A Way of Life
Every morning when we first open our eyes and greet the new day, each of us is faced with a challenge and an opportunity. How do we make the best use of this precious day the Lord has given us?
As satsangis we have just one criterion to consider as we make our way through the many decisions, choices, and ebb and flow of our daily lives: Will the action we take bring us closer to our Master or push us farther away from Him? Every decision we consider throughout our day can be measured against this litmus test.
As disciples of a true living Master, we have simple and clear instructions for this journey of life. Soami Ji writes:
Leaving everything else aside, one must implicitly obey the Satguru of his own time, and faithfully follow his instructions. This will lead him to success. This is the long and short of everything.1
The short version of the instructions of the Guru can be summed up in just a few words – do your meditation and live a Sant Mat way of life.
The Masters are expert in the art of simplifying life. They peel away the outer layers of distraction and diversion to reveal the essence and core of what is important in our lives.
We have waited a very long time to be in this auspicious position: to have a human birth, to learn about the path of Sant Mat, and to be in the presence of a living Master. If we are serious about making the best use of this invaluable opportunity, then we need to focus on the work that is required of us. In Words Divine, Baba Jaimal Singh Ji tells us:
Meditation is our real work. This will always be with us, as it is the gift of the Master. It will grow; it will not diminish.2
As we tread this path we fully engage in an epic struggle with the mind. In order to tame its powerful influences, Sardar Bahadur Jagat Singh gives us this advice:
Nothing should stand in the way of your meditation, and no disciple should plunge so deeply into worldly affairs as to enable them to interfere with his bhajan or affect his mental poise.3
To effectively manage our busy lives and to navigate through the endless distractions and temptations of the world we live in is a demanding challenge. This is a fundamental reason why Baba Ji often stresses the necessity of having a clear objective in life.
As we begin each day, we should thoughtfully consider our objective and orient our day toward that goal in the most beneficial way. If our objective is to follow the directions that the Master has given us – to do our meditation and lead a Sant Mat way of life – then life becomes very simple. Again, in Words Divine we read:
Everything is secondary to meditation.
Where meditation is,
other things will come of their own.4
That is a simple formula for attaining our purpose, but in order to accomplish any aim in life, sustained and focused effort is required every step along the way.
Once our objective is clearly formed and accepted in our mind, we need to build our lives around realizing that objective. We should nurture those behaviors which support and advance us toward our goal, and abandon those which distract or derail us from our mission. When we look honestly at our life and lifestyle, it is obvious which belong in each category.
There are a million different ways we can spend the irreplaceable hours we have been allotted for this day. Many of them would add no true benefit to our spiritual life and would move us away from our goal, not toward it.
So with deliberate intent, we should build a solid foundation on which to live our life. The base of that foundation is the protective structure of the four vows. Adhering to those principles will envelop us in an atmosphere conducive to our practice of meditation.
Hazur Maharaj Ji tells us:
Sant Mat is not only meditation – it is a way of life. We have to mold ourself in that way of life where we are always with our Master in all the activities of our life. We don’t forget him at anytime, anywhere.5
The Master loves us in a way that is incomprehensible to the human mind. He has given us a gift we can’t possibly fathom or adequately appreciate. But we are not along for a free ride. We have a part to play, and our part is to give our honest and genuine effort to abide by His guidance and follow His instructions.
It is wonderful to spend time with our beloved Guru, do seva, watch the beautiful videos and questions and answer sessions, read Sant Mat books, etc. But the most important question to ask ourselves is: Have I put in an honest and sincere effort to do my meditation today?
In Light on Sant Mat we read what Hazur Maharaj Ji has taught us:
First comes the grace of God, then the kindness and mercy of the Guru who initiates us into the mysteries of Nam and, finally, our own unceasing efforts to tread the path and follow the instructions.6
In a letter to a disciple, Hazur Maharaj Ji wrote:
You are quite right when you say that the Master rewards disciples according to the amount of effort they put in with the proper attitude. The more we strive on the path, the more help we receive from the Master. Those who do not make an effort of their own have no idea of the blessings that are being showered on us every day of our life. The rewards that are received by a disciple are far greater than one could ever expect or even dream of, and this realization comes only when we are doing our part of the duty. Then our heart is full of gratitude to the Master.7
That our heart becomes filled with gratitude to the Master is a natural progression as we become increasingly aware of the blessings being showered on us by Him every moment of our lives. It is not an intellectual calculation, but rather a softening of the heart, as we awaken to the realization that we are under the watchful and benevolent eye of the Master, and that He has only our happiness and best interest at heart.
The Masters have made clear how we can express our appreciation to the One who is showing us such love and attention. When Hazur Maharaj Ji was asked if there was any gift we could give him, he said:
The best gift you can give your Master
is the gift of meditation.
Nothing else matters.8
And during one of the evening meetings, a satsangi asked Hazur this question:
What should be our approach to meditation?
He answered the following:
Our approach to meditation should be that of gratitude. The Lord has given us the opportunity of this human form and then the environment in which to attend to meditation. So we should always approach meditation with gratitude.9
Sometimes we may find that even when we do put in our sincere effort, we still feel disillusioned or disappointed that we are letting the Master down by not making the progress we think we should be making. But this fear of displeasing Him in this way has no place in the teachings of the Masters. The Master loves our effort, our sincere attempt to express our love and thankfulness for having taken up His abode in our hearts and souls.
In Spiritual Perspectives we read:
As Maharaj Ji [Maharaj Sawan Singh] used to say, in Sant Mat there are no failures, because you are trying to follow it. A child who is learning to run, well, he falls, he gets bruises, he gets up again, he tries again, tries again and starts running. If he is always frightened of falling, he will never even learn to walk. So even if we lose in this battle of love, we win.10
In the eyes of the Master, we are that child, tottering along in our fragile little human body. We are constantly being bumped and bruised and knocked off balance by the vicissitudes of life. Left to our own devices we would be completely overcome. But we need not have any fear of falling or of failing. The Master assures us there are no failures in Sant Mat. He just asks that no matter what our circumstances, we do our best to follow his teachings and practise the Sant Mat way of life. When we are sincere, his loving presence is always near, and his guidance and support are close at hand.
Hazur Maharaj Ji writes:
Give up all feeling of depression and live a joyous life, fully relaxed and thanking the Lord for the great gift he has conferred on you. Keep your thoughts in simran and bhajan and see what happiness you will find within yourself. Do not worry about anything in this life, which is all an unpleasant dream. The real life lies beyond, where your Master awaits you.11
- Sar Bachan, p.79
- Words Divine, p. 53
- Science of the Soul, letter 9, p. 116
- Words Divine, p. 15
- Legacy of Love, p. 96
- Light on Sant Mat, p.60
- Quest for Light, letter 114
- Legacy of Love, Preface
- Spiritual Perspectives, vol. III, # 534
- Spiritual Perspectives, vol. III, # 484
- Quest for Light, letter 340