Only the spiritual realization that we are all part of the one self, will access true acceptance and freedom from suffering
When I decided to write on the concept of acceptance, my mind first looked for a Sanskrit word for the same. As a literal translation, I came up with svi-karana (pronounced svee-karaNa), making [something, someone> one’s own or angi-karana, making it as one’s own limb.
But literal translations are often misleading. One has to look for the inner meaning of a word, then find the equivalent in the other language. I believe that what we call ‘acceptance’ in English is a composite of sam-arpana and santosha.
Samarpana is often short for atma-samarpana, surrendering oneself to the Supreme Being with a sense of reverence and devotion.
Sur-rendire means superior giving. When one learns to give of oneself to Divinity in this way, then alone one accepts (svi-karana) others as if they are part of our own self (angi-karana).
This ability to accept others eventually pervades our mind and heart, emotions and states, enabling us to accept undesirable situations or insufficiently fulfilled desires.
The progression is seen thus in the Bhagavad Gita: The Lord says, maam-ekam sharaNam vraja Come, take refuge in Me alone. This is no empty invitation, nor a command with no rhyme or reason. The Lord promises that if Arjuna truly takes refuge in Him,
aham tvaam sarva-paapebhyo mokShayi-Shyaami I will liberate you from all that is unsavoury. When this faith is established in the devotee, and the corresponding promise by the Divinity is fulfilled, it brings about a change in all one’s emotional states.
The last promise in the verse (18.66), from which we have quoted two fragments, is maa shuchah Grieve not! Grieve no more! This reminds us of a verse from the Yajur-veda (40.7): He, the one who knows experientially, in whom all beings have become the very self, In that state What delusional attachment, What grief, When one sees only oneness.
The starting point of acceptance is vi-jnana (vi-janatah in the Yajur mantra), personal experience of oneness that all selves are One Self. The link between total self-realization and freedom from all grief, is the unified awareness included in the word ‘acceptance’. When one accepts (svi-karaNa) that all selves are as one’s own limb (angi-karaNa), who can cause grief to whom?
What is the devotee’s response to the Lord’s admonition as above? What are the psycho-spiritual states that the devotee then experiences? Arjuna says (Bh G. 18.73): • naShTo mohah: delusional attachment is gone. • smrtir labdhaa: I now remember ‘I am atman the self’ (as per Shankaracharya’s commentary). • sthito’smi: I have attained stillness, and thereby, I have become stabilized. • gata-sandehah: My doubts have vanished.
The implication is that this has not happened through his effort. Such a claim would not be surrender, for it indicates that the small self is still exerting itself. The source is attributed to tvat-prasaadaat: it has all happened because of your grace; it was your pleasure, and you cleared my heart and mind. All these three meanings are contained in ‘tvat-prasaadaat’.
This level of acceptance arises only through Divine grace. It is for this reason that a yogi is called (BhG.12.14) santuShTah satatam: ever contented.
Vyasa, in Yoga Sutras, tells us that ‘only craving is the suffering’. Thus, contentment is the end of all suffering. Acceptance is no ‘accepting defeat’; it is the very conquest of craving, the fount of all mental and emotional comfort. Then one ceases to need or seek any other source to comfort him/her.
May your mind, suffused with the quality of acceptance, become a playground of the gods.
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