Satguru is Pleased with Humility
Some thirty years ago, when the spacecraft Voyager was travelling into deep space, it turned its cameras backwards and took a photo of Earth. The image of our planet appeared as a tiny, pale blue dot in the Milky Lane galaxy. And the American astronomer Carl Sagan remarked:
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light.
What does this tell us? In the vastness of the creation we are – each one of us – less than a tiny speck. And yet, we can have some very grand ideas about ourselves. We imagine that because the Creator has ordained that it is only when one reaches the human form that one can one start the journey back to him, and that this somehow gives us special worth. If we take a close look at ourselves, though, we find that we have little to be proud of. If we’ve reached this privileged human form, it was all the Creator’s doing. In ourselves we’re helpless. Without his grace we can do nothing.
Since finding out about the spiritual path we’ve been told that in the beginning we were all part of the great ocean of power that is God. Then for some reason we were sent away to travel down into his creation. In order to function in the lower reaches of the creation the soul was equipped with mind and a covering of ego. And as a result of this, under the influence of mind and ego the soul began to see itself as a separate entity, forgetting that it was once part of the blissful oneness of the Creator; forgetting that its mission is to return to that state of oneness.
The mystics tell us that the very essence of the Creator is love. We ourselves have a spark of that same love in us, but it has been suppressed by our ego. And therefore we’re no longer capable of reaching and merging back into the divine ocean of love. In Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. I, Maharaj Charan Singh tells us:
Ego is a block between us and God. It is a definite block and a very solid block. Without elimination of the ego the question of meeting the Lord doesn’t arise at all, because God is love.… Love means that that the other one exists – you don’t exist at all.
Does the idea of ceasing to exist as a separate identity frighten us? Yes, perhaps. The mind and ego, must be quite scared of this – because it means their complete obliteration. But let’s take a deeper look at ourselves. Deep down haven’t we become tired and disillusioned by our long and weary existence here in the creation? Don’t we yearn for the peace and bliss that we knew before we separated from the Creator?
This might not be a conscious thing, but we do know that we’re no longer happy here. We want something better. And if we want to find that something, the ego which keeps us separate has to give way to humility – a deep humility which tells the Creator that we’re tired of our separation. We want to consciously become part of him again.
But it’s all very well talking of merging back into the Creator – he’s completely beyond our reach. Yet, we do have access to someone who is both one with the Lord and available to us here at our level. We have access to our Master. And he can tell us how to strive to suppress the ego, which is blocking us from becoming reunited with God.
Baba Jaimal Singh was the Master of Baba Sawan Singh, who would in time succeed him and be affectionately known as the Great Master. This is what he told him:
The stream of divine knowledge is flowing … but a single veil still remains: Surrender your self, my son.
Surrender your self – this might be a difficult concept for us. Somebody once asked Maharaj Charan Singh what was the idea behind this. He gave a lovely, simple answer:
You will get the feeling that you are nothing when you merge in the love of the Master.… You will just forget what you are.… Then you know you are nothing.
Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III
We may have already had some small experience of this. We may have sat in front of our Master and felt such love for him that we lost all sense of self. Hazur Maharaj Ji emphasised that it’s love, and particularly love for the Master, that makes the ego simply disappear.
It’s impossible not to feel humble when one comes into the presence of a true Master. You just recognise that here is someone so immeasurably great, that you can’t help feeling humble. When we’re in the presence of the Master we instinctively know that he is someone so full of love and divine power that our minds become stilled. With awe and worship, our souls respond to what he is.
We have to come into the orbit of a Master, the very personification of love. He has to fill us with that love, because only through that love can the ego be eradicated. It’s not in our power to rid ourselves of ego. But the love between Master and disciple can achieve anything. Submission to a Master through our love for him is the key to our eventual merging back into the Lord himself, as Shabd.
We may find it quite hard to fathom how someone who was born into a physical body, as we were, and who went through childhood into adulthood as a human being, can be transformed into a being of such greatness that he can be appointed the successor to his own Master. But it happens. It’s a mystery we’ll never be able to understand.
But when you come before your own Master and your soul recognizes him for what he is, how is it possible not to feel humble before him? And how is it possible not to feel love for him? He gives us love for him, because love is the primary characteristic of the relationship between Guru and disciple on this Bhakti path. And this love will demolish the ego.
Love brings submission; love brings humility; and it makes us want to please the other person. And when it comes to loving our Master, by now we know very well what pleases him: our regular, daily meditation. Sitting to meditate every day, regardless of whether we think our meditation is successful or not.
Experience has shown us over our years on the path that we can’t expect visible results in our meditation. Most of the time it’s a struggle to achieve even a little concentration. But our struggle is what pleases him. And it is not going to waste. We just don’t know what our Master is doing with it, but he values our obedience and our effort.
It’s also possible that the results we would like to see in our meditation are being deliberately withheld from us. Perhaps this, too, is to teach us humility. Perhaps its purpose might be to keep our egos in check. Can you imagine how self-satisfied we might become if all our meditations were crowned with success? We might even start to believe ourselves to be amazingly spiritual, very advanced souls – which we most certainly are not! In Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III, Hazur Maharaj Ji speaks about this:
Spiritual ego, that’s the worst.… We should attend to meditation without thinking that I am doing it, I am achieving it. Then there is always a danger of building ego. That ego, even spiritual ego, will be in our way. If you have the idea that I am doing it, I am doing seva, I am doing meditation, you are inflating your ego.
Strictly speaking, we can’t even say, “I am following the path.” It’s only by his grace that we follow the path. And most probably it’s also his grace that we often feel ourselves to be failures in our spiritual practice. It is our failure that makes us aware that we’re incapable of controlling the mind. So in the end we’re forced to admit, in deep humility, that we can’t do this and that only he can make this happen. We have to submit ourselves completely to him so that he can pull us up. Hazur tells us in fact that we are just puppets, doing only what he makes us do.
Still, because we don’t know that we are just puppets, we tend to judge ourselves by whether we manage any concentration during the hours that we sit for meditation. And the chances are we judge ourselves quite harshly. But our Master doesn’t judge us. All he wants is our effort and some of our time, and our remembrance of him throughout the day.
And if our egos are steadily being ground down as we acknowledge our helplessness, then what else can we do but submit ourselves to him? Then he himself will do it all. In Sar Bachan there’s this encouraging little passage:
Sat Guru is pleased with humility. If humility is genuine, then one need not worry either about the restlessness of the mind or about the provisions for the journey. Such a one should firmly take refuge in the Sat Guru and rely on his protection. Then his boat will cross over to the other side.