Come What May
Generally people are heard to remark that there are only two certainties in life – taxes and death. However, it is possible that there is a third certainty – namely uncertainty or change. That everything and everybody will change, that nothing is absolutely cast in stone, is as dependable and certain a fact as death and taxation.
Let us consider these three things. As far as taxation is concerned, there is the business of rendering unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s. If we don’t settle this lifetime’s accounts with Caesar now, we may have to come back in a future life to repay our worldly debts. What a disaster that would be! Imagine having to come back because we dodged our taxes or were not upfront in our dealings with the world. In this world everything has a price and every price must be paid, either now or later. Ultimately, of course, we understand that all of this balancing of accounts is in our Master’s hands. Maharaj Charan Singh said:
How he accounts for what is due to Caesar is for him to decide. There is no hard and fast rule about it. But Caesar must get his due. Whatever we owe to this creation, we have to pay that, but the Master stands as our ransom to Kal and then takes us back to the Father.
Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III
For initiates there is more to this because paying taxes is merely the tip of the moral iceberg. Our attitude towards taxes and similar issues shows our commitment to keeping our third vow. The Masters ask us to lead pure, clean, honest and moral lives. The implications, and hopefully the results of this, are that we will gradually become kinder, more humble and more patient with everyone, and less willing to cheat or deceive anyone. The huge submerged part of the iceberg is attending wholeheartedly to our third vow, and it is not always easy. As Maharaj Jagat Singh puts it:
One does not become a satsangi simply by being initiated. One must mould one’s life in accordance with the principles of satsang. Every thought, word and deed 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 Satguru, a true Master.
The Science of the Soul
This wonderful goal to aim towards is something of a challenge. We must never forget that, once initiated, we become representatives of our Master and of the path of Sant Mat. We need to have that thought uppermost in our minds at all times. We need to be asking ourselves on an ongoing basis if our conduct − in thought, word and deed – would please our Master. Fortunately for us, help is always at hand. The Master understands our frailties and is with us all the time, guiding us and nudging us in the right direction. However, he tells us plainly that it is through meditation that we will develop the qualities we seek, and find the courage we need to follow his example in all things. Maharaj Charan Singh says:
If with the help of meditation we are filled with love and devotion for the Father, all other qualities will just come like cream on milk in us. Automatically we’ll be filled with those qualities also – we’ll be very soft-hearted; we will not injure anybody; we will not deceive anybody; we will not cheat anybody; we will not like to hurt anybody. All these qualities automatically will come in us, if we are attending to our meditation.
Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. II
What about the next certainty? What about uncertainty or change? Change is a peculiar thing because sometimes we can see it happen and sometimes we can’t. We can watch the wind blow dead leaves off a tree and see the appearance of the tree change in front of our eyes. But we cannot see the constant and continuous changes that are taking place right here and now in our bodies, at the cellular and molecular level. And we may feel that we did not set the changes in motion, yet it is we who must deal with their effects and consequences daily, often minute by minute.
Everything in us and around us is changing and indeed must change. It is the nature of the Lord’s creation at this level that change is not negotiable – it is a certainty. Everything must change; everything must decay; everything must die. All of this can add up to fear and insecurity. When our plans and endeavours are changed or come to nought, what is our response? Do we seek more and more complicated worldly solutions in an effort to feel more secure? Do we become obsessed as we try to seek guarantees and certainties? Do we not understand that every worldly solution will, of necessity, be subject to change? No matter what we try or where we go in this world, there can never be any guarantees.
This may sound rather bleak and hopeless, particularly for those of us who may be prone to fear of change − fear of the unknown and the unpredictable. It is, however, not a bleak picture at all, but a glorious one for those who recognize it as intrinsic to this level of creation, and who seek the solution beyond this world. For there is someone and somewhere that is true, lasting and permanent − the Lord and his abode, Sach Khand.
In order for us to access the Lord and reach Sach Khand, the Lord sends his earthly representative, the Master, into the lives of those who long for something true and lasting and who have recognized that they will not find it here. It is the Master who can bring certainty, security, peace, love and truth into our lives because he is the embodiment of all those things. When we attach ourselves to him, we attach ourselves to truth and security.
Our Master has taken charge of our destiny, so things will continue to change, seemingly unpredictably in our lives, but in fact only in accordance with his wishes. After initiation we are no longer solely bound by the laws of this level of creation. We belong to our Master. Nothing can happen to us that is not for our own good. Nothing can happen to us or come to us that is not sent by love and is not for our own good. There is such comfort to be found in this knowledge; knowing that we can find such security, even in the face of change and unpredictability, because we have been claimed by a perfect living Master and he is in charge.
Our Master is with us all the time – a source of never-ending consistency, strength, security and love. Meditation is how we learn to become receptive to him and all he offers. Meditation is how we begin to absorb his qualities and feel their influences in our lives. It is through meditation that he can pour his love and strength into us. It is our meditation that connects us to his perfect love and strength. How foolish we would be if we were not accessing all of that which is available to us!
The more we meditate and follow his example, the more we will learn to love him, trust him and have full faith in him. Whenever and however we may find ourselves as we journey towards death, we can know with absolute certainty that it is all happening as he wills and is therefore for our own good. He will send us only what we need to cleanse us and prepare us for what he has in store.
We can help him and ourselves for the remainder of our journey by trying to lessen our attachment to the world and strengthening attachment to him – through meditation and constant simran. Meditation and doing simran during the day will not only help as we draw closer to death, but may also help us after death. These are our spiritual treasures that the Master is storing for us, and after death they may make it possible for us to avoid having to come back here for another human birth.
Nothing that the Master does can be arbitrary, haphazard or accidental. Nothing can be undeserved or negative. He is guiding us slowly but surely towards that moment of ecstatic union. Everything, absolutely everything, is in his hands, and anything to do with the Master is certain.
Don’t feel worried, have faith in him. All times are not the same; if good days have passed away, bad ones will also pass away in due course. Meditation is the only source of consolation in adversity. … Satguru is always with you, and is guiding you in every way. See what will happen next, and do not feel perturbed. One should accept all adversities as the Master’s will and bear them gratefully, with fortitude.
Maharaj Jagat Singh, In the Footsteps of the Master