For Thou Art With Me
In the twenty-third Psalm, we read: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.” This is a beautiful sentiment but how many of us truly believe it with regard to the Master?
On the face of it, we seem to exhibit enough faith in the path and our Master. We go to satsangs regularly, do our sevas punctually and even manage to take a trip or two to the Dera. We say that the Master is always with us and believe that his guiding hand is upon us. However, let our faith never be tested. If we truly had implicit trust in our Master, we would not worry endlessly about things that are beyond our control.
Maharaj Charan Singh used to say, “Faith in the Master means to follow and live according to his teachings.” The saints try to guide us to a higher level of understanding. We cannot develop faith in the Master just by talking about it or creating concepts. Faith arises naturally from awareness and realization as we progress on the path.
There is an ancient story of a Samurai warrior and his bride who were crossing a river by boat. A storm suddenly set in and the Samurai’s wife instinctively started to panic, while the Samurai himself remained perfectly composed. Seeing her husband’s tranquil state, the wife said, “How can you be so calm and relaxed? Should you not be thinking of a way to save us from this terrible storm?” At this, the Samurai unsheathed his sword and in one smooth action held it at his wife’s throat. The wife started to laugh and the husband asked her, “Why do you laugh? The sharp blade of the sword is inches away from your throat and may injure you.” The wife replied, “What fear can I have when the sword is in your hand? I know you love me and that you would never harm me.” Hearing this, the Samurai smiled and explained to his wife, “Just as you are sure of the hand which controls this sword, I am sure of the hand that is behind the storm. The Lord controls and knows everything. Whatever He wills, let it be so.”
The origin of the word faith can be traced back to meaning ‘the duty to fulfil one’s trust’. So how does one get to the state of having this level of trust in the Lord? For us to develop and strengthen our faith, we need to discharge our duty by attending to our meditation. As Maharaj Charan Singh has written, “Please remember that true faith only comes from meditation. The more you meditate with love and devotion, the more faith you get.”
Much like grace on the path, faith is a two-way street. Our meditation will help us strengthen our faith and live according to the teachings. At the same time, as we develop more faith on the path, we will automatically give a higher priority to our meditation.
When we are indifferent to our meditation, when we do not make it the most important daily event in our lives, we are losing the opportunity to develop the faith we need to follow the path. By initiating us, our Master has shown that he has faith in us. He has demonstrated his belief that we can live the teachings on a daily basis. It is, therefore, incumbent upon us to show some faith in ourselves and fulfil the promise we made at the time of initiation.
In truth, faith is also a gift from the Lord. Maharaj Charan Singh has told us, “Faith is the most precious of gifts that the Lord can confer on a devotee.” Slowly but surely, as we continue our efforts in our meditation, the Lord also bestows on us the gift of faith. And it is through this gift that one day, no matter what the waves of karma bring into our lives, we will be able to say to the Lord, “I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.”