Active Surrender of the Ego Is Required for the Spiritual Seeker

There are spiritual aspirants who take the approach of absolute passivity, with an understanding that “the Divine will do everything for me”. The formulation in their minds will of course vary depending on the specific nature of the devotion and the object of the devotion, but the essential sense remains the same. When they experience weaknesses, or uprisings of the forces of the lower nature, they simply expect that without their personal effort of any sort that the Divine will take care of things. They treat setbacks as more or less a form of “fate” that they simply can acquiesce in.

It is at some point in the spiritual practice necessary, when the ego is no longer the primary ground and center of the awareness in the seeker, to abandon the sense of individual effort. However, that stage generally does not come right away.

Sri Aurobindo specifically addresses these issues: “Reject the false notion that the divine Power will do and is bound to do everything for you at your demand and even though you do not satisfy the conditions laid down by the Supreme. Make your surrender true and complete, then only will all else be done for you.”

“Reject too the false and indolent expectation that the divine Power will do even the surrender for you. The Supreme demands your surrender to her, but does not impose it: you are free at every moment, till the irrevocable transformation comes, to deny and to reject the Divine or to recall your self-giving, if you are willing to suffer the spiritual consequence. Your surrender must be self-made and free; it must be the surrender of a living being, not of an inert automaton or mechanical tool.”

“An inert passivity is constantly confused with the real surrender, but out of an inert passivity nothing true and powerful can come. It is the inert passivity of physical Nature that leaves it at the mercy of every obscure or undivine influence. A glad and strong and helpful submission is demanded to the working of the Divine Force, the obedience of the illumined disciple of the Truth, of the inner Warrior who fights against obscurity and falsehood, of the faithful servant of the Divine.”

Sri Aurobindo,