“Our only business is to love God, not to ask God for our necessities.”
– Srila Prabhupada
If we live in quadrant 3, Krishna will guide us to quadrant 4.
If we predominantly live in quadrant 1 or 2, we’d find Bhakti Yoga practises hackneyed. Our spiritual life would be dull and unexciting. Or worse, we may derive pleasure in fault-finding and gossip; we’d deprive ourselves of a deep, meaningful connection with Krishna.
The best example of a quadrant 4 scenario is Draupadi. When she learnt she was lost in the gambling match and was summoned to the royal assembly, she instantly prayed to Krishna. At the same time, she also tried to reason with the Kuru elders. When Dushasana tried disrobing her, she used all her might to protect her honour. With her hands, she held on to her sari even as Dushasana disdainfully pulled her robes. She struggled and also remembered Krishna. Finally, when she realized she was losing the fight, she let go of the struggle, and totally surrendered to Krishna. It was then that Krishna took over; He incarnated as the sari and protected her dignity. She had moved to quadrant 4 – she let go of the struggle and totally depended on Krishna.
Which of the three modes – Sattva, Rajas and Tamas – drives a person in quadrant 4? Neither! A devotee in quadrant four transcends the three modes – she is in ‘shuddha sattva’ or pure goodness.
A healthy relationship with God
Your relationship with God is healthy when you live in quadrant 3. This is where you begin to remember Krishna. This is where you connect with the Lord. When and where you move to quadrant 4 is your personal journey, orchestrated beautifully by the Lord.
When your car breaks down, you could be in quadrant 3 – you seek help and you also pray to Krishna. But imagine you are in a plane and the pilot announces that both engines have failed and he is trying his best to navigate the plane to safety. What would you do then? There is nothing you could do physically. You could now choose to move to quadrant 4 – call out to the Lord helplessly.
All of us, at different times, face situations that overwhelm us. Our efforts and intelligence fail and we need the shelter of a power beyond our own. When we ‘surrender’ to this force, known in our tradition as Krishna, we are moving to quadrant 4 – the zone of surrender.
Going back to the chariot analogy, in quadrant 4, like in quadrant 1, a person gives up the reins of the chariot of his life. But this time around, it’s not his mind that drives his life; he has placed his fragile life in the hands of his eternal lover and well-wisher, Krishna. God takes charge and the devotee watches his dear Lord pull the strings of his life. A devotee in quadrant 4 is a happy and willing puppet in the hands of his puppeteer, Krishna. There is no more struggle in his relationship with God – it’s now in a space of sweet surrender.
In this material world, surrender has a negative connotation. People imagine the act of surrender to mean losing independence or being subjected to slavery or unpalatable and disagreeable terms and conditions. In our spiritual practices, however, surrender is a sweet expression of offering our heart and life to our beloved Lord. Devotees experience God’s loving embrace and emotional fulfilment when they surrender to God’s will.
In this series, we learnt to see where we are and we have accepted our existence in either quadrant 1 or 2.
In the next series, we will study how we could rise to live in quadrant 3 or quadrant 4, and how we could increase and improve our surrender to God, and thereby experience a more fulfilling life – The joy of Surrender.
“Since it is not possible to attain such a mood of complete surrender in a moment, we should also not expect the Lord‘s mercy to manifest before us instantaneously. Although the Lord, and sometimes even His devotees, perform miracles, still we must not expect such extraordinary things to happen to us.”