The Ultimate Quest
I am tired, O friend.
I am tired of going round and round
(the cycle of birth and rebirth),
Tired of people’s exaltations, secular or sacred,
Tired of singing and dancing,
Tired also of service and worship.
The body is fatigued by lust and anger –
What more can I say?
Guru Ravidas: The Philosopher’s Stone
When feelings of utter despair stir within us, we may not recognize this as a blessing in disguise, yet it is. Experiencing this restlessness, loneliness, helplessness, and confusion leads us to question our very existence. The idea that there must be more meaning in our life starts to play havoc with our minds. What is our purpose here? Is this all there is? What happens after death? So many questions, but no answers will ever be forthcoming from the outside world.
About loneliness, for example, Maharaj Charan Singh explains:
The feeling of loneliness that you experience is, in fact, a blessing in disguise.… This feeling of loneliness will vanish only when our soul returns to its source, the Lord himself.… This feeling is the outcome of the thirst of the soul for its Lord and should be welcomed. If correctly employed, it will lead our footsteps to the palace of the Lord.
Quest for Light
It is because of this turmoil looming inside us that we embark on an inner search. This search is a giant step in our quest for spirituality. After eons and eons of riding the merry-go-round of transmigration, we are gearing up to disembark on our return home. This return is the moment the soul has been crying out for since we left our real home.
One who sincerely searches for life’s meaning is yearning to know God. Fortunate are those who find themselves in this state, for it means they want to meet the Lord. But how do we accomplish this? Is it even possible on this plane of life, here and now, to know God?
Guru Ravidas outlines the dilemma we find ourselves in:
Restless is my mind, O Lord –
How should I practise devotion to you?
If you could see me and I could see you,
We would be in reciprocal love.
You, of course, see me, but I don’t see you;
This thought has made me utterly bewildered.
You dwell all the time within all;
It is I who know not how to see.
Guru Ravidas: The Philosopher’s Stone
Our search for God begins when he instills in us the desire to experience his presence. Unbeknown to us, our soul was marked before our birth, making it possible for a living, true, spiritual adept to put us on the path toward God-realization.
Soami Ji in Sar Bachan Poetry explains this loving embrace bestowed on us, “He has taken me into his arms and granted me the gift of steadfast devotion.” The truth of the matter is that we can never find God through our own efforts, no matter how hard we try. In Kabir, the Great Mystic, we read, “No one can recognize a true Master except by his grace, and arriving at his feet is a very, very rare gift of the Lord.” But rest assured, a true living Master will direct us to himself and reveal his true form to us.
Before returning to our source, we must pay off our karmic debts, from this and past lives. By going through our destiny, meditating daily, and through the grace of the Lord, we will reach our goal of self-realization and God-realization. Will this happen immediately after initiation? Not likely, as we each carry a mountain of karmas.
Regardless of what we perceive as results, our meditation brings us closer to our goal. Meditation is what our beloved Master asks us to do. Meditation is the answer to all our questions. Meditation lightens our karmic load and enables us to tread the internal path with the Master’s guidance.
Simran, repetition of the five holy names given to us at the time of initiation, and bhajan, listening to the sound current or voice of God, are powerful forces. When our mind is not occupied, we should avail ourselves of these precious gifts as much as possible during the day. They aid us in keeping our thoughts pure and our actions noble. Then at the time of our formal meditation, we will be more settled and at peace.
Despite all we have to account for, our Master comforts us and warms our hearts when he assures us that he will take care of everything if we do our meditation as best we can with love and devotion. By doing our meditation, adhering to our vows, being a good human being, and being blessed with our Master’s grace and benevolence, we will reach our goal of uniting with God and returning to our true home, where he is waiting for us with open arms.