Obstacles in Journey
Who is a saint ? .....
Saints are indeed a rare species... almost on verge of extinction..
How to find out who is a true saint... apply the following 3 point test
Saint is a person who is away from three things
In a saint, the divine person is encased in the human frame but is not entirely identical. The bottom of the human and the top of the divine stand far apart from each other. There is a co-mingling in the inner space, and in noble human beings, some of the divine qualities merge entirely with their human qualities, destroying all distinction between human and divine. I am saying this about Baba from my own experience of him. I have never seen him wearing his divine crown, but I have always seen his divine qualities of love and compassion. He was always ready and alert to mitigate the sufferings of the helpless by taking their pains upon himself. His body became a honeycomb of diseases. This was the price he had to pay for his compassion and his readiness to help.
- Money (Asking money in garb of service or products)
- Fame ( maan samman)
- Family (attachment to family members/son )
His goodness to his devotees also expressed itself in the way he would fulfill their fond expectations, trying to save them from disappointment. This was revealed during the opening ceremony of the temple in Panki, Kanpur. Babaji was at Allahabad for his winter stay. Devotees coming from Kanpur requested him to bless the occasion by his presence, which he did not agree to do. They went back feeling disappointed and sad that all their efforts had failed. On the day of the inauguration, Babaji finished his toilet, and changing his clothes early, went back to his room. It was seven o'clock. He told me that he was not feeling well, covered himself with a blanket and asked me to bolt the doors, not allowing anybody to disturb him or enter his room. Hours passed, and the people waiting outside for darshan started speculating about his trouble. At twelve he opened his eyes, asked me about the time and said, "Oh, it has been five hours that I have been asleep, but such a nice sleep that I feel refreshed." The doors were opened, and people rushed in and had their darshan. Life began again as usual.
The next day, Babaji was sitting in the hall surrounded by his devotees when a person came with a basket of ladoos—prasad from the inauguration ceremony of the Panki temple the day before. Being handed a basket, I was told that Babaji had been there in the morning, but at twelve he suddenly disappeared. "We searched for him, but he was not there, so we brought the prasad for him."
Baba- Grace is universal
The grace of the Lord flows not to one country or region but over the entire universe, whose vastness we cannot know. Nor do we know when or how it is generated. But those who know tell us that it is always in full supply and the transmission is never interrupted. The channels through which it flows may not be known to us, but its work goes on until the needs of everyone are attended to. No one is denied or given less because of an inability to pay. In this way, the distribution of grace is different than the distribution of electricity. One saint has described the working of these divine channels: "Saints in their work squander their love and grace, even on the undeserving and ungrateful ones."
Shout for me and I will be there
Shri Prabhudutt Brahmachari, a great saint who was close to Baba, once narrated the following incident. He was with Anandamayi Ma in her ashram at Almora once summer. One afternoon he was sitting in the garden with some ashramites when a man came very excitedly and inquired whether Babaji was there. When someone asked, "Which Baba?" he said he wanted Neem Karoli Baba. He was told that Babaji was not there. He felt very helpless and began asking where he could see him—he needed them urgently. Brahmachari ji, a saint himself, knew the ways of the saints and said, "If your needs are so urgent, go and shout for him. He will come."
The man went a few steps ahead and, in full view of everyone sitting there, began shouting, "Baba, Baba..."
Only a few minutes had passed and everyone was busy talking among themselves when somebody came from behind and touched Brahmachari ji on the shoulder. "Oh you are here. When did you come?" No reply was needed. The unknown visitor shouting nearby came rushing and fell at Babaji's feet. Babaji took him aside, talked to him and then sent him away. He was a poor householder, not a rich or important person for whom Babaji had to rush. Narrating this incident, Brahmachari ji said that Babaji can never ignore the call of his devotees in their utter distress.
Work of Saints
Saints are one in their work as divine channels. They link us up with the source from which all bliss flows: love. They bake the unbaked pots and make them fit to receive the divine bliss. They illuminate the path by removing all the darkness that holds us back. Their work does not end with the energising or enlightening of some select few here and there. They also serve as the unflickering flame helping to light other candles. What bliss and joy Hanuman brought to his devotee Tulsidas! And what bliss and joy Tulsidas himself has scattered to millions of other devotees, helping to rekindle their lamps, although he himself parted with his body long, long ago. This has been the case with many great saints and their disciples, from Guru Maharaj to Shyama Charan, from Ramakrishna to Vivekananda. Through them and their own disciples they live in the memory of many old people. The work of the saints goes on, whether we know it or not.
Most important elements of sadhna
Many things might go into one's sadhana, but the essential ingredients, as Babaji used to say, are "devotion, faith, and patience."
World is a family
Baba nurtured the concept of Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam (the world as one family). He gathered devotees from all over the world, young and old, men and women, of all castes, creeds, and nationalities, as one large family. He himself was the respected elder. His blood relations merged within this world-wide large family. Baba treated all equally........Baba often spoke to the assembly of his devotees,” All are born into this world with natural wisdom, and God is the great giver of this wisdom." In reality, the truth is, who could teach him and teach him what? He knew everything and was endowed with spiritual powers from birth. It is said that when he was just a child, he told his family that there would be burglars in the house that night. Taking it to be a child's imagination, no one heeded this warning. But his words turned out to be true, as burglars broke into the house that very night.
Samadhi and Meditation
Kishan's knowledge of scriptures was useful for everyone. If any reference was needed about religious matters, Babaji would ask Kishan to explain. Similarly, whenever any talk centered around sadhana and yogic practices, he would ask Kishan to demonstrate by entering into meditation. In Allahabad this display was used sparingly, but it became otherwise in Kainchi and Vrindavan with the coming of the western devotees. They were very keen to practice meditation and samadhi. If a doctor visitor happened to be there when Babaji put Kishan in samadhi, Babaji would ask him to examine Kishan and see if it was genuine or not. In spite of all efforts, no one could break the samadhi. Ultimately, Babaji would have to bring him out of it. These demonstrations of what the western devotees came to call the "yoga of meditation" would be full and perfect. Those who were interested to learn and practice it were directed to various centers where courses on meditation were conducted. Rather than by learned and lengthy discourse, Babaji's method of teaching was to provide actual demonstrations before their eyes, inspiring them to learn and practice.
Do you need to ask ?
Nothing should be asked from God, nor is there anything with which God needs to be acquainted. When one knows everything, what new thing can you bring to His notice? It is useless to try to do this. Moreover, God is gracious and always shows His mercy to everyone. When you get what you want without asking Him for it, what is the use of asking? You always ask for useless things, wrong things, and sometimes for harmful things, that is why you do not get them. You ask for things out of ignorance. He knows what is useful for you and what should be given, and what is useless and harmful and should be denied. And you people accuse God, without caring to know why your desire was not fulfilled. This is your habit, your practice. You must have full faith in God; He attends to everything when you have faith and depend on Him.
Whenever we want anything from someone or want someone to do something for us, as we do all the time in our everyday lives, we have to first acquaint them with our problems and the reasons we are seeking help. After this we have to plead for the help which is not easily forthcoming. When there is no response, we start begging and shedding tears, and fall at their feet hoping to bring mercy to their hearts. But are we to do the same with God? To think of God in this way is the greatest mistake of our lives. This is not a life with God, but a life without God. With that kind of belief in God, all our prayers and worship are directed to the wrong place.
"The main purpose for your religious practices of pujas, prayers, bhajan and kirtan is not for asking or begging from Him, but to be with Him. There are people who never think of God or sit silently and meditate on Him. But when they do their rituals, like singing bhajan and kirtan and visiting temples, they take this to be their worship and time with God.
A great saint had a number of young disciples, all dear to their master. But there was one who was especially close to his heart because he had enough faith to carry out the master's instructions without any hesitation. The guru used to talk of visions of God. One day this disciple prayed to the master that he should also be given a vision. The guru was amused and gave him a mantra for japa and an idol of Shiva to worship. He said that if he performed his worship and japa with concentration and devotion to the idol before him, he would have Shiva's darshan. He did as was directed by the master. One month passed with no darshan. He was disturbed and went to the master, saying that he must have Shiva's darshan and that the guru must help him.
The guru knew what was going on, smiled, and gave him an idol of Krishna, saying that in place of the Shiva idol, he should worship this one for another full month with japa and devotion. The month passed, but again, no darshan came. He did not give up hope. With greater determination he went to the master and asked again for his aid, which he felt could do everything for him. His faith in the idols of Krishna and Shiva was gone, but his faith in the master remained undiminished.
The guru smiled again. He knew the disciple was ready and that the time for darshan had come. He gave him an idol of Mother Kali with instructions to install it on his puja table in place of the Krishna murti and to begin another month of puja and japa. With fresh energy and enthusiasm, he started this new stage of his sadhana. He removed the Krishna murti to the shelf with the Shiva murti, and installed the Kali murti on the table. He lit the incense sticks, and while waving them before the Devi, he noticed that the fumes were rising to the shelf where the Shiva murti was consigned. He tried to stop this by changing the position of the incense sticks, but without effect. Getting enraged, he threw the sticks of incense away and stood before the Shiva murti which, he felt, had already received the incense for one full month but had refused to give him darshan. What business had Shiva to share it now, when he was offering it to the Mother? Collecting some cotton from the shelf, he inserted cotton into the nostrils of Shiva, trying to plug them up. Suddenly the murti disappeared and Shiva himself stood there, smiling with full mercy and compassion!
The astonished disciple asked Shiva what he meant by this behavior. For one whole month when he had worshipped him with the incense, he had taken no notice, but now when he wanted to stop him from inhaling the incense given to the Mother, he came before him. The reply was prompt, "You did not worship me as Shiva, but only as an image, and you threw me away just as a common metal object when your expectations were not fulfilled. But now your behavior was different. I was no longer just a statue to you, but a living murti whose nostrils you were trying to plug so the odor meant for the Mother would not be stolen." This is the miracle of faith.
Means to the END
The ultimate reality, the Supreme One, is not congised by the senses nor expressed in words. Those who talk about it say it is infinite, formless, all consciousness and bliss and other such things. The reality is known only to the realized soul or the great mystics, who are very few in number. The sadhak (spiritual practitioner) may have the full vision of God as his goal—a vision of God as He is, the Infinite. When he has his vision, he is face to face with his God. There is no aid or murti there. But this comes only at the culmination of his journey. So long as he is on the path, some aid in the form of a murti or symbol is helpful. When he reaches his goal, he can dispense with the aid in the form of murti or symbol.
Once there was a great saint, a realized soul, living on the banks of the Ganges in Uttar Kashi, high up in the mountains. When he was in his hut, the sadhus from adjoining places would come to him for spiritual instruction. His discourses on the Vedas, Upanishads, and other scriptures were highly appreciated and benefitted innumerable seekers after truth. One day while sitting with the sadhus for his discourse early in the morning, he told a disciple that he wanted water to drink. The disciple, who was a faithful follower of his master and of very sharp intelligence, was surprised at this order. It was very cold and drinking water might be painful; moreover, the master had never asked for drinking water in the morning before this. But obeying his master, he went to the Ganges nearby and filled his lota with water for him.
His master was already engaged in his discourses with the sadhus when the disciple drew his attention and offered the lota to him. The master shouted, "I wanted water from you, not from your lota." Everyone was surprised at the outburst, but it actually came as a great revelation to the disciple and answered a puzzle in his mind.
The master was a realized soul. He knew everything about reality, the ultimate and absolute, the supreme Brahman. His discourses were perfect and complete in every respect, the disciple felt, except for one thing: why did the master talk about deities and rituals which were not relevant for the understanding of the ultimate? Now the disciple realized the value of the lota in serving water. For one who has reached the stream, the lota is not needed, but when you are away from the stream and want to drink, the lota comes into use. So too those who do not have realization of Brahman must have some aid. The vast majority of the people are not on the bank of the river. All the murtis and idols of their Gods and Goddesses serve the same purpose as the lota in bringing spiritual water.