There have been many times when there were irreversible situations in my life, when I would think to myself, ‘No, this is a dead end, there is no rescue any more.’
Then, automatically my attention would move towards my Guide. My heart would start beating faster and, surprisingly, the problems simply disappeared as if a miracle had taken place. Then, after four or five such experiences, I started to feel, ‘Enough of these miracles.’ I became tired of experiences and miracles and the feeling that remained was, ‘I want to become like him.’
A time comes when we want to become like the Guide. Now does that mean we should become like him in the physical appearance? No, there is no need to grow a beard because he has a beard, wear similar clothes, or eat the food he likes. That will not take us anywhere. What works is to try to emulate his attitude, his practice, his etiquette and his relationship with his Guide.
When we read Babuji’s diaries as a disciple of Lalaji, it both humbles and motivates us. He writes that he did a few things simultaneously. I have tried to emulate and found them very useful:
- Always remain connected through your heart with your Guide.
- Adjust yourself with your present inner condition and try to absorb it and deepen it.
- Prepare for the condition that is to come next; wait for it, anticipate it and look forward to it.
- Always be vigilant about your surrounding: what must you be doing?
When Babuji later became Lalaji’s successor, all these things happened together, and his eyes also had 360-degree global vision: ‘What is happening with this seeker, that seeker, this continent, that continent?’ The human mind has so many channels, and it can do so many things at one time.
The Guide is not God. When we think like that, we bring religion into the spiritual world. No doubt he is godly in nature, but he is not God. We are also trying to become godly; that is our endeavour in Heartfulness. We don’t become the Guide, but we become like the Guide in his inner attributes and qualities.
Another misunderstanding is that the Guide is there to solve all our worldly and emotional problems. Heartfulness is all about taking those problems into our own hands and solving them for ourselves.
Heartfulness teaches us how to do that. It prepares us from within, and it strengthens us in such a way that we become masters of our lives. That is why our Guides have again and again, ‘We don’t make disciples, we make masters.’ By mastering our lives, we learn how to live smoothly and peacefully and go gracefully towards our goal.
How lightly this journey has to be taken up! When even the self is non-existent, where is the room for problems? If we remain focused on problems, we will gravitate more and more towards them. When the self is non-existent, where is the room even for bliss? We move beyond all these things.
What about God?
Some of us believe in God, others do not; it actually does not matter when you approach Heartfulness from the perspective of personal experience. A person who does not believe in God generally says, ‘I have not experienced God, so how can I believe?’ and those who do believe in God generally do not have personal experience upon which to base that claim.
If you as anyone, ‘Have you experienced God yourself, or do you believe in God because your parents or your priest say God exists?’, they will generally say it is because others believe, not because they have any personal experience of God. So how do we rise above this to experience God?
The Heartfulness approach is scientific, so you are welcome to start either with God’s existence or non-existence in your experiment. Then, in a scientific way, you can observe within and come to your own conclusion. The results of practice will affirm the efficacy of the system to your heart. If you are on the wrong path, your heart will immediately tell you. If you are on the right path and the experience satisfies your heart, it’s a positive signal to proceed further. As you proceed, you come across so many varying states of consciousness – meditative and non-meditative states, peaceful and notsopeaceful states and so on, and you will become cognizant, pushing you to trust the meditative states more and more.
You will be convinced of the existence of God when you experience divinity within yourself during meditation and when you become more and more godly in your own person. Then you can confidently say, ‘Yes, I know now that God exists,’ and there will be substance to it.
I often give the analogy of currencies. There are so many currencies worldwide and they are supposedly backed by resources like gold, silver, oil, minerals and, nowadays, even political stability. The more resources and stability the country has, the stronger the currency. On what backing are we claiming God exists? If we don’t have the backing of experience it is no different from saying that God does not exist.
Through meditation, first we have a temporary experience of peace, calmness, stillness and bliss. For a moment we seem to lose ourselves in something unknown; we don’t know what it is. It is pleasant, but it is temporary. We might think, ‘Maybe this is godly experience,’ but we are not sure about it. Eventually, a more tangible proof of God’s existence within happens when that experience becomes more and more frequent, and then permanent. This transmission-backed process can be only understood through personal experience.
Reprinted with permission by Kamlesh D Patel from Designing Destiny, 2019.
(Kamlesh D Patel is the fourth spiritual Guide in the Sahaj Marg system of Raja Yoga meditation)