Be the Lotus
Most practitioners on the path of the saints begin their spiritual journey while leading normal, worldly lives. They have families, careers, obligations and duties. Just like all responsible people, they strive hard to earn a living to make ends meet. They have multiple interests such as learning new things, socializing and travelling. In short, they enjoy the world and what the creation has to offer.
At the same time, they try to assimilate their life into Sant Mat with a clear understanding that their circumstances will not change just because they are initiated.
Every disciple must get accustomed to the fact that although coming on to the path and being accepted by the Master is a life-changing event (like ‘taking a new birth’, a term that Hazur Maharaj Ji would often use from the New Testament); this does not mean that one is no longer accountable for his past deeds and karmas. We all have to reap the rewards of our good actions and at the same time, suffer for our transgressions.
It would be futile to think that doing seva, reading spiritual books, doing good deeds or even giving in charity can change all this. Destiny has to take its natural course. But all these elements including satsang, seva and, most importantly, meditation allow us to rise above the effects of our karmas like a lotus flower floating above the water.
Commitment towards our spiritual practice will enable us to face life’s trials and tribulations with a relaxed and balanced composure with which we can gracefully accept our fate. We become stronger and retain a positive frame of mind as we continue to endure all the ups and downs of life, while keeping our spiritual goal in mind.
Sant Mat does not conceal the fact that the path leading to the Truth is a long and arduous one filled with distractions. Sardar Bahadur Ji used to say that ‘the path is not meant for cowards and weaklings as it calls for the bravery of a warrior’. This is because to meditate daily with total and unwavering focus demands not only determination but also renunciation of certain things that many consider essential.
As disciples, we have to constantly prioritize because under no circumstances are we to neglect our meditation. We have to attend to our worldly obligations, duties and interests while also treading the spiritual path. But we can only be successful if we are steadfast and resolute in adhering to the instructions imparted to us at the time of initiation.
In Adventure of Faith, the author recorded a question put forth to Hazur Maharaj Ji when he was asked whether there was any shortcut that we could take on this slow and tiresome way of meditation. His emphatic and piercing response was:
A great and overwhelming love of God can pull the attention inside with irresistible power. But such love is found in very few seekers of God. Ultimately, this very love would lead the disciple of a true living Master to the vision of his inner form and to the experience of the Word of God within. Therefore the time of meditation is the most precious time of the day for the disciple because, as a gift of grace, it awakens the love within us and makes it grow.
Stilling the mind and “awakening the love within” is a slow and tedious process. The Masters never tire of cautioning us not to expect instant and immediate results. Hazur Maharaj Ji often admonished us not to calculate our efforts and worry about our progress. That would eventually lead to disappointment because we are incapable of accounting for the innumerable lives we have spent succumbing to the lure of the senses and accumulating countless karmas.
One of the great lessons we learn as we walk the path of the saints is that there are no shortcuts. This practice requires immense patience, unwavering obedience and relentless effort on our part. Eventually, it brings us to the realization that it is only his grace and mercy that can pull us to “experience the Word of God within”.
Ultimately, whatever the challenges, whatever the hardships, whatever the joys, as we pass our time in this world of illusion, we must strive to be the lotus – pure, pristine and unaffected – resting atop the murky pond of human life.
One should live in this world
Uncontaminated by it,
As a lotus leaf lives in water
Uncontaminated by its drops.
Praise and censure must fall off his ears
As if he were absorbed within
In a state of ecstasy.
One should see the world
And yet it is to be taken as a dream.
Tukaram – The Ceaseless Song of Devotion