A Master at Work
The following extracts from With the Three Masters, Vol.I, by Rai Sahib Munshi Ram, record daily life with Maharaj Sawan Singh:
8 to 14 October, 1942
While at his farm at Sikandapur, near Sirsa (District Hissar), the Master’s daily routine is as follows: After his morning breakfast at nine o’clock, he walks to his sugar factory, where the machines and equipment have been installed. This is located about two and a half miles from the house and is on the main Sirsa-Hissar road. There he supervises work until lunch time. Lunch for everybody arrives from the Sikandarpur House at about 1.30 p.m. Everybody is fed before the Master takes the food himself. After that he rests till five o’clock in the evening, while others get busy with their usual work. At six in the evening everyone returns to Sikandarpur House. The Master sits down on an easy chair in the open courtyard of the house. All the people sit around him and enjoy his physical presence and his precious utterances. After dinner, they all go to bed.…
The world has not derived so much benefit from the saints who renounce the world as it has from the saints who lead the life of a householder. The former have few connections with the world and its people. Except for their own body they have very little to care for and therefore the number of those who wait on them and attend to their various needs is comparatively small.
On the other hand, the saint who is a householder comes in contact with people from all walks of life – doctors, lawyers, teachers, merchants, relatives and friends as well as foes. Our Master has so greatly widened his circle of contacts that it must be a rare unfortunate satsangi who has had no opportunity to come into personal contact with him in some form or another and at one time or the other. He has several business matters awaiting his attention too, some of agricultural importance and others of legal importance. Besides there is a wide variety of persons he has to deal with ranging from the Commissioner of a Division, revenue officials, keepers of land records, doctors and school-teachers down to persons of the labour class like blacksmiths, carpenters, mechanics etc. There are other contacts arising out of the publication of books. People who do not understand the ways of the Masters object to the Master having such contacts. Those who are better informed, seeing in all this the Master’s great piety and benevolence, hold themselves speechless. Those blinded by ignorance feel that a person who is engrossed in worldly activities, even more than they are, cannot possibly be a real saint. Such people are doing a great wrong in attempting to form an opinion about the Master’s spiritual power and greatness on the basis of his worldly acts and deeds. The fact of the matter is that the human intellect is powerless to assess the spiritual merit of a saint. We may, however, begin to understand a little about these things, if we attend their discourses and live in their company for some time.
Maulana Rum, the great Persian saint, has dealt with this subject extremely well. He says, “You who are blind try not to judge us by looking at our life on the worldly plane. Beg for that eye from God with which you may be able to see that precious jewel that is shining within us.”
15 & 16 October, 1942
The Master was ready by five in the morning. We also got ready in time. We left Sikandarpur at five-thirty in the morning and, passing through Sirsa where the Master gave darshan to sangat, we arrived at Ludhiana in the evening where the Master held a satsang. A stranger asked a pertinent question, namely, when saints say that God is present within the human body, why then doesn’t he stop people from doing evil deeds? The Master replied that this question had been very ably answered by the great Indian saint Tulsidas in the preface to his Ramayana. The Master further stated: “There is fire in the wood, which is latent. If we rub one piece of wood against another, we are able to bring out this fire from the wood which then burns brightly. Similarly, if through meditation we realize God within us, he will certainly stop us from doing evil deeds.”
3 December, 1942
After returning to Dera [following a tour in November], the Master’s first evening discourse was on Swami Ji’s hymn “Repeat the Name of the Master” from Sar Bachan. I was translating the Master’s words to the foreigners who were present. The Master said that in the beginning meditation is like licking a tasteless block of stone, and that devotion to the Master does not become complete until the soul beholds the Radiant Form of the Master by crossing the sun and moon regions. Then the spiritual practice becomes facile and delightful because Shabd, the divine Word or sound current, is very sweet and captivating. One who has effaced himself by devotion to the Master, attains God-realization and freedom from the cycle of births and deaths.
The real benefactors are the saints who possess the key to the prison-house of this world. They throw open the gates of this vast prison-house with the key and tell the prisoners to get out and go to their true home. Other benefactors can give temporary relief to the prisoners, but they cannot grant them freedom by liberating them from the prison.