Just being grateful
When we truly meditate, then “I” just disappears. Then we realize His grace – that but for Him how could we ever think or even attend to it. Then there is no “I”, there is nothing but gratefulness ─ everything in gratitude.1
Maharaj Charan Singh, the predecessor of the present spiritual teacher, Baba Gurinder Singh, touches upon the essence of the meditative process in the above quotation from the guide to meditation, Die to Live.
Realized masters, called ‘Sants’ in the Indian spiritual tradition, express themselves in golden words. Their answers to questions from their disciples in Question and Answer sessions are precious treasures to be cherished. The direct interaction between the spiritual teacher and his followers, either in a physical setting or (these days during the pandemic) in a virtual setting, sparks off unique dynamics. It’s always inspiring and often moving to be witness to the way the Beas masters give their undivided attention to questions from their disciples. On the one hand, it is a one-on-one exchange; on the other it is a universal message they’re sharing with their audience.
How often does Baba Ji, in the Q& A sessions broadcast online, emphasize that we need to appreciate what we’ve been given and show our gratitude, not by talking the path but by walking the path? It’s interesting to have a closer look at the etymology of the words ‘grateful’ and ‘gratitude’. They stem from the Latin word gratus, meaning beloved, pleasing.2
Our efforts at meditation are nothing but actions to please our beloved master. In our lifelong struggle to walk the path, we’re building up a relationship with the Divine. That is an intimate affair between the soul and its Creator, the heavenly Father. It’s taking place outside the boundaries that the “I”, our ego, imposes on our being. There’s no personal involvement whatsoever. When we’re meditating, we are engaged in a spiritual process, resulting in nothingness or emptiness – nothing or empty, because the ego has no part to play there. And there’s the rub!
When it is said that we’re on the path of becoming nothing, the path of doing nothing, we should keep in mind that we’re walking with the inner master. In other words, we are constantly seeking the presence of the Divine – becoming nothing, empty of thoughts, losing our ego identity to become another being. It is our true being, whose core is love. Once we start experiencing something of this state of being, we get flooded with otherworldly emotions. Feelings of tranquillity, stillness, and peace of mind suffuse our being. The pull from within becomes so strong that there is no resisting it. We’re becoming absolutely helpless, deeply sensing our own insignificance. A sense of purpose, always keeping our true objective in front of us, takes hold. We’re moving away from the world and coming closer to the Spirit within.
He’s the One who is pulling us from within. He’s the One who is creating that desire in us to meditate. He’s the One who’s giving us that atmosphere and those circumstances and environments in which we can build our meditation. He worships himself in us.3
Maharaj Charan Singh beautifully explains that we are really doing nothing. It’s all the Father’s play, a divine play. We’re left with nothing, we only have to be – to be grateful for those opportunities that life is giving to us; and from a deeper understanding, accepting what is coming our way; seeing his hand, the working of the Divine behind everything.
What incredible blessings have been bestowed on us! Initiation is our boarding pass for the ship of Nam. Our Satguru is the helmsman, taking us to the port of destination. We’re safe on the ship of Nam, forever under his guidance and protection. We’re on the greatest journey ever. At the same time, everything is taking place in the here and now. Self-realization will precede God-realization. It’s a superhuman task, and the masters say that we can do it. Otherwise we wouldn’t have been initiated. We are encouraged by being given an occasional glimpse of what it means to follow in His footsteps. There is so much joy, a deep sense of fulfillment in being obedient and doing what pleases him the most. We need discipline and perseverance, but more than anything else, we need to be filled with yearning.
Who makes us yearn? It’s not our meditation. It is the Father himself. He uproots us from here and takes us to his own level. Practically, we do nothing. You can take credit that you sit for two or three hours, but there is something which makes you sit. It’s not you. Left to you, you would never even sit for five minutes. So if you see this from the higher point of view, it’s definitely the Father who is pulling us up to his own level. It’s not our efforts at all.4
- Maharaj Charan Singh, Die to Live, Q. 364
- H.C. Wyld, The Universal Dictionary of the English Language (1956)
- Die to Live, Q. 364
- Die to Live, Q. 365