An Unexpected Letter
Recently I heard from an old friend and here’s the letter I wrote back to her:
My Dearest Friend,
What a wonderful surprise to hear from you after so many years -it must be at least twenty! It was compelling and, at the same time, awfully shocking to hear of the twists and turns that you’ve encountered along life’s path. I think we always imagine people to be in the same or similar situations as those in which we last saw them. I cannot begin to imagine how you remained so strong throughout such ordeals. You’re right of course – without our Master, how could any of us bear such things?
I agree wholeheartedly when you say that many of us take this path for granted, not understanding the amount of work ahead of us. I guess it’s down to our inherent ‘humanness’ that when we get that very natural sense of releasing our burdens at initiation, we go on to imagine that our lives will become a breeze. We get that feeling of being safe in his hands and I suppose this can give us the notion that our karmas are over. Can you believe that I’ve even heard it said that it’s the Master’s duty to ensure we do our two and a half hours of meditation? Well I guess that’s the power of the mind – it’s no wonder that it’s so often referred to as an enemy!
Your circumstances show how Master’s grace is showered in abundance when we are sincere in our efforts as you, my dear sister, have clearly been. How else could we not only survive life’s shocks but also go on to flourish and enjoy the security of his love? Keeping the promises made at initiation is a big responsibility. It’s all too easy to forget that this is a lifelong commitment, so it’s thought-provoking to read that when things worsened for you, it spurred you on to meditate more. How you found and still find the time for so many hours each day is admirable. Do you ever sleep? No, seriously, reading your letter really does indicate to me that what we hear is true: if we can just put in that extra effort, we realize that he cares for us like little children. I remember reading somewhere that if we take one step towards the Master, he takes ten steps towards us. Your steadfastness in sticking to the promises and maintaining such sustained effort has been exemplary.
To be truthful, until I read your letter – which brought tears to my eyes – I thought life had thrown me a rotten deal. It’s so easy to complain, and this seems to make us unable to see and appreciate the wonderful things we do have. When you wrote that after a time you even became thankful for your particular situation and (as seems to me) the scandalous things that were happening in your household, I was amazed that anyone could hold this attitude of loving endurance. As you say, the Master knows best and your comment that these things had clearly come to you as a result of a previous life, I think must surely be the truth, because the wonderful person I know you to be could never be deserving of such.
Your words have made me stand back and assess my own life and how I deal with personal difficulties. I, like so many, talk the teachings – but am I as diligent as I should be? Am I really living the teachings? Is my meditation my top priority each day? I find, since reading your letter, I’m scrutinizing my every move – I’ve even stopped myself mid-sentence when I’ve realized my words are unnecessary or not very kind. I’ve also made a promise to myself this morning, that from this day onwards I shall be sure to give my full time (and more if I can manage it) to my meditation each day. I realized that if you, in your seemingly impossible circumstances, can do it, then what excuse have I? After all, as we’ve been told many times, meditation is at the heart of the Sant Mat teachings and is the highest service that we can offer our Master. I know as well as the next person that we must constantly put in the effort and, with his grace, it’s our meditation which will rid us of the passions and our negative qualities. You have given me some much needed encouragement.
When I sat in my garden this morning, reflecting on your letter, I marvelled at how receptive you must have become to the Master’s grace for, in circumstances that would have driven even the best of us to anger, you displayed only forgiveness. You have been such an example, my dear friend, showing that however difficult the struggle may seem, it’s not impossible.
It’s wonderful to know that you’ll be able to visit in the spring, and for a few months too. I fully intend to save my news for when we meet, although not a lot has changed here, just a few grey hairs and a little plumpness! Let’s hope we’ll recognize each other! Mind you, all I need to do is look into your eyes; I know they won’t have changed a bit.
I’ve copied and sent with this letter, a piece I found in Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. I, which I thought would be of interest – maybe you’ve even read it before, but when I came across it recently it made quite an impact on me.
Again thank you for getting in touch after all this time, I thought of you so often over the years, but never knew how to contact you. How he works his magic!
With affectionate Radha Soami greetings …
Here’s the excerpt from Philosophy of the Masters, that I mentioned in my letter.
The law of transmigration is irrevocable, and the results of good and bad actions are borne even by Brahma himself.
In the time of Kabir, the great sage, Ramanand, who was aware of all his previous lives, knew that since in a previous life he had impaled a rabbit on his spear and dragged it for some distance, he was to pay for that deed in his present life. It so happened that the same rabbit came back to this world as a human being and was a minister to the king at the time. Whenever Ramanand thought of the dire consequences of his previous action, he would tremble and become unhappy. One day Kabir asked Ramanand the reason for his anguish. Ramanand then spoke out his heart and related the whole story of the previous life, as well as the fact that he was to die by being impaled on the spear of the minister and dragged through the streets until the last breath of his life.
Kabir assured Ramanand that he would help him and then went to the house of the minister and remained waiting outside his gate. One day the minister asked Kabir the reason for his squatting there day after day, and Kabir narrated the whole story to him.
The minister was also an evolved soul and had knowledge of this incident in a previous life. He assured Kabir that although it was not possible for him to remit the punishment of death for Ramanand, he would not have him dragged. When Ramanand was told about this, he heaved a sigh of relief. History tells us that in due course the country was invaded by Sikandar Lodhi, and while Ramanand was sitting at his window, he was shot dead by the minister during the attack on the city.
The principle of the karmic law, or action and reaction, has been described in the Adi Granth in terms of pralabdh or fate karmas. It has been said that we are all helpless in the face of our fate karmas. Whatever a man does as a result of his pralabdh, he does under the influence of his fate karmas. Such is the irrevocable law of the negative power.