Get on the Train
Once we are initiated, it is the responsibility of the Master to get us back home - one way or another - but it is our responsibility to take his advice and follow his instructions.
At a Sunday satsang, the Master gave the vivid analogy of riding a train to a destination. Once we are on the train, it is the responsibility of the conductor to take us to our destination. But we have to get on the train, and doing our meditation is getting on the train. Getting initiated is merely getting a ticket. If we don’t actually get on the train -do our meditation - we won’t get to the destination. We need to get on board the train, and the Lord will do the rest.
But how many of us are left standing on the platform - initiated, but not doing our meditation? How many of us try to jump on to the train at the last minute, hanging onto the bar outside the door? Once the train picks up speed, we’ll be blown away. Not prioritizing our meditation, or leaving it to the last minute, may mean not doing it all if we have a worldly emergency to attend to. Or maybe we can’t decide whether to get on the train at all; we have one foot on the train and one foot on the platform as the train sets off. If we are not careful, we could be dragged along the platform and even along the tracks. Remember Maharaj Charan Singh’s description of being pulled by a bulldozer - not a very pleasant trip. We have to get completely on the train.
The Master tells us it is imperative that we get on the train, take our seat in meditation, start our simran, and let go. Then the conductor will take over and get us to our destination. A person once told the Master that he gets on the train by doing his meditation, but his concentration was so poor that his focus was still off the train.
What should we do if we get on the train and sit down to do our simran but can’t concentrate? Master’s solution: sit down, start our simran, and let go - let go and leave the rest to him. Don’t worry about whether we have concentration or don’t have concentration, whether the meditation is good or is bad - just let go. Another person asked, “Let go of what?” The answer is to let go of thoughts, let go of the self, let go of the ego.
How do we let go? There is a story of a Moghul emperor who was very fond of pigeons and raised them on the roof of his palace. When he had to go off somewhere for a while, he released the pigeons, except for his two favourites. So he told a maiden to hold these two pigeons for him for a short time while he was gone. When he got back and went up to the roof, she was holding only one of the pigeons. When he asked her what happened to the other pigeon, she said it had flown away. “But how did you let it go?” he asked. “Like this!” she said, raising her arm and opening her hand, thus releasing the other pigeon, which flew away. That’s how we let something go - just release it!
Perhaps the hardest thing in the world for us to do is to let go of the ego - with its way of perceiving, its way of thinking, its way of blocking us from our true self. There is a poem by the Chinese mystic, Chuang Tzu, which describes how it might be for a person to live in this world without ego. He describes a boatman who is trying to cross a river when another boat approaches and is about to collide with his. Just as nowadays when we’re driving on the road and someone cuts us off or pulls some unsafe manoeuvre, in ancient China the same type of frustration and lack of restraint used to occur with boats on the river. The poem reads:
If a man is crossing a river
And an empty boat collides with his own skiff,
Even though he be a bad-tempered man
He will not become very angry.
But if he sees a man in the boat,
He will shout at him to steer clear.
If the shout is not heard, he will shout again,
And yet again and begin cursing.
And all because there is somebody in the boat.
Yet if the boat were empty,
He would not be shouting, and not angry.
If you can empty your own boat
Crossing the river of the world,
No one will oppose you,
No one will seek to harm you.
Chuang Tzu, The Way of Chuang Tzu
It is all so clear. If there is no ego, there is nothing to react with. Nobody will react to us. And yet, to empty our self of ego is not so easy to accomplish. That’s because it can’t be accomplished by the ‘I’ itself, but by the Master.
Maharaj Jagat Singh says in The Science of the Soul:
Likewise so long as we lean on others, he lets us do so; but when after repeated disappointments we surrender to him completely, regarding him as our only sheet anchor, he comes to our succour instantly.
The Master has already told us to just get on the train, sit down, do our simran, and let go. He will do the rest. When we don’t let go, is it because we think he cannot handle it? Is this why we keep holding on? The Lord will do for us whatever we let him do. We have become so reliant on this mind of ours that it has convinced us that we have to rely on it - and rely on it alone. The Masters say there is another way of operating, another way of being. We have to take their advice in trying to cross this river of life, and we have to practise meditation as they have instructed so that there is a basis from which to contact the Shabd within.
Everything is contained in the entirety, the oneness, of the whole. In love we let go of self and become another being. We become one. In meditation we let go of self and become one with the Lord. Meditation is the height of love.
The key to letting go is with the true Master. Not only does he connect us with the Shabd that resounds within us, but he also guides and protects us at every step of the journey. Our destiny in this life and our inner spiritual destination are in his hands if only we will let him handle it. Soami Ji has said in Sar Bachan Poetry that “[the mind] doesn’t understand the severity of its own situation - how will it ever reach its destination?” The Master has said that he reaches out and takes hold of our hand. We need to hold on tightly and stay in his protection. Then it is easy to just let go. We’re on his train; let’s enjoy the ride.
You see, the Lord has given us so much in life…. Instead of asking the Father to give us the boons in life, we should ask him to give us that heart which is full of gratitude for what he has given us…. So we need a thankful heart.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III