Ruzbeh N. Bharucha
The word Master for me means ‘One who has control over all the five senses and also has the five elements within Himself or Herself and the world outside’.
The word Master evokes names like Sai Baba of Shirdi, Avtar Meher Baba, Baba Jaan, Tajuddin Baba, Nityananda Baba, the 51 Perfect Masters, 54 Perfect Beings and the galaxy of Rishis, Sages, Fakirs, Mystics, that we in India are blessed with.
Spirituality means selfless love and joyous surrender to our Master. It means pure faith in our 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 according to me the fragrance of faith; pure dog like unquestioning love for the Master.
There are various 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, we 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, one’s love for the Master and one’s sole and soul priority.
Baba Sai says that the most common type of faith is the most dangerous. In this category, it is assumed that just because one does prayers, performs rituals, indulges in acts of charity, one should go about life without any obstacle. Many of us nurturing this kind of faith expect that because they pray or have faith, they should have no problems in life.
They feel that as they pray and chant the name of the Goddess, God, Guru, 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 if something even slightly goes against their conception of a perfect life then they begin to question The One, 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 beck and call and mercy, and instant gratification is not only desired but expected. This type of faith breaks easily. Along with the faith breaking easily, so does the heart.
The second category of faith is when the seeker is moving on The Path 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 anybody without knowing their past, present, future, goes against everything spiritual and even humane. Only (S)He has the right to judge and (S)He is Merciful. The second type of faith is more intense.
Those who repose in this faith 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 Goddess, God, Guru, will pull them through the crisis with everything intact. The person believes that because he or she has faith miracles are not only possible, but also guaranteed.
Their usual mantra is ‘I have full faith in my Master that (S)He will take care of this problem… I have full faith that this fatal illness 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 (S)He 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 The One 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 in You, now You better live up to my faith’. 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. Karma like a live wire, doesn’t care who is holding it. It expects its laws of energy to be followed. Whether it’s a sinner or a sage, the laws of karma goes about its job without emotion or thought. Two plus two makes four. That’s that and that’s that.
The discomfort could have been caused due to the wrong use of Free Will, the 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 if the Master feels that it’s best that the individual goes through the experience and finish with that particular cycle of karma which is binding one to a pattern or in a web, then so be it. It is a complex web and it is the Master who knows what’s best for us. Now to tell our Master, ‘I have faith that You will not let this happen to me’ is like telling the greatest surgeon, ‘I have full faith in you that you will not operate on me’. We need to leave this decision to the surgeon. Or why go to the surgeon at all? And if we have gone to the surgeon, let the poor chap do her/his job. S(h)e knows what is best for us. Let the Surgeon decide what S(h)e thinks is best for our wellbeing, let Her/Him decide whether we need the surgery or not.
Telling the surgeon that I have full faith that 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. Who can be a greater expert in every aspect of our life than our Baba Sai. Let Baba decide.
Now, if for whatever reason the operation is avoided, the usual comment is, ‘I knew that my Master would never let me down’.
My question is simple; if the operation had taken place, does that mean our Master has let us down? Is our faith conditional? Is our faith about our self or about the Will of Baba Sai? If one goes through a trying experience or a calamity, does it mean that our Goddess, God, Guru or our Prayers have let us down? Would it mean that the Master doesn’t have it in Him or Her, as a spiritual Powerhouse to take care of our problem and that is why we went through the crisis?
Does it mean that our Masters have to keep proving Their love for us? In such cases, once again there are innumerable chances of faith breaking one’s heart, because once again our faith is conditional.
I remember a friend of mine telling me that his Master is so great that in an accident except him all others were grievously injured. My question is, does this mean that the Goddess, God, Guru of those injured are not great? Out of those injured some prayed to the same Guru but still got injured. Does that mean that the Guru is partial to my friend? Or does it mean only one thing….the Guru in His wisdom decided that karma had to play out for those injured and the chap unscathed either didn’t have the karma for injury at that time or for whatever reason the Master thought it would be best to protect my friend.
When we 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 that, ‘My dearest Master 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 Goddess, God, Guru. Thus, prayers and spirituality come more naturally to them and day-to-day issues are taken as minor tests from their Master, to overcome them 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 (s)he 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 strikes, the child of true faith, after giving her or his best, is profoundly aware that whatever is taking place, it is happening with the approval of his/her Goddess, God, Guru. 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 it is for the largest wellbeing of the individual and thus so be it….but with a smile.
Whatever unpleasantness is happening around the person of this category of sublime faith s(h)e is certain that the hard experience has arrived only after his/her Master’s knowledge and thus it also has the approval of his/her Master. 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 the logic or the 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 approved of it and if something is 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 which 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 The One, 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 even expect protection of any sort, means one has not left everything to the Master which means that he/she is 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/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 one from all expectations and also the agony of reward and punishment; success and failure; happiness and grief.
Give one’s best to life and leave the rest to one’s Master. The Master knows best and that’s that. So the philosophy is not that, ‘I have faith that 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 after giving one’s best to the moment and the situation.
This absolute 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 we lose ourselves, the more we connect with our Goddess, God, Guru. The more we shed ourselves away, the more space our Master gets to occupy. ‘The less of me means more of You, my Master, who resides within me’, becomes one’s Mantra of life. Those who are really fine-tuned with their Master’s frequency, in the end, drop the faintest shreds of personal ego completely and it is in them that 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. 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, then 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 or consequence and leaves the result gracefully to the Master and accepts with positive surrender all that which 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 the planets and a God who is only interested in the balance sheet of karma, so do whatever one wants 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; and temperamental outbursts. Just like if somebody cuts us with a knife, however spiritual one may be, for a brief span of time one might react with a yell or a scream or even hit back, it is momentarily; it is eventually a human reaction. That’s normal. The important thing is after the initial reaction do we harbour ill-will, hate, anger in our mind and heart? Do we contemplate revenge? Do we accuse God and Master? Do we blame our Master for forsaking us? Do we 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 which has taken place with positive surrender. Remember, reaction is human, what we nurture and how we live with a situation decides where we stand spiritually and with our Baba.
The philosophy of true faith is, ‘The One who makes the thunder roar, also hears a butterfly sigh’…. thus sab theek hain…. fikar not.
Be blessed always.
Ruzbeh N. Bharucha