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The hard and miserable life of most of the people engaged in different worldly pursuits keeps them so much occupied with their problems of life that they are often led to believe that they can hardly spare time for devotion and worship, except at the cost of some vital interest or pecuniary gain which they cannot safely afford to ignore. This notion keeps them away from the path of duty, although sometimes they become seemingly conscious of it. Their minds are absorbed every moment in thinking about the various problems of their material life and are seldom directed towards God, except when they are in deep distress or misery. The reason is that they attach primary importance to their worldly interests alone, which constantly remain in their view. Thus they remain entangled within the maya without ever thinking of getting out of it at any stage.
If we divert our attention towards God and feel realisation as the primary object of life, naturally we shall begin to look upon it as the first and the foremost thing in comparison to everything else in the world. It does not mean that we should become unmindful of our worldly responsibilities and neglect our duty in that respect, causing trouble and misery to those depending upon us for support. We must remain alive to our sense of duty to them as much as to God, but without any undue attachment. For this, we must snatch a few minutes from our hours of rest (preferably at bedtime) and pray to God with a sincere heart for His guidance and support on the path of duty. If we do it regularly with a heart full of love and devotion, the prayer shall never go unheard.
When we thus get awakened to the sense of duty, and the idea of God becomes prominent in our hearts, we begin to treat realisation as the primary object of life. Naturally our craving for it begins to grow stronger, and we are thus led to frequent remembrance of God during our routine of daily work, in spite of all our engagements and worries. Diversion from the path of duty is, in fact, not due to circumstances or outside engagements, but only due to the misdirected activities of the undisciplined mind. Mere consciousness of God cures many of the evils of the mind and removes difficulties from our path. We have thus to become conscious of God for the most part of the day, during all our worldly activities.
Frequent remembrance of God, though greatly helpful, is not all that we need for our final success in realisation. We generally begin an important thing in the name of God, and it is customary almost in every religion to do so. But that is only a matter of formality and has no real significance. We never dedicate the thing to God in the real sense, and at heart we are, in fact, quite away from the idea of God. Remembrance of God thus is of no avail. The real significance of the custom is that we must remain in touch with the idea of God in all phases of our mental and physical activities. We must feel ourselves connected with the Supreme Power every moment, with an unbroken chain of thought during all our activities. It can be easily accomplished if we treat all our actions and work to be a part of divine duty entrusted to us by the Great Master whom we are to serve as best as we can.
Service and sacrifice are the two main instruments with which we build the temple of spirituality, love of course being the fundamental basis. Any kind of service, if done selflessly, is helpful. Service to fellow beings is service to God in the real sense, if it is not done out of any selfish motive. Whatever we do in our daily routine of work is in relation with some of our fellow beings, be they our children, friends or relations. If we think that while doing a work we are really serving one or the other of God’s creatures and not our own purpose, we are all along following the path of service, although we are outwardly busy with our usual routine of work.
Almost all our activities in life are connected with providing means of livelihood for our children and dear ones. So, if we treat them as children of God, who are entrusted to our care and whom we have to provide for and look after as if duty bound, we are then serving His children and thereby God Himself. We shall thereby get rid of undue attachment too, and shall thus remove one of the greatest obstacles from our path.
The process, though easy and simple, will lead you also to constant thought of the Supreme Master in all your activities. If this thing gets rooted deep in your heart, every action of yours will then seem to be a duty merely for duty’s sake in accordance with the divine dictate, without any selfish interest or personal attachment. Universal love then becomes predominant, and we begin to love every being of God’s creation without any feeling of attachment to it. It leads us to devotion and sacrifice. Devotion makes our passage smooth and creates a channel for the Godly current to flow into our heart. It removes dirt and refuse from our way and facilitates our march along the path. The refuse is really the effect of conflicting ideas that create disturbances and worries in our minds.
By meditating, we create a temporary lull in our mind, and calmness prevails for the time during which we are in touch with the divine force. But meditation only at a certain fixed hour is not enough, for we are thus in touch with the sacred thought only for a while, after which we have no idea of God whatsoever and are, for the most part of the day, away from the path of service and devotion. This is the reason why after years of practice we often still find ourselves at the lowest level of spiritual attainment. What, in fact, we feel during meditation is only simplicity and calmness, if we are rightly guided by a capable master. But an aspirant is generally unable to understand it, for it is beyond his conception at the early stages. The effect thus being imperceptible, he often complains that he feels nothing during meditation. This is chiefly due to the fact that he remains in touch with the divine force only for a few minutes of practice. Thus, the real thing gained during meditation remains with him only for a while. On the other hand, there is a man who tries to retain the effect gained by meditation for the most part of the day and abides in the same state for as long as he can. He is, in a way, in constant remembrance of God, and his progress is easy and rapid.
Some people think that constant or even frequent remembrance of God is not practicable when a man in life is surrounded by numerous worries and anxieties caused by worldly attachment and responsibilities. But practice and experience will prove to them that it is a very easy process and can be followed by any and every one in spite of all worries and engagements, only if they divert their attention towards God in the real sense.
The idea of Guru as the Supreme divine force is very helpful in a spiritual pursuit. You depend upon his guidance, thinking him to be a superhuman being. If you go on with your busy routine of life, dedicating everything to your Master, imagine what good it will bring to you in the long run. While doing a thing, think that you are not doing it for yourself, but for your Master, or rather think that your Master himself is doing it for himself. While at the breakfast table, you must think that your Master is breaking his fast. When you go to the office, think that your Master is doing all this. While returning from the office, suppose you see an attractive dance on the way. Your eyes are caught by the charming appearance of the dancer. Your thoughts seem to be diverted for a while. Then also, think that your Master, and not you, is seeing the dance. You will at once lose curiosity for it, because your Master’s power will begin to flow in to relieve you of the temptation. When you come back from the office, your children rejoice to see you after so many hours. You too enjoy their merriments and it is but natural. Your attention is, for a while, diverted towards them and you feel a bit away from the sacred thought. What you are to do then is to think that your Master within is himself enjoying, and you shall be in touch with the same sacred thought again. If you are chatting with your friend, think that your Master, not you, is talking to him. While walking, think that your Master himself is walking. During meditation, if you entertain the idea that not you but your Master himself is meditating on his own form, it shall bring about excellent results. Similarly, you can adjust yourself in all your routine of work. If you cultivate this feeling and maintain the outlook that your Master is doing everything in your place, you shall not only be in constant remembrance all the while, but your action will cause no impression whatsoever, and very soon you will cease making further samskaras.
The process, if earnestly followed, will constantly keep the Master’s form in your vision, and you will feel his presence within and all about. Though, in fact, the real Master is not merely his outward physical form but his inner self, still it is almost impossible to ignore the form altogether. But those who stick to the idea of the physical form alone as the Master create for themselves the grossest entanglements and complications. Kabirdas has rightly termed such persons as guru pashu. But if the Master is a great divine soul who has secured his merger in absolute Reality, meditation on his form is, by far, of greatest advantage to the disciples. His body, though gross in outward appearance, is really as fine and subtle in character as his inner self. If you meditate on the form of such a Master, you not only begin to lose your own grossness but also begin to imbibe within you the finest condition of his inner self. The form taken up in view will after some time disappear from sight, and you will gradually embark on the plane of pure Reality. I have discussed in my book Commentary on the Ten Maxims of Sahaj Marg how the form disappears from view when you look at a thing constantly for some time. Thus, automatically, from the outward form we travel inwards and then to the real point where everything disappears.