To Please Our Father
When we hear about people suffering from affliction and illness, it is hard not to feel empathy and compassion. When it happens to someone close to you, it is even harder. And who can be closer to a disciple than his own Master. At this human level, to see the Master go through an illness fills us with a myriad of emotions, and the epicentre of all these feelings comes down to one final question: Why? Why do Masters take on such burdens? No matter how much we reason or attempt to understand, it is impossible for us, at our level, to comprehend the Master. The moment we think we know him, we realize that we know nothing.
Throughout history, Masters have endured hardships for their disciples. They live in total dedication to their own Master and the sangat. Being the epitome of love and mercy, they take on immense difficulties to lift us out of this world of illusion.
Daryai Lal Kapur, in Heaven on Earth, recounts his experiences with his Master, Maharaj Sawan Singh:
Maharaj Ji’s entire life was dedicated to spirituality, and seva of the sangat. His own comfort, well-being, convenience, and even health became secondary for him. Endowed with an extraordinary willpower, Hazur had a great capacity for hard work. He would endure any amount of physical discomfort and hardship while carrying out his duties. He would completely disregard extremes of weather – heat, cold, heavy rains; nothing could deter him from his mission of satsang, initiation and seva. He would stand in the summer sun – sometimes it is 120 degrees Fahrenheit in June – without an umbrella, for hours at a time, supervising the harvesting. Once when I put an umbrella over his head, he said, “No, son, I do not need it. Don’t you see the sangat is doing seva in the sun?” With Hazur looking on, seva that would normally take two days was done in half a day.
Another time, after blessing the langar food, Maharaj Ji went to give darshan to the women baking chapattis over the pits of burning wood. In order to be visible to the ladies, he had to stand in the thick smoke coming from the damp fuel in the ovens. I myself was hardly able to breathe or see because of the smoke, and I requested that Hazur move to one side, away from it. He refused, saying, “The smoke doesn’t bother me.”
Nothing seemed to disturb Maharaj Ji’s equanimity – hunger, thirst or illness.
The Masters do so much for us, regardless of their own welfare. They advocate that the sangat is their family and their lives bear testimony to this fact. Their love for their sangat is so pure and immense, they serve as an example to all of us. It is painful for the child to see his parent suffer, and even more so for the disciple to see his Master in physical difficulties. Maharaj Charan Singh was once asked how we as disciples can help the Master. He replied:
You cannot serve the Master in a better way than by following his instructions and living his way of life – attending to your meditation. That is the best service to the Master. You have seen the gardener working harder on the trees that don’t yield any fruit, than on those trees which yield fruit. Those which yield fruit are actually helping the gardener by not demanding much of his time. They are serving the gardener. And those which don’t yield any fruit at all, are making him work harder and harder, more and more. So we can serve the Master by following the teachings, and by living the teachings, thus bearing the fruit for which this human birth has been given to us.
Die to Live
In Spiritual Gems, the Great Master explains in a similar vein:
The best service that one can render to the Master is to withdraw one’s attention from the body to the eye centre, cross the stars, the sun and the moon, and meet the Radiant Form of the Master within. This service replaces “I-ness” with “Thouness” and completes the duty of the disciple.
Perhaps this is the objective of the Masters – to shock us into doing more meditation. To shatter our illusion that anything on this plane can be permanent. Whatever the reason, it does not help to analyze or question their motives. For the only thing that we do know and can know is that there is only one motive of the Master – and that is love. And the response to that love can only be more love.
Every step towards the Shabd can only bring us closer to him. Every feeble effort we make to follow the teachings can only serve to please him. And that is what we want – to please our Father, to make him proud.
Master always helps those who help themselves, and the best service which a disciple can render him is to contact the Shabd and to go in.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Light on Sant Mat