His Greatest Gift
If one were to ask what’s the hardest thing asked of us on this path, probably most would say: meditation. But perhaps there’s one thing harder still: to regard the good things that come to us and the bad things as the same – and to be equally grateful for both.
Let’s imagine that a letter comes in the post for you, to tell you that you’ve just inherited ten thousand dollars from an old aunt who died recently – a welcome inheritance because your car has to go for some major repairs. So you’re happy and excited, and you run out into the garden to tell your husband or your wife or whoever, and you trip over a tree root and break your ankle. Do you think you could be equally as grateful for that as for receiving that letter about your inheritance?
How logical is it to be expected to regard good karma and bad karma as the same – and to be thankful for both? It’s quite hard to see any logic in this – until we look beyond worldly logic.
Let’s think in Sant Mat terms. We, as disciples of a true Master, have been singled out by the grace of the Supreme Lord and marked to make that journey back to him. Through the Master who initiated us, he has taken total control of our karma and is dishing it out to us in packages that we can handle – precisely because he loves us and is busy mapping out our return to him. We are totally and utterly subject to his will. He will steer us through this life exactly as he wishes – all for our own good.
In Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. IV, Great Master tells us that complying with the Lord’s will means acceptance of it, without murmur or complaint. And we should not distinguish between the pleasure or the pain that comes from the Lord, but regard them both as his gifts. In his words:
We may be rich or poor, healthy or diseased, happy or unhappy. All these states are boons from him, a result of our own karmas. Accept them cheerfully. Be happy in his will…. His will is his greatest gift. Nothing else excels it.
His will is his greatest gift. Nothing else excels it. In other words, whatever he wills for us is perfect, exactly what we need at that time. If we want to follow this path as best we can, what this amounts to is total acceptance of his will, no matter what he sends. And also acceptance of what he doesn’t send. So this means we should be happy with what we’ve got, resigning ourselves gladly to what he has willed for us, cheerfully accepting everything in our lives, good or not so good, as his gift.
And if we have this acceptance, or if we at least try to cultivate it, ultimately there will be tremendous benefit. After all, what are we in this world for? To pay off our karma. And the sooner we can get rid of all that we have to go through, the better. In one of his own satsangs Maharaj Charan Singh Ji told us:
If we can learn to be indifferent to pleasure and pain so that they do not take us away from our path, it would not only lessen the weight of our karmas, but they would also be paid off in much less time. If you can take what comes to you through him, then, whatever it is, it becomes divine in itself; shame becomes honour, bitterness becomes sweet, and gross darkness becomes clear light.
Spiritual Discourses, Vol. I
Real acceptance can lessen the pain of absolutely everything – severe illness or a real tragedy that might befall us. Complete acceptance that whatever happens is good because it comes from the Lord himself also means that there’s no room in our lives for worry. In the book In the Footsteps of the Master we find words of great comfort, taken from the writings of Great Master:
Do not feel perturbed; after all, adversities do come to human beings. We should face them with patience and steadfastness. All days are not the same. When good days do not last, why expect bad days to persist? Much of our bad times have passed away. Only a little is left; bear it with fortitude. Satguru is within you and is every moment looking after you. Have faith in his grace and compassion, and do not feel dejected.
When we experience adversities we can do nothing but submit to what has been destined for us. Moreover, in anything we do, success or failure is not in our hands. In fact, we may think: we’re quite willing to try to live in the will of the Lord. But how do we know what the will of the Lord is? Here too Great Master has the answer:
We cannot see the Lord and are, therefore, not fit to understand his will. But the Guru is the manifested form of the Lord. It is necessary, therefore, to act in accordance with his will. … Whoever follows the will of the Master is the recipient of the Lord’s grace.
Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. IV
So if we don’t know what the will of the Lord is, at least we can try to live according to our Master’s will. But even that is not always easy. We live our lives according to what we think best, what we want to do, what we like or don’t like, and according to how we have been conditioned to act from birth.
But if it were possible to live with absolutely no desires of our own – wanting only what he has given us and being completely happy with that – then we would have achieved everything. There’d be nothing more than could hold us back, ever. And here Great Master tells us something quite startling:
As far as possible, the Master avoids giving the soul rebirth. The soul can make good the deficiency at stages within. Rebirth in this world is only for those who are extremely tied down with the world. If the mind could throw away all the worldly desires this moment, the soul would go up like a shot, instantaneously.
The Dawn of Light
So, if we could throw away all worldly desires, at the time of death we could go right up. No more time to be spent in any of the intermediate stages. No wonder the saints tell us that surrender to the will of the Lord, to the will of our Master, is the greatest thing we could wish for.
When we are initiated by a true Master, we take him as our guide, our Father and our Lord. Right from the moment of our birth he has taken full control of our lives. In fact, from the time that we were marked for initiation, everything that happens to us can happen only according to his will, down to the smallest detail.
That means that even our struggles on the path are in accordance with his will. If we could be convinced of this, then perhaps we could come to see our meditation in a different way – that we’re meditating not to get anything out of it, but simply because he has asked us to do this. If we had the attitude that we meditate because we love him and want to please him, every meditation would be an act of faith. We are sitting in full trust and humble obedience, simply because he has asked us to, without making any demands or requests or even without hopes or expectations.
In Die to Live somebody asks Maharaj Ji what we should do when we realize we are helpless, that we are nothing and shouldn’t expect anything from our meditation.
Just give yourself to him. To love somebody means to give yourself without expecting anything in return. To give yourself, to submit yourself, to resign to him is all meditation. We are losing our own identity and our individuality and just merging into another Being. We have no expectation then. Expectation comes when there is ‘I-ness,’ that I exist and I want this. When I don’t exist, what do I want? In love you don’t exist. You just lose yourself, you just submit yourself, you just resign to his will. There’s no question of expectation or frustration. The more we give, the more it grows, the more we lose ourselves, the more we become another Being.