There’s a parable about a good king and one of his subjects. The king has an agreement with his subject: he wants his subject to carry out a specific task in exchange for a reward. The subject is a good servant, does many wonderful things and performs above the norm – never does any wrong. Yet while attending to the many good works, the servant neglects to attend to the one thing the king has requested of him.
The question arises then: should the servant expect the reward?
This parable is more than simply a parable, but an exact description of the relationship we have with our Master. Only there isn’t just one thing requested of us – there are four.
We know what the Master wants:
* Complete vegetarianism, adopting a lacto-vegetarian diet;
* Abstinence from habit-forming drugs, tobacco products and alcohol;
* Leading a pure and moral life while performing one’s duties in the world;
* Sincere meditation for two-and-a-half hours daily, as taught by the Master at the time of initiation.
We are asked to do these four things without compromise. A simple concept, one would think, but how do we attend to this? This is a serious question that we should ask ourselves daily.
The four tasks vary in difficulty, depending on the individual’s personal abilities and circumstances. But many will agree that the first two are fairly easy, especially as experienced by disciples who have been on the path for a while. The third one is somewhat more difficult when one measures one’s own reactions to the different situations one is confronted with. Clear thinking is required about the right thing to do in difficult times.
It is the fourth task, meditation, which proves to be the nemesis of many a disciple. Meditation, which over time, seems to become more difficult, so that for those of us whose faith and understanding are shaky, it becomes a real challenge.
We need constant reminding of our commitments to our Master. We need to exert clear thinking about our priorities in life: how to arrange our daily routines – what is important and what not – to be able to say: “I live up to the agreement with my Master.”
The present living Master never lets an opportunity slip to remind us of the importance of attending to our meditation. Sometimes we can feel his loving frustration in his urging us to do this, and still we don’t always live up to his advice. We may do good things, all the right things, but we neglect the most important thing he asks of us. Does this make us good servants? Are we entitled to the reward of his grace? A tough question!
Masters have said through the ages that they are full of love for their disciples, and their love knows no bounds. But what about our love for our Master? How strong is it? Are we hiding behind the excuse that we are ‘only human,’ that we ‘try our best but it is a constant struggle’? Or do we merely dismiss his advice without giving it much thought?
Are we facing the facts? Are we not expected to take this very, very seriously? Should we not revisit our end of the agreement and make a renewed effort to uphold it with everything we have, exerting our honest and best efforts to give our Master what he asks of us? In truth, if we do this we are really giving something worthwhile to ourselves.
Let us start now by rearranging our lives to make meditation our top priority. Let us utilize this rare opportunity of a human life, with the added gift of initiation by a perfect living Master.
The often-quoted Bible verse, I Corinthians 13:12, says: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then I shall know even as also I am known.”
We know we are limited and see only a blurred reflection of the truth. But the time will come when we will know fully, even as our Master knows us. Till then, humbly accepting our limitations, let us not question our Master even though our understanding remains limited. Let us start serving him as if this is our new and first day.
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 hallmark of excellence and must reveal that he is the follower of a true Master.
Maharaj Jagat Singh, The Science of the Soul