The story of Ashtavakra teaches that in order to experience Brahma Jnana all that is necessary is to surrender yourself completely to the Guru, to give up your notion of ‘I’ and ‘mine’. If these are surrendered, what remains is the Reality.
There are two ways of achieving surrender. One is looking into the source of the ‘I’ and merging into that source. The other is feeling, ‘I am helpless myself, God alone is all powerful, and except by throwing myself completely on Him, there is no other means of safety for me’; and thus gradually developing the conviction that God alone exists and the ego does not count. Both methods lead to the same goal. Complete surrender is another name for jnana or liberation.
Bhakti is not different from mukti. Bhakti is being as the Self. One is always That. He realizes It by the means he adopts. What is bhakti? To think of God. That means only one thought prevails to the exclusion of all other thoughts. That thought is of God, which is the Self, or it is the self surrendered unto God. When He has taken you up, nothing else will assail you. The absence of thought is bhakti. It is also mukti.
Bhakti is Jnana Mata, i.e., the mother of jnana.
It is asked, why all this creation is so full of sorrow and evil. All one can say is that it is God’s will, which is inscrutable. No motive, no desire, no end to achieve can be attributed to that infinite, all-wise and all-powerful Being. God is untouched by activities which take place in His presence. There is no meaning in attributing responsibility and motive to the One, before it became many. But God’s will for the prescribed course of events is a good solution for the vexed question of free-will. If the mind is worried over what befalls us, or what has been committed or omitted by us, it is wise to give up the sense of responsibility and free-will, by regarding ourselves as the ordained instruments of the All-Wise and the All- Powerful, to do and suffer as He pleases. Then He bears all the burdens and gives us peace.
A Maharani told Bhagavan, ‘I am blessed with everything that a human being would like to have’. Her Highness’s voice choked. Controlling herself she continued slowly, ‘I have all that I want, a human being may want... but... but... I do not have peace of mind. Something prevents it. Probably my destiny’. There was silence for a while. Then Bhagavan spoke in his usual sweet manner: ‘All right, you have said what you wished to say. Well, what is destiny? There is no destiny. Surrender, and all will be well. Throw all responsibility on God and do not bear the burden yourself. What can destiny do to you then?’
Devotee: Surrender is impossible.
Bhagavan: Yes, complete surrender is impossible. Partial surrender is certainly possible for all. In course of time that will lead to complete surrender. Well, if surrender is impossible what can be done? There is no peace of mind. You are helpless to bring it about. It can be done only by surrender.
D: Partial surrender — well, can it undo destiny?
B: Oh yes, it can.
D: Is not destiny due to past karma?
B: If one has surrendered to God, God will look to it.
D: That being God’s dispensation, how does God undo it?
B: All are in Him only.
To a devotee who was praying that she should have more frequent visions of Siva, Bhagavan said, “Surrender to Him and abide by His Will, whether He appears or disappears; await His pleasure. If you ask Him to do as you like it is not surrender but command to God. You cannot have Him obey you and yet think you have surrendered. He knows what is best and when and how to do it. His is the burden. You have no longer any cares. All your cares are His. Such is surrender. That is bhakti.”