There are 9 processes of Bhakti and Atma-Nivedana or surrendering one’s all to the feet of Srila Gurudeva and the Supreme Lord completes our attempt to connect with the Lord. Atma-Nivedana is that aspect of free-will of the living entity which is completely applied in service of the Lord. The free-will of the living entity in Atma-Nivedana is completely surrendered to the Lord. One who is completely dependent on the Lord and does not deviate from serving the Lord with utmost earnestness under the strict and benign instructions of Srila Gurudeva is said to have established himself in Atma-Nivedana.
The initial processes of Shravanam and Kirtanam and then subsequently Smaranam generates deep interest in the sadhaka to serve the Lord. When these processes are applied in one’s life for a prolonged period, one develops the mood of utter surrender and dependence on the Lord. The sadhaka then becomes eager to invest all his material and mental resources in service of the Lord out of love for the Lord. This stage is typically called Tyaga or self-sacrifice. During this stage , the living entity only worries about his attachment to the Lord even to the neglect of all other so-called mundane responsibilities which have come to him on account of his previous actions or “prarabdha”. The sadhaka becomes specially qualified to serve the Lord when “Tyaga” develops in the heart of the sadhaka. The sadhaka becomes immensely anxious at this stage to render special service to Vaishnavas and Guru. The sadhaka pours his entire heart and soul to satisfy the devotees to such an extent that he does not find any road-breakers that could hamper his service. The sadhaka on development of Tyaga may also become ready to renounce worldly connections even forsaking one’s children and wife if they are a hindrance to his elevated mood of service. A sadhaka in such a mood is exempted from any sins that may appear to accrue due to forsaking the lesser karmic responsibilities that have been assigned to him by the Lord. Such a sadhaka does not care for his own personal comfort and is ready to even stake his most intimate relationship for the satisfaction of the Lord.
Tyaga is at two levels. One is at the internal level and the other at the external level. Many people in a fit of emotion display Tyaga or “giving up” of mundane objects to please the Lord. But such an attitude is flimsy and immature. This aspect of artificial giving up is termed as “Markat Vairagya” or the giving up of mundane aspects immaturely without deep realization. The monkey remains vegetarian and maintains its life on fruits and fresh berries. At the same time monkey is addicted to sex life. So what use is this Tyaga of rich food when the genitals are not under control? The person, who displays such outward sacrifice, is a cheater who is on the lookout of impressing the world and least bothered about pleasing the Lord. Such a cheater is exposed by the Lord in course of time. Tyaga in the real sense can only be developed and applied through engaging the mind and the senses in the service of the Lord and Vaishnavas. It is by such relentless service that by the mercy of the Guru and the Lord, Tyaga manifests in the heart of the sadhaka. Tyaga is fruit of immense devotion to Vaishnavism. Austerity is the by-product of such Tyaga. Austerity like Tyaga cannot be practised. Tyaga and Austerity are by products of high-level of commitment and surrender of heart of a devotee. Tyaga in the heart when fully matured develops externally on the physical aspects of the sadhaka. When sacrifice of the self in the service of the Lord fully matures, there will appear extreme manifestations of Tyaga. There are saints who are so internally surrendered that they also do not wear too much clothing other than a loin cloth. They also have very little food and their bodies are capable of withstanding harsh temperature. Such external manifestations are not a result of external giving up of things but they are blessings showered by the Lord on them as a result of their attachment to the Lord. Austerity and Tyaga are thus a manifestation of internal beauty of the sadhaka.