The Time Is Now
We know what our sole job in this creation is – we know there is no getting out of it. Yet we dither around with so many doubts, fears and endless questions for almost our entire lives. Maharaj Charan Singh used to say:
Whether the answer to your question is in six pages or in a book or in one line, the answer is the same: bhajan and simran! It depends upon how much time you want to take to understand that answer – whether by reading the whole book or by understanding only one or two words.
Die to Live
This very succinctly sums up what Sant Mat is all about. But we, as human beings, are not willing to accept something so simple. We like philosophizing, complicating matters and going around in circles, only to finally arrive at the inevitable solution – the need for meditation. We do everything except this one essential job, and then wonder why our Master does not take pity on us.
We may go to the Dera. There we sit in the presence of the physical form of our Master and with our whole being we beg him for his grace. We try to get as close as we can to him to get good darshan. We stare unblinkingly at his face, at his eyes, hoping for a glance from him. We expect his grace to manifest itself in a form we would like to see, in a form we deem desirable. Sometimes he humours us as a loving father would humour his children and gives us what we want, in the form we want. But the time comes when, like any good parent, he knows it is time to stop pandering to the demands of his children. He knows it is time for his children to move on from the first grade.
The Master then starts giving us what we need, not what we want. Perhaps we cry and scream, we throw tantrums and we sulk, but he remains apparently unmoved, ignoring every attempt to get his attention. Having been spoilt for years, we think that our parent has stopped loving us. Why does he no longer give us what we want? Why is he so cruel and heartless? We would be quite happy to stay in the first grade for the rest of our lives, but our parent loves us too much to allow this to happen. He therefore adopts a hard demeanour for our own good, to shake us up and bring us back to reality. It is time for his children to grow up and to realize that there is a specific way in which he gives his grace, and there is a specific method through which he expects his children to earn his grace.
Our Master often says that the Lord is a humble giver, but we are proud beggars. Some people demand grace from the Master, specifying exactly when his grace should come to them, how it should be delivered to them, and what form it should take when it arrives. And when his grace and love is given to them in the form of initiation, some do not even recognize it, because it is not packaged in the way they expect. Some of those who have received his gift of initiation do not even unwrap the gift to see what is inside; they don’t even read the card of instructions that comes attached to this gift! The unwrapped gift is put away in the top drawer of the cupboard and forgotten about. And yet, year after year we sit in front of him, begging for his grace, when it is already ours for the taking. It is ours, provided that we do the necessary work. As Maharaj Jagat Singh has said:
One does not become a satsangi simply by being initiated. One must mould his life in accordance with the principles of satsang. Every thought, speech and action must conform to them. Actions speak louder than words. Thoughts are even more potent. A satsangi’s daily conduct must bear the hall-mark of excellence and must reveal that he is the follower of a true Master.
Science of the Soul
Sant Mat is not an insurance policy which guarantees us salvation simply because we have received initiation. Although initiation is no small matter, although it marks the culmination of a journey of thousands of lifetimes, it is not the end of the journey. Baba Ji tells us that the event of our initiation may be taken as the projection of our desire to grow spiritually. Unless we take action, we will not become true satsangis.
It’s our own action that’s important. Without it, we could have the greatest ideas and the greatest plans in the world and we would still fail. Whereas a modest idea and an incomplete plan often produce success when accompanied by enough action. We have just got to get moving. One of Sir Isaac Newton’s principles of motion, which states that “a body at rest tends to remain at rest and a body in motion tends to remain in motion”, definitely applies to this action principle. Once we have taken the first step, the next step seems easier to take. It’s a natural law that if we do nothing, nothing will happen; if we take minimum action, results are going to be minimal; but if we take extensive action, then we will be rewarded with extensive results. This is in keeping with Newton’s third law of motion: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”.
Not even science will let us escape from action. The whole universe is driven by action. Action is forced upon us as time is limited, and we have to prove our worth in the limited time available to us. Without action we would not have a job, we would not earn a living, we would not be able to feed our families, we would not have a roof over our heads. So where in our wildest dreams did we get the idea that we have unlimited time to achieve salvation? We are running a race against time, and if we do not prove our worth soon, we might find that it is too late.
Baba Jaimal Singh wrote in one of his letters:
Do not waste time uselessly. Be concerned about time spent in vain, and regret why so many breaths were wasted, since they were utilized neither in worldly affairs nor in spiritual pursuit.
Our lives reflect our priorities. Actions speak louder than our words, for everything we do is done in accordance with our priorities. The time we get up, what we eat, what we think, what we do and what we abstain from doing, all stem from our priorities. We determine our top priority, and this becomes the most important thing that we want in life. We should imagine ourselves inverting the present direction of our mind. We need to keep hammering it into our mind to turn around, convincing it that it has to invert its apparently natural downward tendencies and that it has to look upwards and act on what our Master says. If we choose to allow a pleasure-seeking society to brainwash us, our lives can easily become superficial and artificial, with priorities dictated by superficial and artificial needs.
Let us remember the loving words of Maharaj Charan Singh in Die to Live:
I can tell you one thing: just attend to your meditation. There’s no other way, there’s no other short cut. By attending to meditation you are automatically progressing towards your destination, and you will become another being and lose your identity. Meditation is the only remedy.
It is imperative that we choose to live the life of a true disciple. Meditation has to be our top priority. All other considerations have to take second place. If something interferes with our meditation, we should discard it without thinking twice. The philosopher Goethe reminds us that things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least. Without meditation, we will continue to be part of the cycle of birth and death. We need to realize that every time we sit for meditation we are doing the most important thing a human being can do. Once a true living Master has initiated us, there is nothing more important than meditation.
Do not indulge in idle, frivolous talk. If you are conscious of your spiritual poverty, devote every minute to becoming worthier to receive your rich heritage. Mere light-hearted gossip (frivolity) makes a mockery of your prayers before the Lord. It brands you a hypocrite and cuts at the very roots of spirituality. Extravagant spending of precious time and energy is incompatible with your pleading for grace. Think more, and talk less.
Maharaj Jagat Singh, Science of the Soul