During the mastership of Hazur Maharaj Charan Singh, a travelling sadhu came to meet him. Seeing the Master bow to him first, he felt so overwhelmed by Hazur’s humility that he asked:
Whenever we go to saints or to religious leaders for an interview… they expect us to bow to them. This is the usual custom. This is the only place where I have seen a Master bowing to the disciples first. Why is this so?
I am the servant of the Lord and the Lord is in everyone.
Treasure Beyond Measure
If the Master sees the Lord in everyone, then he sees the Lord in you and me. Let’s think about that: the Creator of all that is and all that was and all that will be – in us? The ocean of love, the source of life itself – in us? If the Creator lives within each one of us, and what we experience every day is also his creation, then why do we have problems? What possibly could be a problem? Love is within us, the natural expressions of love are outside, yet misery persists. Such a situation makes no sense, yet isn’t it the universal human condition?
Soami Ji addresses this question by saying:
Man suffers from three obvious and three dormant maladies.… Only a Sant Satguru diagnoses such ills.…
The first of these diseases is the liability to birth and death; the second is that of strife and struggle with the mind.… The third disease is ignorance, for man does not know who he is, whose essence he is, nor where he (the Source) is.
It is evident that no disease can be cured, nor quarrels decided by reading books. One has to go to a living physician, describe his condition and get the necessary medicine.… The Satguru is the living physician … and can cure these ills.
Sar Bachan (Prose)
These ills affect all of us, even if we’re physically healthy and mentally strong. We may consider them universal spiritual maladies, and as with any ordinary illness, we are moved to seek a remedy and recover from them.
No one would dispute that we are “liable to birth and death”. The entire planet is perishable and our bodies are part of that; they will decompose one day. Nature is always in a process of creating, sustaining, and destroying. It is one thing to say death is present everywhere; it is another to accept it and not feel vulnerable to its power. Mostly, we consider this process of life and death to be a troubling state of affairs, and we are frightened. But why are we troubled? If we understood that our identity is unaffected by death, would death be so terrible?
In a movie, we may identify with a character and then see him or her die; we feel sad or even weep. A few minutes later, we leave the theatre, and we don’t give that death a second thought because it was acting. It was a temporary psychological experience for us.
The remedy for the first malady – of birth, death, and rebirth – is devotion to love alone. If all of us humans were so devoted to love that we became love, we would not suffer this illness, this fear of death, because real love is eternal. This love is not subjective; rather, it is an inner reality called Shabd which we can experience within.
Maharaj Charan Singh explains in Spiritual Discourses, Vol. I:
Love alone is eternal and God is love … Those who devote themselves to him alone also become eternal and deathless.
Our second malady is that of “strife and struggle with the mind”. There are powerful forces of lust, greed, anger, attachment, and ego driving all of us relentlessly to act and react. We live together, sometimes harmoniously, sometimes in conflict. Following our passions, we sometimes act in ways we later regret. Other times we are victimized by friends or strangers pursuing their own passions at our expense. No matter where we look, whether it is international affairs, community organizations or family gatherings, there is occasional strife and struggle. Even within the private recesses of our own thoughts and feelings, conflict and disturbance may arise at any moment.
As we mature in life, we may rightfully conclude that strife and struggle are the way of the world. Many people seek alternatives to their selfishness through community service, intellectual study, creative expression, or religious practices. Anyone who has been involved in these activities will notice that they also involve aspects of strife and struggle. Is there no practice that is free of the mind? Look around the world and recall everyone you have met. Who has gained freedom from the strife and struggle with the mind? If you say the Master, then how did he do it? How did he find a cure to this spiritual illness?
Baba Jaimal Singh answers this question in Spiritual Letters:
When day by day the mind’s faculty of focused attention, which is an aspect of the soul, becomes pure through continuous practice … the Satguru will look upon the disciple with his glance of mercy; and as the Satguru’s compassionate glance keeps falling upon the disciple, all the gross and evil tendencies of the mind will go away.
Our third malady is ignorance, “for man does not know who he is, whose essence he is, nor where he (the Source) is”. Sooner or later in life, this universal truth becomes painfully apparent. When we find ourselves acting like animals, we may declare, “I am not going to behave like that anymore. I am better than that!” But, what is it to be a human? What is special about our species? Who are we?
We search everywhere outside and never find our source. Perhaps one day we find a person or a place with special meaning to us, perhaps we can make that person our spouse or that place our home, but one day we must leave. Sometimes we may feel our source is our family and, with gratitude, we acknowledge our parents’ gift in bringing us into this life. Still, we know they did not create us. If they had created us, they would understand the mystery of life’s origin. Our source must lie somewhere else.
Maharaj Charan Singh notes in Quest for Light:
This constant feeling of loneliness and missing something is in reality the hidden unquenched thirst and craving of the soul for its Lord. It will always persist as long as the soul does not return to its ancient original home and meet its Lord.
The Master’s message is that only we humans have the capacity to realize our true divinity. Our body will still die but we will not identify with it. We will gain inner peace, relief from mental strife and struggle, by disciplining and purifying our mind through simran and bhajan. We will gain wisdom by attending to meditation. We will come to understand that we are a drop in the ocean of spiritual love, our essence is the holy sound and light of Shabd, and our path home starts at the third eye.
As with all recovery, there may be relapses; we will face setbacks and disappointments. In every relapse, however, there is a chance to learn humility and seek the Master with renewed vigour. The Master’s grace aids us in turning our weaknesses into spiritual strengths. Our spiritual recovery from these maladies involves a million decisions to adhere every hour to the four vows, and a lifelong commitment to give the Master constant opportunities to open our hearts to love.
Although the human condition is drenched in the negativity of the passionate mind, it is also the place for spiritual recovery. As Maharaj Ji often reminds us:
To be born as a human being is a great privilege because it is only as a human being that you can strive to work for your emancipation and thus get out of this endless chain of birth and death.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Light on Sant Mat