His Will Is His Greatest Gift
The path of Sant Mat is often described as a path of love, devotion and meditation. It is also called a path of surrender and submission -which may seem less appealing to those of us who are attracted by a more laid back notion of love.
There is no doubt that the concept of surrender is difficult. Perhaps it is something we would rather not delve into too deeply when thinking about Sant Mat. Surely it’s enough to say we love the Master and to be, more or less, trying our best in meditation? Do we really need to examine those difficult words – surrender and submission – in anything other than a casual and peripheral way?
The answer to those questions is going to depend upon what we want to achieve on the path. It’s going to depend upon our own personal goals. Perhaps we’d prefer to simply trundle along sweetly without any major inconvenience to our worldly life – doing our best but in a casual kind of way; while trusting implicitly, of course, that our Master will pull all the right strings on our behalf at the time of death. However, if we sincerely wish to do our part – be obedient to our Master and learn to love him from the very depth of our beings – then we are going to have to face up to those words and make them part of the very fabric of our lives. The greatest act of love is to surrender willingly and completely and live in someone else’s will.
Every perfect Master has been an example of humility and surrender. Our literature tells of mystics who have embodied these qualities and urged others to cultivate them. Marvellous examples are to be found in the letters that Baba Jaimal Singh wrote to his disciple who would later 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 his disciple to accept whatever comes his way with meekness and gratitude; to see himself as insignificant in the greater scheme of things.
In Spiritual Letters Baba Jaimal Singh Ji 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. … Whatever is to happen has already happened.
Here Baba Ji Maharaj is telling us so clearly – “man does nothing”. We, in fact, are not the movers and shakers we so fondly imagine ourselves to be. We do nothing other than that which has been given to us by the Lord to do. He says we are merely the “means for doing”. This is not to demean our efforts, skills and talents. It simply means they all come from God in the first place. He limits our freedom of choice, and then he uses us as his means of keeping his creation going.
So, does this mean that we are merely puppets dancing on a string? Actually, yes. The Lord is the giver and doer of all. We have been given a part to play. Through all levels and forms of creation we are all dancing to the Lord’s tune. How then can we claim to be responsible for our own accomplishments? Puppets do nothing other than what is allowed by the hand pulling the string.
The mind may then come 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 meditation?”
The answer is complex, but may be something like this: we have been given the mind to use as our own specialized tool at this level of creation, and the Lord wants us to learn to use it with intelligence and discrimination. He wants us to realize for ourselves that he is the doer, not us. He wants us to come to our own conclusion that he is everything and we are nothing. He wants us to use the mind as a vehicle in our search for surrender to his will. He wants us to make the effort and then learn to accept whatever the outcome may be. This is what surrender and submission are all about; and he wants us to appear to choose it for ourselves.
However, it isn’t a quick or easy task − it’s a life-long struggle. There are a number of things we can do, though, to try to live in his will and surrender our egos to him. First and foremost of course, is our meditation. Second is our attitude and our approach to life as reflected in our thoughts, words and deeds, and thirdly, we must really use our simran.
We know that Master wants us to meditate. If we follow his will then we are, in effect, following the Lord’s will. If he tells us to meditate and we at least try, then we are beginning to live within the will of the Lord. And along with this, we need to cultivate an attitude of acceptance and gratitude. In Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. IV, Great Master tells us:
The Lord has created us. He loves us. He may make us rich or poor, well or ill, happy or unhappy. We should be happy in whatever way He keeps us. They are all His bestowals.
We are just playing a part in the Lord’s play. What is more, an initiated soul has also been assured that his part is finite. It will come to an end and the soul will return to its 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 – for everything you have sent, and still will send, no matter what it may be”? In Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. IV, Great Master quotes Rumi who puts these words in the mouth of a disciple:
O Lord! How long will it be
That You keep me entangled in the world?
He said, Silence!
You will go where I will.
And later, at the end of the work, the disciple is able to say:
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.
We can cultivate this kind or attitude of surrender if we keep watching and choosing our thoughts. We have to try to keep saying: “Thy will be done” not “my will be done”.
But the soul has been subservient to the mind and ego for so long that it may not easily accept the path of submission and surrender. And so we might get despondent and frustrated and be tempted to give up the struggle. Frustration is natural, and so are lapses. Still, we need to try to cultivate an attitude of acceptance moment by moment. We can prune out the ego, the thoughts of doubt and negativity as they appear, and replace them with grateful and cheerful thoughts. Even in the face of seemingly bad or negative destiny, we should remain cheerful, grateful and conscious that everything, down to the minutest detail of our lives, comes from the Lord.
And he does not leave us weaponless in this effort. He has given us the gift of simran. The repetition of the five holy words is the method our Master gives us to help us train the mind and bring the ego into an attitude of surrender and submission. It is our refuge in times of deepest despair and struggle. Simran is our shout of gratitude and our cry for help equally. We can have no better response than to turn to our words – simran is our act of surrender.
In Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. IV, the Great Master says:
By practising the Name given by the Master, the feeling of egotism is banished, and a devotee begins to understand the working of the Divine Law. He bows to it and sees it at work in all. He constantly observes it and ultimately merges in the Lord.
Does that not make the Lord’s Will his greatest gift? Is it not a profound relief to know that simply by practising his Name – by working on our simran and doing our meditation – we are not only learning to surrender to him, we are being prepared to merge into him?
The love of my Beloved has taken abode in my heart,
And a gorgeous splendour endowed with fragrance
prevails within me.
All my shame and worldly shyness are gone,And my heart longs for the Beloved
as a rainbird longs for a swati raindrop.
I am your bride and you are my dear Beloved.
Dariya Sahib, Saint of Bihar