“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.
यही तो है हमदम, वो साथी, वो दिलबर, वो यार
मोहब्बत का दरिया अजूबा निराला, जो तैरा वो पाया कभी न किनारा
Visiting a hospital can be a very humbling and eye-opening experience in many ways. In recent past I have been visiting hospitals for one reason or another. Recently I went to Fortis Mohali for some consultations regarding my mom’s condition. While we were waiting to see the doctor, I would notice the patients. Most patients were elderly men and women and few were young adults accompanied by thier respective attendants. May be this was just a conincident, in the elderly group, I saw more men accompanying their unwell wives (how did I know if they were a couple — I’ll write about it another time!) than the other way around on the days I was at the hospital. Those elderly men and women showed utmost care for thier unwell partners there. Most couples were not accompanied by any other family members. Some were on wheelchair with the other partner pushing it.
I was moved to see one particular couple: a lean sikh gentleman of about 70 was accompanying his wife. She appeared quite worried while he was comforting her by explaing some documents which appeared to be some diagnostic test reports. On thier turn he very gently took her hands and walked her into doctor’s cabin. We were the next to see that doctor.
Most couples of my parent’s generation that I know have given thier enire lives to raise and nurture the families, with wives holding the fort at home and the husbands at work. Driving back home after the hospital visit I kept thinking about the life in old age. I had mixed feelings. It was pleasantly touching to see some elderly partners care so lovingly for thier unwell spouse. In some cases I felt sad to see the elderly couples struggle alone to deal with the hospital running around.
In the common usage of this word it refers to something done by one person or a group for another. Service may be sold or be rendered out of love and gratitude. Professionals like architects, dentists, tailors and so on sell their services. I would call it a service out of love when a mother nurses her child. An obedient son making sure that his parents are comfortable and in peace is also, in my view, a service that the son does out of love for his parents. In the Eastern philosophy there is a mention of service to the master that a disciple does out of his love for the master. I’d call someone performing the service of second kind as virtuous whereas someone performing the first would be called a skilled person. The kind of wealth earned by performing each type of service is also different.
There are some subtle differences in the way the practitioners of these two kinds of services usually perform them.
An architect for instance makes sure that the design of the home that he does makes the client happy. Architect’s own personal preferences about a home take the back seat. A tailor’s personal preferences about dressing takes a back seat when he stitches the client’s clothes — the client has to feel happy and satisfied about the dress. Client first is their mantra.
It is not exactly the same when one performs the "out of love" type of service — the idea of putting the happiness of the served one before one’s own desires is often lost. Often the serving won’t even be aware that his own desires to prove something or to fulfil some selfish motive out of it are coming in the way.