Today is the anniversary of the crucifixion of Jesus, one of the three central events in Christianity. Anyone who grew up as a Christian is intimately familiar with the image of Christ dying on the cross. Easter, of course, represents the resurrection and the triumph of life over death, of spirit over body.

There are many aspects to these events, but I want to talk about one in particular that is essential to spiritual progress: the deep surrender of the individual will (ego) to the divine will. Amidst the drama of the arrest, trial, crucifixion, and resurrection, it is easy to overlook this timeless teaching, but true spiritual progress is impossible without self-offering.

The Bible tells us that Jesus was betrayed by his disciple, Judas. Jesus, being omniscient, knew what was coming. He prayed, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” When the soldiers came to arrest him, Jesus said, “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?”

Michelangelo’s Pietà (housed in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican).

There is a deep lesson here for all of us. No matter what comes to us, good or bad, we should willingly offer ourselves into God’s will. In the case of Jesus, this surrender allowed him to alleviate the karma of the entire world, and especially of his close disciples. Our lives may be less dramatic and earthshaking, but surrender to God’s will is the best way to neutralize the karma that keeps us bound in delusion. Acceptance of God’s will is demonstrated by all great masters. Here are two fascinating examples.

One time Lahiri Mahasaya, walking back from a bath in the Ganges with a disciple, asked him to tear off a strip of cloth from his dhoti. The confused disciple didn’t heed his master’s request. A block or so later a brick fell from a roof and struck Lahiri on the foot, causing a gash which bled profusely. Lahiri calmly tore a piece of cloth from his own robe and bandaged his foot. The astonished devotee asked, “If you knew that was going to happen, why didn’t you simply avoid it?” Lahiri responded, “The karma needed to take place, and if I had avoided this, it would have had to come back later in an even stronger form.” A wise teaching for us when we are thrashing around trying to escape a karmic lesson.

Paramhansa Yogananda had many organizational responsibilities even though he yearned to spend more time in complete communion with God. One time he prayed to Divine Mother to be relieved of all those onerous tasks. Her response is both humorous and instructive. He heard Her voice saying, “I have to take care of the whole universe. Can’t you look after one little corner of it for Me?” What else could he do but roll up his sleeves and get back to work?

So in order to find ultimate fulfillment, we all must attune our individual will with God’s will. If Jesus had tried to avoid the cross, he might have had a happier ending to his personal story, but there would have been no crucifixion, no resurrection, and very probably, no Christianity.

In surrender to His will,

Nayaswami Jyotish

Here is a recording of two songs that are deeply expressive of the theme of this blog, and also of today (Good Friday). They are taken from the very first performance, in 1984, of Swami Kriyananda’s oratorio Christ Lives, and sung by the composer himself:

And you’re invited to join us for the annual performance of that full oratorio, available beginning at 7 p.m. PDT this evening via YouTube.

Listen to the weekly commentary for this blog, with special behind-the-inspiration stories and answers to common spiritual questions. Subscribe to the podcast or download the audio recording by right-clicking here. Or listen to it here (3:57):

Download the audio recording of this week’s blog by right-clicking here. Or listen to it here (4:49):

15 Comments

  1. So beautifully explained !!
    Thank you nayaswami Jyotishji 🙏

  2. yes! and because everything is connected if we don’t do our part of the business the system gets changed in one way or another, right?

  3. Oh this was a beautiful blog! In tune with my life. I woke up this morning to feel such a sense of freedom and joy and elation I can’t explain. In my dream I graduated! The shackles and burdens unchained from my legs! I’m free! And I’m positively working through a very important karmic lesson. Gods will not mine!!! Thank you for walking this path with me. Sending so much love to you from Port Townsend, Washington.

  4. It has been many years since I stayed at Ananda and gathered information for my PhD dissertation. When Ananda opens up again to visitors I would like to visit with you and Devi to share our blessings. Please let me know when this might be possible. Anne-Marie and I have been vaccinated.

    1. How nice to hear from you, Ted. Unfortunately, we don’t yet know when we can safely open The Expanding Light again, but are eager to do so as soon as we can. Probably the best way to keep in touch with the latest news is to check their website from time to time. Please let us know when you are coming so we can get together if we’re not traveling.

  5. That was a wonderful story you shared with us… not only your own points, but that of Lahiri Mahasaya and staying “on point” with regards to karma and the greater good being accomplished by Jesus and Paramahansa. Makes me never want to complain again or “roll my eyes” at a necessary task or lesson before me. Thank you. Namaste!

  6. What an incredible Easter message and reminder of God’s will. I like to start my day with this mantra “within me at all times God’s will is being done, and today I will meet the challenges my life presents me with…” It is hard to give up my desire to do the driving & is a constant practice!

    Your posts frequently go straight to my heart, and I appreciate them very much. Thank you.

  7. What an important reminder about karma. Thank you Jyotish.

  8. What a remarkable reminder of the historic importance of this day. I watched a PBS show long ago about the history of Christianity. Though not venturing into the depths of spirituality we’ve come to understand and practice, it was very informative. Essentially it illustrated how the birth of Christianity, eventually gave way to monasteries. And those retreats became sanctuaries for the advances souls of that time, to seclude them from the harsh reality of the dark ages. There, the monks preserved the history of the civilization that came before, during descending Dwapara Yuga. The Greek, and the Roman empires and the story of Jesus. Had they not been able to gather together those works, and expound on them, our understanding of western civilization would have been burned by the torches of the barbarians.

    It is one more remarkable chapter in the divine plan for mankind. For if we don’t learn from the past, we’re bound to repeat it, and thus a recycling of karma would endlessly come back to visit us. Let us construct our own monetary, and there commune with God, protected from the barbarian vibrations that echo still. And in our gentle, slow walk up to the mountain top, let us not ignore those reaching out for guidance, and grasp their hands, and show them the glimmering heights that await.

  9. I will have to ‘chew’ on this awile for a deeper, personal meaning to come forth. I can intellectually understand the concept, but as my religion is tested in the cold light of day, I’ll need to dig deep and be prepared to follow Christ’s example. Thank you.

  10. Dear Nayaswami Jyotish Ji,

    Thank you for this wonderful blog.
    Enjoyed reading it and profound

    Joy,
    Prem

  11. Oh, what relevant and splendid examples you used to remind us about rolling up our sleeves, serving out our karma and remembering to always ask for God’s will. Thank you–beautifully done!!

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