“My Heart Is His Real Home”
After returning from the Dera, there is a certain feeling of completeness and inner happiness. One feels stronger and more confident to face the challenging world with a positive frame of mind. Spending days in a Sant Mat filled atmosphere, where the focal point is the living Master and where there are minimal worldly distractions – no telephone calls, no emails, no television – one feels spiritually recharged and very much at peace. However, at the same time, when leaving the Dera there is a feeling of loneliness and sadness – loneliness, for not being in the Master’s physical presence; and sadness for leaving our father’s home.
Once, at a question and answer session, there was a disciple who was feeling downhearted as he was about to leave Dera. Comforting him, Hazur Maharaj Ji told him, ever so lovingly, to take the Master back home with him, and to conceal him in such a place that nobody would know that he was taking him. In other words, he told the disciple to keep the Master and the teachings constantly present in the secret chambers of his heart – at all times, at every moment.
In Dera, the satsangs that we hear, the physical presence of the Master, the different forms of seva that we participate in, are all gifts from the Master to each one of us. And each of these gifts serve a purpose. As much as they are uplifting and inspiring, these experiences should drive us to go within, to attend to our meditation with love and obedience, and to make us aware of the Master’s presence and guidance within us at all times. These experiences are not intended to bind us to his physical form or even to the Dera as such.
We are often reminded that if we were to limit the Master to a physical being, then the relationship with him would exist only at a physical level. However, if we were to build our relationship within, then we would never experience any form of separation for we would be nurturing an eternal bond with the Master within. We become aware that he is ever present in the seat of our hearts whether or not we are at the Dera.
A thousand miles away is my Master’s abode,
but I always see him nearby.
It’s of little consequence if he’s physically out of sight;
My heart is his real home.
Whenever we listen to Master’s satsangs, we often feel overwhelmed by the powerful message he gives us. We talk about what he said with great emotion, with so much love amongst our friends and relations. But do we truly absorb that precious message he gives us and engrave it in our hearts? We are very blessed to have the opportunity to be in the presence of a living Master and to listen to his teachings. These beautiful satsangs are not meant to be confined within the walls of Dera or just be spoken about; they need to be always remembered, applied in our daily lives and practised with all our heart. Otherwise, as the Master often reminds us, attending satsangs becomes yet another ritual.
Listening to the Master’s satsangs reminds us of a loving parent who is willing to give up anything for his stubborn child just so that he will obey, just so that he will stay on the right track. The Master is willing to do so much for us only for that one purpose – to turn our attention towards the Lord so that we can eventually return to our true home, to Him, to where we truly belong. Enough time has gone by. How much more does the Master have to do for us so that we realize the importance of our spiritual practice? How many more births do we wish to take?
For myriads of births have I been separated from Thee, O Lord,
This birth is dedicated to Thee.
Only in the hope of Thee, I live, sayeth Ravidas,
It is long since I have seen Thee.
Guru Ravidas, Life and Teachings
If we were to sincerely dedicate this life solely to God-realization, we would eventually achieve our ultimate objective. Just think, if the Master is ready to give us everything, why give him only a fraction? It is only when we give ourselves fully to him that we will become receptive to his love within.
Going to the Dera and being in the presence of the Master’s physical form is truly a wonderful experience. But, once we return to our families and our daily routine, we can bring back that same Dera atmosphere within ourselves by dedicating our lives to him, by putting his teachings into practice, by making every act into an offering to him. After all, this life is a precious gift from him. Whilst we attend to our duties and responsibilities, if the Master is our focal point in everything we do, we would never feel alone or distant from him. He would forever live in our hearts.
Be aware of me always, adore me,
make every act an offering to me, and you shall come to me;
this I promise; for you are dear to me.