Patience and Perseverance
In his poem: “Reveal your own real form to me, Master”, Soami Ji calls for patience; there is still work to be done by both the disciple and the Master. In Sar Bachan Poetry he advises:
Have patience, keep the company of the Saints
and I shall purify you through my grace.
I shall not rest till I show you that form –
why are you in such a hurry?
Soami Ji knows that we are all impatient for inner experiences. The question is, do we have the capacity to digest and assimilate them if we get them? Baba Ji tells us that these are the Master’s gifts to us. He alone knows to whom to give, when to give and why. In the same vein, Soami Ji tells us that the Master has to purify us through his grace before he can show us his real form and other inner experiences for which we are in such a hurry.
As seekers, we were impatient for initiation – for obtaining Nam from our spiritual Master. We had many expectations of what would happen to us within: we would see the spiritual realms, the different colours of light. We would hear and enjoy the divine melody of the Shabd, and we would see the Radiant Form of the Master. Then after initiation we enthusiastically sat in meditation. Days passed, then weeks, followed by months and years, but we experienced none of these things. We were disillusioned. Some of us might have become discouraged, our enthusiasm fading away. A few others might have given up in despair. When calamity assails us we might start finding flaws in the path and doubt may take root in our minds.
We seem to forget that we are initiated so that we can take the initial steps towards God-realization. Our initiation is the expression of our desire for God-realization. How can we think that we can realize the Lord overnight, or two or three months after initiation? How could that ever be possible? We are set to meet God, and this is a challenge not to be taken lightly. Sages and seers of the past meditated for many years and even then, when they came back into the world from their retreat, they found, to their utter surprise, that the pressure cap of their suppressed passions could be burst open by one stroke of the mind! Their mind and the five passions could not be controlled.
Let’s not forget that the Lord can take us up instantly – but can we stay up there? Great Master points out in Spiritual Gems:
It is not difficult for the Master to take a soul upward, but premature uplifting causes harm. Just as fine silk cloth, when spread upon a thorny hedge, is torn to pieces if suddenly pulled away, so the soul, entangled in the thorns of karma, which penetrate every cell in the body, must be gradually purified by the Master’s love.
Baba Ji has repeatedly stressed that we don’t value or cherish anything that is given free or is easily obtained. To be impatient for inner experience is an indication that we are not yet spiritually mature.
Soami Ji questions our sincerity. In Sar Bachan Poetry he uses strong expressions to shake us, such as:
Superficially you sing the praises of the Guru
but you never bring the Guru into your heart. …
With so casual a relationship with the Guru,
how can you hope to attain anything, friend? …
When threatened by misery
you apply yourself to meditation.
But when the misery ends,
you go straight back to your old ways.
One thing I have learned about you, brother,
is that you are remarkably dishonest with yourself.
He doesn’t spare our mind either, calling it ‘foolish’ because it dances to the tune of the senses, regardless of the consequences. It complains when suffering comes, yet continues to indulge in sense pleasures and passions. Our soul is covered with dirt. We only have to peer into the mirror of our heart to see the thousands of desires and cravings piling up and making their claim. According to Soami Ji, this means that we have not given up the path of the mind, so much so that we might even blame the Master for our failings!
After many years on the path, most of us have the same story to tell. We may feel that the Master does not hear us, even though we are reassured time and again that the Shabd Master is within us twenty-four hours a day. He is not unaware of our sincere yearning, of the call of our simran, of our remembrance. But, sadly, we do not have the ears to hear him. Rumi has this to say for our comfort:
Each moment contains a hundred messages from God:
To every cry of “Oh God”
He answers a hundred times, “I am here.”
Let us recognize Master’s voice of silence as his response. We are so result-oriented that expectations have become our second nature. Even seeing the Radiant Form of the Master is not an achievement that we can claim credit for – it’s all his grace. For us, spiritual progress means tangible results. We would not be satisfied with occasional flashes of light or just a few glimpses of some inner regions. We want the first prize – to see the radiant Master as often as possible. That would be an achievement by any standard!
As we have not yet realized this for ourselves, Baba Ji tells us that we need to turn to the living Master of our time for comfort and guidance – to get our bearing. Actually it is all within us already, including the Radiant Form, it is only a matter of realization. How encouraging!
Soami Ji advises us not to hurry, but rather to put the initiation instructions into practice with patience and perseverance, with love and devotion. By pursuing these, we are developing our capacity to be receptive to his grace. For, as Bhai Gurdas puts it:
Even if your devotion is as small
As a fragment of a cowrie shell,
The Master showers all benefits on you.
Kabitt Svaiyye, quoted in Living Meditation
We need to give ourselves the required time. We need to stop worrying and instead nurture his name in our heart. We need to put in time and effort to subdue our mind by meditation, to hold our senses in check, to develop a love tempered with faith – in short, to develop the necessary relationship of love with our Master.
Soami Ji reassures us that Master will take care of our burdens and worries: all will be worked out as and when the supreme will ordains it. So all we have to do is to surrender ourselves unconditionally to the Master, or at least to try – that’s all we can do.
There is no room for worry any more. Worry is a sign of mistrust, of lack of faith in the Lord. In so doing, Baba Ji says, we are placing our mind above the Lord. And Maharaj Charan Singh told us that it is a sin to worry.
At the time of initiation, we are tied to a bulldozer – the Shabd. It will keep pulling us with an irresistible force, and it is in our interest not to fight against it. We need to constantly be in the magnetic field, within the aura of the Master’s Shabd. That magnetic field is situated at the eye centre, which we must reach through our power-charged simran. There is no greater power than Shabd, but we need patience, perseverance and the required effort to experience it. It is only a question of time. Then we will be able to understand fully that he is the only doer, and we have no choice but to live in his will and be happy with what he gives. He knows what is best for our spiritual upliftment.
As satsangis on the path of the Masters, we know what is really important for us – our number one priority: giving time daily to our meditation without fail. But if our daily focus does not revolve around our spiritual priorities and building that atmosphere for meditation, how can we expect to sit in meditation with a happy and positive attitude? We need to be earnest and persistent.
When the Master, through his love, is able to produce that love in us, he reigns within. There he establishes our inner life, our sustenance, our peace, our happiness and then we begin to taste that blissful existence which he enjoys. It is not a human need-based love that fades over time; rather his is divine love that increases with time. When he loves, all measures of his love are infinite. He loves us with a love that is utterly incomprehensible.
In love, patience and perseverance are implicit. To realize his love is a life-long struggle – until our last breath. But with Master on our side, victory shall be ours. This is not a hope but a guarantee!