Monday Morning Greetings 2020 #37 – Waiting for God, Oh!

September 14th, 2020

Waiting for God, Oh![1]


It was 1976. I was sitting in the temple room of the former Hare Krishna skyscraper on 55th Street in Manhattan. Kirtanananda Swami, in good standing at the time, was giving class. He was known for being laconic, a kind of master of spiritual one-liners. At least what he said was powerful enough that it stirred my intellect. I remember it to this day:


“Waiting is the greatest surrender!”


Surrender means to accept that there is an authority, a truth, that is higher than our opinions and desires, and that we must make sacrifices to follow it.[2] I hear that expressed today, perhaps without deep understanding and in a seemingly gentler way, in the phrases “Let go!” or “Go with the flow.” In other words, stop resisting what you should do, and be in harmony with something greater than yourself. That’s called character. We struggle with character, with surrender, because we are here in this world with the expressed desire to be the central enjoyer, and thus lack faith that the universal will is higher than our own.


I am not sure waiting is the greatest surrender, but when I heard the phrase it struck a chord. I reflected on how difficult it is to wait for something that I felt was important that was beyond my control to quickly obtain. It struck a nerve, for the desire for self-centered enjoyment is embedded in the DNA of this world. Waiting thus takes surrender, because it’s a challenge to be happy with God’s will when one has absolutely no power to attain what one desires.


Obviously, these are “pandemic” thoughts. When Covid-19 first hit and everyone was quarantined, I marveled at God’s power. In one fell swoop, Krishna announced to everyone in the world, even the most powerful controllers, “Stay in your home!” And now, six months later, Krishna seems be saying the same thing in just a little bit of a different way: “Just wait!” Quite tough, especially when you are waiting for a ticket to Vrindavan.


Yes, waiting is a great surrender. It is one of the ways God tells us we are not the controller. The thoughtful, who finally hear and happily accept that message, even while waiting, certainly reap the fruits of spiritual surrender—the opening of the door to bhakti.



Waiting for God, oh,

He answered my loud demands,

“Wait like Her, longing.” [3]


[1] The title is a pun. I wonder how many people get it?

[2] We are conditioned to hear the word “surrender” in a negative way. I have previously written about this: https://wavesofdevotion.com/2016/02/29/is-surrender-a-bad-word/

[3] I got feedback that people liked the haiku at the end of the Monday Morning Greetings two weeks ago. I asked Jan, my poet friend, to write another one for this article.


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