24th June, Monthly Sunday Sabha, Large Hall, Shabad Surat Sangam (SSS) Ashram: It was yet another Sunday. But this being the last Sunday of the month, it was the Sunday of the monthly gathering. Few years ago, Maharaj Ji’s routine was such that he used to spend all his time indoors. In such a situation, the devotees requested that he spend atleast some time with them also. In any case, even in such solitude, Maharaj Ji never refused to meet and answer the query of sincere seekers. And when devotees asked for more time, it was decided that all would gather on the last Sunday of every month and spend the afternoon in Maharaj Ji’s company.
So, local devotees from the village and nearby towns of Kotkapura, Moga etc. visit. Sometimes, devotees from far off places also come. The day starts at around 9:00 AM when breakfast is served. Thereafter, everybody moves to the main hall and bhajans are sung. A notebook is circulated meanwhile, amongst the gathering, on which the devotees can write their questions to be answered later by Maharaj Ji. Since, this meeting was granted by Maharaj Ji on the request of the devotees, so it must be that the devotees require guidance on some pertinent point in their spiritual lives. Maharaj Ji’s discourse is aimed at only answering such written queries. Furthermore, the query is meant to be something which touches one’s life and practice directly. Queries of the nature of mere intellectual curiosity, are seldom addressed and are not encouraged.
Today’s query was from Jasbir Ji, a long time devotee, who lives in the nearby village of Malke. He asked, “Maharaj Ji, you often say to love others. We try to do it as well. And yet, some occasion arises when somebody says something or does something, which really disturbs and hurts the mind. On such occasions it becomes difficult to love that person. The mind seeks revenge too. So what should we do?”
Maharaj Ji then went on to address the question. The answer is presented in bulleted form, summarizing the important points.
- Though it is Jasbir Ji who has asked this question, yet it is a question that anybody could have asked. Such circumstances arise in the lives of any sadhak.
- The first idea is that the Divine resides in every being, be it our parents, friends, relatives, foes, householders, sannyasis; anybody. This entire world is the play of the Divine. Else, the Divine that we have assumed is one of our own imagination.
- Whatever satsanga, japa, reading etc. that we do is like the study done in a class and such circumstances are like the test, examining all the study that we have done. The study part is easy. You can do satsanga, it is easy. For sadhaks, japa is easy. But the real tests are such circumstances.
- So firstly, if such a situation arose when we got angry at someone, then we should understand that we must do more study to pass the test. We must do satsanga with greater involvement; try to go deeper in meditation.
- Secondly, understand that if we have reacted with the same venom to someone’s action, then we have done great harm to ourselves. We have ourselves created a thick wall between ourselves and the Divine.
The story of the silent practitioner, living on the banks of the Ganges is pertinent here. A washer-man used to come everyday to the banks to wash clothes. He felt angry at the silent practitioner. “How come I have to work so hard, and he simply sits there. When he wants to eat, he can get his food from the nearby ashram. But, I have to work so hard.” So, finally one day, he could not control himself and went straight to the practitioner and began rebuking him. The practitioner remained silent. This irritated him further. Now, he started to throw stones at him. At this, the Divine Mother in the skies hurried the Divine Father to go and help his devotee. The Father started to descend to the Earth to help the devotee, but then he saw that now the devotee himself had picked up stones and was throwing them, in turn, at the washer-man. The Great Father returned knowing that now it was just a fight between the two washer-men and His intervention was not required.
- It is really true that when we can be silent amongst such extreme situations, really extraordinary power awakens from within. It is the power of silence. It has depth. And it will end up calming the other person too.
- Thirdly, know that whatever comes our way is the fruit of our own actions. Therefore, in fact, one should be thankful to the other person, who is helping us reap the fruits of our own actions. If this can be really done, we will not only pass the test, but we will pass it with distinction. And then we can really go great miles in our higher studies.
- But all such solutions are difficult to remember when the thunder actually strikes. At that time, just remember this. Remain silent. Take a step backwards. Do not react and retaliate. Do not speak up. That will worsen the situation. Keep the inner goal at first priority. By reacting back, do not create a wall between yourself and the Divine.
- Now, there is another facet to all this. In some cases there is much love: relations like mother-child, Guru-Disciple. There is also the case of the maintaining law and order in the society. In all such cases, punishment can be and is given. But what is the difference of such cases from the former ones. This punishment is given out of a sense of duty and not personal grudges. These are examples. What we intend to say is that, in cases where there is extreme love with another person, and he is doing something awfully wrong, then you simply stop him. No need to argue. Simply stop him. You may have to shout. But then, after an hour or so, with great love and hugs tell him the reason for your conduct. Tell him, where he was going wrong. With great love, inspire him onto the correct path.
- There can be still another situation. Sometimes, you may step back, but the other person keeps on coming at you. In such situation, for self-defense you can/must push him back. But remember, such cases are quite rare.
Since, there was only one query that was asked and there was still time for more to say, so Maharaj Ji picked up the string of conversation that had occurred last evening, when one inmate of the ashram had asked Maharaj Ji the following question: “So much significance has been attached to seva (Service). What is to be added to all the “work” that we do, such that this “work” becomes “seva”?
Before presenting what Maharaj Ji said on this subject today, here is how Maharaj Ji had responded to it yesterday.
- First thing, be a sevak. Before you can do seva, you must become a sevak.
- But sevak of whom? Of the Divine, who exists in every being.
- But the Divine is not that we directly see and experience. Therefore, be a sevak of the Guru. Of Guru’s Hukum (of Guru’s Will, Desire)!
- But it may be that the Guru’s Hukum is not clear. In that case, follow the general rules that have been set here in the ashram. Do not do things out of the fancies of the mind.
- The important thing and the primary thing is to walk and work together. To do tapa, japa etc. is very easy. But to do seva is difficult. In seva, the ego is dissolved. The heart is purified. For this at least, work as a team. (Elaboration from the writer: Be a part in the whole machine. Do not try to hijack the entire machine. On the pretext of seva, ego should not grow. It should dissolve)
- To work together means that we should not be concerned with only oneself and the set of the duties assigned to us. One, who is distributing food in langar, should also know whether the number of chapattis would suffice. It is not that my duty is just to distribute the food and be done with it. Work together.
- The other thing is do not desire any mundane result from your work. This is called Nishkama Karma.
- Now, there is a story. A sevak’s duty was to prevent dogs from entering the langar. Now, when the dog came, he struck him, rebuked him. Now this is not seva. Similarly, a sevak was asked to wash the cow. When he took it there to bathe, the cow began to drink the water kept to bathe it. This angered the sevak and he thrashed it. But this is not seva.
- Do everything with love, involvement.
Today, too Maharaj Ji covered these points. In addition he said with respect to following the Guru’s Hukum:
- It may happen that the Guru gives a silent nod to what we had wanted to do from our own side. That is fine.
- But the really great thing is when our own mind did not want to do a particular thing, and yet the Guru asked us to do it. Now, we can follow his command in many ways.
- Either, one could carry out the command with a sense of burden. That is not of much use.
- But the really great thing is to do the Guru’s Hukum, though it may not be the wish of our mind, with complete joy and love.
- This is only possible if there is a relationship of love between the Guru and the disciple.
- There is a story relating to it. An old lady, who lived alone, grew frustrated when somebody knocked on her door late in the night. ‘Who has come at this hour?’ Her body was not healthy. First she thought not to get up, and the visitor would leave. But then when the knocking persisted, she got up to open the door. She was cursing her situation. But when she opened the door she saw her own son, who used to work far away and seldom come home. Immediately, all her burden and fatigue vanished. Now she was bubbling with eagerness and energy and was all ready to even prepare elaborate meals for him. Where from came such energy to her? It happened through love.