands free to hold on to anything else! To hold on to Him with both hands, then, means that we have to begin to let go of all else. How can we hold on to what we want, if we are holding on to Him with both hands?

I feel that Baba is telling us that if we hold on with both hands (the beginning and end of surrender), it is then His task to help us let go of the world. He (Meher Baba within each of us — our Real Self) works constantly to help us to let go of everything false, and to cling only to what is Real.

The job of the Beloved is to get the lover to let go. We cannot do it alone. We will not do it. If it were completely up to us to let go, and to hold on only to Him, we would not do it. the ego is not about to surrender the illusory clinging that is its old, old habit. The ego is not going to voluntarily let go ... we cannot outsmart it. That is His job. Ours is to remember Him constantly with love.

So, whatever happens, we must hold on to Him ... trusting always, as we see that which is false stripped from our grasp, that Baba is doing His work of ego-elimination. As Baba has said, "To stick to Me means to keep Me pleased at the cost of your own comforts and pleasures. It means to remain resigned to My will, whether you keep good health or bad, whether you make money or lose it, whether you gain name and fame or become the laughing stock of others."

Holding on to Him and being resigned to His will is not easy. Fortunately, it is a gift that Baba gives us gradually in our life with Him. Everything He does in us conspires to help us to be wholly resigned to His will in all things. Resigned to His will ... that is the true meaning of "surrender."

Excerpts from a talk given by Charles Haynes, August 19, 1988


MBCNC, Inc. quarterly newsletter, Spring 1989
All words of Meher Baba © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust


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