This is an article from the February 1982 edition of an old magazine titled The Path of Love
Once, I met a devoted satsangi (initiate) and naturally our conversation revolved around Sant Mat. During the course of the conversation, he happened to remark:
“We should develop a one-track mind – a mind full of Master. In everything we do or say, He should be there, at the back of our minds, guiding us, cautioning us or merely being with us – participating in all our activities. His presence must be felt at all times, whether walking on the road, chatting with a friend, reading a book or even watching a movie”
“How can that be possible?” I asked. “When I’m reading a book or watching a movie, I get so engrossed in it that I can’t think of anything else.”
“If you could atleast develop the desire to be with Him as often as possible during the course of the day, you will gradually find that on and off (when the mind is not too occupied by worldly duties) you are with Him. When confronted with a problem or an unpredictable situation, you will find yourself consulting Him, instead of reasoning all by yourself. You will actually feel His presence when at work or while you are relaxing”
I treasured this piece of advice and often wondered if I could ever reach that stage. In the beginning, I would keep reminding myself of Maharaj Ji every now and again. Then I began praying sincerely that I become aware of His presence. The prayer, by His grace, gradually did develop into a desire and now I know how true that advice is, especially when I am relaxing, but even when I am working at something which does not require heavy conversation. I may be humming a tune or singing a love song from a movie, but that tune or song will be addressed to Him and be for Him. I may watch a movie or a T.V. programe, and view the whole thing from a Sant Mat angle or something in it might remind me of the Master.
How is this possible? Well, let me relate a T.V. programe which I was watching the other day. It was about a man being trained to walk a tight-rope on a circus show. At every step of his training, I could see Sant Mat unfold its message to me.
When the walker is first instructed by his teacher to walk on the tight-rope, he is given a stick with which he has to learn to balance himself. It he tilts suddenly to one side, he will lose his balance and fall off the rope onto the ground.
In the same way when we are initiated by a Perfect Master, He too gives us a balancing stick – SIMRAN. He tells us to live balanced lives – excess of anything will be harmful for us. Indulging in too much of food makes us lazy and sleepy during meditation. Getting over involved in worldly matters makes us forget the main motto of our lives and we tend to give meditation second or third priority until in the end, we lose our regularity and even give it up. Whereas, meditation should be the principal focus of our life and everything else should be adjusted accordingly.
Now, as a tight-rope walker is learning to balance the stick and at the same time to keep on walking, if he looks down to the ground or tries to look around him, his teacher reprimands him. “Do not look down or about you,” he is told. “Look straight ahead at the rope and concentrate all your attention there. You will fall down if you scatter your attention”
When it comes to meditation, we should concentrate all our attention at the Third Eye, with one-pointedness. Our mind tends to run around all the time, but we have to bring it back every time. Only when the mind and body are stilled will the consciousness start to rise. Lucky is he who has managed to reach the Third Eye. Even then, our Master warns us that after reaching the Third Eye, there are beautiful scenes and sights to distract us. But we are to pay no heed to them, and are to keep on going straight ahead. If we stop there, our progress will be hindered and we might fall prey to temptations.
If the tight-rope walker falls, he has no net to save him. The enticement and thrill of watching a tight-rope walker is when there is no net below him. If, unfortunately, he falls down, he is in danger of losing his life, or being paralyzed or maimed.
Whereas we, as initiates of a Perfect Master, are attached to Him by a long ‘rope’. If we fall dangerously low, He pulls the ‘rope’ and we get up again, perhaps a little bruised or hurt, but we have the chance to get up and go. How lucky we are to know that His hand is there protecting us, guiding us, coaxing us to become better and better, even though we do not fully realize it.
The tight-rope walker not only has to practice day and night to become perfect at walking so precariously, but he also has to do bodily exercises to keep fit, for otherwise he will walk stiffly. So in order to keep supple and agile, he has to do regular exercises. In the beginning, all his bones and muscles ache because his body is not used to it and he wonders why he ever got the desire to be a tight-rope walker. Yet, as the days go by, his body gets over all its aches and pains and now he has become an expert tight-rope walker. His teacher tells him that he is ready to perform in the circus arena in front of millions of people. His joy is so great when he successfully performs all his tricks and his reward is the thundering applause of those people, with their repeated “Encore! Encore!”
What about us beginners? We too experience aches and pains when we try to sit still for just half an hour. We have no patience and give up so easily. Yet, those are the first steps we have to go through. We have to experience pain in our limbs and rise above them. If we are conscientious in our efforts, then one day we will suddenly realize that there is no more pain and that our soul is rising up, up and up. We will have reached the Third Eye and there our beloved is waiting to greet us with open arms and enfold us in His loving embrace. The joy and ecstasy felt then is beyond description and excels that of the tight-rope walker. After this, it is just like an excursion, and we go up at will, whenever we want to.
A tight-rope walker has to continue his daily exercises to keep fit and trim for his daily performance for the rest of his life. If he becomes slack or over confident then his performance will not be up to the mark and he might even miss his step.
In the same manner, we have to keep up our daily spiritual exercises, with regularity and humility, for we have a great Teacher who is helping us to walk along the Sant Mat tight-rope.