There Are No Failures in Sant Mat
It was a Saturday satsang in Delhi, where Baba Ji speaks for fifteen minutes after the Hindi satsang. Sitting close to the TV monitor, one could see his face alive, his eyes alert and his expression serious. And then he spoke about how we remain chained within concepts, we don’t put the teaching into practice. He told us to live spirituality, to walk the path. And there was an urgency when he questioned why we had come to Sant Mat if not to give time to meditation? I felt that he was anxious and concerned.
After the satsang, my companion said Baba Ji appeared to be chiding us for not doing our duty. Suddenly, I realized that many a time I also face a similar predicament. I teach in a university. I keep telling the students to work hard, to keep their goal in mind and not to waste their time in watching TV and other purposeless activities. They also don’t listen. I keep repeating the advice ad nauseam, but they don’t bother. If they miss classes, I worry about their attendance; if they don’t submit their assignments I keep reminding them of the approaching deadline. At times I feel exasperated at their indifference. In fact, I realize, I am more concerned and anxious about them than they are about themselves.
And at the end of the year, when some of them fail, I feel bad. I tell them I saw it coming, they were given enough warnings but they didn’t bother. I commiserate with them and then leave them with the advice to work hard the next time. I move forward to the next class, to a fresh batch of students, leaving the old ones behind.
But, in Sant Mat, there are no failures, nobody is left behind. The Master, our teacher, doesn’t have the luxury of leaving us behind.
He has to make us succeed. When I thought about it, I could barely imagine the onerous task he has at hand. If we don’t do our meditation and don’t connect, he doesn’t say sorry and turn away. We are given the warning that once we are attached to a bulldozer, it is better to walk, otherwise we will be dragged. However, he doesn’t want to drag us. He tries harder than we do to make us succeed. He keeps repeating that if we take one step, he will take a hundred to meet us.
As parents, consider how far we go with our children. How much unhappiness do our children give us? They don’t listen to us, they do all the things we feel are inappropriate, be it their eating habits, their lifestyle, their casual indifference to things we feel are very important in life. They are our flesh and blood – we are willing to go to any extent to help them. For their sake we break so many rules, even transgress morally and socially to make them happy. Yet, a point comes when we feel so exasperated that we give up. We say “enough is enough”. We let them go their way. We accept defeat and express our helplessness when we say, “Okay, let them do what they want, let them face the consequences”. We give up.
But a Master can’t give up, he won’t give up even though we behave like irresponsible children. We must remember that he is not helpless, he can easily teach us a lesson; but he is full of love and forgiveness -very patient, very generous, merciful and indulgent – much more than we are towards our own children. His task is enormous. He has to carry the burden of all failures, a burden that is increasing by the day, yet he can’t give up.
I could now understand the concern and anxiety on Baba Ji’s face. I felt so small, so humbled, I wanted to find a place to hide myself. I realized not only the greatness and the generosity of the Master, but also the heavy burden – our burden – that he has to carry on his shoulders.
Do his shoulders stoop? No, not at all, but our relentless onslaught is perhaps enough to make them stoop. Have we come to Sant Mat to give him all this trouble? We need to think. If our all-loving and all-forgiving Master appears unhappy at our lackadaisical attitude towards meditation, if he is displeased when we turn our face away from him, this should be a matter of deep concern for us.
It should be our earnest endeavour to please the Master. In a question and answer session (quoted in the January 2010 issue of Spiritual Link) someone asked him, “Master, do you love me?” His answer was very simple yet profound. He said that love is a two-way street. In other words, love cannot be one-sided. The Master cannot walk alone on the path of love with no reciprocation. Effort has to be made by both the parties – the lover and the beloved – for love to succeed. Our lack of effort will weaken our relationship.
Baba Ji also made a startling and most unexpected statement: he said that he needs us as much as we need him, that the Master worships the Lord through his disciples. This idea appears wonderful and awe-inspiring at the same time. He also needs us? It suggests that our responsibility is as great as his. Are we fulfilling our responsibility? Are we, in any way, reciprocating his grace, love, kindness and generosity? He doesn’t let us fail. Should we fail him? If we don’t want to fail him then shouldn’t we do something about it, right now?
Let our relationship become a fruitful partnership. Let us fulfil our responsibility, let us reciprocate, let us give a little of the love back to him. Let’s meditate. Let’s just do it.