Mahabharata: Life Coping Methods, Surrender & Prayer (93)


Lesson 93 defines what is surrender, purpose of prayer, conscious/unconscious mind, and coping methods during hard times.


  • Destiny/Karma revision:
    • Destiny (prārabdha). Happens NOW.
    • Karma means action. And implies puruṣārtha (self-effort/freewill).
    • Both are entwined. One is never without the other.
      • EG: Al Gore was asked what are global warming projections in next 100 years. He said it depends what we do as collective.
  • Definition of Surrender, when Draupadī surrendered to the Lord:
    • What is surrender? Two types.
      • 1) Worldly surrender: (surrendering to something external)
        • EG: Going to a doctor.
        • Psychology:
          • I admit my incompetency to resolve “THIS”.
          • I temporarily suspend my individuality (know-how), so that I may give myself a chance to be helped
        • Then one takes refuge to an external object.
        • SUMMARY: Any kind of mastery comes from temporarily suspending my know-how, while using discrimination to think-twice BEFORE I receive. EG: Brain tumor options.
          • Hence surrender is not passive. But active.
      • 2) Surrendering to a Power not-perceptible:
        • EG: How do we fall asleep? By surrendering the waker. Something greater then the waker, surrenders the waker.
          • If one trace of waker is busy surrendering, then won’t receive sleep.
        • This surrender is a mixture of (1) intention and (2) faith in something other then my thinking self.
        • Reception of #2 is referred to as “Grace” (prasādaḥ, anugrahaḥ).
  • Topic of Prayer:
    • Prayer is the highest expression of free will. Why?
      • It requires rational thinking and understanding.
        • Understanding of what?
          • That intelligence (Īśvara) is impartial / non-biased.
            • Meaning, we can’t 100% guarantee results, thus we convert our helplessness into asking for help from the one Intelligence which sustains the world.
        • What happens if understanding is partial?
          • We will get angry at Īśvara if our prayers are unanswered.
            • EG: Suppose your favorite vase is falling and you pray it doesn’t fall. Won’t work. Īśvara won’t suspend gravity just for you.
            • Therefore while you can’t change law of gravity, you can understand law of gravity, thus work with it.
        • What else happens if understanding if partial?
          • One pretends they’re indifferent to life. Fact is, no one is indifferent to life, because you’re never separate from life whose nature is interconnectedness.
  • Conscious/Unconscious thoughts determine our actions:
    • Conscious thoughts:
      • Deliberate. Actions are in my sphere of alertness.
    • Unconscious thoughts:
      • When situation comes, it triggers a past conclusion (refined through time).
        • Conclusion recreates an internal picture of the external situation.
          • When convinced by “THIS” picture (hence no reason to be suspicious) that’s called unconscious reaction.
      • Result of this?
        • Causes projection ONTO the world that suits the internal picture and not the external situation.
        • Initiates a NARRATIVE, which psychologists attempt to re-shape.
          • Result of psychological treatment?
            • Responses changes. However there is a time lag once change has taken place.
  • Why should we ask Īśvara for help?
    • Word “ask” is a mixture of implicit/subtle and explicit/gross actions.
      • Gross: Asking for a home loan, directions, music lessons, Googling for X.
      • Subtler: Listening, reading, inquiring, kīrtanam, chanting Lord’s name.
    • “Why ask Īśvara?” actually has no answer as that’s up to each person to decide.
      • Our intention is to see that asking has a valid role.
    • Maintains one’s humility.
      • EG: Vedic culture is one of rituals/devotion, whether jñāni/ajñāni.
  • We receive when we’re ready to receive.
    • If not ready, we’ll compromise OR accept partially. Then complain about the received, blaming the other.
      • EG: Suppose you admire someone’s talent. But secretly jealous.
        • You approach them to ask for some advice.
          • While listening, there is non-acceptance (dislike) is in background.
          • Result? (1) won’t capture everything (2)
    • What makes one NOT ready to receive? Conflict of values. Haven’t prioritized values.


  • STORY CONTINUES: Pāṇḍavas lost their Indraprastha kingdom and were required to retreat to forest for 12 years. And 13th year in incognito (if found, another 12 years).
    • QUESTION 1 :
      • How do you think Pāṇḍavas felt being exiled? They felt regret, anger, injustice.
    • QUESTION 2:
      • How did the Pāṇḍavas cope with their emotion?
        • Distracted themselves in the forest by keeping busy.
    • QUESTION 3:
      • What are some other copying mechanism people use today to distract themselves from NEG or unresolved emotions?
        • Food.
        • Addiction. (Drinking, drugs)
        • Yoga (modern).
      • Most people are in Pāṇḍavas position. We're coping.
      • Difference between Duryodhana / Pāṇḍavas coping method?
        • Duryodhana was acting out his anger.
        • Pāṇḍavas were NOT acting out the anger. But channeling it into productive means.
        • Therefore, coping mechanism is not negative. It's serve a useful function.
          • EG 1: During childhood.
          • EG 2: Trauma is temporarily veiled with a coping mechanism to move forward in life.
  • STORY CONTINUES: One day after 13th year, Duryodhana found them. Late by one day. But claimed within time limit. Hence refused to relinquish Indraprastha.
    • In attempt to end conflict, Krishna decided to play role of negotiator. He gave choices to Duryodhana…
      • Return Pāṇḍavas their share.
      • Give up one district.
      • One village.
      • Five houses.
      • One house with 5 rooms.
    • Duryodhana responded that Pāṇḍavas have to fight for inch of land.
    • War was declared!

Keywords: draupadi, purushartha, purusartha, prarabdha, prasada, anugraha, pandavas

Recorded 15 Sept, 2020



  1. “ something greater than the waker, surrenders the waker”.
    You said this something can’t be perceived, therefore it must belong to Satya, not Mitya.
    Is it the Atman, the true self that is influencing the Jiva to surrender, or is it Ishvara or Maya facilitating the state whereby grace can be received?
    To have faith, I personally cannot have blind faith.
    My faith is inferred by realising that something non dual must exist in order for me to even understand the concept of duality.
    Isn’t this faith then a product of logic, the discriminating intellect?
    Have I got this wrong Andre?

    1. Intention of example is to show it is possible to surrender to something much bigger then this thinking-waker.

      The mere fact that nobody is afraid to go to sleep, shows us this thinking-waker already is in touch with something BIGGER then the thinking-waker.

      Else we’d all cry “I’m afraid of going out of existence if sleep comes”. But nobody has that experience. We all joyfully rush to bed.

      In same way, example shows us it’s possible to surrender this entire thinking-waker to Īśvara, the one intelligence that blesses.

      Stop there. Don’t let imagination run wild.

      It’s only meant to show, we all have capacity to surrender to something bigger then this 15+-hours thinking-waker.

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