I Trust You, Baba Ji … Don’t I?
Many of us, if asked how we’ve come to follow this spiritual path, have varied and wondrous stories of how we were brought to our Master’s door. Here we are, all with a level of belief, perhaps of love. Our choice was thorough and conscientious – we diligently sought him out, standing and knocking at his door so that he could open it to us. We then took a step inside and have thus begun a relationship of great depth. In Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. II, Maharaj Charan Singh discusses the part that faith plays before we even start our spiritual journey. He says:
Before you start, you must have intellectual faith, because without intellectual faith, you will not start … First we have to build intellectual faith in the philosophy. And in light of the philosophy, we have to weigh the Master.
As with every relationship, there is an initial meeting at which we may feel attracted to certain qualities in the other as we gradually get to know him. But it’s only through experience, through the different circumstances and events in our lives, that we start to trust our friend, and a bond develops. Baba Ji has often remarked that we see the Master as many things – we see him as a guide, as a father, as a friend. If we see him as a friend, then we can go to him with anything, we can talk to him about anything. In some types of relationship there may be restrictions, but between friends there is trust and openness.
Let’s reflect on this a little more deeply. Are we talking here about a comfortable relationship with the physical form of the Master or about that relationship with the Radiant Form of our Master? Although initially it may help to have a comfort level on this physical plane, eventually we must all graduate and give attention to developing that spiritual bond with our inner friend; we have to re-establish that link, that awakening of our soul to its source.
Once a relationship with our Master has begun, we go through many ups and downs before we trust him completely. Maharaj Charan Singh says in Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. II:
Faith has to start with the mind. Without faith in the mind you cannot experience the faith of the soul. Soul always has faith in the Father. It is the mind which is holding it back.
The Master describes our growing faith as a natural process:
Faith is not in your hands at all. It comes from within. Love creates faith. The more love you have, the more faith you will have in the person concerned. And faith enables you to practise. Love will create faith, and faith will create practice.
Maharaj Ji here is referring to our spiritual practice, the practice of meditation. He continues:
Meditation will be able to create that faith. It generates faith, it creates faith, it strengthens faith. Faith grows by meditation.
The Master then likens our deepening spiritual faith to the confidence we might build up during a car journey to somewhere we have only heard about but never visited. After we start the journey, we gradually get signs along the way that build up our confidence. This experience gives us the inspiration to continue our journey with enthusiasm, and finally reach our goal. He says that “actual faith will come only when you reach the destination”.
In order for our soul to reach its destination, we have to let go of the analysis and calculation of the mind; and to achieve this, we have the greatest tool our Master could ever have given us – simran. The process of mentally letting go and allowing the simran to take over is rather like a child standing on a table; the father says “jump” but the child is hesitant and scared. Similarly, in our spiritual journey, the mind is afraid. It doesn’t want to leave behind the comfort of incessant thought, doesn’t want to take its attention away from its close entanglement with the physical body. But the father encourages the child and says, “I won’t let you fall. Jump! I promise that I’ll be here to catch you.” The child jumps, the father catches the child and holds the child to his chest in a tight hug. The child feels safe and warm; and, overwhelmingly, the child knows that by letting go, the trust is complete. Similarly, when we are at the threshold of piercing the veil within, when our soul is at the brink of flying free, we have to take that leap and let go of absolutely everything, trusting him to be there.
In Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. II, Maharaj Charan Singh is asked, “Christ said that if we had faith we could move mountains – what did he mean by that?” And he very beautifully replies:
With your faith you can move the creator of the mountains, what to say of mountains.… By your faith in him, you can move him. You can become him. If you become him, you can move anything.
How often have we heard Baba Ji tell us that he has more faith in us than we have in ourselves? If it were not possible for us to do our meditation and thus complete our spiritual journey, he would not have initiated us. He is confident that we are capable of achieving spiritual realization and that we can do it here and now.
Many years ago someone asked Baba Ji, “What do you see when you look at us?” And Baba Ji, in the most profound way, answered that he saw one hundred percent potential.
Surely we should embrace his faith in us?
In the book, The Faith to Doubt – Glimpses of Buddhist Uncertainty, Stephen Batchelor quotes the twentieth-century poet, T. S. Eliot:
I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing;
Wait without love, for love would be love of the wrong thing;
There is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not yet ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be light, and the stillness the dancing.
Stephen Batchelor also talks about “the Zen tradition often having three factors that need to be cultivated along the path: great doubt, great faith, great courage.” He writes:
Doubt in this context does not refer to the kind of wavering indecision in which we get stuck, preventing any positive movement. It means to keep alive the perplexity at the heart of our life, to acknowledge that fundamentally we do not know what is going on …
Faith is not equivalent to mere belief. Faith is the condition of ultimate confidence that we have the capacity to follow the path of doubt (of not knowing, still trusting and letting go), to its end. And courage, courage is the strength needed to be true to ourselves under all conditions, to cast aside the obstacles that are constantly thrown in our way.
We need to be open to what the spiritual path brings us. It is sometimes not what we expect, hence the relevance of T. S. Eliot‘s observation that we have a tendency to love or hope for the “wrong thing”, and that we need to wait without even thought, “so the darkness shall be light”.
There may be doubt in our journey, which is all par for the course, but with courage and perseverance, and of course – most important – his grace, we can develop complete faith in him.
We start our journey with a degree of belief, and then – strengthening the bond with our Friend and developing love and trust along the way – in time we realize that the faith, like his grace, is always there. It’s like seeing the pieces of a puzzle all jumbled up. But as we move forward on our spiritual journey the pieces come together so that eventually we see the entire picture. It is the growing awareness of his love that makes this happen.
So, do I trust you, Baba Ji? Yes, I do!
The final word goes to Rumi:
In your light I learn how to love
In your beauty, how to make poems
You dance inside my chest, where no one can see you,
But sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art.
The Love Poems of Rumi, ed. Deepak Chopra