He Is Everything
Time after time in question and answer sessions with Baba Ji we hear satsangis expressing their distress over their lack of love for him. They sometimes go on to say that they really battle with their meditation and are doing this only out of a sense of duty – not out of love and devotion for him. One can sense the feeling of absolute helplessness in the disciples making such an admission. They want to love the Master but they find themselves unable to do so – and they know deep inside that they do not feel the pangs of love, separation and longing that the saints speak of.
This condition is similar to the plight of Sant Namdev when he asks, “Without love, how to practise devotion?” And this devotion seems to elude him.
For now, my mind still chases whatever I happen to see.
I’m so tired of this place, says Namdev,
with the enemy Kal always before me,
trying his best to harass me.
Many Voices, One Song
Baba Ji’s answer to the question always boils down to advising the disciple to just attend to his meditation, even if it’s just out of a sense of duty. Love and devotion, he says, will grow out of attending to the practice of meditation.
In Die to Live Maharaj Charan Singh Ji also says:
Love is something which you can’t help: it is just there. It’s not something which you are calculating to have or you are contemplating or you are trying to have. … If love is there, it is there. If it comes, it just comes. But by meditation everybody can grow that love. If the Lord has given certain grace to somebody, that’s a different thing. … If somebody inherits riches, that is the grace of the donor, but everybody can become rich by hard work. Everybody can grow that feeling, that love, that intensity, by meditation.
Somebody once asked Hazur if it was true that God brought this creation into existence so that he could experience himself through his creation. Hazur answered that yes, this was true. He also said something to this effect: that the Lord is the one pulling, he is the one being pulled and he is the one preparing us to be pulled.
So if he is everything – if he is the ultimate doer – then how can we be at fault for feeling no love for him? Is this love really in our hands? Surely love must first exist in the heart of the Beloved before we can feel drawn to him? Then, why do we need to put in effort in the form of meditation to increase our love and devotion?
Baba Ji has explained that at our present state of consciousness, our acknowledgement that he is in control of everything is just lip service. We say this because it is what we have read in books and heard in satsangs. When we go within and are in touch with the inner sound and the inner form of the Master, Baba Ji says, then we will know that he is in control of everything. This will be true knowledge based on our own experience. So our purpose, and the effort we are expected to put in, is really to elevate our state of consciousness so that we can experience for ourselves what at present are just concepts to us.
Another disciple once confessed to her Master that at one point in her life she had loved him intensely, but with the passing of time she no longer felt that way. Tears filled her eyes as she further questioned whether she had ever truly loved him at all, because she knew that real love is supposed to be everlasting. With much compassion the Master explained to her that she had not stopped loving her Master, but that ‘life’ had simply got in the way.
It happens to us all. Certain life-altering events hit us like a powerful storm and shake us to our very core. Marriage, the birth of a child, moving to a new city, or even that crucial project at work, are examples of circumstances that can bring major changes in our daily lives. No matter how joyous or fulfilling, such life-altering events often have the effect of disrupting our daily meditation practice.
A new mother who gets up every few hours to nurse her baby, or a young associate who works through the night to close a deal, may find it practically impossible to adhere to regular meditation schedules. When faced with such challenges, some disciples may resort to shortening their allotted meditation time, while others may stop meditating altogether. The demands of life affect even very disciplined souls.
The author of Adventure of Faith explained how – while still a nun in a convent – she had become completely consumed by a task assigned to her:
The execution of this project demanded an effort that absorbed all my time and energy for about a year and a half, and I was literally unable to think of anything else. I followed the communal prayers mechanically and I practically gave up my personal prayer, so that the inner contact with God loosened more and more. The divine horizon in my life had vanished and the world of faith hardly touched me anymore.
Many of us can relate to the sentiments expressed by the author. Eventually life settles down, but having neglected our meditation practice for so long, we find that turning towards God again may feel like a difficult task. For many of us it took years to build up our meditation practice, and now it seems that we have to train our mind and body all over again. This author also expressed such sentiments once her project was finally completed:
In the summer of 1962, the project was completed and I found myself facing the ruins of my spiritual life. Filled with horror, I stared into the burnt-out place that once had been a God-loving heart. … I was paralyzed and knew that a new beginning was impossible. I had neglected Him too much. … At that time I found myself incapable of a single thought that might bring me close to God again. … My reckless ambition had destroyed everything that had developed in all those years since my first encounter with God.
At times, when we find ourselves at the same place as the author, we get disheartened and feel helpless. However, the tears of regret that flow from our eyes at having wasted such precious time, that could have been spent with our Beloved, are acceptable in the court of the Lord. These tears of heartfelt remorse nurture the seeds of love again, as we call out to the Lord for his mercy and grace through meditation.
In Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. II, Maharaj Charan Singh says:
God’s grace is always there, but, brother, we have to become receptive to his grace. … There is no limit to his grace, which is everywhere, but we have to be receptive.
If meditation is the means whereby we transform our consciousness and become receptive, then giving just one tenth of our daily time to its practice is the least we must do. Regular meditation is our lifeline to the Master. When we grow lax in this area, it doesn’t take long for our connection to be strained. If we neglect meditation, it actually compounds the sense of distance from the Master. So it’s not the Master abandoning us: it’s we who are drifting away from him.
We need to make an effort to meditate even if we don’t always feel like it. In the end it all boils down to us showing the Master that we value our end goal, that we value a closeness with him and that we are willing to put in the effort to prove that to him. Then automatically love will grow and we will succeed in invoking his grace.
So what precisely does the Master want from us? He wants our time, our attention and our obedience. He knows that in the beginning of our journey we may not be very clear about what we are doing on the path. We might not even know for certain that going home is in fact our heart’s desire. But in spite of all this, he asks us to put in our very best effort – because this will allow him to shower us with grace and with his love.
During a recent satsang at the Dera, Baba Ji told the gathering that we all need to make a little effort and reach the eye centre. Then, he said, the Lord will do the rest. He will fill us with such longing and pangs of separation and he will shower such grace upon us that the soul will have no choice but to be pulled by the Lord’s grace.