I Love You
Let’s visit the topics of love and transformation, beginning with the Bird and Turtles story.
Two birds were sitting at the top a tree observing a baby turtle. The turtle struggled to climb up to a branch and then jumped off, flapping its four little feet madly and crashing to the ground. Once again, the poor turtle struggled to climb up the tree, then jumped off and crashed to the ground.
The birds watched the turtle do this a third time and a fourth time. Finally the one bird turned to the other and said, “I think we need to tell him he’s not a bird.”
What can we learn from this story? The first point is that we do not know our true nature. We try to find happiness in this world, we try to fit in, we leap into the mire of lust, anger, greed, attachment and pride. We make the same mistakes over and over.
The second point is that saints are sent by the Lord to adopt us as their own. To make us aware of our true divine nature. They tell us we are spiritual beings and take us into their spiritual family. The Great Master, Maharaj Sawan Singh, said:
At the time of initiation by the Master the soul becomes fit for being connected with the Shabd. This moment is considered as the moment of birth in the Master’s family.1
And the final point is that the Master transforms us from the slow earthbound tortoise into a bird like himself that can soar to the highest heavens. The Master tells us, ‘Come out of this heavy turtle shell and fly. Quit crawling in the mud and filth and lift yourself to the heavens.’
The masters tell us that this turtle shell is the made of lifetimes of karmas. And this shell is fortified with ego and attachment. But if a worm can become a butterfly, why can’t a turtle become a bird? The masters adopt us and transform us within the cocoon of love and meditation. They transform us from sinners wrapped in the hard shell of ego and ignorance into soldier saints.
Initiation by a saint is the ultimate transformative moment. In a letter to a disciple, Maharaj Charan Singh said:
This initiation is not just some ceremony. The Lord has made you his own. He has chosen you for eternal liberation and wishes you to come back to him…. now it is time to show your gratitude to him by doing your bhajan and simran every day with love and devotion.
At the time of initiation the Lord has made us his own! Adopted us. How can we even comprehend what this means? We have been given the greatest gift that one can receive in this existence. We would not trade this gift for billions, for stardom or for power. The saints tell us that all these things perish. Only that which is given by the Master is permanent and stays with us after death.
So Hazur asks us to show our gratitude. “Doing your simran and bhajan” – that is gratitude. And doing it with love and devotion is gratitude.
Sant Charandas, an eighteenth-century saint, describes the Master and tells us of his power of transformation:
Call only on that Master perfect
who has attained the wondrous abode …
because He is merged in the Lord –
just as the drop that merges in the ocean
becomes the ocean itself.
The very darshan of such a one
transforms the atheist into a mystic.2
Sant Charandas tells us that the Master, just with his darshan, can transform the atheist into a mystic. In each of our lives, we come to know the Master is transforming us, that no matter how much progress we think we may or may not have made inside, we see the transformation in our everyday lives. What was our lifestyle before we met him? What was our focus before we met him? He is transforming our lives, but more importantly he is transforming our spirit.
Charandas tells us to “call only on that Master perfect”. Who else can transform us? Only one who has attained the “wondrous abode”. We need a guide who has walked the trail before us. From a giver we can receive only that which he has attained. No one can give us what they do not have.
And what is the best way to “call on” that Master? It is to attend to our meditation. The repetition of each name is a call to the Master. Shams Tabriz, a Sufi mystic writes:
Are we not the weak and exhausted? The Master knows we are in dire need of help so he instructs us. He tells us that we will find no success by building our treasure in this world. Not intellectual treasures or worldly treasures. He tells us to cease chasing after the false promises of new things, new fashions, new philosophies. Hazur once wrote that we should not chase after the mirage with constantly receding waters.
The Master felt my pulse when I was already exhausted…. He told me, “The aim of the lover of God is neither to gain learning nor gather treasures of the intellect, nor to have any connection with gains and losses of this world.”3
“I feel so miserable without you it’s almost like having you here,” as the saying goes. We are miserable without all the people and things of this world, but when we have them, those very things make us miserable. Likewise, our intellectual concepts of which we are so proud become burdens that hold us back.
Now Charandas says to seek a perfect master. We recently heard that Baba Ji was asked about the concept of the perfect master. Baba Ji responded – and this is a parphrase – that perhaps the term should be ‘complete’ or ‘complete master’. How odd that in the dictionary one of the synonyms for complete is ‘perfect’.
What might he mean when he says a master is complete? Completed the course of simran and bhajan? Completed the journey of God-realization? Complete in his devotion to his master? Complete in his devotion to his disciples?
Sant Charandas tells us about the characteristics of the complete master:
A true saint is one who does not want to be worshipped.
He has effaced the vices of mind:
he is ever engaged in the repetition of the Lord’s Nam.
He is not separated from the Lord even for a moment;
he sees him always near.
He speaks only of the Lord and does not engage in idle gossip.
He has rid himself of falsehood, cunning, deceit and fraud.
In his heart dwell continence, truth, contentment
He has rid himself of lust, anger and greed,
as well as attachment and pride.
He has no enmity with anyone,
and lives in a state of detachment.4
These lines are a wonderful description of the masters and what it means to be complete. But there is something else here. A complete roadmap for the disciple, a to-do list:
- Efface the vices of the mind. Turn away from its constant mis-direction.
- Engage in repetition, engage in meditation.
- Keep him near us in our thoughts and actions.
- Get rid of falsehood, deceit and fraud.
- Be continent.
- Be truthful.
- Be content.
- Be forgiving.
- Rid ourselves of lust, anger, greed, attachment and pride.
- Have not enmity for anyone. Not in seva, not in family and not in life.
- Be detached.
The complete master and the complete journey have been described by Sant Charandas.
Baba Ji once made the comment, in paraphrase: I am the only one who gets up in the morning and who does not get to decide whether or not to do seva. We see the Master travelling to every far off place whether there are hundreds of thousands or just hundreds. The corners of Africa, Asia, South America, the Caribbean. It seems like he does not have the ability to stay away. That love for every disciple and the duty to every disciple does not allow him to stay away.
Can a parent get up in the morning and say: “I am not going to feed my children today. I am not going to encourage them today. I am not going to love them today.”? Remember, we are his adopted children.
Yet on our end we say: “I have no time do my seva today. It is too difficult to be a good person today – or too costly. There is no time to do my meditation today.”
Let us ask ourselves: If we had just ten percent of the desire to be with him that he has to be with us, where would we be? What would we be doing each day? In his daily life he shows us the qualities we have to adopt. And he shows us the level of devotion to one’s master that is required. Great Master said:
Whenever we have a desire to express our love for someone, we should try to discover what kind of love the beloved would prefer. We should then inculcate in ourselves those qualities or actions by which the beloved is pleased … When you are able to develop those qualities that are liked by the beloved and he is satisfied that we have actually developed them, he will automatically bestow his love on you.5
What qualities does he prefer? Sant Charandas has given us the answer already: Kindness. Sweetness. Surrender. Forgiveness, detachment, humility, contentment. Strict adherence to the four vows. Seva and attending satsang. Meditation, meditation, meditation.
There is a bit of special advice in the Great Master’s quote. He is telling us to stop thinking about what we think a disciple should be and what we think demonstrates our love, and instead make the effort to discover the Master’s qualities and to develop those qualities. And now Hazur describes this process:
Love has the characteristic of becoming another human being. To lose your own identity, lose your own individuality, that is the characteristic of love. Love never wants the other one to become like you. Love makes us want to become like another one.6
Every day we see the world wanting to bring God down to our level, to bring the teachings of the saints down to our level. We see the world using spiritual teachings to justify the worst possible behavior. We want to remodel the teachings to fit the mood of modern society. We want teachings to be ‘politically correct’. The teachings of the true masters come from no culture, no race, no religion and no country. They come directly from the Lord.
So we should not try to mould the teachings to our way of life, but rather mould our way of life to the teachings. God help us if we made the Master behave like us! We have to be like him. As Hazur said, “Love makes us want to become like another one.”
The Master looks after each and every disciple as a mother looks after a sick child. Hazur said:
We are all diseased by becoming victims of the senses, so we are washed; we are cured of all these diseases and again the soul shines. That is the miracle which the mystics perform.7
The love the Master has for the disciple is the only imperishable love that we will find in this world. The saints tend to each disciple according to his or her needs and they provide each one with the individual miracle cure.
In everything he says, in everything he does, what is he saying, what is he telling us? It is three very simple words – I love you. Every quote in this talk and everything we have covered boils down to this simple idea. He can’t stay away, he adopts us into his spiritual family, he tends to us, he brings us here.
Saints are waterfalls of love; they are a vessel through which God’s love flows forth into this world. We jump into that pool formed by the waterfall and it becomes a stream, then a river, and then it flows into the ocean.
Now we say: I love you too, Master.
Hazur said, “If you say you love the Master without meditation, you are just deceiving yourself.”8
Repeat: “If you say you love the Master without meditation, you are deceiving yourself.”
A third time: “If you say you love the Master without meditation, you are deceiving yourself.”
This is a satsang in a sentence. We say we love the Master and his reply is that if we say this, but we are not attending to our meditation, we are deceiving ourselves. Now let us see how Hazur expands on this idea.
The Master is not the body, he is the Shabd within. How would you merge in that without meditation?… we have to merge in that, to become that being. How can we do it without attending to meditation? Love helps you to meditate – love forces you to meditate. If you love somebody, you always want to be with the person concerned.9
If we love the Master and he’s within us, we will put all our efforts toward being with the Master. He shows his ‘I love you’ by saving us, initiating us, taking care of us, guiding us. Our ‘I love you’ is our meditation – with our regularity, our full time, our concentration.
Charandas spoke about meditation:
Do the repetition with a still mind …
He who repeats Nam with focused attention
detaches himself from the body;
he merges in the Lord of truth, consciousness and bliss –
and becomes silent….10
Do not permit the mind to run out;
block its way, encircle and surround it.
Occupy it in contemplation of the Lord.
Listen carefully, there is one more way
to discipline the mind,
of which I now speak:
Repeat the Lord’s Nam, and it will tire
of its restlessness.
We have all heard the story of the tortoise and the hare. But we do not want to win this worldly race. The rabbit can have it. Few have heard the story of the tortoise and the bird, where the tortoise sits in the tree of love under the watchful eye of the bird. It sits and does its meditation. It ignores the temptations on the ground below. Its shell falls away and its wings grow. And finally it flies away.
And another poem from Sant Charandas:
I have given my all to my devotee;
behold the love that I have for him.
From being formless, I have taken on form –
A coarse body of the five elements….
A hundred times more than a father
does the mother love the son.
Inwardly she takes care of him,
while outwardly admonishing and rebuking him.
The Lord’s love
is a hundred times that of the mother.
The Master’s love
is a hundred times that of the Lord.
O Charandas, this is how Sukdev loves you
and removes your faults.11
In other words – I love you.
- Maharaj Sawan Singh, Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. V, 6th ed., p.132
- T.R. Shangari, Sant Charandas, p.92
- Quoted in Maharaj Sawan Singh, Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. II, pp.243–44.
- Sant Charandas, p.94
- Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. II, 5th ed., p.148
- Maharaj Charan Singh, Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. I, #265
- Maharaj Charan Singh, Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III, #1
- Maharaj Charan Singh, Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III, #35
- Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III, #36
- Sant Charandas, pp.409,133
- Sant Charandas, p.124