We Are Doing It for Ourselves
Like a good shepherd who always takes care of his sheep, the Master helps us clear our karmas, helps us wash away all the sins from our soul, until we are pure and spotless and can merge back into the Father. He alone knows what is best for us and regulates our progress according to our efforts and the karmas or layers of dirt that cover our soul and mind.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Light on Saint John
Sheep may not necessarily like to have shepherds; they would probably want to roam freely, unimpeded by the shepherd, his dog, and his rules. Of course, what the sheep do not understand is that the shepherd plays a vital part in their lives. Not only does he guide them towards green pastures and fresh water, he also saves them from the many calamities that can befall them – from speeding cars to the big bad wolf.
In the above example, the shepherd may at least have some personal gain in the whole process of looking after his sheep. But what does the Master gain from guiding us on the spiritual path?
When we attend to our meditation or perform some seva, we generally say that we are doing it for our Master. We put in a little effort and we think that we have come closer to repaying him for everything he has done for us. But the fact is, we are doing it for ourselves, and that’s a good thing.
Every time we take one step towards the Master through our meditation, he takes a thousand steps towards us. Each moment we spend in his service is just an excuse for him to lavish us with more love and more grace.
Lacking in merit and worth, I am unworthy of your service. But should you accept it, I would become a paragon of virtue despite all my defects.
Sheikh Sa’di, quoted in The Spiritual Guide, Vol. II
Being in his fold is not something we have earned. When the Master, out of his immense love, granted us the gift of initiation, he vowed to always be by our side in his Radiant Form, guiding us and protecting us on our spiritual journey.
The precious Names he gave us carry their own power, and through repetition of these Names and listening to the Sound, we are empowered to face all the difficulties of life, our physical death, and ultimately make our way back to our true home.
At initiation, our Master took on the responsibility for the liberation of our soul. The scroll of our karmic deeds is in his hands. He administers our karmas as he deems fit and he himself stands as an advocate for our freedom, provided we faithfully adhere to the principles of the path.
The Sufi mystic Nizamuddin explains:
It means that whoever is attached to a spiritual Master knows that on Judgment Day his deeds will be placed in the scales of his Master.
The Spiritual Guide, Vol. II
The relationship that is established with the Master at the time of initiation is not only the most intimate bond of mutual trust, but also an unbreakable pact that lasts throughout this human life and beyond.
Once a disciple saw that Rumi was staying up all night praying, and begged him to take some rest. Rumi replied:
If I go to sleep, who will look after the many unfortunate sleepers (negligent people)? For I have accepted the responsibility to ask God for all of them and to see that they reach perfection.
The Spiritual Guide, Vol. II
The Master has nothing to gain from asking us to do our meditation; it is we who stand to gain everything. A child’s obedience to its mother can never be a form of repayment for her love. Giving us a little insight into what the Master wants from us and for us, Maharaj Charan Singh says:
When you have been able to please yourself by attending to meditation, you can think your Master is very happy with you. When you are not in a position to please your own self, when you’re at war with yourself, you’re not happy with yourself, how can you think that you are happy with the Master or that you have been able to please him? In order to please the Master, first please yourself; be happy with yourself. Attend to your meditation. That is the only thing which pleases the Master, and that will please you, too.
Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III
The Great Master would always say that when we do our meditation we are helping ourselves, and at the same time we are gaining our Master’s pleasure.
We may sometimes look upon our meditation as an obligation to him, or as a repayment of some sort, but if we really think about it carefully, we are the only ones who stand to gain.
We spare no effort in worldly matters, whether it is for financial gain, physical health, emotional stability, or our family’s happiness. Meditation is the only thing that we do for our soul that is real and lasting.
So, whenever we feel impatient, disheartened, or frustrated with meditation, it will help to remember that it is the only thing that is truly worth doing, and that we are doing it for ourselves. And that is exactly what our Master wants too.