Ramana has said:

“The removal of ignorance is the aim of practice and not acquisition of Realisation.” (Talks).

The most fundamental piece of ignorance is that there exists an individual self who is going to do sadhana, and that by doing sadhana, this individual self will disappear or be merged in some super-being.

Until this concept is eliminated on the mental level, it is not an exaggeration to say that one is wasting one’s time in attempts to surrender or to enquire ‘Who am I?’ Correct attitude and correct understanding of this matter are of pre-eminent importance if the application of Ramana’s teaching is to be successful.

Returning now to the practice of surrender, and bearing in mind the necessity of maintaining the right attitude with regard to the nonexistence of the individual self, there remains the problem of how to surrender since the mere desire to surrender invents an illusory person who is going to surrender.

The key to this problem and the key to all problems connected with the practice of Ramana’s teachings, is to bypass the mind and move to the realm of being. One cannot truly surrender without escaping from that vast accumulation of ideas and desires we call the mind, and according to Ramana, one cannot escape or destroy the mind by any kind of mental activity.

Ramana’s solution is to let the mind subside to the point where it disappears, and what remains when the mind has subsided is the simple, pure being that was always there. In a conversation in Talks Ramana gives the following illuminating answer. He says:

“It is enough that one surrenders oneself. Surrender is to give oneself up to the original cause of one’s being … One’s source is within oneself. Give yourself up to it. That means that you should seek the source and merge in it.”
(Talks p.175).

This is an immensely profound statement which not only sweeps away many of the myths that surround the practice of surrender – it also shows an indication that the route to the rediscovery of the Self is the same whether one chooses to label it “surrender” or “self-enquiry”.

If we examine this statement closely it is possible to extract three important conclusions regarding Ramana’s attitude and approach to surrender. Firstly, there is no external deity or manifestation to whom one must surrender; secondly, the source of one’s being is within us; and thirdly, and most importantly, true surrender is to go back to the original cause of one’s being and remain firmly and continually rooted there.

If this is translated into terms of practical advice, then surrender comes down to two words: being and stillness.

In Talks Ramana says:

“Your duty is to be, and not to be this or that, ‘I am that I am’ sums up the whole truth. The method is summed up in ‘Be still’.” (Talks, p.333).

The stillness and the being of which Ramana speaks co-exist with each other and reveal themselves in their full radiance whenever interest in one’s thought stream dries up. Thus, for Ramana, the practice of surrender is to find within oneself this feeling of beingness and surrender oneself completely to it. On this level of surrender, practice consists of giving up wrong ideas by refusing to give them attention.

~ from “The Unity of Surrender and Self-Enquiry” by David Godman

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