Close to Him
When we came to the path we may have thought that it would be only a matter of months, at most a few short years, before we would get a glimpse of the inner worlds of which the Masters speak. Had we known then how many turns our lives would take, how many times our love and devotion would be put to the test, perhaps we would have been too daunted to set out on this adventure. But, of course, we had no choice. The flame of love that inspired us, which drew us to the Master, also dazzled us, and made our problems seem insignificant. Fortunately, if we underestimated the challenge, we probably also failed to fully grasp the Master’s ability to affect us. It seems that even at the best of times we can only vaguely understand the importance of the Master’s influence on us. Often it is only when we look back on events that we realize how he has been subtly present in our lives, influencing us in ways we could not perceive or imagine at the time.
We have been accustomed to darkness for so long that we adjust very slowly to the brightness we are beginning to experience. Clearly, the key is to always try to keep close to Master in our thoughts and our feelings. No matter what problems we are going through, how weak our faith, how poor our devotion, we just shouldn’t let go of his hand. Even if we stray far from our original intentions, even if we get so confused we cannot imagine that he really is a true Master, even if a thousand contrary thoughts assail us, we should just keep on turning our hearts towards him. Thinking of him, remembering him, repeating the names brings him consciously into our lives. Then we get to that place where his influence is strongest, where we start to experience changes in ourselves, where illusion cannot penetrate.
Meditation could be such an adventure. To meditate with love is the ideal, trying in our own way to touch his heart with the simple gift of just meditating to please him. If we knew of the depth of the ocean of his love for us, perhaps we would never come out of meditation – we would be unable to breathe or think or function at all at this level. But even if we only get a faint glow of inspiration from time to time, we should try to focus on him as often as we can. Contact with him has a tremendously positive effect. It changes the way we see things, what we want and how we behave.
We cannot ask him to do everything for us and not lift a finger to advance the process. Nor can we try through our efforts to achieve it all on our own. There should be neither pride in our devotion nor over-dependence. It is as subtle as the most beautiful of dances. We listen to his voice and fall in with his step, trying to make the moves he asks of us – even if at times we feel uncomfortable. Offering even our poor efforts at devotion has the effect of preparing us for him. Only by losing ourselves entirely in the music can we become absorbed in it and begin to move in perfect harmony. Clearly, we must play our part, making the effort, and at the same time we need to submit to him entirely. But no matter how we manage, one day, no doubt, the music will overwhelm us and we will be swept off our feet!
In the book A Hundred Letters by Paul Jackson, a wise man is quoted:
The whole world claims to be a lover and to love, but when you examine this claim, all play the role of the beloved, not that of a lover. When a lover claims to love, the genuineness of his claim becomes clear the moment that he emerges purified from all selfish desire. As long as he seeks his own desire, he is really seeking to be the beloved of all, not the lover of all. His affairs put lie to his claim! Hence you can understand that his claim to be a lover is false so long as he desires even the smallest particle besides the Beloved!
Are we trying to be a lover? It is a question of what we are prepared to give. How can we achieve this unselfish love? How can we break the spell that binds us here? Is it not our moments of kindness, our forbearance and our love for each other, performing seva without wanting reward or recognition, our faith when we appear to have been forgotten, our trust in him when he seems far away from us, our devotion to him in the solitude of meditation – a combination of all these things – that make the difference? No matter what happens, we should always, always try to keep close to him in our thoughts and feelings. To be an imperfect lover is better than not to love at all. And we can be sure that one day we will fall deeply, utterly in love and nothing will be able to keep us away from him. For such is his wish!
Outer darshan is when you see the Master outside; inner darshan is when you
see the Master inside. But you can’t have inner darshan without the outside love
and faith and practice, for they lead to inner darshan.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Die to Live