Crush the Pearl
History tells us a beautiful tale of the Master-disciple relationship. If we look back in time, we hear of the sacrifice disciples would make in order to lead a life of spirituality and follow the Master’s word. Obedience and surrender to the Master was of utmost importance.
There is a story of King Mahmud and his loyal servant Ayaz, which portrays this level of obedience. One day, the king assembled his courtiers and showed them a magnificent pearl. The king passed the pearl to his minister asking him his opinion of it. The minister praised it, saying it was worth more than the gold a hundred donkeys could carry. Then came the King’s instructions – break it! The minister replied that his hand could not do such a thing. The king rewarded him with a robe of honour. This went on with fifty or sixty courtiers. One by one, they imitated the minister and received new wealth from the king.
The pearl was then given to Ayaz. The king asked Ayaz his opinion, who could reply only that the pearl was more splendid than he could describe in words. Upon the king’s instructions to Ayaz to break the pearl, much to the astonishment of the entire court, Ayaz crushed it into tiny pieces. The court assembly screamed at the recklessness of Ayaz, “How could you do that?” Ayaz replied, “What the king says is worth more than any pearl. I honour the king, not some coloured stone.”
For a disciple on the path of God-realization, obedience is a necessary quality to cultivate. As Hazur Maharaj Ji says:
If we really love him, we will obey him. We cannot say we love him and, at the same time, not obey his instructions, not live the life he tells us to live. That is not love for the Master. If we really have faith in him, if we really love him, we will want to do what he wants us to do. And he wants us to meditate; therefore we should also try to meditate.
Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. II
Over the passage of time, the perception of ‘obedience’ has changed. In the good old days, it was a quality people aspired towards, whereas today it is perceived as a liability. We may not fully comprehend the necessity for being obedient today, because from a young age, we are encouraged to become independent thinkers. In this modern age, the labels we give to obedient people are words such as submissive or docile, and in this sense, the trait of obedience is something society generally frowns upon. Children are encouraged to be confident of their own decisions and are more inclined to do things their way rather than listen to their parents. A husband and wife relationship has evolved over time into each partner wanting their independence without having to ‘obey’ the dictates of their spouse.
This focus on independent thinking prioritizes the individual but in the process limits our spiritual potential. There is much more emphasis on “I, me, and mine,” but the more we develop this line of thinking, the harder it becomes to attain our goal of self- and God-realization. The entire purpose of the spiritual path is to crush the ego and merge into the divine. When we put the self ahead, we are following the dictates of the mind and intellect, which is in complete contrast to the teachings. If we have a true desire to attain salvation, we must learn to surrender our ego, our self, our identity to the Master.
In The Path of the Masters, Dr Julian Johnson asks:
Why surrender your individual will or personality to a Master? Isn’t that going back into voluntary slavery? Isn’t that another way of crushing individual initiative and strength of character? The answer is that complete surrender to the Master is the only avenue or path to complete liberation.
Suppose you are lost in a dense forest. You haven’t the least idea of the way out. You might wander around in there for days or weeks and finally die of starvation and thirst. But along comes an expert woodsman fully acquainted with the woods. He offers to show you the way out. Now, will you quibble about surrendering your own will to his?
This analogy very aptly describes our plight today. We have lost ourselves in this world of illusion, and the only way out is to surrender to the ‘woodsman’, to the Master.
How do we begin this process of surrender, for surely we know that this change cannot happen instantly? The answer is that much like Ayaz, we need to crush the pearl without question. We need to meditate every single day for our allotted two and a half hours. There should not be any room for our intellect to take over and question the necessity of meditating. We must have a strong resolve to crush our mind every single time it tells us we are too tired to meditate, or that we have something else of utmost urgency which requires our time instead. If we make this a constant habit, then gradually we will begin to shed our individuality and begin the process of merging with the Lord. Slowly and surely, bit by bit, our ego will be replaced by humility. Then it will be easier to accept his will at every moment of our lives, and ultimately surrender ourselves completely, so that we may finally go back to our true home.