Thankful Beyond Words
Saint Paltu writes:
There was another Paltu.
I was mistaken for him and given devotion.
Devotion was given to me by mistaking me for
another of my name.
I took the wealth meant for another and secreted it.
It was fated for another but was given to me.
I alone know it, nobody else does.
I offered to return it but it was not accepted.
This was a mistake by the great One;
what he said I did.
What he said I did O Paltu! You are a great sinner
and the Lord committed a mistake.
There was another Paltu. I was mistaken for him
and given devotion.1
We all know that the Lord doesn’t make mistakes. Yet we also know that when we look into our hearts, as Paltu did, we feel that we are not worthy or deserving of this great good fortune that the Lord has given us. So it must not be our worthiness the Lord looks for when he selects us to be one of his own. He must be using different criteria.
For reasons we are not able to comprehend, he has chosen us as his marked souls, and our ultimate spiritual development is in his hands. It is of no use to try to figure out “why me?” It is only for us to accept his grace with gratitude and humility, and to try our best to live by his instructions and guidance.
We all have vastly different stories of how we came to the path; we all have come into this life with different circumstances. Regardless of our life story, however, we are all miraculously following this wondrous path, thankful beyond words to be under the shelter of our Master. As unlikely as it may seem, he has pulled us here. We may think that this is our doing, that we have found the Master, but the truth is the Master has found us. He planted a seed deep in our soul. He tended and nurtured it until just the right moment. Then he entered our lives. Rumi reflects on this:
The minute I heard my first love story
I started looking for you, not knowing
How blind that was.
Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere.
They’re in each other all along.2
It may have taken a long time for the conditions to be right – for the meeting to come about – but our connection to the Master had always been there. That first love story, that longing for love, that first awareness that we are separated from our true home, awakened something lying dormant within us.
We didn’t know it but we had been searching for the Master our entire lives. We were born with an unfulfilled yearning, with an empty place deep in our heart. The only way to fulfill that yearning is to replace it with love.
Under a beguiling picture of Hazur Maharaj Ji in the book Legacy of Love is this quote:
You don't fall in love with the Master; Master has fallen in love with us. And then, we become restless – we feel we have fallen in love with him. The pull is from within.3
One of the favorite topics of the saints is love. Hafiz tells us:
The subject tonight is Love
And for tomorrow night as well.
As a matter of fact,
I know of no better topic
For us to discuss
Until we all die!4
In a letter to a disciple in Spiritual Gems, Maharaj Sawan Singh describes the four signs of the Master’s mercy:
The number one sign of his being merciful to anyone is that he creates in him dissatisfaction with the worldly routine and a longing to seek the truth.5
Does that sound like you? When you look around at the world does everything seem right to you? Can you even make sense of the world we live in? When we take that first look at the world around us with open and clear eyes, we become aware of a profound dissatisfaction and a longing to seek something higher.
It is precisely at this point, when we are dissatisfied with the world and longing for the truth, that the second sign appears. Great Master continues: “The second sign is that he brings him in touch with a Master.” First he gives us the longing and then he gives us the comforter. Great Master then concludes:
The third sign is that the Master imparts to him the secret of the sound current. The fourth sign is that the initiate works diligently and faithfully on the sound current and starts on his spiritual journey.6
The key part of that last sentence is: “the initiate works diligently and faithfully on the sound current.” To work diligently and faithfully becomes our life’s work once we have been given the gift of Nam, the sound current. This work is our reason for being. There is nothing else about this life that will give us the same joy and satisfaction, the same peace and contentment, as working diligently towards this goal. And working diligently is really all we have to do. He takes that effort and turns it into something miraculous. Like the alchemist who turns lead into gold. We give him the tiniest gram of sincere effort and he turns it into something of immeasurable worth.
The Masters have told us that they will give us their love, their encouragement and their support. But we must do our share. We have a part to play. We must put in the effort.
But look at the extraordinary partnership we have entered into with him. We put in our best effort, do our meditation, live by the four vows – and in return he gives us unimaginable spiritual wealth. We don’t have to achieve any results; we shouldn’t even be concerned with results. We just sit at the same time each day, put in our best effort for the required time, and then we go about our day, guided and directed by the Sant Mat way of life he talks about.
And this partnership gets even better. We have often heard the Masters say that if we will do our meditation they will take care of everything else. Hazur writes:
Please continue with your spiritual practice with increased faith and love, and the Master will take of everything else.7
Does this mean that if we do our meditation Master will make sure we have perfect health, a loving family, lots of money, and no trials and tribulations in our life? It doesn’t work like that. We all have our karmas to go through. But he will give us the strength, the understanding, the equanimity and the balance to go through these worldly problems. And he will hold our hand all the while, so we can bear the ups and downs of life.
All he asks from us is our effort. Our begging, our trying, our knocking at the door is the only offering he asks from us. This is our share of the partnership. He is going to do everything for us. He is going to give us everything. But we must be receptive to his giving. We have to give him something to work with. A disciple wrote:
In the early hours as I sit in your presence
my heart sings to you.
Please accept this little offering,
and forgive all my failings.
I only have you to turn to.
Enfold my heart with your constant presence,
and fill it with the sweetness of your love.8
In the end this is all we hope for, this is all we long for – for him to fill our hearts with the sweetness of his love. His love is the end-all and the be-all for us. Hazur Maharaj Ji says:
There is no bhajan (spiritual practice) greater than love. There is no law higher than love and there is no goal beyond love.9
Love is the most powerful force there is, and love is the means by which Master draws us back to him. Saints come to create within us love and devotion for the Father and a yearning to go back to him. Love is the key that opens the door to the inner regions.
When asked to explain love, Hazur said:
Love is to be experienced. Great Master used to give a very beautiful example: if a dumb person eats candy, how will he describe it if you ask him, “What is the taste of the candy?” He will just smile. He won’t be able to say anything at all. Words can’t describe love. Love is to be experienced, love is to be gone through, and language is a very poor expression of love.10
Therein lies the objective of our practice: to make ourselves receptive to the love of the Master, so that we may experience the sweetness of the love of which he speaks.
In Science of the Soul Maharaj Jagat Singh Ji writes:
Thank you for the appreciation of the Master’s help. … The best and most appropriate way of appreciating his kindness and expressing our gratitude is to give more and more time to bhajan and simran, so that we may go in and contact Nam, and thus have a first-hand experience of everything.11
This sweetness is given to us in proportion to the intensity of our love for him. It may be subtle at first. We start to seek out quiet and peaceful moments and places. We enjoy our own company and periods of solitude. Being with this sweetness of his love that we have tasted becomes the motivating force in our lives. All else becomes stale and tepid.
But Hazur Maharaj Ji now brings up the challenge:
Meditation is a great thing, but even to close ourselves in a room, to sit in one place for meditation, is to our great credit. The mind runs out; the mind doesn’t want to sit at all.12
He has identified the problem. The mind is a powerful force, but it runs wild. If we keep allowing that to happen, we are at the mercy of the mind, and the love and sweetness we so dearly want becomes impossible to attain. We are in an epic battle with our mind. Without the constant support and guidance of the Master we would be utterly crushed. But he has given us the weapon to win this battle. He has given us the sword of simran.
Rumi describes the intensity of this battle for our very souls:
Strive, struggle, grapple and wrestle,
None won the battle by weak-kneed submission.
Go on scratching, scraping, and cutting
The stone wall that bars your way.
Cut, hew, gash, break, shatter, demolish, smash,
Rest not for a second, till your very last breath arrives.
Even a worthless effort is better than sleeping,
For the Lord loves our effort, anxiety and struggle.
First put in full effort, then accept what He sends.
Have faith in Him and trust His will.
Not putting in effort is like sleeping among robbers.
A bird found napping is sure to be killed.
Giving up is like sleeping; sleep not on your way.
March on until you reach His gate.
When the Master has put a sword in your hands,
He has clearly expressed his wish.13
His wish is that we engage in this battle valiantly and wholeheartedly, using all our strength and resources. Yet he is fully aware of the magnitude of our struggle. He is supporting us and encouraging us, but he does not leave it to us to achieve results. As Rumi said: “First put in full effort, then accept what he [the Lord] sends. Have faith in him and trust his will.”
We are not always satisfied with what we perceive as the results of our meditation. Some of us have been practising meditation for a long time. We expected – hoped – to be further along by now. Sometimes we become disappointed with ourselves. We think, maybe this is just too hard for me. I wasn’t cut out for this path. I don’t have the discipline or the love. Others can do it but I cannot.
But the Masters see it differently. They know our struggle and appreciate every ounce of effort, every round of simran, and every minute of meditation we put in. The path of Sant Mat is a life-long commitment. We need not be impatient or in a hurry. The Master is the trustee of our spiritual wealth and he guards it carefully. We just need to work diligently and faithfully on the sound current. Everything else, everything else is up to him.
If you want to pass a lovely afternoon, make a nice cup of tea, find a pleasant sunny spot and slowly go through the book Legacy of Love. Some people believe it is the most beautiful book ever published. The book is a pictorial celebration of the life and spiritual mission of Hazur Maharaj Charan Singh.
As guru, father, son – and in all the other parts he played – he was the complete and perfect example and role model. He showed us everything: how to meditate, how to live the spiritual life of Sant Mat, how to love, how to laugh, how to make the most of our lives here. He showed us how to take care of our parents, our children and other human beings. The list goes on forever.
And he made it simple for us. For forty years he gave the same basic message: Do your meditation diligently and faithfully, be steadfast on the four vows, and put in your best effort to live the Sant Mat way of life. That is it in a nutshell. When we do that, everything else rests in his loving hands.
And yet, as much as we loved spending time with Hazur Maharaj Ji and as much as we dearly love these times with Baba Ji, we must remember that falling in love with the Master is a means to an end. Everything we see on the outside, and our own bodies as well, will one day return to dust. What will endure? In Legacy of Love a few handwritten notes from Hazur Maharaj Ji reflect on this:
Man’s life does not commence in the womb and never ends in the grave.
Love is a precious treasure; it is God’s gift to sensitive and great spirits.
Congratulations! May you grow and grow to enjoy the Everlasting Life.14
The mission of the Master is to deliver us to this everlasting life – to the inner, astral regions that he speaks about, teaches us about and entices us with. He is there, waiting patiently for us, in that place which is timeless, eternal and beyond our comprehension. We are his marked souls and he has come to take us back.
Maharaj Jagat Singh Ji speaks of this mission:
With great difficulty he prevails upon his child to accompany him to his palace and see for himself, with his own eyes, what great heritage by right belongs to him.15
There is a beautiful quote from Hazur Maharaj Ji in Light on Saint John:
Christ says to his disciples …When you come to me inside, I will show you things that you have never dreamed of and that are beyond the comprehension of your mind. … your happiness will know no bounds when you meet me within yourself.16
- Maharaj Sawan Singh, Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. III, 5th ed., p.176
- The Essential Rumi, rendered by Coleman Barks, p.106
- Legacy of Love, p.79
- The Subject Tonight is Love: 60 Wild and Sweet Poems of Hafiz, rendered by Daniel Ladinsky, p.47
- Maharaj Sawan Singh, Spiritual Gems, #28
- Maharaj Charan Singh, Light on Sant Mat, p.141
- Maharaj Charan Singh, Divine Light, 1st ed., #436
- Maharaj Charan Singh, Die to Live, #296
- Maharaj Jagat Singh, Science of the Soul, #48
- Maharaj Charan Singh, Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III, p.94
- Based on lines from Jalaluddin Rumi, Masnavi, Book I: 932–1823.
- Legacy of Love, p.519
- Isaac Ezekiel, Saint Paltu, p.204
- Maharaj Charan Singh, Light on Saint John, 6th ed., pp.144, 146