Taking One Step
We’re told that one of the essentials of our path is repetition. We know that this certainly applies to our simran – it’s what simran is all about. But how many times do we go to satsang to have the same teachings repeated to us over and over again? Hasn’t the repetition become something so familiar that it just goes in one ear and out the other, without us giving it very much thought?
Let’s take this sentence as an example: ‘If we take one step towards him, the Master takes ten steps towards us’ – or sometimes we hear it as: ‘The Master takes a hundred steps towards us.’ Do we think about what this means any more? Do we realize that apart from hearing that the Master is eager to help us, we’re being told that for the Master to take his ten steps or a hundred steps, we have to take that one step first? So let’s think about what part we have to play on this path and what part the Master plays.
The Masters make it clear to us when we’re initiated that we need to live according to certain principles. We’re expected to meditate every day, ideally for at least two and a half hours each time. This meditation may prove to be a tough battle, and we have to put all our energy and our will into it. To be a seeker of God-realization means that we should accept that this is not going to be a walk in the park. Perhaps we need to take a good look at ourselves to see how serious we are about doing our own work.
Do we really appreciate what we’ve been given: a chance, after all these hundreds of thousands of lifetimes, to return to the home of complete love and joy and bliss from which we came? No more pain, no more disillusionment, no more loneliness or heart ache, no more suffering, ever! This is what our Master wants to help us to achieve. But in return he wants our total and sincere commitment to his path.
However, what if we really are making our best effort and still our meditation seems to be unproductive? Is this a reason to become discouraged? Not at all. Our meditation can never be unproductive. We really just can’t see what it’s doing for us. And this is where it’s important to trust our Master – to have faith that he’s doing something important with whatever effort we can give him.
We’ve been told not to look for results in our meditation, such as seeing light or hearing sound, but rather to get attached to the effort. And we can do that, even if we see no results. We can get satisfaction from just doing our meditation. Our meditation can become a habit that’s an indispensable part of our day. Even though we have no control over the results of our meditation, still we can set our alarm clocks, get out of bed and sit for meditation. It may feel to us that the quality of our meditation is awful, but still we can sit. And we can try to gear our entire lives to ensuring that meditation is a significant part of every day – so that everything we do becomes a preparation for the next meditation.
The way of life and the effort are what is important, not the results. In fact, results are the last thing we should be looking for, because meditation has a different purpose. It’s intended to save us from ever coming back here, by cancelling – on some invisible level – the karmas that could force us to take another birth.
That is why Baba Jaimal Singh could write in one of his letters after his disciple Sawan Singh broke his leg:
My son, please do not mind this suffering … endure the pain as it is good for you – it will last only a few days. Years and years of a satsangi’s sufferings are paid off within a few days.
One thing we often tend to forget is that most of what is happening to us on this path happens at a level that we don’t see. We meditate for years without feeling that it’s becoming easier, and we may get distressed about this. What we don’t realize is that these apparently fruitless efforts of ours are the one step we’re taking that prompts the Master to take his ten steps, or a hundred steps, towards us. What’s more, if we trust that he is doing his work and we continue to do ours, he can free us from all our karmas in this very lifetime. Perhaps this, above anything else, is the great value of being initiated by a living Master. He is ending our long, long stay in this physical creation.
In that same letter, Baba Jaimal Singh promises his disciple:
The soul, that is, the individual being, having become pure, will catch the Shabd-dhun and become absorbed in it, and the Shabd-dhun … will take it to Sach Khand.… Now no more births lie ahead. All and everything is to be worked out in this very body.
We read these things and it feels quite unreal: something that could happen only to a great soul like Sawan Singh who would become the next Master. Surely it can’t also apply to us? And yet it can – provided that we love the Master, have no attachments and are doing our meditation.
Great Master specifically said this in letters to his own disciples:
The followers who love the Master and have no desire in their mind for anything of this world shall not be reborn even if they have not made much spiritual progress while here. They will be made to stay at some intermediate station from where they will go up to their destination by degrees.
How much more convincing do we need? We have this promise from the Masters. Let’s trust them. And let’s keep taking that one step that will let them take their hundred steps towards us.
This is where our faith comes in. We can’t hope to understand what our Master is doing with our effort – how he is using it to clear our karmas, to destroy the seeds of all those old karmas which could drag us back for another birth. This is all part of his invisible work that’s far beyond our understanding. But let’s not doubt that he can do this. He can do anything!
We cannot understand the power of the Master who has taken us in his hands. Let’s not even try. Let’s just be profoundly grateful that he has accepted us as his own, and is busy preparing the way for us to return to our final home. And let’s at least give him our obedience and our effort – the part we play in this very mysterious process. It may still be unclear to us, but we can say that whatever’s happening is an invisible result of our meditation.
In fact, the Master has taken complete control of our lives, making everything we do part of his work for us. Everything in a disciple’s life is geared towards God-realization. Everything is according to his will. We are not doing anything – we are merely his instruments. In everything we are simply carrying out his work.
Maharaj Charan Singh used to tell us something similar, although he used different words – namely, “He worships himself through us.” Once we see and really accept that this is true, then something momentous happens in us: we start to submit ourselves, humbly and gladly, to his will. Then we’re happy to do what he asks of us, because we start to understand that when we obey him, we become active and willing partners in the process of his preparing us for our sublime destiny. Then we want only to please him; we want nothing but what he wills for us. Then his will becomes our will.
In Die to Live Hazur Maharaj Ji tells us: “If he advises you to do bhajan and simran … he will also create that pull in you for bhajan and simran, and he will also make you sit for bhajan and simran.”
So this is how he is worshipping himself through us – by making us do our meditation. Then he can do the rest. And he can drown us with his grace. Elsewhere in Die to Live Hazur Maharaj Ji tells us the Master is anxious to give to us – more anxious than we are to receive. That’s why he’s pushing us to do our meditation. He makes us want to meditate. If we think that we have love or longing for him, that very love and longing is his gift; it’s all grace that comes from him. He is worshipping himself through us.
Ultimately he is doing it all. From our limited point of view, it seems that we do have an important part to play: we still have to obey his instruction to meditate. But the fact remains that he is prompting us to do that meditation. And so that’s what we do and will continue to do – even though we know full well that it’s not our meditation that will take us back to him. He himself is the one who is bringing us to him. As Maharaj Charan Singh tells us:
Everything the Lord is doing himself. What are we doing? Leaving all these things to one’s own effort, one could never go back to the Father. The question of going back wouldn’t ever arise.… So it is not the meditation which is taking us back to the Father. It is the Father himself, through the Master, who is taking us back to the Father.
Die to Live