Him for His sake

“A disciple should not ask for anything other than Lord Himself from Him” — this is an often quoted viewpoint in most spiritual discourses that preach bhakti marg and surat shabd yog. Loving Him for His sake seems impossible to achieve for me. My remembrances of Him are sporadic and short-lived. When free I sometime ask myself: what is it that makes me remember Him? Digging deeper, my mind finds only selfish desires to be the reasons that make me remember the Lord. Whenever I think of Him it is always for asking, begging — regardless of whether I’m asking for an earthly object or some higher spiritual blessings. Even if I try to ask Him from Him my asking is fake, this I always know in my heart. It is fake because such longing for Him arises out of my occasional disenchantment with existence on this plane or curiosity of what lies beyond. It is almost always a rebound from the world that pushes me towards Him and never my own conscious desire to be with Him. In this desire to be with Him too there is my selfishness because it is me who is looking/hoping for some Joy that they say comes from being with Him. There is always this sense of me and Him as separate entities. Anything I try to do to remember Him seems driven purely by my selfish desires. Remembering Him truly for His sake is impossible unless and until something happens to me that makes me Him. Then there will be no me, it will be He remembering Himself. May be eliminating me is the way to remember Him truly for His sake. Ah … that’s why they say get rid of your self to be with Him.

Driving force

Lately, when I’m not too engrossed in day to day affairs the following thought has been gripping my mind.

Why there is always something running in the mind?

For couple of decades now I’ve been hearing and reading about mind and how its tricks and lures keep us entangled in the earthly life. They have been telling that mind always needs something to chew on etc. Nevertheless, for my mind it was the above questions this time 🙂

In order to find answers, I tried to observe the generation of thoughts in my mind. I tried to trace the root of thought trains that arose in my mind at different times of the day. I didn’t set any timetable for this thought chasing exercise, it’s just that the above questions have been bothering me much, and they would spring up at random times often in the middle of a running thought train. Exactly then I’d try to unfold the stack of my interrupted run of thought train. It was like debugging a program by injecting a breakpoint into it in-flight. When the breakpoint is hit then I examine the stack — all the way to its bottom.

In all these thought debugging exercises I do not know if I’ve reached the absolute bottom of the stack i.e. the seed thought which put the program into running state. I could only manage to identify the triggering desire for a given thought train. Almost always the trigger has been a desire for some kind of joy or pleasure. Now, in this exploration I also noticed that the concept of joy or pleasure is sometimes equivalent to preventing/avoiding/eliminating pain or fear of some kind whether existing or perceived in the future.

For instance, I’ve observed a negative thought train where my mind was contemplating ways to make a colleague realize for his/her unkind behavior. How did mind arrive at this point of contemplation involving that colleague?  It’s ego had felt hurt by the colleague’s behavior and now it desired for the pleasure of asserting some kind of supremacy. At another instance I have caught my mind drifting in a thought train about some technology innovation. Here too, unfolding the stack of thoughts revealed that it started with a similar desire for joy of some worldly attainment.

So it seems that at the root of all thought is a desire. Desire is always for some kind of sensory or mental joy. Even this pursuit for solving the mystery of thoughts and mind and finding the self is driven by a desire of joy.

निमंत्रण

मीरदाद की किताब में एक ख़ास संदेश बहुत ही सुन्दर है. उस संदेश का मूल अकसर में अपनी ज़िन्दगी में अनुभव करता हूँ … मेरा ख्याल है बहुत से और लोग भी ज़रूर करते होँगे. उस संदेश का एक भाव है कि बिना किसी बुलावे या आमंत्रण के कोई कम ही जाना पसंद करते है किसी के घर. अब यह बुलावा जो है वो ज़रूरी नहीं है की एक फोर्मल लैटर भेजा जाये. बहुत बार केवल एक सूक्ष्म इशारा मात्र ही काफी होता है. जिस वक़्त आदम हव्वा के उकसाने पर सेब का आनंद ले रहा था … वास्तव में उसी वक़्त वोह एक निमंत्रण भी लिख रहा था — निमंत्रण उन सब अनुभवोँ को जो अदन से बाहर निकाल दिए जाने के बाद उसकी ज़िन्दगी में आये. इसी विचार को मैं दूसरी ओर से देखना पसंद करता हूँ … जो की मेरे हिसाब से थोडा सकारात्मक है: उस मालिक की मेरी जिंदगी में हमेशा मौजूदगी अगर नहीं अनुभव होती तो इसका मतलब है कि निमंत्रण नहीं भेजा गया है उसे. बंदगी में बैठने पर अगर ख्याल मालिक की बजाये व्यर्थ के शक्लो में जाता है … तो साफ़ है कि निमंत्रण अवश्य ही ग़लत जगहो पर भेजे गए है. मालिक कहाँ से आएगा?

 

Reactions and विवेक

Early this year in Lucknow Murshid said in the satsang that our life has been reduced to just a big reaction. In the larger context there He meant that all our life is spent in just reacting to the events around us, without much serious deliberation on our part about doing what we end up doing. Much less thinking about the real purpose of the human life.
Careless reactions to situations, temptations and demands that we face in our day to day life is, in my view, the major contributor towards all the burdensome karma that we gather. Our karma from the previous lives drive and orchestrate the situations that we face. But how we end up dealing with them, that is, how we react to them is the time when script for the life ahead gets written. So, when thinking and acting in and about the world, we in fact are scripting our life ahead. Though they still bind us here, the “good” karma we don’t worry much about. Troublesome part is to deal with situations which may blank out the sense of discrimination between reasonable and unreasonable — our “vivek”.
In this compitive world where our selfish desires and ambitions drive how we live and act, we often end up injuring each other in different ways. Sometimes knowingly and often unknowingly. How should I deal with that? When someone inflicts an injury to “me” I’ve got three options:
a) “Kiss their feet, and return to your own home” as Baba Sheikh Farid advised (ਫਰੀਦਾ ਜੋ ਤੈ ਮਾਰਨਿ ਮੁਕੀਆਂ ਤਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਨ ਮਾਰੇ ਘੁੰਮਿ ॥ ਆਪਨੜੈ ਘਰਿ ਜਾਈਐ ਪੈਰ ਤਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਦੇ ਚੁੰਮਿ ॥).
b) Respond in most “reasonable way” to keep myself safe. In the process I may have to show some resistence/agression, but “the intent” is not to harm the other.
c) Hit back in every reasonable/unreasonable way that I can with the “vengeful intent” of causing injury to the other.
Option #a is obviously the spiritually safest but most tough to follow in today’s time. BTW, at times #a actually may be the only option!! Option #c smells bad very clearly; it is often the result of careless reaction to situation. I think #b seems to be a workable solution, but the problem here is that what “I” deem as “reasonable” may not be so in His view. This is where the Murshid and His teachings help. Challenge is to keep the “vivek” intact; but averting the failure is very difficult without His Grace!

The Ocean of Love

I was listening to the beautifully sung (by Mohit Chauhan) and written (by Mir Ali Husain) song “chala aaya pyar”. Lyrics have immense depth, especially when you also consider the theme of the movie (Aashayein, 2010) in which this song appears.
ख्वाबोँ की लहरें, खुशिओं के साए .. खुशबू की किरने, धीमे से गाये

यही तो है हमदम, वो साथी, वो दिलबर, वो यार

यादोँ के नाज़ुक परो पे चला आया प्यार

मोहब्बत का दरिया अजूबा निराला, जो तैरा वो पाया कभी न किनारा

जो बेख़ौफ़ डूबा वही तो पहुँच पाया पार
It basically seems to be saying that all that we experience in dreams (ख्वाबोँ की लहरें) or while awake (खुशिओं के साए .. खुशबू की किरने, धीमे से गाये) — it is all Him (यही तो है हमदम, वो साथी, वो दिलबर, वो यार)!
He is all Love which manifests subtly through the fully conscious remembrance of Him (यादोँ के नाज़ुक परो पे चला आया प्यार). In the Ocean of Love that He is (मोहब्बत का दरिया अजूबा निराला), only the one who gives himself to It without fear, crosses over (जो बेख़ौफ़ डूबा वही तो पहुँच पाया पार); not the one who tries to swim through It (जो तैरा वो पाया कभी न किनारा).
Amazing poetry and equally amazing is the voice!

 

Safest Carrier

I feel it is necessary to have difficult times in one’s life. Taken in the right spirit, these times have a profound spiritual impact and serve as a vehicle to makes us better human beings. All my learnings about ethics, morals, virtues and so on get tested only in such times. Mind just likes to feel good about the bookish learning that it has gained about leading a virtuous life and about practicing the faculty of discrimination between good and bad etc. Difficult times serve as the testbed to try out this learning. I can safely say that there is huge difference in knowing the theory and in practicing it. It’s very difficult. I often think that Lord doesn’t have any other way to ensure that we are worthy of becoming Him except by trying us in His parameters (what are those?!). He is all in all, omnipotent. Now someone like me with so many weaknesses of flesh and mind, how would One ensure that I’m worthy? Looks like the algorithm defined for the likes of me is to: first impart the theoretical knowledge, then continue to throw at me the difficult situations until the theory has been transformed into wisdom. It is like we test a product in repeated QA test cycles to ensure that the product is worthy of the market. The higher the quality the more stringent tests it needs to pass. This often reminds me of a particular show on Discovery where they showed how the high end cars go through crash tests and so on. Until they are confident enough about the quality of car‘s safety devices to keep the passengers safe, they keep on crashing the car in tests! So the only way out for the poor car from the crash testing is: to PASS THE TEST!! Failure is not an option for a car that dreams of being the Safest Carrier.

Temporary Home

I’ve been living in a temporary home ever since I left my own home; first time when I went out for learning then afterwards whenever I moved to different jobs in different countries. I always knew that those were my temporary homes and one day I’ll go back to my own home. I never collected more than bare essential stuff in those temporary homes, and was never hesitant of leaving away the little I collected when moving to the next temporary home. I often missed my own home when in a land so foreign.

I still live in a temporary home, but I am closer to my own home than I was before and slowly moving towards it. Often the lyrics of American country artist Carrie Underwood’s “Temporary Home” come to my mind:

…This is my temporary home
It’s not where I belong.
Windows and rooms that I’m passin’ through.
This is just a stop, on the way to where I’m going.
I’m not afraid because I know this is my
Temporary Home…