The Day Everything Changed
It was 5:15 a.m.
The alarm on my phone blared and awoke me from my slumber. I could see semi-lucid shapes from the corners of my eyes. The birds chirped their merry songs as the world slept.
I had to get up.
By the time I got ready, it was six o’ clock. Many people my age would either be sleeping or returning home after their usual Friday night capers. I, on the other hand, was showered and raring to make my way to seva.
Attending seva, grudgingly
I have not always been excited about spending the day at our satsang property – far from it. Whilst my mother had been following the Sant Mat path for years, I never associated with it. But to keep her happy, I (grudgingly) began going to seva with her. At first, I didn’t know anyone and viewed volunteering at a secluded property situated in the middle of the countryside, and without any mobile reception, as a waste of my weekend. Now, at the age of twenty-two, that same place is my bliss, my family, my everything!
Sant Mat philosophy
Sant Mat is not a religion but provides an overarching set of principles for living a spiritual life. Its teachings imbibe the universal truth found at the core of every major religion including Hinduism, Christianity and Islam (to name but a few). One of the basic tenets of Sant Mat is to be a good human being as, for example, exemplified by showing kindness and compassion to everyone and learning to forgive those we believe have harmed us. The Sant Mat way of life is based on the law of karma; this means that much of what happens to us is the result of actions we’ve taken in previous lives. Since all actions – good and bad – need to be accounted for, the only way to escape the perpetual cycle of debt and credit is to find a guide who teaches a method of meditating that liberates the soul.
The joy of seva
Our property offers the opportunity to perform week-long seva during which volunteers immerse themselves in an atmosphere of spirituality whilst undertaking their assigned tasks. Volunteers travelling from farther afield are given on-site accommodation. A few years ago, I too was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to perform seva during one of its busiest times. Being surrounded by everyone I love and cut off from the rest of the world felt like a dream come true. Although long and tiring, twelve glorious days went by in the blink of an eye. The mornings started early; I was up by five to undertake my daily tasks. But the evenings were the most special. Finishing seva at four, larking about with my friends till late and doing it all over again – that’s something I dearly miss.
The final pull
The exact moment I fell in love with the spiritual path is hard to say; if pushed, I’d have to say that it was probably when I turned eighteen. I was already being pulled towards Sant Mat; everything I saw and read reminded me of the teachings imparted during satsang. But it was my first (and hopefully last) serious car accident that finally made me believe in the divine. This is what happened.
After returning from seva, I decided to go for a drive. On a high from the atmosphere of love and devotion, I was thinking about how lucky I was to be part of such a loving community and at the start of my own spiritual awakening. Ten minutes later, my car skidded and collided head on with a traffic divider on a roundabout. As the car released the airbags, my glasses went flying and I lost consciousness. Unaware of what was happening, I was pulled out of the car by strangers who happened to be at the scene. Amazingly, these spectators turned out to be off-duty professionals.
Among my band of good Samaritans were two nurses and a doctor, who gave me medical attention. A mechanic prevented my car from catching fire by disconnecting its battery, whilst an off-duty police officer investigated the scene and drew up the paperwork. Everybody said, given the force of the collision, how lucky I was to have escaped with only seatbelt bruises.
It took a car accident for me to believe in the power of the divine. From that day to the present, so many unimaginable things have happened that feel like miracles to me. It has made me believe in the loving protection of the divine, and this has opened my eyes to a new world that exists amongst the turmoil and disarray of the world we all live in.
Each of us has our own unique story of finding and making a commitment to Sant Mat. Now, on this bright morning, I was off to meet my fellow sevadars. I got in my car, switched the ignition on, chose my music and plugged in my auxiliary cable, then started on my way from my house – to my home.