Thank You for the Music
What a wonderful thing music is in our lives! ABBA certainly got it right when they wrote that line thanking someone for the gift of music. Try to imagine a world without music. Whether we participate passively or actively in it, wherever and however we experience it, it’s there – a part of our lives. At whatever level we participate in it, music is a gift.
The giving of gifts may not be a uniquely human concept and activity, but human beings really like to give – mostly as an expression of love, affection or appreciation for someone or something else. To be on the receiving end of a gift conveys a message between two people, generally a message of love.
What about receiving? How should we respond when presented with a gift? Well, obviously with gratitude. Think how hurtful it is if the recipient clearly doesn’t appreciate the gift, never uses it and doesn’t even thank you for it.
Think of a little girl wanting a bicycle. She sees others riding a bike, but her dad says: “Wait until you are a little older.” So she waits impatiently and then suddenly, one Christmas morning, wakes up to find a shiny new bike leaning under the Christmas tree with her name on it. And then, after all the pestering, she doesn’t use it! She just takes it out every now and again.
When the ABBA boys, Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, expressed their appreciation for the gift of music, they were naturally writing about pop songs, music you can hear and sing along with. But we satsangis know of the ultimate music – and access to it is a gift from the ultimate giver. Any soul initiated by a perfect living Master has been given that shiny bicycle. Now what are we doing with the gift?
Souls initiated by a Master have been given the gift of Nam. It’s not because of our scintillating personalities that we receive this gift. It’s because our souls have cried for it – with or without us knowing. And now the Lord has heard and taken pity on us. It doesn’t have anything much to do with us deserving it; it has everything to do with the Lord taking pity and calling souls home.
What we do know is that he sends the Master to collect those crying souls and give them the gift of initiation, at which time we are given access to the Shabd, the celestial music – the music to end all music!
Shabd is completely and utterly outside our ken, so the books and the Masters must be our source of information. They tell us that the Shabd is the quintessence of the Lord. He creates and sustains everything through this extraordinary current of power. It pervades everything, like radio waves, like the sun’s rays. Shabd is everywhere and in everything, including us. We live and breathe because of Shabd’s enlivening ability. It is our life.
And if the Shabd is also the Lord, then so are we. We have a drop of the Lord inside us, giving us life, controlling our lives every step of the way. One might sum it up by saying that the Shabd is God in action. Through Shabd he pervades, sustains, controls, guides and dissolves every aspect of his creation.
Shabd itself is of great significance to initiated souls. Firstly, it is a link, like a ladder between souls and God. Secondly, it can be heard and seen.
Think of the sun and its rays again. It’s not too great an act of imagination to picture ourselves climbing up that ray to reach the sun. The Shabd comes from God. If we could climb up the Shabd, then we could reach God himself. Shabd is the royal road that leads to Sach Khand. The soul who finds itself on that road is indeed the luckiest of the lucky, for that soul has been given the key to the door leading out of the material creation.
The question is, if the Shabd is everywhere, including within us, and can be seen and heard and has the power to take us home, why are we all still here?
The answer appears to lie in the fact that the Shabd is present, but hidden; powerful, but subtle – too subtle for our gross physical senses to recognize. It cannot be heard by our outer ears, seen by our outer eyes, spoken by our physical mouth. Yet it can be seen, heard and spoken by our soul – by our innermost subtle spiritual being, by our own drop of Shabd. The Shabd is endowed with both sound and light, gloriously so, beyond our human imaginings.
Worldly music, wonderful and magnificent as it may be, is at best a very pale reflection of the true source of sound and light. The Great Master, says:
On listening to the melody of a violin, one gets peace. It attracts our attention and makes us become absorbed in it. When a gross outer sound can produce such a condition, how powerful would the inner Shabd be?
Philosophy of the Masters, Volume IV
Shabd is ringing inside all of us, but we are too coarse, too inflated with ego to be able to refine ourselves to approach it. The journey home is essentially a journey of the soul. Somehow or other we need to reconnect our little drop of God-essence to the Shabd so that we can make the journey.
Here we come to the crux of the matter. The route home is within us, but we cannot find it unaided. The soul knows there is a true home and it longs and cries for it. What can it do? Nothing! Alone it can do nothing. There has to be direct divine intervention in the life of that soul before it can hear the melody and catch hold of it. Because we cannot see or respond to God himself he sends his agent, the Master, to perform the act of initiation that reconnects our soul to the Shabd. This is God’s gift to us: the key to the door leading to Sach Khand.
The divine music is resounding within all of us at the tenth door, the eye focus. At that point mind and soul are knotted together. If we could free the soul from the mind, we could step through that door and hear the melody.
This is the extraordinary significance of the gift of initiation – of the gift of his music. How we must be loved to be given such a gift! How pitiful our plight must be to need saving.
Nothing of that magnitude could ever be achieved by unaided human effort. The whys and wherefores are completely and utterly beyond our comprehension. The selecting of souls is God’s business. It is a mystery. It is a gift to our soul and we can take no credit for it.
We don’t in truth identify with our souls. We see ourselves in terms of body and mind. But it is our soul that is the ultimate recipient of this gift. However, it is our body-and-mind persona that interacts with the Master and appears to receive the gift. And so we come back full circle – to being the recipient of a gift. Do we appreciate the gift, and are we using the gift to its fullest? Or are we like the little girl who finally gets the bicycle she had dreamed of and then never learns to ride?
Even with our limited capacity to understand it, we have been given something extraordinary here. It is our ticket home. It is also our Master’s constant participation in our lives. It means our soul’s weary sojourn in the material creation is finally coming to an end. It means we have access to beauty, peace and joy beyond our wildest imaginings. It means we are never ever alone, unloved or unprotected – never ever!
The implications are huge. How huge is our response? How deep, sincere, heartfelt and constant is our gratitude?
If we want to learn to be more grateful, how to go about it? Well, positive optimistic thoughts are a good beginning. Don’t forget, everything comes with the Master’s love and approval, with his direct permission. Nothing at all is arbitrary or ‘hit and miss’ in our lives. So, thank him for everything, constantly. Do as much simran during the day as possible. Work really hard at this, because it helps make us aware of his presence. And then how can we be anything other than grateful?
But, inevitably, it comes down to meditation. Let’s meditate because our Master asks us to, because we want to express our gratitude for his gift, every day. If we have any kind of appreciation of the magnitude of this gift, then we must also realize it comes with a responsibility.
What’s the good of having the bicycle and never learning to ride? Keeping it clean, knowing how it works, even sitting on the saddle and ringing the bell are inadequate responses. They suggest the giver made a mistake. But our heavenly Father does not make mistakes. He would not have initiated us if we could not reach the eye focus where this melody is resounding. So why not act with all possible determination and gratitude?
The Masters tell us that our efforts at meditation will not take us up – the grace of God will allow the Shabd to pull us. But we must use the gift and apply our very best efforts to this endeavour. We have been deemed fit to do the job, or pitiful enough to need saving. Either way we need to get on that bicycle and pedal away every day. We need to spend a minimum of two and a half hours meditating … as if saying:
Thank you for the music,
for giving it to me!