Protection with Every Breath
An infant cries over a sudden noise, while a child wails when his toys are snatched away. As students, we may have fretted when we failed an exam. As teenagers, we may have cried when rejected by our peers. As adults, we may have complained when we missed getting the ideal job.
At different phases of our lives, almost all of us have experienced these low moments. We were told not to be perturbed by such things. Our elders would pacify us and advise us not to waste our tears over such matters. As adults, we have seen and gone through many challenging issues be they financial, marital or health. Many of us may have already experienced the devastating loss of a loved one. Therefore, everything else should seem trivial to us. But still, we allow ourselves to be disturbed by disappointments we should be able to accept with forbearance and understanding. More often than not, we expect everything to run smoothly: with our health, in our relationships, and so on. Any small hiccup along the way leads to so much stress.
Our heart turns green with envy when someone sweet-talks and tries to influence people we love. Our mind races in anxiety when a colleague at work steals an idea we were just about to present to our boss. We barge through the door of our lawyer’s office when someone threatens to seize our property. When destiny takes away anything we think belongs to us, all hell breaks loose in our hearts and minds.
At that point, we feel the whole world has turned against us and that we are being mistreated by everyone. Many have spent the better part of their precious lives in the throes of depression, dwelling on self-pity.
So much of our vital energy turns into negativity, and all because we fail to understand how our destiny has been structured from birth.
In reply to a disciple’s letter, as quoted in Spiritual Gems, Maharaj Sawan Singh writes:
The disciple’s material welfare and his success or failure in business ventures is a matter of karma. Before he was born, his life course was all chalked out. The number of breaths he is to take, the steps he is to move, the morsels of food he is to eat, his pain and pleasures, his poverty and riches, his success and failure, were determined beforehand. He himself was the maker of his fate. What he had sown he is reaping now, and what he will sow now he will reap hereafter. If he remains worldly now, he will come back to this world, but if he changes over to the Master and the Word, he will go where the Master goes and where the Word comes from.
The Masters teach that we ourselves are the makers of our fate. The more we turn our attention towards positive thinking and towards our Master, the more we are bound to make progress in our meditation. More important, when we understand and realize the true essence of our Master’s guidance and protection, we will no longer obsess over the opinions of others and what others may think of us. It is through meditation that our will-power will increase to a level where we will not feel or react to our karma whether it be favourable or adverse. This is why the Masters prescribe meditation as an antidote to karma.
Kabir says that if you have a big stack of hay, it takes only one match to burn the whole lot. Similarly, one little portion of Nam or Shabd, an atom of it, burns thousands and millions of our karmas. If due to our good karmas we give ourselves to the sensual pleasures and all worldly achievements, we forget the Lord.
If due to our adversities, our bad karmas, we worry, we weep, we cry and are full of self-pity, our thoughts again get scattered in the world, so we can never meditate. Then when are we going to meditate, because good and bad will always be here as long as we are in this body?
Maharaj Charan Singh, The Master Answers
Whether the state of our mind is positive or disturbed, we look for excuses to avoid meditation. The daily time we allot to meditation is important, it helps us develop a positive outlook, mental balance and courage to face the challenges of our day. In a letter printed in Spiritual Letters, Baba Jaimal Singh lovingly encourages his disciple Babu Sawan Singh not to let go of the practice of hearing the inner Sound, not even for a day, even though Babu Sawan Singh at that time was in great pain from his fractured leg.
My son, please do not mind this suffering. Since both pain and pleasure result from our past actions, they are bound to happen. So endure the pain as it is good for you – it will last only a few days. Even in your present condition, hold fast to the Shabd-dhun all the time. For one the sensation of pain will decrease, and secondly, the mind and soul will not become distressed. Also, the sins which cause the suffering will continue to be erased. The Satguru in Shabd form is always by your side; he is protecting you at every breath.
These crystal clear words from the Masters show us how important it is to stay resolute in our faith in the Master and to accept whatever destiny has in store for us. Baba Jaimal Singh assures his disciple, “The Satguru in Shabd form is always by your side; he is protecting you at every breath.”
We can learn from these saints that it is of no use to waste our tears, time and effort in the trivial pursuits of this illusionary world. The constant snowballing of our worries and fears can indeed be curbed when our mind is quieted and strengthened with the repetition of the five holy names. Every saint was first a courageous disciple.
Saints demonstrate their faith in their Master despite whatever difficulties they may experience in life. Therefore, like our beloved Master, let us be the kind of children who never cry or complain but instead let us use our precious breaths to repeat his name.
I warn you, don’t be tied to the miseries of the world,
nor seek happiness in mountains or forests.
I warn you, see this world as a great mirage,
and yourself – froth of a bubble, wave of the ocean.
Sarmad, Martyr to Love Divine