The Server or the Served
In response to a question, Baba Ji once said that in past ages, the disciple went to the Master and asked him what they should do. In this age, the disciples want the Master to come to them and they want to tell the Master what to do.
At first this may sound a bit shocking, but let us think about it. Wherever Baba Ji goes, he is asked, please come to Holland, come to New York, come to Manchester, come to every place. He has made the effort to come to this place, yet we tell him it is not enough. Baba Ji is telling us that in the old days, disciples walked for days, even months to arrive at the feet of the Master. Now we are saying that rather than pay the airfare, or bus ticket, he should come to us. Because of his love for his disciples, and passion for his seva, he accedes to our requests and travels everywhere. He can’t resist.
Baba Ji also mentioned that in the old days, the disciples asked what they should do, but now we want to tell the Master what to do.
How do we tell the Master what to do? Bless me, bless my family, cure my illness, help me pass my exams. Give us more photos, give us recordings, etc. Or, I can’t make the effort, it is your fault, you have to make the effort for me. How fortunate we are that the Master is so kind in his responses. He has no worries about how we treat him but rather he worries about how we treat ourselves. He worries that our failure to grasp the urgency of practicing the proper lifestyle and attending to our meditation will result in delay of our progress and perhaps lead to more suffering. Thus he pleads with us to listen to the teachings and put them into practice. No matter how worldly our question or request, he brings it back to the spiritual.
To sit at the feet of a living saint is great good fortune beyond measure. When we sit at the feet of a saint we are sitting at the feet of all the saints that have come before. But in our childlike state we do not know what we have. If you ask a little child if he would rather have diamonds or cookies, what would he choose? Not truly understanding what the master has to offer, we ask for cookies and cake. Photos, recordings, health, prosperity, these are the cookies. Will a diet of cookies help us lose our karmic weight? Or, rather is it the diamonds that we can use to pay off our karmic load?
The saints tell us that we do not know what is good for us. Then how can we ask for anything but the grace to make our effort, to ask for Him. A poor dog in a tiny cage in a shelter prays for someone to come and take him home. The first person comes in and rejects the dog. The dog thinks, “God, why are you forsaking me?” The dog did not know that this person would have kept him tied to a tree in the bitter cold and pay it no attention. A second person came and rejected the dog and the dog thought, “God, why are you forsaking me?” Little did the dog know that this was a person who only wanted a guard dog at night and so would keep him caged all day. Then a happy boy and girl came and begged their parents, “Please let us take this dog home.” The little dog lived in a house full of love and happiness. The grace of the Lord was always there for this poor dog; he just could not see it. We sometimes bemoan what comes our way but we do not see the bigger picture. So perhaps it is best just to pray to live in His will.
But this brings up the question, do we strive to serve the Master or do we constantly demand that he serve us? Are we the server of the one to be served?
Of course the Master is only service, it is all he knows how to do. His life is totally dedicated to his disciples. To paraphrase Baba Ji in an evening meeting at Dera: “I am the only one who gets up in the morning and does not have the choice to do seva.”
He is doing everything for us at every moment. He cannot choose not to serve his disciples. Yet whenever we are not living up to the teachings, whenever we miss our meditation we are choosing not to serve him.
In Philosophy of the Masters, Great Master wrote:
The Lord’s will and man’s free will are mentioned many times in the writings of the Gurus. If by the Lord’s will it is meant that everything that happens is bound to happen and that man’s efforts are of no avail whatever, then what was the use of the Gurus incarnating themselves again and again to make spiritual discourses and putting out scriptural writings? The Gurus say that it is necessary for us to make our own efforts, but these should be made in accordance with the will of the Lord.1
We ask our questions but in our hearts we already know the answer. It is mediation, meditation, meditation, with some seva as well. Great Master tells us that if our efforts were to no avail, why would the Saints make the effort? Baba Ji makes the effort to come and begs us to do our part. In the game of serve or be served, we will never win the contest with the Master. He will always give us a hundred, a thousand, a million times more than we can possibly give. But serve we must, give we must. This is being the servant-disciple.
There is no harm in asking the master to bless us. But the saints tell us to bless ourselves. How do we bless ourselves? By putting the words of the Master into practice.
Whatever we ask for, the Master is giving us so much more. We ask Him to shower His grace but are actually standing in a waterfall of grace. When such grace is flowing, why hold our cup upside down waiting for a cup of tea. Rather, in our meditation we turn our cup over and it overflows with grace.
- Maharaj Sawan Singh, Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. 4, p. 78.