I recently taught a class at a university for the first time in my life as an instructor. My class had a mix of 40 very poor to very brilliant students. Only about 10 would show up in the class through the semester. Among these 10 were the best as well as the poorest students of my class. The brilliant will pass the course anyways and of course are dear to me. Of these 10, the poorest too will be passed just because they have been regular to the class.
While driving back home today, I was thinking to myself that when this is the situation of a mere worldly instructor teaching some students in a university, what to talk of a Perfect Master. The point that became visible to me in a new light was huzur’s words about regularity in meditation: “मन लगे या न लगे फ़र्ज़ समझ कर बैठो … भजन-सिमरन में कभी नागा नहीं डालना!”
Our beloved Master bestows His Grace upon us despite our repeated failings to keep up to His teachings.
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!
Last Sunday dad, two of his friends and I went to listen to murshid‘s discourse. Weather in Punjab last weekend was unusually pleasant in mid May. We started early from home at about 4.00am. Drive from Ghanauli up till almost Jalandhar is a breeze these days. I like the road along the canal from Ropar till Balachaur. This small stretch of the highway is surrounded by green country side of Punjab. Early morning drive is amazing there! Dad’s “dollar” works at the Balachaur toll plaza, but the blokes at another toll plaza before Phagwara are a finicky lot and (rightly) refuse to recognize dad’s “dollar” — his now expired ID. Children don’t let him (mis)use his ID or anything that he ethically shouldn’t be using to have his way. This time opponents were in majority so they tried to exploit the “dollar” but the attempt failed when the toll plaza guy refused to accept that ID. However, the toll guy asked dad where we were headed — people often get influenced by dad’s persona, particularly his now all-grayed out mustache. Dad said we were going to Dera at Beas. Hearing this the toll guy said: “OK now this ID of your works because you are going to Dera”. I almost stopped the car and tried to pay the dues then and there. The elderly friend of dad then stopped me and said: “At the final day too it will be His Name that will let us through, why worry if He let us through this little toll thing?” I reluctantly moved on, but these words of the elderly gentleman kept lingering in my head. Being a responsible citizen I wanted to pay my dues. Invoking your Murshid‘s name for the most trivial of the things like this toll is almost criminal in my view! Nevertheless, I was thinking that ultimately it will again be His Word that will save me at the final day and not my own effort; at that moment too am I going to say: “No I want to pay all my karmic debts myself“? From the principle standpoint I’m not sure if the two situations — the toll and the final day — are much different.
Nevertheless, Lord’s Name is His Currency that is valid everywhere!