Rabia is regarded as one of the greatest saints of Islam. An orphan, she was sold off as a slave for a paltry sum, when she was a little kid. The tender soul grew up attending to all household chores of her master – cooking, cleaning, doing the dishes- from dawn to dusk. A total slave– doing what her master told her to do, eating what the master gave her to eat, wearing what her master gave her to wear- with no wish of her own, so much so, that she became totally void of any desire of her own.
Only Rabia could live up to such intense slavery – no wishes for comforts no fear of sorrow; never longing for heavens, never dreading the hell. Undoubtedly, she must have been a devotee of the highest order in her previous birth, who floated along the will of the lord with such alacrity, that her daily routine itself was accepted by the divine lord as a consecration. However, on this plain Rabia was not the one to be contented. She had to unify her own self with the divine. She had a long way to go.
Utmost devotion and dedication to her duty had purified Rabia’s inner-self. She yearned to spend each moment in the worship of her beloved lord. However, her tough routine did not allow her to do so. She could find time to feel her oneness with her dear lord only at night, tired after the day’s hard work.
“Only if I were not to do the master’s chores, I would have the entire day to spend with my lord, every day”, with this thought in her mind, she decided to run away to a distant forest, where there would be nothing and no one between her and her beloved, the God. But it was not easy; the master would not allow her to leave. After all she was his salve. However, so intense was her longing, that one night she decided to scale the boundary wall of the house to achieve her objective. This was, however, not to be. Alarmed with the sound of here scaling the wall, the master came running out of his room. By the time he reached, a nervous Rabia was lying on the ground. She had fallen down the wall. “Rabia, what are you doing here”, shouted the master. “Get up and go inside.”
Once in her small hovel, Rabia burst into tears. “Oh, my dear Lord! I wanted to run away only to be with you, but you have broken my leg. All right, as you wish! Your wish is my command.”
Even while her master’s vigil over her became more guarded, Rabia’s yearning became more and more intense. She would be lost in the worship of the lord, even as she went through the daily chores. After the day’s work, in total silence of the night, she would turn her consciousness inwards, over the blissful path of luminescence, to meet her beloved, the Lord. Sometimes she would succeed in unifying with him, while many a time she would not – facing the agony of her separation.
Years went by. Rabia’s sadhana went on. She had now started experiencing, though not very often, cool sprinklings of nectar of bliss, springing out of the intense heat of her austere Sadhana.
However, then came a turning point in Rabia’s life. Rabia was established deep into meditation, after finishing the day’s work. Some guests arrived late in the night. Dinner had to be served to them. The master came to Rabia’s hovel and called aloud, “Rabia, will you just come out…. some guests are to be attended to.” But Rabia would not listen, away as she was from the physical, delving deep into her own self. “How deep a sleep,” thought the master and decided to take a peep inside the window.
He just could not believe what he saw.
Rabia was into deep state of meditation; rays of bright light radiating from her serene face; her body established in air, much above the ground, without any support.
What a divine sight!
The master was dumbstruck. He stood there, watching silently with reverence. Quietly he retracted, and went on to attend to his guests.
Next morning as Rabia opened the door, she saw the master standing in, his hands joined and his head bowed in reverence.
“Forgive me Rabia”, implored the master, with utmost affection and reverence, “I am a sinner. I have always given you trouble. Forgive me, please.”
Rabia stood there, listening, without uttering a word. The love of the lord brought tears to her eyes. Seeing the tears, the master also could not hold himself back. He also burst into tears. “Please forgive me Rabia. Now I am your slave. Come and be seated in my house; please give me chance to serve you Rabia.”
“I do not crave for any worldly possession. Palaces and riches are of no use to me. My lord has always been by my side, and will always continue to be. All I yearn for is to be with the remembrances of my dear lord, each and every moment. If you really want to serve me, please free me from the slave hood”, Rabia said with folded hands.
Rabia was now free. Free from all obstacles which earlier obstructed her path.
Rabia’s Sadhana is a guiding light for those aspirants, who earnestly contemplate treading the path of Godliness.
True Sadhaka is the one, who orients even the greatest adversity towards Sadhana. A Sadhaka is truly brave, if he/she strives to continue Sadhana at nights, shunning the luxury of sleep. The God himself is obliged to unshackle such a true Sadhaka, who is bound to reach the highest realms of Sadhana.
There are people who like to call themselves Sadhakas, but keep denouncing other people and circumstances for being obstacles in their Sadhana. Such people will never be able to go into deep Sadhana. For such people it is advised that they should perform Seva, to the best of their ability. They should not use Sadhana as an excuse for not performing their duties properly.
We have to proceed from where we have been placed according to our karma. We have neither to stay put there, nor try to flee.
Before one gets out of the effects of one karma, one initiates the next. This way one weave several webs of Karma, which keep one entrapped for ever. We escape one web only to get entangled into the next. One does not know how to be Nishkama, but always blames the circumstances.
In the name of obeying the God’s will, one dances to the tunes of his own cravings, and keeps getting trapped, perpetually into the never-ending web.
To top it all one blames….none other than the lord himself.
Can such a fool ever see sense?