This weekend is the first one that I left free in many, many months, completely for myself, for contemplation, sadhana, devotion…
My life over the past several years was very fruitful with many activities, travels, etc. Little time I had for myself, for the things every monk should do.
I have received many praises and acknowledgments for the ‘accomplishments’ in my mission of spreading Guruji’s work. I have received many criticisms as well, mainly within those who were supposed to be my greatest support in bringing Guruji and Bhakti Marga out in the world.
Praises did not mean much to me; I saw them in twofold ways. Firstly, as an encouragement that the work I was doing in Guruji’s name had a good impact on people, therefore gave me enough stamina to move on. Secondly, I saw how Guruji arranged everything and allowed me to serve Him.
Without His arrangement, no power of my own could make even little things possible. In other words, I was aware of His Doer-ship over the actions I was performing, therefore was not concerned too much what would be the result as long as I did best from my part. As a matter of fact, I had not time even to look back as many things were waiting for me to be done.
As for the backbiting, I knew that all those criticism was not grounded, as people who criticize do not have the full picture, therefore they criticize. The critics, for the most part did not touch me, neither they affected me at all. I also never dismiss them arrogantly when they come, having in mind Sri Yukteswar’s advice regarding this point when he said that after being criticized he always analyzes himself to see if there is any grain of truth in what people are saying. If yes, he commits himself to change it. If not, he dismisses it without disturbance. That was the piece of advice I took from him every since I got to know about him, some 20 years ago.
But it came a point when Guruji, through all these trials, pressed the situation even more…
He is the master mechanic of arranging every possible situation as to bring out the best results. The result he wants to bring out is the unflinching loyalty and devotion to Him alone. It is not possible to meet the Lord by our own effort. There are many spiritual people who have convinced their minds that they can go directly to God. I have intuitive understanding; you can call it realisation, that it is simply not possible, as God arranged His laws in a way that we need a vehicle in the form of a guru. This is the simple fact that we have to accept. If we reject it, then we will continue to suffer even more.
All our suffering comes when we forget that God is the sole Doer, the Director, the Script Writer, the Beginning and the End, and the only success we can ascribe to ourselves, if any, is the willingness and openness to surrender to His divinely guided Will. We exist in Him, and He exists fully in us. Everything breathes with His presence. We have to understand that the veil of delusion needs to be removed. That is the job of a guru (remover of darkness and ignorance). We have to simply resign all our resistances to His Will. All our miseries come from forgetfulness that we simply have no power or will of our own. We are not independent from Him. We live in Him, we breathe Him, we have our existence in Him.
Only guru, as a perfect instrument in God’s hands, can help us remove the veil. We have no faculties to do it on our own. And we should not worry about searching for the guru. God will arrange for one, when we deeply yearn for the divine union with Him.
Of course, He also needs to test us to see whether we really mean it. When things go right in our lives, we forget about Him. When calamities come, we complain and perhaps we call for help.
We have to understand that God is ever at our service, but we have to allow Him to serve us. We block Him out most of the time. We don’t recognize that when things go right that it is only Him who provides everything. We also miss the point that, when things don’t go the way we anticipate, that it is also Him who gives us that. And in that we can recognize His mercy, His love for us. But little do we grasp His ways. That is the only way He can bring us closer to Him. When we look in the world, how many people are really searching for Him? Even those who are religious, how many of them are serious in their pursuit to find Him, to love Him and, how many work on developing the loving relationship with Him?
Krishna said in the Bhagavad Gita:
“Out of thousand people one seek Me, and out of thousands who seek Me, perhaps one finds Me as I am”.
The statistics are not much favorable. But God also reassures us that if we surrender our ego and mind and will to Him we can find Him right now. He is also very impatient to meet His devotees, His bhaktas. Alas, most people do not have enough desire to search for Him.
…but it came a point when Guruji, through all these trials, pressed the situation even more…
In the New Testament (2 Corinthians 12:9), there is a quote:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Guruji (whom I perceive as no other than God Himself) arranged the situation that I felt completely weak (both physically, emotionally, mentally) and it lasted for a number of days. I received blow after blow from people and from dealing with the organizational and existential matters. I was wondering if there will be any end to it, since things were being loaded on me more and more. And, I didn’t have (neither did I desire), to run away anywhere else but to my own Self (Guru or God).
I came to the point when it would take me hours to even get out from bed having the feeling of nausea (something like I used to have before each exam back in the days). I was not sick, but the feeling of complete weakness prevailed. I lost the appetite. Had no strength to do anything and the pile of work was only swelling. What I did, with the last ounce of remaining power, was churning the ether, calling for Guruji.
Not to remove me from the state I was in, but to get me closer to the realization that we are not separate from each other. That His breath I am breathing, His energy I am feeling, that He sees through my eyes, feels through my heart. I was not asking nor demanding anything, as this would denote the lack of understanding of the guru-disciple relationship. I was just struggling to remove any obstacles in my mind that were blocking Him to work through me.
We worry when we lose faith. Faith of the mind is not the same as the faith of the heart. Faith of the heart is the absolute conviction and the realization that God is permeating everything. The only realization I got was that the reason we all suffer is simple because we resist to let Him take the reins of the chariot of our lives. The chariot without the charioteer is destined to end in the ditch by the wayside, completely wrecked. Simple said than done!
I was aware for the whole time, that it was only Him. I am just the instrument in His hands. He is trying to bring me closer to Him. I tripled, quadrupled the japam (repetition of the Holy Name); His image was revolving in my head all the time. I was not despondent or desperate, but felt the pain of separation. I was praising the condition as I knew that the grace I was given was unique and it is not given every day.
What happened then?
The image came to my mind that when trials and difficulties come in the lives of bhaktas, they sometimes appear nasty from the outside. Therefore we easily pronounce judgment on them as we see only the puss, mixed with blood, coming out from the open skin wound. We feel disgusted at the sight and we tend to dismiss that person. Guruji’s job is to press the pimples so that all puss and dirt can come out from under the skin, and therefore liberates us from all sicknesses. All dirt has to come out, and the more we let Him do His job, the sooner we would be clean and ready for the next adventure. But He will go on pressing and pressing, as we, at some point allowed Him to do it. If we, in any given moment, say stop, He would stop. But if he stops, who would help us then?
I have seen much judgment between devotees and it pains me that people don’t realize what this is doing to their own souls. Judgment is like stabbing the knife to our own self, and cutting the branch we are resting on. It takes away all our spiritual merits (punya) that we have labored for a long time. There has been a lot of hatred and people don’t want to come together anymore and it affects the rest of people like wildfire. All the positive effort in bringing bhaktas together falls when faced with such attitudes. Spirituality is then easily forgotten, the lower nature awakens and allows to rein in the hearts of devotees. Another difficulty I was faced with!
Power of Satsang
The presence of bhaktas is very rare in this world. Many saints and masters have sung praises in which they glorified satsang. You can accomplish many things in this world, but what is the most difficult to attract or attain is the satsang. You can lose ‘everything’ in this world, but if you lose satsang, you really lose everything. Guru can not always be with us physically; God is always hidden from our sight. But the bhaktas, the devotees of God, are there through whom silent God speaks. If you lose them, you lose connection with your very source. No holy place, no church or temple can be replaced with or be compared to satsang. Satsang changes our lower nature; it forces us to rise from the self-confined prison and paves our way to advance faster toward God realisation.
That was also a great part of my mental agony I was going through as I observed that many people are slipping away, not understanding the Supreme Grace we have been showered by Guruji, to come together, to join our hands in making our lives shine with His glory. He has sacrificed a lot to help us, to elevate us from the misery. He gave us everything we need to realize our full Divinity. And to see how people nonchalantly dismiss this gift was paining me deeply. I can only imagine how He may feel. People put so many priorities in tending to their own selfish needs, forgetting that He is the source of everything.
I came to conclude even more, that there is no more time to waste. This life is ebbing away so quickly. If we don’t realize our oneness with the Creator in this very life, when we have this awareness that only in Him rests everything, then, who can guarantee us that in the next life we would get the same opportunity? The evolutionary process is very long, and the pain of separation is unbearable for the encased soul.
The suffering I felt had a dual nature: one, to get me even more subjugated to His Will and realize His presence in my life; second, to have the necessary experience to be able to help awaken others from the nightmare of this delusory mundane existence.
Guruji is calling us to awake in his Love. How does He find us when He knocks at the door of our hearts? Sleepy, grumpy, unwilling to walk his path? Or fully awake, alert and ready to follow in His footsteps? It is our choice. Guruji often says, “You have no free will of your own, but you have a choice”. So it is up to us to choose rightly or wrongly. Eventually, there is no right or wrong as our goal rests only on God, and one day we would reach Him. But the road we choose may be long and bumpy, dusty and dirty. Or fast and clear. Guruji gave us the right tools to elbow our way through this jungle of material existence. Atma Kriya Yoga is the topmost spiritual practice for this age. The world is yet to witness this. Why wait, when we have it available now? God’s grace is here waiting for us. Do we want to wake up or remain sleeping for many lives in suffering the pain of separation?