Ruzbeh N. Bharucha
I ain’t no Master but it sure sounds groovy.
The word Master for me means ‘One who has control over all five senses and also the five elements within Himself or Herself and the world outside’. I can barely control my six year daughter, leave aside elements and the five senses.
For me the word Master evokes names like Sai Baba of Shirdi, Avtar Meher Baba, Baba Jaan, Tajuddin Baba, Nityanda Baba, Jesus Christ, the 51 Perfect Masters, 54 Perfect Beings and the galaxy of Sages, Fakirs, Mystics, that we in India are blessed with. Thus, when I was invited to be the 110th Master, I kind of fell off the chair (and I am not speaking metaphorically. I really nearly did fall off the damn chair).
I accepted this invite more as a seeker who may due to sheer default or large helpings of Baba Sai’s Grace, be able to ramble off a few odd things here and there, that might make sense to a few and could help those few, to be able to help themselves handle so called reality, their karmic blue print and the ups and downs of just trying to keep head above water, emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually.
It was on Good Friday, the day Jesus The Christ, allowed Himself to be crucified to take on the suffering and the harsh karmas of all of creation, that I was invited to become part of this wise and knowledgeable spiritual congregation. It was on Easter that I accepted the invite. For me, both these days truly symbolize the reality of Aum Tat Sat, compassion and the everlasting victory of Spirit over body.
Now I am at the outset apologizing for a few things. I am sorry I will not answer every question posed to me, and this is plainly due to dearth of knowledge (as I really might not know the darn answer) or due to the absence of time (by heart I am just a beach bum) but never ever due to want of inclination. So, if and when you do write to me and I don’t answer, please don’t think I am avoiding you and get offended.
For me spirituality means love and surrender to your Master. No ifs and buts. It means faith in your Master. Baba Sai often says, Shradha itni honi chahiye kay Guru ko hila dey, loosely translated it means, have so much faith in your Master that your faith shakes the Old Man up. (I told you it was loosely translated.) This is my spirituality; pure dog like love and faith for and on the Master. Everything else is sheer shadow boxing.
In The Fakir, Baba explains to Rudra (a suicidal hippie who becomes Baba’s channel) the three kinds of faith.
You can be born with faith or have faith introduced to you or have it rammed into you.
Faith can be inborn or nurtured. It can be your last option to retain your sanity or your anchor to go through life.
Very often, when a person’s back is to the wall, he will clutch on to either faith or anger. Both these emotions have their intensities and outcomes. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter whether the problem remains or is solved or only gets worse; faith or hate remains. It depends on the maturity of the soul and one’s upbringing and priorities. Anyway, let’s discuss faith.
The most common type of faith is the most dangerous. In this category, it is assumed that just because one has faith, one goes about life without any obstacles. People belonging to this amphitheater of faith demand that because they have faith, they should have no problems in life whatsoever.
They feel that as they pray and chant the name of God, this entitles them to a life of no strife, no problems, free from all issues that can ruffle their tranquil but shallow waters. God forbid, something even slightly goes against their conception of a perfect life and they begin to question God, creation and the heaven above. They are of the firm belief that because they have taken the time out from their busy schedule and have prayed or performed a noble deed or indulged in charity the heaven above should be at their call and mercy and instant gratification is not only desired but bloody well expected. This type of faith breaks easily. Along with the faith breaking easily, so does the heart.
The second category of faith seekers or faith holders is filled with more advanced souls but still caught up in the transaction of give and take, though, in a different manner. Remember, we are not judging anybody or their faith or purity. To judge goes against everything spiritual and even humane. Only He has the right to judge and He is merciful. The second type of faith is more intense.
The person believes that because he or she has faith in God/ Master, miracles are not only possible, but also guaranteed. They do not get upset when tough times come. They do not get shattered when fatal illnesses enter their life or the life of near and dear ones. They do not get paranoid when financial bankruptcy knocks at their door. They are certain, as confident as the sun shall rise in the east and set in the west, that their God or Master will pull them through the crisis with everything intact.
Their usual mantra is ‘I have full faith in my
Master that He /She will take care of this problem… I have full faith in my God that this incurable disease will be cured…. I have complete faith that my Master will resolve this financial crisis.’ They even go to the extent of saying, ‘this is not my problem, this is my Master’s problem and I know He /She will take of it and I have full faith in my prayers and I will sail through this issue’.
What the person is trying to tell the Master or God is that, ‘because I have full faith in You, You better take care of my problems’ or ‘don’t let my faith down’. It is like treating your Master /God /Prayers like an astral waiter. It’s like telling your Master that as ‘I have invested my time and energy by having faith, You better not let me down’. They are sure that their trust in their Master will resolve all issues.
But sometimes, they have to go through their share of hard experiences. It is meant to be. The discomfort could have been caused do the wrong use of free will or could be ramification of past life karmas or even initiated by the Master to help them speed up their spiritual journey; to evolve them higher; to jump-start their spiritual growth. It could be very karmic and the Master feels that it’s best that the individual goes through the experience and finish with the karma that is binding one on the physical plane. It is a complex web and it is the Master who knows what’s best for you. Now to tell your Master, ‘I have faith that you will not let this happen to me’ is like telling you’re the greatest surgeon, ‘ I have full faith in you that you will not operate on me’. Then why go to the surgeon? And if you have gone to the surgeon, let the poor chap do his job. He knows what is best for you. Whether you need the surgery or not and if you have gone to the Surgeon, why not let the Surgeon do what He or She thinks is best for your wellbeing.
Telling the surgeon, I have full faith you will not perform the operation is not being very wise. Yes, there are times the surgeon might advise a way out of the operation. But one must leave the decision to the expert. It is best to let the Master decide.
Now, if for whatever reason the operation is avoided, the usual comment is, ‘I knew my Master would never let me down’.
My question is simple; if the operation had taken place, does that mean your Master has let you down? Is your faith conditional? Is your faith about yourself? If one does go through a trying experience or a calamity does it mean that your Master or God or Prayers have let you down? Would it mean, the Master doesn’t have it in Him or Her, as a spiritual powerhouse to take care of your problem and that is why you went through the crisis?
Does it mean, our Masters have to keep proving Their love for us? In such cases, once again there are innumerable chances of faith breaking your heart, because once again your faith is conditional.
When you have a mantra that goes like ‘ I have faith in You that You will not let me down’, what we are trying to tell our Master is ‘do all that I desire’. That is very conditional faith.
But remember, in this category, at least these children of God, are stronger and far more attuned with their Master, than most people. Spiritually too, they are more connected and really trying to be in constant touch with their Master and God. Thus, prayers and spirituality come more naturally to them and day-to-day issues are taken as minor tests from their Master, to be overcome with grace. It’s only when the volcano erupts that faith becomes conditional. But through the turmoil too, they are composed, confident and handle the situation with grace… but conditions apply… ‘I have faith that my Master will deliver and not let me down’.
Mankind is a curious amalgam of heaven and hell; a strange contradiction of madness and genius, all rolled into one.
Now we come to the most sublime form of faith.
It’s called graceful surrender. How do I define this form of faith? It is as finely chiseled as a straw of grass and as strong as the roots of a banyan tree. It is because of this faith that even God hesitates before letting loose His wrath. The God lover or Godchild, who has this faith flowing through the soul, has no questions and no demands. There is just pure grace and surrender. If a disaster takes place, the person’s very foundations are not shaken as he/she does not believe that ‘I have full faith that my Master will resolve this problem’ or ‘my Master will never let me down’ or ‘I have complete faith in my Master/God/Prayer that this catastrophe/problem/ adverse situation will be taken care of and I will come out unscathed’.
When a catastrophe does strike, the child of true faith, first of all is aware that whatever is taking place, it is so, with the approval of his/her Master. The consequences could be caused due to free will or karmic ramification, but the individual knows only one thing, that whatever the reason, the Master is aware of the situation, and if the Master is aware of the situation, and still has allowed the individual to go through the experience of discomfort or grief or pain, then the individual is fine with it.
Thus, whatever unpleasantness is happening around, the person of this kind of sublime faith, is certain that the hard experience has arrived only after his/her Master’s knowledge and thus approval. The person of true faith is certain that the Master has allowed the circumstances to enter his/her life for a purpose and the individual does not want to know the reason or purpose. He or she is content in the knowledge that nothing, good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant, joy or grief, can enter his or her life, without the consent of the Master. If it has the consent of the Master, then whatever the unpleasant experience be… death, illness, separation, betrayal, bankruptcy, agony, grief, ill repute, slander… whatever; it has arrived with a reason and the Master knows the reason and the Master has willed it and if something has been approved and blessed by the Master, then, that is all that matters.
The person will give his or her best to life and do all that is required to overcome the issue but it is done with no questions, no doubts, just pure and complete surrender.
The person’s philosophy is simple: ‘not a leaf moves and not a breath is taken without the approval of my Master’. Thus, neither good experiences nor hard circumstances can enter the person’s life without the Master’s consent. Now this philosophy is not as simple as it sounds. Also, this is not a fatalistic approach to life. The person who lives this philosophy has left every breath, thought, action, repercussion, karma, life here and beyond in the care of the Master. The person gives his or her best to life and to every moment lived but leaves the consequences to God/Master, without any expectation of reward or security or solace. In fact, in this form of faith, the person does not even expect protection from the Master, because to expect even protection of any sort, means harbouring some kind of expectation from the Master.
The child has left it all to the Master. The child is certain that whatever happens to him or her, it is happening with the will of the Master and whatever happens with the will of the Master is perfect and for the highest good.
This form of faith requires total surrender. It is most difficult but also most sublime. It frees you from all expectations and also the agony of reward and punishment; success and failure; happiness and grief.
You give your best to life and leave the rest to your Master. The Master knows best and that’s that. So the philosophy is not, ‘I have faith my Master will take care of me and will not let me down’ but ‘I have full faith in my Master and whatever happens my Master knows best and it is happening with my Master’s permission and approval and as it is happening with my Master’s blessings, then nothing could be better for me than this’.
The most important thing is that whatever takes place, is accepted gracefully and with positive surrender as the will of the Master. The consequences are accepted calmly and gracefully.
Remember, it is easier said than done. This complete faith means annihilation of one’s own self and identity.
The person or this child of God becomes more like a dervish, a medium, an instrument of his/her Master. As the dervish fine-tunes his or her faith more and more and aligns his or her frequency or vibration with that of the Master, the child begins to lose his or her identity and takes on the identity of the Master. The more you lose yourself, the more you connect with your Master. The more you shed away yourself, the more space your Master gets to occupy. The less of you means more of your Master within you. Those who are really fine-tuned with their Master’s frequency may, in the end, drop themselves completely and it is in them, their Master or their God resides. Then they become the true vessels or instruments where whatever they say, think, do, see, hear, all is through their Master, in fact it is done by their Master. Like mixing honey in milk. In the end, the honey and milk lose their individuality and merge with each other and the result is pure nectar.
But remember there is a big difference between these dervishes, these children of true faith and those who are just fatalistic. First of all, a person of true faith gives his or her best to life, to the moment, to his or her Master. This is done without expectations of any sort. After that, whatever happens in his or her life, the person accepts it with grace and positive surrender. The dervish is not disgruntled or does not become negative or does not lose faith. In fact, he or she goes about life with the same intensity and love for the Master, more in fact, never less.
But a fatalistic person’s approach is remarkably different. This person uses the crutch of fate or destiny and not faith and surrender. A fatalist blames everything on destiny and God. Even the effort is never optimum, as the main philosophy of life is that effort and intention are overshadowed by planets and destiny and if all is destined, why overstretch for anything. If things don’t go their way, the attitude is always ‘what to do it wasn’t in my stars’ or ‘God didn’t want it so to hell with it’.
Remember, both these type of people leave it all to God but notice the difference. The dervish gives his or her best without the thought of reward and consequence and leaves the result gracefully to the Master and accepts with positive surrender all that life bestows as the will of the Master. The fatalist never gives his or her best to life as the person believes that anyway all is destined by a God who is only interested in the balance sheet of karma, so do whatever you like but in the end, whatever has to happen will happen. This person does not accept things with positive surrender but more with resignation and helplessness; even negativity, frustration and defeat.
Thus, there is a difference of heaven and earth between positive surrender and a fatalistic approach to life.
Also, the person with true faith, this dervish or instrument of the Master, may occasionally react normally or get agitated or upset or hurt with life and the outcome. But these are reactions; maybe temperamental outbursts. Like if somebody cuts you with a knife, however spiritual you may be, you will react with a yell or a scream or even hit back. That’s human. The important thing is after the initial reaction do you harbour ill-will, hate, anger in your mind and heart? Do you contemplate revenge? Do you accuse God and Master? Do you blame your Master for forsaking you? Do you keep asking ‘why me’?
Now compared to that, a person might yell out for a moment and then compose himself and forgive and be in total acceptance of the situation and accept all that has taken place with positive surrender. Remember, reaction is human, what you nurture and how you live with a situation decides where you stand spiritually and with your Master.
The One who makes the thunder roar, also hears a butterfly sigh…The Fakir.
Ruzbeh N. Bharucha