His Will is His Greatest Gift
The path of Sant Mat is often described as a path of love, devotion and meditation. It might also be called a path of submission and surrender.
Perhaps the aspects of surrender and submission are given less prominence though, because they seem less romantic, less appealing to our soft notions of love. There is no doubt that the concept of surrender is difficult for many of us. Surely, we might think, it’s enough to love the Master, to be devoted to him, to be trying our best at meditation? Do we really need to examine these difficult words – surrender and submission? Do they need to be part of our approach towards the path in anything other than a casual and peripheral way?
The answer to these questions is going to depend totally upon what we want to achieve on the path. If our personal goal is to trundle along sweetly without any major inconvenience to our worldly life, then we may not have to confront submission and surrender in anything other than a superficial way. But if we truly and sincerely want to learn to love him from the very depths of our being, then we have to come face to face with those words and make them part of the fabric of our lives – because the greatest act of love is to surrender willingly and live in someone else’s will.
Why should we give up anything of ourselves to another being? It’s a very tricky question. The best way to answer it is by painting a picture of a child – a small child sitting in the lap of her father. When she is sitting in her father’s lap, the little girl feels completely and utterly secure, loved and content. She has no fear, no anxiety, no burdens and no responsibility. She trusts him to be strong, loving and in charge and simply relaxes in his embrace, accepting his control and his will. The Lord is all-powerful and all-loving. Why not give up our fears, anxieties and troubles and climb into his lap? Why not trust him to be in charge, knowing that he has no murky hidden agendas, and that there is nowhere safer to be than in the lap of our Father?
In our hearts many of us probably want this. We want to hand over, we want someone else to be in charge, and we desperately want to feel loved and secure. So then, why aren’t we all there, in the lap of the Lord? Why are we not really prepared to submit ourselves to his will?
The answer is simple and is to be found in the question: What is it that we should surrender? Well, the Lord doesn’t want our wealth, our possessions or our bodies. So, what does he want us to give up for him? It’s our ego – small word, huge implications. If we want to find ourselves as little children sitting in the lap of the Lord, we are going to have to surrender up our ego. Our concepts of self, of individuality, of being in control, and of personal ownership and accomplishment are going to have to go because they are all aspects of ego. Our ego manifests itself through the workings of our mind – our thoughts, our words, our desires, our actions are all reflections of our ego. Those three little words – I, me and mine – our sense of self, are what keep us seemingly separate and distant from our Father and his all-loving embrace.
Every perfect Master is an example of surrender, humility and obedience. Marvellous examples of this are to be found, for example, in the letters that Baba Jaimal Singh wrote to his disciple Babu Sawan Singh, who would go on to become the Great Master. Almost without exception the letters are addressed to “My obedient son, Babu Sawan Singh”, and one of the most frequently recurring themes is that of submitting to the will of the Lord. He constantly urges Sawan Singh to accept whatever comes his way with meekness and gratitude. He constantly urges him to see himself as insignificant in the scheme of things and to accept fully that God is the doer and giver of everything. He says:
Whatever is to be done has already been done, and that is what will happen – man does not do anything by himself. Believe implicitly, my son, the Satguru has told us that man does nothing – only the means for doing appears to come through him. Remain dauntless and do your duty. Whatever is to happen has already happened.
What an amazing quote and what a lot of extraordinary information it imparts – directly from a perfect Master. He is telling us clearly: “Man does nothing”. We are not the movers and shakers we so fondly consider ourselves to be. We do not come up with the great ideas; we do not scale the highest mountains, sing the most beautiful notes, accomplish the greatest deeds. We do nothing other than what has been preordained or allowed by the Lord. He says we are merely the “means for doing” – what an interesting and illuminating phrase. As we use tools to do a task, so the Lord uses us, allows us to be his tools, his means of keeping creation going.
So does this mean that we are merely puppets dancing on a string? Yes, we are. Can we create or achieve? No, we cannot!
The Lord is the giver. The Lord is the doer. We are his servants, dancing to the magnificent music of creation. We have been given a part to play; we have been privileged to be entrusted with a thread in the Lord’s tapestry. But it is his play, his tapestry. It is all his, every atom and every second is his. What we will do, what we will get, has all been decided before our birth. We do not pull, shape or colour our thread in the tapestry – nor start it.
If we could truly come to grips with this concept – that ‘not a leaf stirs’; that our ‘very breaths and the hairs on our head are numbered’, then we would see how small and powerless we are and how great he is. We would realize we are nothing and that everything comes from him. We are reading the lines he has written for us in his play.
So how then can we claim to be responsible for our ‘great accomplishments’? How can we claim to ‘own’ things? Puppets own nothing and do nothing other than that allowed by the hand pulling the strings.
The mind immediately comes up with its standard retort: ‘If he is the doer, then why do I need to make any effort in any direction at all?’ – especially where meditation is concerned!
The answer is complex, but appears to be this: That we have been given the mind to use as a specialized tool at this level of creation, and the Lord wants us to learn to use it intelligently. He wants us to see the difference between the higher, more spiritual tendencies of the mind, and the lower, more base tendences of the mind. The higher aspect of mind can lead us to the eye focus, and its lower tendencies draw us into the world of sense pleasures.
He wants us to use the mind which is turned upward to realize that he is the doer and we are not. He wants us to seem to come to our own conclusion that we are nothing and he is everything. He wants us to use the higher mind as a tool in our search for surrender to his will. He wants us to make effort and then learn to accept whatever the outcome may be. It is his outcome, not ours.
There are a number of things we can do to try and live within the will of the Lord and in so doing surrender our ego to him.
First and foremost, of course, is our meditation. Second, and not less important, is our attitude, our approach to life as reflected in our thoughts, our words and our deeds. And thirdly, we must use our simran as we go about our daily routine. We know that our Master wants us to meditate. It is his will that we should meditate.
If we follow the Master’s will, then we are, in effect, following the Lord’s will. The Master is the Lord in human form; his will is the Lord’s will. If he says meditate and we do at least try, then we are beginning to understand and to live within the will of the Lord.
There is no question about this – it is not open to discussion or debate: Meditation is our number one priority – even though we are at this level of creation where we know nothing other than the mind, and where we must appear to make our own decisions and fight our own fights.
Meditating, however, must go hand in hand with an approach to life that is based on the Master’s example. We need to cultivate an attitude of acceptance, obedience, gratitude, humility and positivity. The Masters tell us that the Lord is love. So then, if the Lord is love, and everything that comes to us comes from him, then it must all be given in love – whether seemingly good or seemingly bad. Everything we have, every state or condition we find ourselves in comes from him, with his love.
We dance to the Lord’s tune, in every aspect of our life. And it is a glorious tune, one in which we are privileged to participate. It takes many notes to make a symphony, many players to make a play.
An initiated soul has not only been granted the privilege of playing a part in the Lord’s play, but has also been assured that his part is finite. It will come to a true ending and he will be removed from the stage once and for all. An initiated soul will return to the Source. Surely this should make us dance for joy. Surely we should not be dragging our feet, moping, questioning or doubting. Is this not a good time to say: “I believe you are in charge and I am grateful – grateful for everything you have and still will send, no matter what it may be”?
Except what You wish me to know, what do I know?
Except what You show me, what can I see?
I will live like this, if You wish it.
If You keep me in some other state, I will live like that.
As quoted in Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. IV
But still, the ego isn’t going to bow down overnight. It’s not going to leave the ring without a monumental struggle.
However, he does not leave us weaponless in this struggle. He has given us the precious gift of simran. The repetition of the five holy words is the tool Master gives us to help us train the mind and bring the ego into an attitude of surrender and submission. When in doubt, turn to simran; it is our refuge in times of deepest despair and struggle. Simran is our trying to become ‘as little children’ and climb into the Father’s lap. It is our shout of gratitude and our call for help. We can have no better response than to turn to our words. Simran is our act of surrender to his will.
In accordance with his will, creation happened. According to his will souls were sent into creation. In accordance with his will those souls fulfil their God-given function and play the roles he has assigned them. In accordance with his will a perfect Master has come into our lives, and, in accordance with his will, that Master will take us Home.
Does that not make the Lord’s will his greatest gift? Did it not send us our Master? If we try our absolute best, then we will learn to live in his will. If we try to walk in the footsteps of our Master we too can aim towards surrender and submission.