Enquiry vs Surrender by Dr Pallavi Kwatra


Enquiry versus Surrender


In the Ramana way, there are two modes: either do the enquiry method to know and reach upto the self or to just plain surrender. Let us look at each of these in the light of Maharishi’s teachings and try to delve in detail on these modes.


Verse 17, Updesa Saaram quotes,

“ Manasam tu kim margane krite

Naiva manasam marga arjvat”

Meaning…. On enquiry as to what is the mind, we realize that there is nothing real called the mind. This is a direct path.

This is the path of enquiry where through the process of Neti Neti(not this not this) one arrives at the self. One by one, the illusions of the mind body intellect complex drops and falls away to let only the true self remaining to shine. This process is initially undertaken with the tool of the mind but later as the journey progresses, the mind itself is known to merge in the self. This can be corroborated by Bhagwan’s following statement, “The thought ‘who am I?’ will destroy all other thoughts, and like the stick used for stirring the funeral pyre, it will itself be burnt up in the end. Then, there will be Self-realization

Having known now, what is the path of inquiry, let us go further on. This mode is not for an un primed mind and can only be taken up after having done good foundation spiritual work with oneself. The vedic texts highlight and emphasize repeatedly the existence of the self and remind us to be just that. And Bhagwan also reminds that the self is ever present, during all phases of waking and sleep. The real time experiences of the world need to be grilled in the enquiry process at every step and the seemingly true illusions of the body and emotions will then fall away. This path requires an Arjun eye awareness to weigh every thought, every experience and trace it back to its source. i.e the self. The enquiry path can progress in 2 directions, the first being dispassion or vairaagya where most experiences will be known to be illusory and transient. This dispassion will fuel the inquiry more and acts like a closed loop system. The second sequel of inquiry will be to arrive at the truth of the self, which is “sat chit anand” and this can be very liberating as one has come to the end of a seemingly long path of arduous seeking and is free now from the effort to look further. The arrival at the destination of the timeless truth is a bliss beyond measure and there is no falling from the path now. So, enquiry is a self disciplined approach to meet the self.



Largely misunderstood as being easy, this path is also self demanding. The ego is conditioned to be in the doer ship zone and does not let us fall unto surrender. It needs guru’s grace to surrender where he tames and wrecks the ego to reveal the true self. Surrender is a “status quo” position and one just floats around as a nobody. Surrender breeds in the lap of devotion which is not an episodic occurrence as what happens during meditation, or during performance of rites, rituals etc. devotion is a way of life. It is becoming someone who has forgotten to judge or discriminate between who is worthy of surrendering to. It only knows to dissolve. It is a “no mind” place. For the intellectual, this might not be easy, but once it happens, life is a prayer indeed.

In a balanced spiritual practice, both inquiry and surrender will play their respective roles , complementing each other beautifully. An intelligent seeker will need to keep shifting places between these two as none can replace the other and in the light of Advaita,where there is no duality, both modes merge into a global dimension.





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