One moment, You are all I know, Friend.
Next moment, eat, drink and be merry!
Another moment, I put every beast in shame.
O’Friend, how will this scatteredness that is me
find its way to You?
Shaikh Abu Saeed Abil-Kheir, Nobody, Son of Nobody
Here the Sufi poet Shaikh Abu Saeed Abil-Kheir accurately describes the plight of spiritual practitioners on the path. When we are in the physical presence of the Master, we feel a certain sense of security and peace, and all worldly anxieties seem to vanish. Our hearts are filled with joy and our entire being is permeated with his love. And in that moment, our heart implores, “You are all I want, Master.”
But as the Sufi mystic points out, the next instant, when we are outside the sphere of our Master’s presence, we find ourselves eating, drinking and making merry. We busy ourselves in amassing wealth and increasing our bank balance. We chase one worldly desire after another. We fill our social calendar to the brim. We become so engrossed in satisfying our worldly appetites that all our noble thoughts about the Master and the path seem like a long forgotten dream.
This is because we are caught in the middle between the world and the Lord. The soul has the inherent desire to seek and merge in the Lord. But it is obstructed by the deeply individualistic mind. This mind keeps the soul tied to the world and holds it back from its source. It is for this reason that we feel the full intensity and onslaught of the mind at the time of meditation.
So as disciples, we need to ask ourselves: are we willing to vanquish the mind so we can finally reunite with the Lord? Or are we going to continue to succumb to the sensual pleasures of the world?
I saw an ant carrying a grain of rice
And then she spied a lentil along the way.
She was puzzled how to carry both.
Kabir says she cannot –
She must take one and leave the other.
A devotee must choose between the Lord and the world.
Kabir, the Great Mystic
Some of us may think we chose the Lord the moment we decided to tread on a spiritual path. We abstain from meat, alcohol, smoking and mind-altering drugs; we lead a moral life and try to devote one-tenth of our time to daily meditation. We somehow convince ourselves that we are doing everything in our capacity to love Him. But is this enough? In our present state, our heart is divided or scattered by many loves. Our mind is continually engaged in repetition and contemplation of worldly forms and objects: family, career, children, money, to name a few. Have we really left room for love of the Lord?
There is an incident narrated in Legacy of Love, where a lady got up during a question-and-answer session, and repeated over and over again to Maharaj Charan Singh Ji, “I love you, I love you, I love you.” He did not interrupt her. When eventually she had emptied her heart, he responded simply, “Sister, you didn’t say ‘only’.”
Saints advise us to love the Lord with all our heart, with all our mind and with all our soul.
One is reminded of the story of the disciple who wanted to understand how to achieve God-realization. His master asked him to bring a sieve and fill it with water. Try as he might, the disciple was unable to fill the sieve. The master then took the sieve and threw it into the ocean, showing the disciple that the only way to truly be with the Father was to merge in him completely.
If we are scattered in our love, we are like a man in search of water who digs a little here and a little there. He will no doubt die of thirst. It is only by digging deep in a single spot that the man will ultimately find water.
When we repeat the holy Names and hold our attention at the eye centre, we are ‘digging deep in a single spot’. Saints say that it is behind the eye centre that we will get everything we have been looking for: peace, bliss and love. The Master’s love for us is infinite, absolute and constant. And we will only be able to understand the true meaning of love when we sit for meditation every day. Because when we meditate, we are slowly but surely erasing the imprint of worldly love from our hearts and replacing it with love for the Master, which is a requisite for God-realization.
Devotion to the Master is to love him. It is to live according to his orders and directions – physically as well as mentally. In other words, one should give away one’s heart to one’s Master. It is essential that we give our heart to our Master, for, when one gives away one’s heart, one automatically gives one’s whole body and puts one’s entire life in the hands of the Master.
Maharaj Sawan Singh, Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. II
With the Master’s grace, when we go within and meet his Radiant Form, we become filled with his love. We have the single desire to never be separated from him. The same mind that was so intoxicated with worldly pleasures now becomes still. It loses interest in flitting from one worldly love and attachment to another. Nothing in this world attracts it. Nothing else exists. The Master is his sole companion, support and anchor – here and hereafter.
In all this world, there is only You.
When all else ceases, there is only You.
Legacy of Love