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The Modern Mind
The Modern Mind
2 Devotion And The Modern Mind


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Contents 3









4 Devotion And The Modern Mind



(From Dissatisfaction To Happiness)


(Modern Ideology To Spiritual Heritage)


(From Unachievable To Reality)


(Alleviation From Stress)


(Root Out Ego)






Contents 5







6 Devotion And The Modern Mind

Deep within my heart Thou doth reside as my divine inspiration,
Making me do everything that is within Thine Sacred Design.
Thou art the Omnipotent Doer behind my every action,
Only Thy Divine Strength empowers every effort of mine.
My every action is actuated by Thee, O Spiritual Master!
Even mountains can be moved if Thou doth so desire.
The best of works that come out from me,
O Benign Master, are inspired entirely by Thee.
Thou dost ingrain in me spiritual energy,
That makest even the impossible a reality.
Thy merciful glance and blessings benevolent,
Give me abundant invincible divine strength.
I am just an instrument in Thine Hands Holy,
Always put me to use, O My Divine Majesty!
May I serve Thee with the best of my ability,
Every achievement be an offering unto Thee.
Preface 7


One, perchance, in thousands strives for perfection;

and one, perchance, among the blessed ones striving thus,
knows Me in reality.
~Srimad Bhagwad Gita VII/3
Look at the heartache everywhere, look at the
loneliness and look at the fear, the confusion, the conflict
in the hearts of people – inner conflict, outer conflict.
Nobody seems to be satisfied with their lives. Most are
even aware that they are themselves to be blamed for
their discontentment, their disappointments and their
miseries. Then why do we live so? Why do we do what we
ourselves disapprove of? Have we no power to change
our way of life? We ourselves admit that we are ruined by
our luxury, our riches, and above all by our pride – our
separation from our True Identity. Why then do we spoil
our lives and all the good that God gives us?

There is no problem, never was, and never will be.

Release your struggle, let go of your mind, throw away your
concerns, and relax into the world. No need to resist life, just
8 Devotion And The Modern Mind
do your best. Open your eyes and see that you are far more
than you imagine. You are the world, you are the universe;
you are yourself and everyone else, too! It’s all the marvellous
Play of God.
~Dan Millman
Suppose somebody gave you a way of getting rid
of all that? Suppose somebody gave you a way to stop
that tremendous drainage of energy, of health, of emotion
that comes from these conflicts and confusion. Would
you want that? Suppose somebody showed you a way
whereby you would truly be at peace, be at love. Could
there be a better life than that? But, instead, there are
people thinking that big business is more realistic, that
politics is more realistic, that science is more realistic.
What’s the use of putting a man on the moon when we
cannot live on earth?

I also think we need to maintain distinctions - the doctrine

of creation is different from a scientific cosmology, and we should
resist the temptation, which sometimes scientists give in to, to try
to assimilate the concepts of theology to the concepts of science.
~John Polkinghorne
A journalist one day asked an Enlightened Saint to
name one thing that characterizes the modern world. The
Venerable Saint unhesitatingly replied, “People every day
know more and more about the cosmos and less and less
Preface 9
about themselves. Of all the millions of strange objects in
the universe – the black holes and quasars and pulsars –
the strangest, unquestionably, is the ‘self’!”

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny

matters compared to what lies within us.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Most people, even though they do not know it,
are asleep. They are born asleep, they live asleep and they
die asleep without ever waking up. They never understand
the preciousness of this thing that we call human existence.
Spirituality is what wakes one up. In the course of man’s
higher evolution, there arises in him a new yearning, the
hunger of the soul. Because of this inner urge, the spiritual
aspirant is no longer desirous of the fleeting pleasures of
life. Treading on the path of spirituality he gains awareness
of the radiant inner ‘self’. He attains cognizance of his
soul, being, but a constituent of the Infinite and this
knowledge liberates him from material entanglements.

There is no finer sensation in life than that which comes

with victory over one’s self. Go forward to a goal of inward
achievement, brushing aside all your old internal enemies as
you advance.
~Vash Young
Is not that a wonderful state to be in? The quality
of life changes! Seekers of the Divine see it; they are
10 Devotion And The Modern Mind
different; they react differently; in fact, they react less and
act more. They see things one has never seen before. They
are much more energetic, much more alive. Generally,
people think that if they had no craving they would be like
deadwood. But the fact is they break all shackles of

Life’s not about waiting for the storm to pass... It’s

about learning to dance in the rain.
~ Viviane Greene
This awareness dawns only when through Divine
Grace we are bestowed with the refuge of the Perfect
Spiritual Master. It is under the benevolent guidance of
the God–Incarnate Spiritual Maven that the ardent seeker
understands who the ‘I’ is, after which he can never be
the same again, never. Such a devout soul, walking on
the path of divinity as illuminated by the Gracious Holy
Master, basks in the eternal bliss emanating from within
the ‘self’. This is what it means to live like royalty – not
about getting your picture in the newspapers or having a
lot of money.

There is no set rule to determine how quickly

one attains the state of spiritual bliss. This is all God’s
plan. Patience, patience and patience – we must cultivate
this in our devotion. However, one thing is certain: His
Grace WILL come to all those who dedicate their lives to
Him. This is definite. So, we must keep adhering to the
Preface 11
behests of the God–Incarnate Spiritual Maven, keep
surrendering our lives to His Divine Will, stay humble
and pure and have faith that at the right time the showers
of grace will fall upon us.

We create our reality by choosing our thoughts,

feelings and beliefs. For that reason, when we have bad
days sometimes we might wonder what we did to bring it
upon ourselves. Sure, that’s one way to look at it.......
But what if we just choose, from that moment on, to
look forward? Each moment is a new opportunity to
choose our internal experience of reality, regardless of all
the moments that came before it. So, when you are feeling
stuck in a rut, remember that the Almighty is sitting right
inside you....... waiting for you to hear His voice. He
dwells in your heart. Try to feel His Divine Presence.


All the aim of life is just
Getting back to God.
Spirit casting off its dust,
Getting back to God.
Every grief we have to bear,
Disappointment, cross, despair,
Each is but another stair
Climbing back to God.
12 Devotion And The Modern Mind
Step by step and mile by mile, –
Getting back to God.
Nothing else is worth the while –
Getting back to God.
Light and shadow fill each day,
Joys and sorrows pass away,
Smile at all, and smiling, say,
Getting back to God.
Do not wear a mournful face
Getting back to God.
Scatter sunshine on the place
Going back to God.
Take what pleasure you can find,
But wherever your paths may wind,
Keep the purpose well in mind, –
Getting back to God.
~Ella Wheeler Wilcox
This book is written to serve as an inspiration, a
guide to waking up from one’s imagined status as a person,
to what one really is. It is an effort to give spiritual
direction to the life of an individual enmeshed in the
delusory world. The first section of the book discusses
the quandary confronting modern man. Beguiled by the
brilliant lustre of materialistic oddities, he directs all his
Preface 13
energies towards the achievement of temporal success but
all that he is able to amass is disappointment, ambivalence,
dysphoria, anxiety and vanity. The second section illustrates
the attributes imbibing which man would be able to
transform his current piteous condition. It is through
the realization of the real inner ‘self’, which comes forth
when man surrenders his entire being with absolute faith
unto God’s Divine Will, that, he is able to attain true
happiness and divinity. The third section inspires man to
rise above his mundane living and traverse the path of
spirituality. This is possible when he is able to feel the
perpetual Guiding Hand of the Spiritual Maven, offering
aegis not only in the physical world but also beyond.
Section four describes qualities that a spiritual aspirant
must imbibe for the realization of the true aim of this
precious human birth.

This book ‘Devotion and the Modern Mind’ has been

published with the Magnanimous Grace of His Holiness,
our Present Spiritual Master. It is hoped that reading
and contemplation of this book shall inspire selfless
devotional sentiments within, leading to spiritual
awakening and uplifting from predicament to a state of
incessant bliss, with the fervent hope that this book shall
guide spiritual seekers to the goal of human life: God
Realization. Salutations and homage is paid to the
Benevolent Master, who out of His peerless generosity
imparts true knowledge to the deluded, guiding them to
higher evolution. Supplications with intense fervour are
14 Devotion And The Modern Mind
made to seek the Divine Blessings of His Holy Excellency.

Darkness is not a force - it is merely the absence of

light. Observe that when a light is brought to a dark place, the
darkness disappears. Sadness is similar - when joy is brought
to suffering, the sadness disappears. Open yourself to the Light!
Hold back nothing, Trust in the Light.
~Jonathan Lockwood Huie
16 Devotion And The Modern Mind

If you don’t get what you want,

you suffer; if you get what you don’t
want, you suffer; even when you get
exactly what you want, you still suffer
because you can’t hold on to it forever.
Your mind is your predicament.
2 Dilemma: A Global Phenomenon 17


We live in very troubled times. All around us, we see

tremendous unrest. In the larger scheme of things, we see
nations facing the grave threat of terrorism. There is so
much geo–political tension and unrest today that one is
forced to pause and ponder — what has gone wrong with
the world? Why is humanity in so much turmoil? Why is
there so much unrest across the globe?

With all the advancement man has made in science

and technology, we should expect nearing a state of utopia.
But instead, we seem to be heading towards utter
destruction. The planet is dying; it is on the brink of
annihilation. We have abused it to a point where it is
finding it impossible to sustain. Thus, today what we see
around us is a humanity that is aggressively violent,
emotionally unstable, financially insecure and recklessly
unmindful of its own destructive behaviour and thus
moving towards obliteration. This is a holistic perspective
of the world today, at large.

Now, let us take a more individualistic view of the

18 Devotion And The Modern Mind
situation. On a more personal note, how can we sum up
our lives today, in terms of its quality and wholesomeness?
Are we living a life we can be truly grateful of? Have we
been able to retain the childlike joy and euphoria? Does
it feel like a blessing to be born? Are we blissful and
rejoicing every moment? Have our lives reached a point
where we can say that we have achieved the kind of life
we aspired for when we were young? Are we at least, at
ease and content with ourselves, if not joyful and ecstatic?
Is there at least, a feeling of satisfaction within us if not a
great sense of fulfilment?

The answer is most likely……….a resounding ‘No’.

We are frustrated, unhappy and at times even depressed.
We rarely ever feel ‘at home’: the feeling of being
completely at ease, assuredly secure and mentally at peace.
There is so much incomprehensible anxiety and unrest
within us. Our lives are so stressful and full of drudgery.
There is not a moment’s rest. And we are not talking
about taking physical rest. We are referring to a genuine
feeling of being mentally carefree.

The ideas, inventions and techniques that make for

social progress, usually have their origins in the minds of anxious
or discontented persons. The advances and improvements in
the social complex generally come from those who are dissatisfied
with its status, can see its shortcomings and have the inclination
and ability to devise better methods, materials and equipment.
Dilemma: A Global Phenomenon 19
These are the individuals who are alert and anxious about the
status quo and who undertake to improve it....
~ Charles Sellers
Two sisters were once travelling by train. Because
of bad weather, the train stopped at a station in central
India, until conditions improved, and tracks were cleared.
The passengers were stranded for hours.

The elder sister was annoyed, irritated and frustrated;

she railed and ranted; she complained bitterly to the
Railway Ticket Checker and the conductors, who were
helpless themselves; she sulked endlessly and became a
source of annoyance to other passengers.

The younger sister, on the other hand, refused to

allow her spirits to be dampened by the delay. She went
around cheerfully making friends with others, exchanging
jokes, playing with children, going from coach to coach,
singing songs, and holding quiz contests to keep the people
occupied, and generally spreading good cheer all around.
Strangers responded to her, sharing their food with her,
inviting her to join their group; thus all of them
enthusiastically joined in her efforts to organize games
for the entertainment of all.

When the train finally reached its destination, the

older sister was morose, depressed and tired. She felt
that her time had been wasted, while the younger sister
20 Devotion And The Modern Mind
had had the best time of her life!

She had made so many new friends, she had had

such new experiences, and she had managed to retain her
good mood all along. She had enjoyed the journey,
despite the delays and inconveniences. She had made the
most of her time, just by living in the present joyfully.

Living in the present maximises all the possibilities that

life offers to us. We are able to focus on what is happening
around us, and savour all those little joys and pleasures that
are available in life.
~ Dada J. P. Vaswani
We have been striving for so many years, right
since our early days at school; we have done everything
we were told to do. We educated ourselves, worked
towards our careers, acquired the necessary skill sets,
worked long hours, excelled in many ways, dealt with
failures, achieved many a success, built a respectable life,
a reputation, good credentials, tried to be good human
beings and did all the things that society normally demands
of us, that our near and dear ones expected of us.

What then has gone wrong? Why do we feel so

empty? Why is there so much anxiety within us? Why do
we feel lost and confused, frustrated and at times even
depressed? Was there something intrinsically wrong with
the guidelines that were laid out for us? Was an erroneous
Dilemma: A Global Phenomenon 21
road map handed out to us? Is everyone plagued by this
pandemic dismay? Is this the state of mind experienced
by each and every individual? Is all of humanity dissatisfied
and in despair? Sadly, this appears to be the case NOW.

Impermanence is an essential characteristic of every

worldly phenomenon. There are cycles of success, when
things come to you and thrive, and cycles of failure, when
they wither or disintegrate and you have to let them go in
order to make room for new things to arise, or for
transformation to happen. If you cling and resist at that
point, it means you are refusing to go with the flow of
life, and you will suffer.

Sooner or later, everyone you know will disappoint

you in some way. They will say something or fail to say
something that will hurt you. And they will do something
or fail to do something that will anger you. It is inevitable.
Unfortunately, you make things worse when you stew over
someone’s words and deeds. When you dwell on a rude
remark or an insensitive action made by another person,
you are headed for deeper problems. In fact, the more
you dwell on these things, the more bitter you will get.
You will find your joy, peace and happiness slipping away.
And you will find your productivity slowing down as you
spend more and more time thinking about the situation
or telling others about it.

If it is peace you want, seek to change yourself, not

22 Devotion And The Modern Mind
other people. It is easier to protect your feet with slippers
than to carpet the whole of the earth.
~Anthony De Mello
After working on his multi–volume set of books
on ‘The French Revolution’ for six years, the famous 19th
century Scottish historian, Thomas Carlyle completed
the manuscript and took volume one to his friend John
Stuart Mill. He asked Mill to read it. Five days later, Mill’s
maid accidentally threw the manuscript into the fire. In
agony, Mill went to Carlyle’s house to tell him that his
work had been destroyed.

Carlyle did not flinch. With a smile, he said, “That

is all right, Mill. These things happen. It is a part of life. I
will start over. I can remember most of it, I am sure. Do
not worry. It is all here in my mind. Go, my friend! Do
not feel bad.”

As Mill left, Carlyle watched him from the window.

Carlyle turned to his wife and said, “I did not want him
to see how crushed I am by this misfortune.” And with a
heavy sigh, he added, “Well the manuscript is gone, so I
had better start writing again.” He finally completed the
work, which ranks as one of the great classics of all time.
He had learned to walk away from his disappointment.

After all, what could Carlyle have done about his

burnt manuscript? Nothing! Nothing would have resurrected
the manuscript. All Carlyle could do was to get bitter or
Dilemma: A Global Phenomenon 23
get started. And what can you do about anything once it is
over? Not much. You can try to correct it if it is possible, or
you can walk away from it if it is not possible. Those are
your only two choices.

The most evident sign of wisdom is continued

~ Michel de Montaigne
A state of dissatisfaction is a state not of acute pain
or unhappiness but of an almost continuous low level of
unease, discontent, boredom or nervousness – a kind of
background static. One may not realize this because it is
so much a part of normal living, just as we are not aware
of a continuous low background noise, such as the hum
of an air conditioner until it stops. When it suddenly
does stop there is a sense of relief. Likewise, in the noise
of materialism and prosaicness of the modern world, we
have lost our higher ‘self’. If only we were to pause and
take a breath would we realize what it is that we are
depriving ourselves of. This realization, however, does
not dawn without a dissociative experience of observing
oneself and one’s daily undertakings from an external
perspective. Wherefrom could we build this out–of–body

Suppose you had to travel to a distant city. The car

breaks down along the way. So you roll up your sleeves
and begin to push the car. And you push and push and
24 Devotion And The Modern Mind
push and push, till you get to that distant city. “Well,” you
say, “we made it.” And then you push the car all the way to
another city. You say, “We got there, did we not?” But do
you call this life? You know what you need? You need an
expert, you need a mechanic to lift the hood and change
the spark plug. Turn the ignition key and there you go, the
car starts to move. You need the Expert – who can impart
the understanding, insight and awareness. You do not need
pushing. That is why the modern man is so tired, so weary.
You and I were trained to be dissatisfied with ourselves. We
are always dissatisfied, we are always discontented and we
are always pushing. But there is always conflict inside; there
is very little understanding.

If we earnestly look around us, we will effortlessly

notice that every one is asking the same question every
second — where and how can I get the help that I need?
All want to know; the question arises how to know it and
what is the source of knowledge? What all want to know
varies from person to person; however; there is one
universal answer to these countless questions. What is
that answer? Try to be silent and see–hear–feel what it is.
What is it that is right inside all of us? Unfortunately, an
overwhelming majority of people are looking outside
towards the external world. In all such desperate searches
and struggles, a Perfect Spiritual Master comes to our
rescue; and His Divine Help is lovingly available to all
seekers who search with ardour and zeal.
Modern Ideologies: Leading Us Astray 25


Right after ‘Raymond’ I had a world–is–my–oyster

attitude, but I found out I don’t like oysters. I had this
existential emptiness. ‘What is my purpose? Who am I?’ I had
a big identity crisis.
~Ray Romano
The world has produced many great explorers like
Christopher Columbus, Vasco D’ Gama and so on, who
travelled great distances in search of unexplored shores.
They circled the globe several times during their
expeditions and learned much about the world.

History has also produced mighty conquerors like

Alexander the Great and Napoleon Bonaparte, who were
successful in establishing their sphere of influence in
almost every part of the world. They became monarchs
of vast dominions. Later, nations like Great Britain,
Germany, Italy and Portugal conquered and colonized
several parts of the world.

With the advent of the industrial revolution, there

26 Devotion And The Modern Mind
came about a whole new economic paradigm in the world.
Rapid progress was made in all spheres. Invention of the
steam engine, discovery of telephone, electricity and the
like were all a boon to humanity. Life suddenly became
far more comfortable. During the last century, science
has achieved extraordinarily rapid advancements in various
fields. We now not only better understand the laws of
nature but have also learnt how to harness natural
resources in novel ways. Atomic energy, solar power,
hydro–electricity are all a testament to man’s scientific
prowess. Populating hitherto inhabitable parts of the
globe, conquering the highest mountain peaks, diving into
the greatest depths of the oceans and gazing deep into
the infinite universe, have all become not only possible
but most frequently accomplished feats of earthly
achievement. Space exploration is no longer a mere fantasy
but an actual reality.

Medical science has been successful in immunizing

our lifespan against virulent afflictions. The sick do not
suffer as much as they once did and pain management is
easy and affordable. The most complex illnesses get
treated with relative ease in a short time. But all the
exploration, discovery, progress and advancement have
only been in relation to the extrinsic temporal world.
Human activity for centuries has always been concerned
with objectivity: all things cognizable by the senses. The
modern society has never bothered about the observer:
the one who actually cognizes. This is the fundamental
Modern Ideologies: Leading Us Astray 27
flaw in the whole modern thought process.

The modern mind is simply unconcerned about

‘consciousness’. What is ‘consciousness’? It is our Being–
ness, our ‘Awareness’, our ‘Aliveness’ and our very
Existence. The modern world has missed this aspect of
the human experience. And it has done so at a great cost.
The modern mind has become tumultuous, restless and
deluded by comforts of luxuriant living. There is nothing
intrinsically wrong with economic progress and
technological advancement. But, the neglect of the real
‘self’, the ‘consciousness’ has created a great imbalance.
It has caused the modernistic psyche to become spiritually
hapless. Today, humankind is aware of all modern
externalities, but in spirit and at heart, it is dead broke, a
complete pauper.

He whom I enclose with my name is weeping in this dungeon.
I am ever busy building this wall all around;
And as this wall goes up into the sky day by day
I lose sight of my true being in its dark shadow.
I take pride in this great wall,
And I plaster it with dust and sand
Lest a least hole should be left in this name;
And for all the care I take I lose sight of my true being.
~ Nobel Laureate Shri Rabindranath Tagore
28 Devotion And The Modern Mind
Alongside the above set of people, there are God
loving souls who have paid tremendous attention to the
soul or Atman. For thousands of years, such Pious Ones
have devoted their entire life searching for the answer to
the most basic existential question: ‘Who am I?’ This quest
for self–discovery has produced many Great Divine
Personages: Lord Buddha, Lord Mahavira, Great Saint
Shri Kabir Sahib ji, Venerable Sikh Guru Shri Guru
Nanak Dev Ji Maharaj, Sage Shri Adi Shankaracharya ji,
Saint Shri Raman Maharishi ji, Saint Sri Ramakrishna
Paramhans ji, Swami Vivekananda ji, and so on. There
have been many such Realized Ones in all eras. All Holy
Scriptures (Vedas and Upanishads) are the gospels of Great
Enlightened Saints who have dived deep into their own

Wise Seers and Mystics at every point in time have

laid great emphasis on the importance of self–realization:
the search for the truth about who we really are and
what is our true nature? Because all identities are simply
labels glued onto us. They are tags given to us by others.
For example, we may call ourselves by a certain name
and we are identified by that name. We always introduce
ourselves as ‘I am so and so’. Thus, the name has become
our identity. But the name is not the real ‘me’. It is simply
a word, a handful of alphabets put together in a particular
order. Are we not much more than just these lingual
alphabets? But, why then, when asked ‘Who are you?’ do
we reply, ‘I am so and so’? This is because we have come
Modern Ideologies: Leading Us Astray 29
to be deeply and very strongly identified with only the name
given to the physical body; the real ‘me’ or ‘self’ or true
‘consciousness’ has been forgotten.

Name is a fence and within it you are nameless.

~ Samuli Paronen
Similarly, we refer to ourselves as either male or
female but these are simply relative terms. It is not an
assertion that can be said to be absolute and independent
of anything else. The same is the case when we describe
ourselves as young or old, rich or poor. These are simply
relative statements. They describe a certain phase in our
life and our socio–economic status. That is not who we
really are! Thus, all descriptions and identities are always
in relation to some defined parameter. If we say we are
Hindu or Muslim or Christian, we are only describing
our religion, this is not us. If we belong to a certain
nationality, for example India, then we say that I am an
Indian, but when we say we are Indian, that simply explains
the status of our citizenship. It simply implies that we
were born in India, live in India and possess proof of
that citizenship by way of a passport or any other
recognized government–issued document. It is not who
we really are at the core.

This applies to each and every possible way in which

we may try to describe: ‘Who are we?’ But none of these
labels and tags, which we have become so habituated to
30 Devotion And The Modern Mind
identifying ourselves with, can, perhaps truly describe who
we are. All these definitions just marginalize us. They
reduce us to categories. They compartmentalize us. They
only describe who or what we are as compared to others.

Where I was born and where and how I have lived is

unimportant. It is what I have done with where I have been
that should be of interest.
~ Georgia O’Keeffe
A woman in a coma was dying. She suddenly had a
feeling that she was taken up to heaven. “Who are you?”
a voice said to her. “I am the mayor’s wife,” she replied.
“I did not ask you whose wife you are but who you are.”
“I am a schoolteacher.” “I did not ask you your profession
but who you are.”

And so it went. No matter what she replied, she

did not seem to give a satisfactory answer to the question,
“Who are you?” She evidently failed the examination and
was sent back to earth. When she recovered from her
illness she determined to find out who she was. And that
made all the difference.

But such is the limitation of language. It inherently

has an inevitable relativity about it. ‘Who are you?’ – can
never be described in words. All words will mislead,
because all words have a certain connotation and the
connotation can be misinterpreted. Moreover, words are
Modern Ideologies: Leading Us Astray 31
empty and incompetent to describe the true ‘self’. For
example, if we are thirsty and someone gives us the word
‘water’, will it quench our thirst or will the word ‘food’
satiate our hunger?

Marilyn Monroe wasn’t even her real name, Charles

Manson isn’t his real name, and now, I’m taking that to be my
real name. But what’s real? You can’t find the truth, you just
pick the lie you like the best.
~ Marilyn Manson
We ignorantly go on subscribing to an identity built
on hollow and empty words. What then is our real
identity? Who are we? If we are not the labels and the
tags that we have wrongly associated ourselves with, we
must delve deeper.

How do we currently experience ourselves? We feel

ourselves to be a physical personality, that is to say, we
recognize ourselves as a body that we can perceive with
our senses and see in the mirror. But what is the body
composed of? It is a tangible proposition to begin with.
But, is it a static object?

On an examination of the body one would say that

the body is a composition of bones, muscles, tissues,
blood, skin and so on. True, but are these things not
susceptible to change? Are they solid unchanging objects?
32 Devotion And The Modern Mind
According to medical science, the body is made up of
millions of cells which are ceaselessly regenerating
themselves. Every second there are cells dying and new
ones being created. This is a continuous process that
occurs in every part of our body. The blood is never
stationary. It is constantly flowing throughout the body.
The heart is constantly pumping fresh, pure blood to
replace the impure blood and this circulation goes on
and on, even while we are in deep sleep. The food that
we ingest is converted into energy, muscle and bone
marrow and the waste is egested as excreta.

In vain we shall penetrate more and more deeply the

secrets of the structure of the human body, we shall not dupe
nature; we shall die as usual.
~ Bernard Le Bovier de Fontanelle
All these processes are occurring round the clock.
Thus, there is nothing permanent in the body; nothing
that never undergoes a change. Nothing remains the same
in the body forever. And if everything is in a state of
metamorphosis then is not the body, in reality a process,
a continuous flow, a ceaseless movement, rather than a
static object? The body is alive because of all these
processes. The moment these processes stop, the body is
declared to be dead. The verve and vitality of the body
are due to this never–ending change that occurs. It is
energy in constant movement! We cannot feel the constant
changes occurring, because they are slow. They are so
3 Modern Ideologies: Leading Us Astray 33
very rhythmic and gentle. If they were sporadic, harsh or
aggressive, we would definitely be aware of them. But
our lack of awareness does not alter the fact that the
body is new and different each and every moment. It
changes from moment to moment.

There is nothing permanent except change.

From birth, through childhood, adulthood and
senescence, the body changes constantly. The change is
too imperceptible for us to realize. Take a look at one’s
own photographs taken just a few months back, let alone
a few years ago. On a close observation one would be
able to notice the subtle changes that have occurred.

Our breathing is never the same. It changes its

rhythm depending upon the need of the body. Sometimes
it is deeper when we are relaxed. At other times it is
shallow when we are tensed up and anxious. If we are
active and the muscles need more oxygen supply, then
the breath becomes rapid and heavy. During deep sleep,
it becomes slow and light.

If we are not the static object ‘body’, are we then

the ‘mind’? Are we the thought process that occurs within
us? The mind, however, changes even faster than the body.
No thought remains constant. Thoughts are ever changing.
One moment we are thinking of one thing and suddenly
34 Devotion And The Modern Mind
the next moment it is about another. The shift of thought
current is so sudden and almost involuntary. It is
unimaginably impulsive. Even if we want to hold a
thought, it is difficult. And then there are emotions that
are always in flux……our mood keeps changing from
cheerful to melancholic. There are so many factors that
affect us and so much thinking is occurring all the time.
Which of these thoughts would we say is our true identity?
Which emotion or mood are we really?

Thus, it would be incorrect to classify ourselves as

either the body or the mind. Both the body and the mind
are nothing but manifestation of energy. They are simply
energy in motion. Atomic physicists have come to discover
that matter is not really concrete or solid. Thus, modern
day physicists are now proclaiming that the building blocks
of the universe are not matter, but energy in motion.
They are now saying that everything is energy; the objective,
manifest world is nothing but ‘a dance of energy’.

If this is the reality of things, then what are we?

What is it that we call ‘I’? What is the notion that we can
claim is ‘me’? This is where the entire scientific community
is at a loss. This is where science becomes redundant and
mysticism comes to the forefront. This is the point where
spirituality comes in; thus spirituality begins where the
physical and objective materiality ends. Science can only
go this far. What they had said ten years ago, they are
changing now. Through centuries man has met change
Modern Ideologies: Leading Us Astray 35
with change. Scientists will continue to discover new aspects
of ‘Reality’, they will keep peeling off the onion but in the
end they will come to ‘Nothingness’: the Shunya described
by the Upanishads. At the core of existence is nothing but
‘Emptiness’. But, it is not a dead void. It is not a hollow, a
lifeless ‘Nothingness’. It is veritably alive and infinitely
throbbing. It is dynamic and creative; this blissful eternal
emptiness is our true nature. This ‘Infinite Nothingness’,
is our absolute reality. It is what we really are, each one of
us, all things – animate and inanimate. Only in the deep
silence of meditation can it be known through a direct

Nothing ever becomes real ‘til it is experienced.

~John Keats
It is almost universally acknowledged that in the
beginning there was God: the Source of the entire
creation. God created Light or Consciousness or Spiritual
Energy, and with that Light, the whole creation came
into being. Therefore, all that is created is intrinsically
equal in that Light of Consciousness. There are two sides
of the same individual: one, the subtle intrinsic real ‘self’
and the other, external ‘self’ (bodily self). The real ‘self’
has descended on earth to have human experiences
entering the game of life as consciousness. The other
aspect is the external ‘self’ of the individual as reflected
by one’s physical attributes. The essence of the real ‘self’
is the soul whereas that of the external ‘self’ is the body.
36 Devotion And The Modern Mind
The game of consciousness has the top–priority goal
of self–realization. This game is like a chutes and ladders
game. Chutes relate to over–indulgence at material platform
i.e. not remembering who you really are while playing the
game of consciousness; characterised by anger, greed,
attachment, ego, pride, jealousy, fear, lack of forgiveness,
impatience, ungratefulness, closed mindedness, a retaliatory
and a disturbed state of mind. They bring one down from
where one is and one loses the advantages in the game of
consciousness. The seeker has to exercise self control
implying not being controlled by senses and mind that can
lead one astray and taming them to align with the real ‘self’
that one truly is.

By playing the game and always remembering who

one is namely the ‘self’ or pure consciousness and not
the body, will automatically help one to easily climb up
the ladder successfully gaining more strides and reaching
the summit goal in a peaceful, loving and appreciative
manner. The progress is step–by–step, inch–by–inch, slow
and steady. Triumph is assured provided one surrenders
one’s entire dilemmas and indecisiveness unto the Sacred
Feet of the Perfect Master. The All–Compassionate Master
extricates devout seekers from the whirlpool of conflicts
and imparts knowledge that will enable them to take the
right decisions.

One morning, Saint Bulleh Shah ji was slipping

out of his home in the wee hours of the morning, for the
Modern Ideologies: Leading Us Astray 37
Holy Glimpse of His Great Master. He was wearing
expensive shining robes. At this hour the roads were being
swept clean by a lady. This naturally raised dust all around.
Saint Bulleh Shah ji was walking unmindful of it, caught
up in his own thoughts. The lady called out to him saying,
“Oh, Sai ji! Please step onto one side!”

Saint Bulleh Shah ji was startled. Her words had a

magical effect on him; in the split of a second he felt
pulled out of the quagmire of his mental conflict. The
lady merely wanted to caution him to stay away from
dust to protect his expensive robes. But to Saint Bulleh
Shah ji it hit home as if she was telling him to go on one
side – to choose between either to go with the world or
with the Holy Master. If you desire fickle, false worldly
attachments then continue to satisfy your worldly
obligations; and if your heart yearns for devotion, tread
the spiritual path dauntlessly.

He pervades in everyone.
Shah Inayat himself showed it,
And then alone I could see.
~Saint Bulleh Shah ji
38 Devotion And The Modern Mind


Why does everyone want a better life? Why do we all

aspire for a richer, more fulfilling life? When we come to
think of it, all our aspirations and desires are nothing but
an urge for something ‘more’ than what we are currently
experiencing in our lives. Whether that ‘something’ is
material success, physical comforts, modern luxuries,
scintillating adventure, sincere love or real happiness, it
does not matter. The fact is that we are not completely
satisfied with the way things are as of now. Life is not perfect,
the way it stands for us at this very moment; something is
amiss and we feel an incomprehensible yearning to find
that elusive ‘something’.


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both;
And be one traveller, long I stood,
And looked down one as far as I could,
To where it bent in the undergrowth.
Materialism: Unachievable Mirage 39
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim;
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.
~ Robert Frost
This poem is about actual and figurative roads:
the roads we walk and drive on, and the roads we take
through life. For every road we take, there is a road we
do not take. Wrong turn or not, the roads we take can
end up making significant changes in our lives. And we
will always wonder about the roads that we did not try.
We can only see the consequences of our decisions for a
short while into our future: a decision that changes
40 Devotion And The Modern Mind
everything – once we have made it, we can never go back.
Whence, when we are walking on the road of life, we should
be careful that we walk the Divine Path; this can take us to

I would rather walk with God in the dark than go alone

in the light.
~ Mary Gardiner Brainard
We all, as per our understanding, choose different
means to arrive at that yearned, unknown destination.
Some of us believe that if we are richer and can afford
more material possessions and luxuries of life, things
would be perfect. Others believe that to make their mark
in the world, they need to accomplish something truly
substantial. Yet others are convinced that if they have a
large and loving family, then life would be amazing. Some
feel that their life is monotonously boring and thus seek
adventurous fun and so on and so forth. This is what we
see all around us. Everyone is striving desperately to
improve their present condition. The world is in such a
passionate frenzy! Everyone is running helter–skelter,
striving hard towards personal accomplishments, burning
the midnight oil, resorting to any and every possible means
to somehow make their life better and more meaningful;
anything other than what it is presently.

However, the fact of the matter is that each time

we endeavour to attain whatever we had set out to achieve,
Materialism: Unachievable Mirage 41
the sense of elation on its successful accomplishment is
veritably short–lived and temporary. Even after attaining
that which we so badly desired, we find that we have not
really found the ‘feeling’ or ‘state of mind’ that we were
really seeking. That ‘something’ (which is yet to be realized)
continues to elude us. So, we embark on a new journey.
Without even questioning why we are not feeling
contented and completely satisfied, we simply shift our
focus onto another goal. We find another dream to chase.
Thus, even after achieving much, we continue to remain
discontented. Each time we arrive at the desired
destination, the goal just seems to get pushed a little
further. It is said that satisfaction of one human want
leads to the emergence of another. But why does this
keep happening?

Whenever we aspire and endeavour to fulfil our

desires, we are absolutely convinced that upon succeeding
we shall feel satisfied and permanently happy. We are
absolutely sure that the moment we achieve our present
goal we will be content; over and done with. There will
be nothing more to be done; we would attain a state of
euphoria, a nirvana. Alas, that never seems to happen.

Have we all not felt this? We strive our best to

fulfil our aspirations, our hopes, believing them to be
the destination itself. But whenever we get what we
yearned for, although it feels great for a while, that feeling
of elation is invariably shortlived. Soon that old feeling
42 Devotion And The Modern Mind
of frustrating disappointment sets in once again. A feeling
of sadness envelopes and again we start feeling the absence
of that ‘something’. And this is, virtually the state of affairs
of the entire humanity. Everyone is dissatisfied and unhappy
because accomplishing desires does not seem to lead to any
lasting sense of fulfilment. And we continue to fail to
recognize aspirations and desires for what they really are.
They always keep the vacillating mind vainly engaged in
the fulfilment of one want that forthwith results in the
emergence of another and this chain of wants and cravings
goes on and on endlessly. They indeed add fuel to the fire
of materialism.

There is an old legend about Salim, a fisherman,

who lived on the banks of the River Ganges. Walking
home with his eyes half–closed one evening after a hard
day’s toil, he was dreaming of what he would do when he
became rich. Suddenly his foot struck against a leather
pouch filled with what seemed to him small stones.
Absent–mindedly he picked up the pouch and began
throwing the pebbles into the water.

“When I am rich,” he said to himself, “I will have

a large house.” And he threw a stone. He threw another
and thought, “I will have servants and rich food.”

This went on until one stone was left. As Salim

held it in his hand, a ray of light caught it and made it
sparkle. He then realized that it was a valuable gem; he
Materialism: Unachievable Mirage 43
had been throwing away the real riches in his hand while
dreaming idly of unreal riches in future. All of us hold in
our hands the power to enrich our lives now and, above all,
our lives in eternity.

Look back, and when you do so, you are in the NOW.
Look ahead and when you do so, again you are in the NOW.
Look at, aren’t you in the NOW? NOW is the reality of time
in which you have your reality.
~ Swami Dayanand Saraswati
Aspirations and desires are nothing but projections
of our own mind – like an illusory mirage – just imaginary
destinations. There is no pot of gold at the end of the
rainbow! Being full of desires, aspirations and ambitions
is like being in a dream where nothing is real. Everything
is imaginary and false. But we fail to recognize this reality
and spend our entire lives building castles in the sky.

It is ironical to note that the more successful one

is and the more one has attained, the greater is the
accompanying frustration and the deeper is the underlying
sorrow. This is because with each and every achievement
so much energy has been spent in striving and struggling
and deep down in one’s heart, one knows that one has
missed out on life, missed out on living! So many sacrifices
were made, and one has nothing significant to show for
it. Deep within the heart the reversive sense of loneliness
still vexes. Of course, on the surface everything appears
44 Devotion And The Modern Mind
to be perfectly fine for who wants to admit that they have
been so ignorant, chasing a mirage all their life, only to
eventually end up feeling like a pauper! Thus, the affluent
and prosperous people pretend as if all is well. As a matter
of fact, their despair is tremendous; far greater than that of
those who have failed.

Two men were being carried down by the swift

current of the Niagara Waterfalls. One of them found a
big log and caught hold of it with the desire to be saved;
the other man found a slender rope, thrown down for
their rescue. Happily he caught hold of this rope, which
was not heavy like the log of wood; though the rope was
apparently very wavering and frail, he was saved. But the
man who chose the heavy log of wood was carried off by
the rapid current into the yawning grave of surging waters.
Similarly, the ignorant ones trust the outward name–fame,
riches–wealth, prowess and prosperity. These seem to be
like the big log of wood, but they are not the saving
principle. The saving principle is like the fine thread.
The subtle principle or the subtle truth is not obvious or
apparent; it is that fine rope, which finally will save one
from drowning in the worldly whirlpool. All these worldly
things on which man depends hasten his ruin and throw
him into a deep abyss of hopelessness, anxiety and pain.

Searching for pleasure in the worldly objects is vain.

The Home of Bliss is within you.
~ Swami Shri Ramtirth ji
Materialism: Unachievable Mirage 45
There was a medieval king who regularly used the
advice of a wise man. This sage was summoned to the
king’s presence. The monarch asked him how to get rid of
his anxiety and depression of spirits, how he might be really
happy, for he was sick in body and mind. The sage replied,
“There is but one cure for the king. Your Majesty must
sleep one night in the shirt of a happy man.”

Messengers were dispatched throughout the realm

to search for a man who was truly happy. But everyone
who was approached had some cause for miser y,
something that robbed them of true and complete
happiness. At last they found a man—a poor friar—who
sat smiling by the roadside and, when they asked him if
he was really happy and had no sorrows; he confessed
that he was a truly happy man. Then they asked him for
his shirt. The king must sleep one night in the shirt of a
happy man and had given them a large sum of money to
procure it. Would he sell them his shirt that the king
might wear it? The beggar burst into uncontrollable
laughter, and replied, “I am sorry, I cannot oblige the
king. I have no shirt on my back.” Those who are blessed
are characterized by their poverty. At the same time they
possess wealth of love, energy for peace and victory over
all resistance. Their nature is purity and single–
heartedness, in which they see God. Theirs is not the
happiness of satiety; it is not the pleasure of gratified
desire. A deeper happiness is felt by eyes and hearts that
are open: an openness to God.
46 Devotion And The Modern Mind
Happiness is the goal of all living beings. But the
ordinary happiness of the world can never satisfy man.
Nowhere in the ephemeral creation can he find lasting
satisfaction. Sense pleasure, even the highest, can never be
eternal, because all the senses are perishable. Man runs
after materialistic pleasures because he does not know
that the treasure trove of happiness is, in fact, within the
inner ‘self’. This ignorance can be erased only when he
develops an inclination for spirituality.

The honours of this world, what are they but puff, and
emptiness, and peril of falling?
~Augustine of Hippo
Each one of us is a wholesome bundle of physical,
emotional, intellectual and spiritual inheritance. However,
most of us remember and focus mostly on the first three
parts, and the last one (spiritual) is left in abeyance maybe
to explore later on. In this procrastination much is lost,
as most of the unexplored splendours within us and
around us remain untapped and inexperienced. The
purpose of life is realizing one’s own intrinsic spiritual
nature and honouring the same nature in all other beings
and finally merging in the Source from where we all came
and to whom we all shall return.

Human birth is an absolutely rare gift. The major

purpose of this extraordinary benediction is to discover
one’s own divinity, beyond ego and through spiritual
Materialism: Unachievable Mirage 47
practice. A simple spontaneous realization needed for the
divine magic to come into action is to regain an
understanding of being a complete individual. Then one
begins to operate in life from that perspective. The world
and spiritual arenas of life are not separate and opposed
to each other. Rather they complement each other. The
spiritual part is to get in touch with the infinite resources,
absolute knowledge, inexhaustible energy, divine love and
intrinsic joy. The other part is to do things in a totally
detached manner according to one’s inner approval and
guidance and leaving them to Nature to handle their
orchestration in the bigger divine plan. Believing, knowing
and feeling this reality is an essential part of skilful living.
True intention, perseverance and resoluteness are essential
prerequisites for living our lives in a fulfilling way.

Most people have heard the tale of the two buckets

which went to the well. “This is a miserable life,” said
one. “No matter how full I am when I come out of the
well, I always go back empty.” “Dear me!” said the other
bucket cheerfully. “I never thought of it like that. It seems
to me so wonderful that no matter how often I go back
to the well empty, I always come out full!”

The tunnel, howsoever long, must end; keep on

journeying till you see the light.
~ Father Alex Rebello
48 Devotion And The Modern Mind


Life in modern times is no longer simple. There was

a time when man lived a basic life of sustenance with
hunting and farming as the primar y occupations.
Moreover, these activities were carried out purely for
survival. Man lived quite simply from one day to another,
working just enough to sustain himself and his family.

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it

Now, however, we are living in the age of extreme
consumerism. Over–consumption and excessive indulgence
have become the order of the day. The world has become
a place of mass hedonism where everyone is constantly
seeking pleasure and engaged in overweening mental

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more

complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a
4 Stress: The Erosion Of Sanity 49
lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
~ E. F. Schumacher
Worldly indulgences come at a huge cost. People
are compelled to work longer and harder in order to
earn more money to be able to afford the indulgences of
modern day living. We are constantly pushing ourselves
harder and harder in order to achieve our goals and fulfil
our aspirations. We not only over–commit ourselves, but
often tend to bite more than we can chew; all of this
overstretching takes a tremendous toll on our physical
and mental wellness. We inadvertently lose our well–being
by remaining always on the edge, anxious, irritable and
ready to explode at the slightest provocation. Life becomes
unthinkably cacophonic but we are simply unable to do
anything about it. We feel helplessly incapable of setting
things right. Although we never desired to become so
stressful, we seem to have been slowly but steadily sucked
into such a state.

Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is

the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life
consists in the elimination of non–essentials.
~ Lin Yutang
Even if we are not full of desires and grandiose
dreams of becoming rich or achieving great things,
unimaginably, the world has become a place of fierce
competition, in every aspect of life. The new world order
50 Devotion And The Modern Mind
is controlled by capitalists who are driven by their intense
desire for greater wealth. This has created an environment
of unprecedented levels of consumerism where people are
being constantly enticed towards materialism, thus eroding
their simplicity and mental peace. Everyone seems to be
unknowingly drawn into a game of one–upmanship and
people are constantly ‘pushing the envelope’, thereby setting
new standards and harder–to–achieve benchmarks for

……………we have a tendency to be profit–oriented,

where everything is measured according to the results and we
get caught up in being more and more active to generate results.
In the East – especially in India – I find that people are more
content to just be, to just sit around under a banyan tree for
half a day chatting to each other. We Westerners would probably
call that wasting time. But there is value to it. Being with
someone, listening without a clock and without anticipation of
results, teaches us about love. The success of love is in the
loving – it is not in the result of loving.
~ Mother Teresa
In the modern society, materialism knows no
geographical boundaries; human aspirations are endless.
Companies are resorting to any and every means to excel
in their respective fields. Only the fittest are able to
survive. So great is the pressure to survive and successfully
Stress: The Erosion Of Sanity 51
compete in the market place that people are working harder
and longer than ever before. Never in the history of
humankind has man ever been so perplexed and full of
anxieties as today.

Are you stressed? Are you so busy in racing ahead

to the future that the present is reduced to a mere means
of getting to the finishing line? Stress is caused by being
‘here’ but wanting to be ‘there’ or being in the present but
wanting to be in the future. It is a split that tears you
apart from the inside. To create and live with such an
inner split is insanity. You can move fast, work fast or even
run, but do so without projecting yourself into the future
and without resisting the present. As you move, work, run –
do it with all your might. Enjoy the flow of energy, the high
energy of the moment. Then you will no longer be stressed,
no longer splitting yourself in two. Just moving, running,
working – and enjoying it. Or you can drop the whole thing
and sit back on a park bench. But, when you do, watch
your mind. It may say to you: “You should be working.
You are wasting time.” Observe the mind. Smile at it.

We grow by giving, by sacrificing, by hard work, by

encountering stress and strain...... And, we have with us every
resource; only, we should begin using our inner powers; the
more we use them in our own way, the more they grow and
also increase in number.
~ Swami Sri Chidananda
52 Devotion And The Modern Mind
The difference between a troublesome and trouble
free life largely depends upon an individual’s attitude. It
is therefore imperative for an individual to examine one’s
attitudinal qualities which if improved can bring one
closer to one’s real nature: Sat–Chit–Anand or Absolute
truth–existence–bliss. In other words, if one is looking at
ways and means to bring peace, love, joy, abundance,
freedom and fulfilment in one’s life, then one will have
to analyze one’s attitude and realize what changes need
to be brought about to cultivate the life–balancing
attitude that is essentially a happy mix of one’s worldly
and spiritual life.

Acceptance with openness and living in the present

spontaneously trigger the ‘Real Enjoyer’ in a person.
Understanding and cultivating these attitudinal qualities
will enable one to enjoy life in a balanced state on a
continuous basis. Let us here take a brief instant to
comprehend the true meaning of these attributes.
Acceptance implies recognizing reality as it is in a situation
and coming to terms with it. Openness refers to being
free from any preconceived notions or barriers; not being
closed to new ideas or stubborn about a viewpoint. Living
in the present is being fully present in the current moment
and enjoying it by positively responding to it. Espousing
these virtues will allow one to experience eternal bliss
through inner stillness or silence.

A balanced person thus, lives both the spiritual and

Stress: The Erosion Of Sanity 53
worldly lives to the fullest thereby making the best use
of the precious human garb. Such a true seeker does
all things in a positive manner and feels satisfied having
no room for complaints, hatred or jealousy whatsoever.
He feels powerful from within by making full use of his
inherent strength to realize the Almighty God and be
connected with His Divine Presence and His unfailing
protection. He nurtures a feeling of self–sufficiency in
all respects and is intrinsically free and fearless as an
individual ought to be. He is effortlessly open to Infinity:
infinite resources, infinite information, infinite love,
infinite joy and bliss. He constantly engages in appropriate
action as guided from within by his inner silence. He
examines everything and seeks only that which is not
limited or finite.

Who is rich? He who rejoices in his portion.

~ The Talmud
Such a state of balance can be achieved by
meditation on the Divine Name regularly, sincerely and
sacredly. Self–observation and surrendering to the will
of the Almighty Lord at all times and in all situations
empower an individual to not only accept the present as
it is in a positive manner but also manifest the future
through deepest, most cherished intention and desires.
Contemplation on the Lord’s Divine Word relinquishes
attachment to outcomes, letting the Universal Power
handle the details.
54 Devotion And The Modern Mind
Below is an awesome conversation between God and
a man.
Man: God, can I ask Thee a question?
God: Sure!
Man: Promise Thou will not get annoyed.
God: I promise.
Man: Why did Thou let so much stuff happen to me
God: What do you mean?
Man: Well, I woke up late.
God: Yes!
Man: My car took forever to start.
God: Okay.
Man: At lunch they made my sandwich wrong and I
had to wait.
God: Hmm…
Man: On the way home, my phone went dead, just
as I picked up a call.
God: All right!
Man: And on top of it all, when I got home I just
wanted to soak my feet in my new foot massager
and relax. But it would not work!!! Nothing went
right today! Why did Thou do that?
God: Let me see, the death angel was at your bed
Stress: The Erosion Of Sanity 55
this morning and I had to send one of My Angels to
battle him for your life. I let you sleep through that.
Man: (humbled) Oh!!!
God: I did not let your car start because there was a
drunk driver on your route who would have hit you
if you were on the road.
Man: (ashamed)
God: The first person who made your sandwich
today was sick and I did not want you to catch what
they have, I knew you could not afford to miss work.
Man: (embarrassed) Okay!
God: Your phone went dead because the person who
was calling was going to give false witness about what
you said on that call, I did not even let you talk to
them so you would be covered.
Man: (softly) I see, God!
God: Oh! And that foot massager, it had a shortage
that was going to throw out all of the power in your
house tonight. I think you did not want to be in the
Man: I am sorry, God!
God: Do not be sorry; just learn to trust Me….in all
things, good and bad.
Man: I will trust Thee.
God: And do not doubt My plan for your day; it is
56 Devotion And The Modern Mind
always better than your plan.
Man: I will not. And let me just tell you God, ‘Thank
You’ for everything today.
God: You are welcome child. It was just another day
being your God and I love looking after My children.

“Do not worry, everything will be fine,” words that

are often spoken to temper anxiety, all too often may fall
on deaf ears. Anxiety and stress about our present and
our future can so grip us that this worry begins to affect
us in ways that it should not, obscuring our vision of life.
Although anxiety is a reality of the human condition,
peace is a reality of the divine condition. In the midst of
unknowns, God offers us an image of One so much in
love with creation that even the needs of a sparrow are
tended to. What reason then do we have to feel that He
is not taking care of the minutest details of our lives? All
that one is required to do is to surrender unto His Divine

If you can solve your problem, then what is the need of

worrying? If you cannot solve it, then what is the use of
~Laura Moncur
Submit yourself to the Creator who can design your
destiny. Pray to Him! Abide by the Eternal Truth! Fear
not! Even if the Lord Almighty does put us through trials
Stress: The Erosion Of Sanity 57
and tribulations, we must consider them a mere test of our
faith in Him. One must trust in the Almighty God’s
providence and know that somehow the very depths of our
distress can bring us insight and grace. If only one were
able to see His hand at work, even in suffering, it would be
easier to triumph over the darkness of pain instead of
creating untold anguish and stress. Sometimes, God inflicts
suffering on His most favourite children just so that He
can keep them closer by eternally ‘checking in on them’. It
is therefore imperative that we be devoted to God in most
ardent attachment, in most absolute dependence, in
continual and unconditional surrender to God’s Holy Will,
in utter and habitual self sacrifice and self–abnegation. Be
bold when you lose and be calm when you win. The more
pain you get in life, the more valuable you become. Most
blessed experience is to have the conscious presence of
Almighty God with us through the trials and tests of life.
Retain your composure. Always remember:

Like heated gold becomes ornaments, beaten copper

becomes wires, depleted stone becomes a statue, similarily pains
in ‘Sadhana’ makes us Buddha.
~Prof. Mohinder Pal Singh
58 Devotion And The Modern Mind


What is the ego? Enquire. The body is insentient and

cannot say ‘I’. The Self is pure consciousness and non–dual.
It cannot say ‘I’. No one says ‘I’ in sleep. What is the ego
then? It is something intermediate between the inert body and
the Self. It has no locus standi. If sought for, it vanishes like a
ghost. At night a man may imagine that there is a ghost by his
side because of the play of shadows. If he looks closely he
discovers that the ghost is not really there, and what he imagined
to be a ghost was merely a tree or a post. If he does not look
closely the ghost may terrify him. All that is required is to
look closely and the ghost vanishes. The ghost was never there.
So also with the ego.
~ Shri Ramana Maharshi
The concept of ‘I’ or ‘ego’ needs to be understood.
As we exist at the moment, we experience ourselves as a
body that we can feel as solid, real and tangible. We also
experience ourselves as a mind; by mind we are referring
to all the cerebral functions: the ability to think,
Ego: The Insidious Deception 59
understand, rationalize, conceptualize and remember.
Lastly, we experience ourselves as individuals; as a living
entity, we feel a sense of ‘I’. We rely on this sense of ‘I’ to
define ourselves. However, in reality, this ‘I–ness’ or in
other words this sense of ‘I’ has no real foundation of its
own. Even a small child says, ‘I exist; I do; this is mine.’ So,
everyone understands that the thing ‘I’ is always existent.
But this ‘I’ is a perception, though a very strong one no
doubt, but all the same it is only a feeling, a sense of
individuality; it is not tangible.

This ‘I’ is a relative concept. If one were the only

living creature on this planet, one would probably not
even feel this sense of ‘I’. Why would one bother to? It
would be irrelevant. This ‘I’ cannot exist on its own. It
needs the others to exist. It is only in the presence of
others that one can feel oneself as ‘I’. It becomes relevant
to state the word ‘I’ only in context of others; thus when
one says ‘I’, it means one is basically stating that one is
different and separate from all the others that exist.
Therefore, the ‘I’ is relative. It has no independent
existence. Furthermore, man’s ego makes him reckon
himself as being proudly superior to others.

Lukman was an adept artisan. When death was

approaching, he carved out forty images which resembled
him; and he stood in between. When the messengers of
death came to take him, the real Lukman could not be
figured out. Eventually they returned. Lukman’s ego and
60 Devotion And The Modern Mind
pride reached the pinnacle. He was much elated that he
had vanquished even death, by his skill and dexterity.

The messengers related the incident to Lord Yama

(the god of death), who sent them back, giving particular
instructions. On reaching there, the messengers of death
said in a loud clarion voice, “O Lukman! Your sculpture
is undoubtedly commendable, but still, there is one thing
lacking.” Immediately, Lukman, who was filled with pride,
blurted, “What is it?” He was thus caught in the noose of

Can you walk on water? You have done no better than

straw. Can you fly in the air? You have done no better than a
bluebottle. Conquer your heart; then you may become
~Ansari of Herat
Cotton enveloping a flint is bound to set ablaze. ‘I
and mine–ness’ or ego is like a blazing fire, evil and
demoniac. One must shield oneself otherwise its flames
shall destroy the inner ‘self’; putting the individual in
discomposure and distress. Solace and tranquillity can
never prevail as long as ego and vanity flares. He who
wants to save one’s self from the fire of arrogance and
vainglory, must pour tranquil waters of ‘thou and thine’
over it.

Once I said to a scarecrow, “You must be tired of

Ego: The Insidious Deception 61
standing in this lonely field.” And he said, “The joy of scaring
is a deep and lasting one, and I never tire of it.”
Said I after a minute of thought, “It is true; for I too
have known that joy.” Said he, “Only those who are stuffed
with straw can know it.”
Then I left him, not knowing whether he had
complimented or belittled me. A year passed, during which the
scarecrow turned philosopher. And when I passed by him again
I saw two crows building a nest under his hat.
~ Kahlil Gibran, The Madman
As long as the egoist mind is running your life, you
cannot truly be at ease; you cannot be at peace except for
those brief moments when you have obtained what you
wanted, when a craving has just been fulfilled and thus
your ego has been satisfied. Man’s vaunted sense of egoism
keeps him obsessed with worldly cares and concerns. Pursuit
of gratification of desires becomes his highest aim in life.
Given over to self–conceit, lust and anger, man despises
God who dwells in his body as the Indwelling Spirit.

The mind turned inwards is the ‘self’; turned outwards

it becomes the ego and all the world. Since ego is a derived
sense of ‘self’, it needs to identify with external things. It
needs to be both defended and fed constantly. The most
common ego identifications have to do with possessions,
the work you do, social status and recognition, knowledge,
62 Devotion And The Modern Mind
education, physical appearance, special abilities, belief
systems, relationships, personal and family history. None
of these is you. Darkness of ignorance blurs man’s vision to
such an extent that he does not accept that God dwells
within as witness of his evil life. Endless desire will one day
erode the soul of its true hue. We must elevate ‘self’ and
imbibe a certain amount of self control within us.

Ignorance of one’s true nature is the fertile ground

for ego to f lourish. Increased level of ego enhances
ignorance. The two fuel each other to turn into an inferno.
Ego is the cause of bondage because man is pre–programmed
to identify ‘self’ with his body–mind–intellect personality
instead of his true divine ‘self’. This erroneous identification
is the direct outcome of ego. Thus, our individuality and
ego act as a veil of separation between our intellectual
and spiritual ‘self’. Only he can find the door of salvation
who extirpates self–conceit and vanity from within. The
veil of pride lifts only for that spiritual seeker who is
sagacious but lives unobtrusively, leading a modest life;
who is powerful but does not flaunt his hegemon.

The soul loves to meditate, for in contact with the Spirit

lies its greatest joy. If, then you experience mental resistance
during meditation, remember that reluctance to meditate comes
from the ego; it doesn’t belong to the soul.
~ Paramahansa Yogananda
The most significant barrier that stands in the way
Ego: The Insidious Deception 63
of letting the connection happen between the physical
self and the higher ‘self’ is the ego or the intellect.
Individuality is the illusion that we are not identical with
the Source: God, from whom all comes and all returns.
Thus, ego holds us down and does not let us merge into
the Lord. When this illusion is dispelled through meditation
on Holy Name, what remains is God. It is none other
than the ‘self’ or the formless ‘Consciousness’.

In ancient times, a king had a boulder placed on a

roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone
would remove the huge rock. Some of the king’s wealthiest
merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked
around it. In their vanity and self–conceit, many loudly
blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear, but none
did anything about getting the stone out of the way.

Then a peasant came along carrying a load of

vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant
laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the
side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he
finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of
vegetables, he noticed a purse lying on the road where the
boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins
and a note from the king indicating that the gold was for
the person who removed the boulder from the roadway.

Our real treasure too is similarly buried under the

massive boulder of egoism. We could either continue to
64 Devotion And The Modern Mind
lead our lives under this false sense of vanity, so
overwhelmed by constantly finding faults in others as to be
completely unaware of our own shortcomings; or make
determined efforts to push aside this boulder of pride and
arrogance thereby revealing the true treasures within.

God is not attained by a process of addition to anything

in the soul, but by a process of subtraction.
~Meister Eckhart
You do not do anything to be free, you drop
something. Then you are free. Blessed are those who shed
their egoistic traces in their meditative mode and with a
receptive heart lovingly open the self–created gates to
receive the cleansing and sustaining Divine Energy, since
only when the self–limiting tendencies of the mind have
ceased, does one become conscious of the real ‘self’. Our
attachments then shift from worldly things and worldly
objects to love for the Perfect Holy Master and the Divine
Name bestowed by His Utmost Grace. Love for the Lord
drives everything else out of us. When that love is there,
the question of ego does not even arise. Divine love and
ego are poles apart. Love means losing your own identity
and absolute submission to the One you love thereby
completely erasing all traces of ego or individuality.
Votaries who are thus able to eliminate their ver y
identities on the path of devotional love certainly qualify
for experiencing the magic of life: self–realization followed
by God–realization.
66 Devotion And The Modern Mind

Every positive change—every

jump to a higher level of energy and
awareness—involves a rite of passage.
Each time to ascend to a higher rung on
the ladder of personal evolution, we must
go through a period of discomfort, of
initiation. I have never found an
~ Dan Millman
Happiness: An Attainable Phenomenon 67


We have evolved from a single cell organism to a

complex, dynamic life form. We have developed into
intelligent beings, the greatest creation in existence: the
pinnacle of evolution, capable of such extraordinary
achievements, but we have not been able to attain the
simple and most commonly desired state: ‘Happiness’!

What is this we call ‘happiness’? It is obviously not

a tangible, physical object to be acquired. Is it then a
‘state of being’ to be attained? Has anyone ever attained
it? And how is one supposed to do that? Possessing material
comforts does not seem to bring about lasting happiness.
Amenities and conveniences may bring in momentary joy,
but permanent happiness is something that eludes us our
entire life. Achieving success, receiving accolades, attaining
recognition are all thrilling and gratifying for a while,
but once the euphoria wears off, the dispirited feeling of
isolation sets in again.
68 Devotion And The Modern Mind
Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance,
order, rhythm and harmony.
~ Thomas Merton
When at the bottom of a hill, we are anxious to
reach the top. On reaching the top, there is no option
but to look down. There is frustration because even after
having come all the way, we could not find what we were
really looking for. Our lives seem to be a long saga of
unrest, dissatisfaction and despair; almost like a desert, a
vast empty wasteland. But it does not have to be so. There
is light at the end of the tunnel. Life can be very rewarding
and fulfilling, full of real joy, great love and immense

Happiness is not illusory like an oasis in a desert

but as real as the air one breathes. When a man is
drowning, he flings his arms and legs to the best of his
abilities to push himself above the water. Modern
civilization, today, by becoming self–centred and by being
possessed by all the material gadgets has become more
miserable than ever before. We need to make a conscious
effort to look deep into our soul; to develop the intellect
to judge the Truth from delusion; to build the awareness
to sieve the thoughts we create in our minds. Only then
the individual floundering in the ocean of distress can
gasp a breath of tranquillity. Happiness is, but a perception
– a way to look at life. Make your perspective of life
Happiness: An Attainable Phenomenon 69
Count your blessings. Once you realize how valuable
you are and how much you have going for you, the smiles will
return, the sun will break out, the music will play, and you
will finally be able to move forward the life that God intended
for you with grace, strength, courage, and confidence.
~Og Mandino
One day a father and his rich family took his young
son on a trip to the country with the firm purpose to
show him how much sorrow and suffering there can be.
They spent a day and a night in the farm of a very poor
family. When they got back from their trip the father
asked his son, “How was the trip?”

“Very good, Dad!” said the son.

“Did you see how much suffering can befall the

poor people?” the father asked.

“Yeah!” replied the son probing deep.

“And what did you learn?” questioned his wise


The son answered, “I saw that we have a dog at

home, and they have four. We have a pool that reaches
to the middle of the garden; they have a creek that has
no end. We have imported lamps in the garden, they
have the stars. Our patio reaches to the front yard, they
have a whole horizon.”
70 Devotion And The Modern Mind
When the little boy was finished, his father was
speechless. His son added, “Thanks, Dad, for showing me
how poor we are!”

The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking

more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”
~ Socrates
Our wants, our perceived needs, our desires – are
all obstacles to peace and happiness. The more we have,
the more we want. People always think that if they attain
something more, whether it is more money, a better job,
a degree, a good husband, then they will be happy. But, it
never works like that. Happiness and peace are found
not in the acquisition, but rather in the renunciation of
our attachment. It is often said that ‘expectation is the
mother of frustration and acceptance is the mother of
peace’. It is not just having or not having that is the issue.
The issue is want, yearning and expectation. These external
things never bring any lasting happiness and peace. Besides,
is it not true that it all depends on the way we look at
things? If we have love, friends, family, health, good
humour and a positive attitude towards life, we would
have everything!

We cannot buy any of these things. We can have all

the material possessions that we can imagine, but if we
are poor of spirit, we have nothing! Man is a combination
of matter and ‘spirit’. Matter, because it is limited and
Happiness: An Attainable Phenomenon 71
perishable and breeds unhappiness. Thus, when man’s
material nature asserts itself, he feels miserable. On the
contrary, when man is able to detach himself from his
physical being by discovering his true ‘self’ , then matter
has no further power over him. His awareness of his real
‘self’ ensures that nothing can make him unhappy because
he has risen above fear and desire.

Who confers knowledge of the ‘spirit’? The Holy

Preceptor (like the father) who Himself is the mine of
true knowledge can alone unravel deep mystic secrets of
human life to the aspirant (son). He alone can direct an
individual to the lofty sublime realms where one
experiences Immortal Beatitude. Enlightened Saints bathe
humanity in the conf luence of eternal happiness,
everlasting joy and sublime peace. Ordaining spiritual
disciplines, they lead the spiritual strivers to the pinnacle
of spiritual elevation. Saints iterate the quintessence in
their holy teachings.

Mai noon taan uus mitrr piaaray dee manjial

val vadhadiaan sadaa aanand hee aanand hai.
~Bhai Nandlal Goya
“Proceeding to the Portal of The Revered One, I
feel exuberant.”

On rare occasions, human beings have reached the

highest peak of existence, the greatest ecstasy possible.
72 Devotion And The Modern Mind
Those who have dared to explore relentlessly and probe
deep into the nature of things, have attained a highly exalted
state of ‘Transcendental Being’, a tremendously heightened
level of consciousness, far greater than is possible to imagine.
Existence itself has revealed to them its splendid glory and
laid bare all its hidden secrets to these fortunate few, who
were persistent enough to go the distance, never gave up
until they experienced the ultimate joy and pure bliss. Can
people like you and me be one of those fortunate few? ‘Yes’
is the answer.

Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the

whole aim and end of human existence.
~ Aristotle
Whether we recognize it or not, we all have a magic
inside us. This divine magic can make our lives fulfilling
in every way. However, the irony of our living is that we
have forgotten about the divine magic and blame the
world for making life so complicated and in many cases
miserable. All of us should make a sincere attempt in
changing our current living in a way that we can realize
our full potential of being joyful and fulfilled.

This gift of fulfilment is lying hidden within us

and it is genuinely waiting for us to get in touch with it
and restore the lost heritage of freedom, peace, love and
joy as well as gain simple understanding of how to go
about it. Once the understanding is there, the rest will
Happiness: An Attainable Phenomenon 73
begin to happen on its own in an ordinary natural way.
Hard to believe, but it is there for everyone’s rekindling,
and there is not any big complicated stuff required for this
change to happen.

Dr. John H. Miller in his book, Take A Look At

Yourself, relates an interesting story.

Tucked away in the hills was a very popular hunting

lodge. As the patrons would come and go, a parrot, whose
cage hung over the steep stairs chirped the only words he
knew, “One at a time, gentlemen, one at a time.”

One day the parrot escaped. The anxious guests

joined the searching party. They found the pet entangled
in a hornet’s nest. Yet, with great dignity, he continued
his counsel, “One at a time, gentlemen, one at a time.”

We must learn not only to take one step at a time

but live one day at a time. We have to live twenty–four
hours a day. We must exclaim with confidence, “This is
the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be
glad in it.” This is God’s day, His opportunity through
me. We must live with eternity on our lips. As a great
thinker has said, “Live as if you would like to live a
thousand years, yet might die tonight.”

Do not look at life’s long sorrow,

See how small each moment’s pain;
74 Devotion And The Modern Mind
God will help thee for tomorrow,
So each day begin again.
~Adelaide Anne Procter
This world is not abandoned, and it is not lawless;
and pain does not run riot as it pleases. Suffering is God’s
appointed minister. When vases are in the factories, they
are painted with beautiful flowers and running vines; they
smear them with black and put them into the furnace.
They are still black on coming out, until they are brushed,
when the black disappears, and naught but these beautiful
flowers and vines remain. Behind the groans and the
anguish of men in this world God has been writing, and
in the light of the eternal world, results will be seen of
which we have no conception now.

There are two kinds of happiness for mortal men: there

is that which is carnal and imperfect, and hangs on
circumstances, and the health of the body and suchlike things;
and there is that which is spiritually perfect, which hangs on
nothing else than the doing of the will of God Almighty.
~ R. H. Benson
Things come and go in life. But one should make
sure that in all the situations – good or bad, one’s heart
is filled with the Almighty God’s Presence and love. This
is imperative so that one does not get imbalanced in living
one’s life. Keeping the Holy Adept’s Divine Name in
Happiness: An Attainable Phenomenon 75
mind and heart all the time will ensure that one lives
peacefully and profoundly. Meditation on the Holy Word
makes one feel the Divine Presence around oneself that
protects all the time, wherever one is.

Usually it is the man himself who goes stale. He stops

to learn, assimilate and grow. He begins to work as
automation. In order to give shape and value to our lives,
we must have ideals. If one does not have ideals, then the
mind of such a person deals only with the details of the
routine. Such a person has nothing to look forward to
which could enthuse him with vitality. The choice of a
purpose in life mobilizes the brain. Man then begins to
make good use of his circumstances and opportunities.
Enlightened Ones confer upon man the knowledge of
the true purpose in life. This awareness serves as the silver
lining, which accompanied with the Spiritual Adept’s
beneficent guidance inspires man into righteous actions
and thus blissful content.

Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes

true happiness. It is not attained through self–gratification
but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.
~Helen Keller
Out of every sorrow there should come forth
submission; a drawing nearer to God whose great heart
embraces inexhaustible love for us; a new vision of the
shallowness of worldly streams, the depths of Divine Ones;
76 Devotion And The Modern Mind
a closer devotion to God than ever before known; a loosening
of the grasp on time and its tightening upon eternity. It is a
solemn fact which some of us know all too well that agony
leaves us either close to God or farther away. It is a double
edged tool; it either scars or beautifies. By our resistance we
make it a crosswind baffle, driving our tiny craft astray from
its destined haven of rest. But by our submission, God will
make it to be a favouring one to waft us onward into the
safety and tranquil rest of His Perfect Will.

After every happiness comes misery; they may be far

apart or near. The more advanced the soul, the more quickly
does one follow the other. What we want is neither happiness
nor misery. Both make us forget our true nature; both are
chains – one iron, one gold; behind both is the Atman, who
knows neither happiness nor misery. These are states, and
states must ever change; but the nature of the Atman is bliss,
peace, unchanging. We have not to get it, we have it; only
wash away the dross and see it.
~Swami Vivekananda ji
Once, a young biology student was asked to observe
a caterpillar slowly turn into a butterfly. The young boy
kept careful watch and was rather disturbed to see the
caterpillar struggle: there is a phase in the caterpillar’s
life when it goes through many hormonal changes and
gradually leaves its shell and turns into a butterfly.
Happiness: An Attainable Phenomenon 77
But the process is very intense and needs a lot of
strength. When the boy saw the caterpillar struggling, he
thought of helping. But as soon as he tried to help, it died.
The boy was sad. His teacher explained that the phase had
to be faced by the caterpillar alone. Only then, it can turn
into a butterfly. The teacher said, “You have to understand
the value of struggle and hard work; no one else can do it
for you.”

...but God meant it unto good....

~The Holy Bible – Genesis 50:20
There is a beautiful figure in one of Wordsworth’s
poems, of a bird that is swept from Norway by storm.
And it battles against the storm with desperate effort,
eager to wing back again to Norway. But all is vain, and
so at last it yields, thinking that the gale will carry it to
death – and the gale carries it to sunny England, with its
green meadows and its forest glades.

Ah, how many of us have been like that little

voyager, fretting and fighting against the Will of God! And
we thought that life could never be the same again when
we were carried seaward by the storm. Until at last, finding
all was useless, perhaps, yielding to the wind that bloweth
where it listeth, we have been carried to a land that was
far richer, where there were green pastures and still waters.

I’d like a way

To change the clouds that bring us sorrow.
78 Devotion And The Modern Mind
And build today a bright tomorrow;
To banish cares that tarry long.
And have the days like the blue-birds song –
I’d like a way.
I’ll find a way –
I’ll set sail when the breeze is high
And calmly drift when pleasure’s nigh
I’ll steer a course afar from tears.
And take in joy the coming years –
I’ll find a way.
I’ve lost the way!
Out through the gloom a beam of light
Looks like a purpose looming bright!
Up with the sail! I’ll out of sea.
And bring that purpose back to me.
Or go its way.
Let us have faith in Lord’s Holy Will and His
impeccable divine plan for each one of us. God has
planned, with perfect wisdom, the plan of our lives to its
tiniest detail and according to His intention; it is a perfect
plan. Our lives could be perfect and happy if only we can
follow in complete faith the plan of God.

The reason birds can fly and we can’t is simply because

Happiness: An Attainable Phenomenon 79
they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings.
~ J.M. Barrie
One day the Apostles said to the Lord, “We need
more faith; tell us how to get it.”

And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard

seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked
up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should
obey you.
~The Holy Bible – Luke 17:6
Wise Seers have laid down certain infallible steps
for souls that yearn for eternal happiness. To dwell in
eternal bliss we need to merge in the Source of happiness.
Who will tell us the whereabouts of its Origin and who
can direct us on the path to eternal bliss? The answer is
obvious: None other, but the Spiritual Deliverer of the
times. So, longing souls encountering sufferings and
writhing in pain should seek Holy Communion where
they learn the true expedients to attain happiness. Whence,
it has been correctly said: Happiness is an attainable

Everybody Knows:
You can’t be all things to all people.
You can’t do all things at once.
80 Devotion And The Modern Mind
You can’t do all things equally well.
You can’t do all things better than everyone else.
Your humanity is showing just like everyone else’s.
You have to find out who you are, and be that.
You have to decide what comes first, and do that.
You have to discover your strengths, and use them.
You have to learn not to compete with others,
Because no one else is in the contest of ‘being you’.
You will learn to accept your own uniqueness.
You will learn to set priorities and make decisions.
You will learn to live with your limitations.
You will learn to give yourself the respect that is due.
And you’ll be a most vital mortal.
Dare To Believe:
That you are a wonderful, unique person.
That you are a once–in–all–history event.
That more than a right, it’s your duty, to be who you are.
That life is not a problem to solve, but a gift to cherish.
And you’ll be able to stay one up on what used to get you down.
6 Who Am ‘I’: The Way Is Within 81


Every problem contains the seeds of its own solution.

~ Stanley Arnold
The greatest problem of the modern mind is that
it is obsessed with the idea of achievement. Modern society
is intoxicated with the idea of acquiring ‘more’ – more
money, more power and more prestige. Our lives are in
complete disarray, yet we never stop to ask whether this
is how things ought to be! We never pause to question
whether or not our lifestyle is an ideal way to exist?

Look at the possibilities in life! Finding the answers

to life’s difficulties may not always come from a bigger
bank balance, or a better government job, or some other
worldly attainment. Answers are found within. Vision is
what is lacking; vision and imagination are the keys to
unlocking the greatest possibilities of future. Intellectual
knowledge is heavy on the mind, but limited in overall
82 Devotion And The Modern Mind
results. However, when it is merged with inner resources
that are awakened by the grace of an Enlightened Spiritual
Preceptor, it effortlessly leads to more results and infinite
knowledge. The whole kingdom of God lies within one.
Therefore, one must change the direction of one’s
attention from the external world to one’s inner peaceful,
knowing, loving, joyful and free realm under the adept
guidance of a Magnanimous Spiritual Maven. After
seeking initiation in the practice of Lord’s Divine Name,
meditation really helps in bringing about this marvellous

God is not an idea, or a definition that we have committed

to memory, he is a Presence which we experience in our hearts.
~ Louis Evely
A beggar had been sitting on the walkway of a
particular street for over thirty years. “Spare some change?”
mumbled the beggar to a passer–by, mechanically holding
out his old base–ball cap. “I have nothing to give you,”
said the stranger. Before walking by, he asked, “What is
that you are sitting on?”

“Nothing,” replied the beggar. “Just an old box. I

have been sitting on it for as long as I can remember.”
“Ever looked inside?” asked the stranger.

“No,” said the beggar. “What is the point? There

cannot possibly be anything in there.” “Take a look inside,”
Who Am ‘I’: The Way Is Within 83
the stranger insisted. The beggar managed to pry open
the lid. With astonishment, disbelief, and elation, he saw
that the box was filled with gold.

We are born into this modern, technologically

advanced world with no choice of whether or not we
want to accept this way of life. Right from our childhood,
the ways of society are thrust upon us. Teachers at different
stages of life, teach us how to compete in the world; ever
striving for excellence and success. The whole education
system is built for one purpose only.... how to achieve
more and be more competitive. On little children, who
are innocently naïve and credulous, the rat race is simply
imposed; whereof all sorts of insecurities surround us.
We get programmed to think in a certain way, functioning
within the framework established by others.

The most astonishing phenomenon is that these

so–called custodians of society, who influence popular
culture, are themselves dissatisfied and unhappy. How
can people, who themselves do not know what happiness
is, create a utopia. It is the blind leading the blind; thereby
dissatisfaction pervades all strata of society. The poor are
miserable due to their daily struggles, but the wealthy are
suffering even more….full of psychological problems! No
matter how rich they become, they continue to remain
discontented. Everyone seems to be frustrated with the
way their lives have turned out. Just being born and living
according to the norms of such a society, is not enough.
84 Devotion And The Modern Mind
One has to learn the righteous way of living from an
Enlightened One. One has to adopt means that foster
happiness, leading to a joyful, fulfilling life.

Each soul is potentially divine. The goal is to manifest

this divinity by controlling nature, external and internal.
~ Swami Vivekananda ji
What you perceive as a tactile physical structure
called the body, which is subject to disease, old age and
death, is not eventually real – is not you. It is just a
misperception of your essential ‘Reality’, that which is
beyond birth and death, and it is due to the limitations
of your mind. The mind, having lost touch with ‘Being’,
creates the body as evidence of its illusory belief in
separation and to justify its state of dread.

A plum once said, “Just because a banana lover

came by, I converted myself into a banana. Unfortunately,
his taste changed after a few months and so I became an
orange. When he said I was bitter I became an apple, but
he went in search of grapes. Yielding to the opinions of
so many people, I have changed so many times that I no
longer know who I am. How I wish I had remained a
plum and waited for a plum lover.”

Just because a group of people do not accept you

as you are, there is no necessity for you to strip yourself
of your originality. You need to be content and positively
Who Am ‘I’: The Way Is Within 85
happy about yourself, for the world takes you at your
own estimate. Do not let go of your true ‘self’ in any
situation whatsoever. In the long run, you will regret that
you traded your greatest glory – your uniqueness, for
momentary validation. Each one of us is original; each
one is rare; each one unique; each one a masterpiece....
his Supreme Master’s piece.

Human beings are born with a certain potential;

the capability to become much more is inherent. That is
the true meaning of the word ‘potential’. To realize that
potential we must learn the art of living. Who can teach
us the right method of living a blissful, peaceful life? The
answers to the questions below have to be discovered:
Who am I? What is the purpose of my existence? Life is
an ongoing infinite play of consciousness. What is our
part, how do we play it, how do we utilize the divine help
and love of God available to all of us in reaching the top
goal of being one with all that is. We need to know our
position in the totality. We are an integral part of the
Infinity. We need to recognize this connection, so that
we can conduct ourselves accordingly and in the process,
experience the fulfilment of our lives.

The Word of God became man that you also may learn
from a man how a man becomes a God.
~ St. Clement of Alexandria
Surely, only the One who knows the truths of life
86 Devotion And The Modern Mind
Himself can teach others. Only He who holds the treasure
Himself is capable of conferring it on others. Only the One
who is Infinitely Blissful can shower happiness and joy.
Only an overflowing fountain can quench the thirst of the
thirsty. Only the One who is familiar with the milestones
and landmarks leading to the destination can guide and
instruct others on the arduous path of life’s journey; He is
none other but the Spiritual Maven.

There is a legend of the Cherokee Indian youth’s

rite of passage. A boy in the tribe must pass through a
traditional ritual before his family can entrust upon him
any responsibilities befitting a youth. As required by the
tradition of the clan, a Cherokee father took his son into
the forest, blindfolded him and left him alone. The boy
was required to sit on a stump the whole night and not
remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun
shine through it. He could not cry out for help to
anyone. Once he survives the night, he is a MAN.

The young boy could not even tell the other boys
of this experience, because each lad must come into
manhood on his own. The boy was naturally terrified.
All night he heard all kinds of noises. “Wild beasts must
surely be all around me. Maybe even some human might
do me harm,” he thought to himself. The wind blew the
grass and earth, and shook his stump, but he sat stoically,
never removing the blindfold. It would be the only way
he could become a man!
Who Am ‘I’: The Way Is Within 87
Finally, after a horrific night the sun appeared and
he removed his blindfold. It was then that he discovered
his father sitting on the stump next to him. He had been at
watch the entire night, protecting his endearing son from

We, too, are never alone. Even when we do not

know it, God is watching over us, sitting on the stump
beside us. It is for the guidance and protection of man
from snarls of the delusionary material world that the
Almighty God manifests as the All–Compassionate
Spiritual Maven on earth from time to time. When
trouble comes and the mind seems feeble, all we have to
do is reach out to the Benignant Master and surrender
our all unto Him. The Gracious Master will carry our
weight on His shoulders through the worst horrors of
the darkest hours.

O Holy Mentor! O All–Compassionate One! My All in All!

Thy auspicious incarnation is an answer to my soul’s call.
A call so desperate and intense to rest in eternal peace:
To be in its Original State: Absolute truth–existence–bliss.
The Spiritual Master alone is the Self–Realized
Mystic Adept who can steer humanity on life’s right
pathway. He is one with the Cosmic Consciousness. He
is the Supreme One who sets an Ideal to mankind; He
takes on the human form like us, to take us back to our
88 Devotion And The Modern Mind
Original Home. To all, in appearance, He is garbed in
body and mind like us, but, in reality, He is the Lord of
all regions. He is in guise of the captive, but, in fact, he is
the Liberator. He comes to break all our bonds and to
emancipate us. He is the All. He is Existence itself, the
Supreme Spirit.

To most, even good people, God is a belief. To the

Saints, He is an embrace.
~ Francis Thompson
Although we see our Benign Master as a Personage,
He is not just the body that we see. He is a vastness, a
great expanse: boundless, infinite, immortal and eternal!
He is the Divine. He alone possesses the capability of
helping us to solve the existential question of ‘Who am
I’? Fortunate people imbued with authentic desire and
love to know and who genuinely seek help in order to
help themselves, will surely receive what they seek. All
that is required is to submit oneself with pure love and
fervent adoration to a Perfect Spiritual Guide. Then in
the incessant process of experiencing and strengthening
this intrinsic unconditional love and the knowing of the
reality of life, one begins to lead a struggle–free and
fulfilling life resulting in endowment of peace, love,
freedom, joy, abundance and sense of wellbeing all
around. Needless to say, all such bounties are also
accompanied by the associated awareness to consistently
establish oneself in that intrinsic state. Everyone is entitled
Who Am ‘I’: The Way Is Within 89
to the pure inheritance of this holy gift of life.

The East has had an ancient tradition of Great

Enlightened Masters who have devoted their entire lives
for the spiritual evolution of millions. Spiritual Path–Pointers
are the heartbeat of Existence. Without their Hallowed
Presence, earth would be nothing but a wasteland.
Spiritual Mavens like the Eternal Light illuminate the
hearts and minds of mankind. There exists a long lineage
of Perfect Spiritual Masters throughout the history of
India. These Great Masters have created various spiritual
traditions and schools of thought, as per the prevailing
times and circumstances.

Thus, the Perfect Holy Master is not just ‘Someone’

who has attained Enlightenment or has been ordained
the Holy Master by His own Spiritual Master. He is not
just a Mystic, for there may be many mystics in the world
at any given time. The Spiritual Maven is in Ultimate
State of Oneness Himself; He is the One who is capable
of enabling others to attain the same Supreme State of
Being. The Spiritual Master is endowed with the powers
to expedite our spiritual evolution, to elevate us to the
highest rung of the evolutionary ladder, to take us from
the ‘I’ consciousness to the Eternal, Immortal, Cosmic

People in the past used to dig up wells to take care

of their water needs. Due to a sandstorm, a regular natural
90 Devotion And The Modern Mind
occurrence lifting up clouds of dust, those wells would
mound with heaps of sand thus concealing the well. The
elderly in the family, with their insight and using some
landmark, would tell their kindred the reference point
to trace its probable location. On reaching the indicated
place they would still find it very difficult to detect the
exact position wherefrom digging should be started to
remove mounds of sand in order to uncover the source
of water.

A special tribe by the name Odda would be then

called by the villagers to rescue them from this enigmatic
situation. The Oddas had trained goats that were made to
cluster around the indicated location of the wellhead.
These goats were special because they would not step on
moist sand. All the goats would move in the indicated
direction only up to the point the sand was dry; thus
taking a circular position in a very natural way. In this
manner, the precise whereabouts of the source of water
could be traced.

Likewise, our inner being too is covered by heaps

of illusionary sandy debris. The Holy Scriptures indicate
that the fountainhead of bliss lies within us but navigation
towards it is very difficult for man with his own little
intellect. Therefore, an earnest call for help is made and
nature accedes to it by sending Saints and Realized Ones
(Oddas) to help humanity to move towards the real aim
of life: self–realization. The goats are the senses (eyes,
Who Am ‘I’: The Way Is Within 91
ears, mouth, etc.) which if tamed and trained would bring
man to the place from where to start digging the mounds of
illusory dust. With sincere efforts and attempts at this
formidable task, the sand of past impressions is gradually
hollowed out; the earnest seeker is thereof blessed with
the ambrosial nectar of Effulgence.

The heart’s winter, the soul’s drought,

The mind’s ice hardening out,
The deep clutch of circumstance,
The numbed spirit in a trance–
Oh break! Oh break,
Fire in the East,
That we may rise,
That we may wake!
~ Jane Tyson Clement
Knowing the Truth will do great wonders for us in
our daily life. It will help one to make right decisions;
accept and love oneself as one is – accepting the weaknesses
for further correction and also appreciating one’s strengths;
and evolve as a better person. Further, it will give clarity
in the performance of one’s role along with a feeling of
optimism and freedom. Having envisioned the Light of
Truth within, life will be instilled with hope, trust and
confidence and we will be enthused with the strength to
steadfastly walk on the path of righteousness.
92 Devotion And The Modern Mind
There are certain proven avenues or precepts
following which one can practise the awareness of Truth
in one’s daily living. First observing more and judging less;
next being open to the Truth in oneself and letting it flow
through meditation on the Divine Name rather than
rationalizing it; doing thus will not only ensure peace and
harmony in one’s own life but also in the lives of those
around us. Abiding in the Truth will give one the strength
to deal with situations rather than avoiding them. Further,
one must practise meditative silence on a regular basis and
accept reality rather than resisting it.

Let us go forward. God leads us. Though blind, shall

we be afraid to follow? I do not see my way; I do not care to;
but I know that He sees His way, and that I see Him.
~ Charles Kingsley.
All learning and knowledge is trivial as compared
to the esoteric secrets unravelled by the Mystic Adept to
the disciple. During the times of the Venerable Sikh Guru
Shri Guru Gobind Singh ji, an illiterate one sought His
sanctified refuge. He humbly implored that he was an
unlearned rustic fellow but it was his innate desire to
realize the ‘self’ and cut asunder the vicious trammels of
transmigration; to attain the highest consummation:

His Holy Majesty, Shri Guru Gobind Singh ji, was

greatly impressed with his attitude; He told him that few
Who Am ‘I’: The Way Is Within 93
blessedly fortunate ones seek knowledge of ‘self’. Yet to
set an ideal exemplar to the world, Revered Shri Guru
Gobind Singh ji laid emphasis on learning so that he
could read holy scriptures and texts to gain wisdom. He
was thus sent to an erudite Sikh for learning. His study
began; finally he was given the lesson:

Anandh Bhaeiaa Maeree Maaeae Sathiguroo Mai Paaeiaa.

“I am in ecstasy, O my mother, For I have found
my True Mentor.”

After acquiring this knowledge he did not go for

learning any further. Six months elapsed. When His Holy
Majesty Shri Guru Gobind Singh was told; He called the
disciple and enquired regarding his insincerity in attending
classes. He submissively replied, “O Lord! What else
learning remains! I have learnt that all ecstasy lies with
my Holy Mentor. Thou art the Origin of knowledge and
bliss, then why shall I wander! Nothing remains to be
known after attaining thee.”

The Venerable Preceptor was much pleased with

him. Out of His limitless grace He benignantly conferred
self–realization (the knowledge of the innate ‘Being’) upon
the humble disciple. He who achieves true knowledge,
achieves the highest consummation, salvation too.

Since the mind has never experienced the silence

94 Devotion And The Modern Mind
of our ‘Being’, there is no way for it to understand that
‘Being–ness’ through words. Moreover, words can never
ever give a satisfactory explanation. They do not possess
the power to do so. Words are empty, hollow and
impotent. To try to describe the sublime experience of
our ‘Being’ would be an utter travesty and a futile attempt
at achieving the impossible. It would be a complete waste
of time and energy. Many have tried but they have all
failed to convey its glory. It is such a profound, life altering
experience that simply cannot be encapsulated in words.
All those who have known it, have been rendered
speechless by its wondrous manifestation and they have
all emphasized the need to experience such ecstatic delight

I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free

human being with an independent will.
~Charlotte Brontë
The spiritual journey is nothing but a quest to
encounter our own inner reality, our deepest core, the
source of our being, the absolute truth about our existence.
Knowing the Truth as it is and conducting oneself in
accordance with its directions, means ‘Awareness’.
Knowing the Truth as it is can be only realized in silence
and with the help and guidance of the Holy Master.

In every situation, one needs to see the reality first

– what has happened in the present moment only, not
Who Am ‘I’: The Way Is Within 95
what had happened in the past or the way it should have
had happened. We must focus on what is it in each
moment. We should also understand the fact that there
are two opposite extreme views in every situation, for
example, good or bad, which means disturbance or
calmness. We must feel and know that the Real in one’s
inner ‘self’ is not disturbance, it is peace. It is the mind
which is not at peace. We should, therefore, not react to
the mind but rather try to embody true peace. When a
disturbance occurs, we should say to the mind that its
behaviour is unacceptable; asserting this over and over
again until the mind reaches a peaceful state. In that
peace one sees the Truth as it is. Never believe anyone
who says we cannot change. We are all artists, our mind
is the arena of creation and vision is what we are constantly
creating. Always start with vision, not action. See it and
you will be it. Be it and you will do it. It is only when the
turbulence of mind ceases that we can begin to make
peace and know our inner ‘self’

We should keep affirming and balancing with

Awareness until it becomes a part of our nature. We
should consistently keep the Awareness active that
whatever role we are performing and whatever names
and forms we are seeing in the world, we are none of
them. Our real ‘self’ is the Spirit – the Awareness or Chit
that we carry all the time within ourselves. In this mode,
one is never all alone but is connected with the Universal
Spirit that sustains the whole universe. When we are not
96 Devotion And The Modern Mind
peaceful, loving, kind, considerate and on the contrary
feel greedy, miserable and depressed, it simply means we
are too engrossed in worldly affairs. One is then required
to rise up in one’s consciousness and rekindle the awareness
of one’s true radiant ‘self’.

All emanates from Source! ...You’re not this body and

its accomplishments. You are the observer. Notice it all; and
be grateful for the abilities you’ve been given, the motivation
to achieve, and the stuff you’ve accumulated. But give all the
credit to the power of intention, which brought you into
~Wayne Dyer
‘Tat Tvam Asi’ or ‘Thou art That’ is one of the
great sayings of the Upanishads. Seeking the Truth is the
highest goal. The meaning of this saying is that the ‘self’
– in its original, pure, primordial state, is identifiable
with the Ultimate Reality that is the ground and origin
of all phenomena. This knowledge characterizes the
experience of liberation or salvation.

The doors we open and close each day decide the lives
we live.
~Flora Whittemore
It is our duty to take our soul back to its True Home
wherefrom it descended. The biological engineering of
7 Who Am ‘I’: The Way Is Within 97
humans is such a wondrously impeccable masterwork of
the Creator that enables union of soul with the Source:
God. Let us choose to use this unique divine quality gifted
to us by God primarily to realize our real ‘self’.

In this ocean of life we are little drops. My doctrine

means that I must identify myself with life...that I must share
the majesty of life in the presence of God.
~ Mahatma Gandhi ji
Self–realization is the only way to God–realization.
An ardent seeker who tries to figure out ‘Who am I’ gets
closer to the Absolute Reality and starts comprehending
that ‘I’ am a little drop in the vast Ocean of Bliss, a small
ray of the Bright Divine Effulgence, a very tiny speck of
dust in the Mega Celestial Galaxy, just a small musical
note in the Orchestral Ethereal Melody, a small module
in the Creator’s Divine Plan. In short, he understands
that ‘I am what Thou art’ or ‘Tat Tvam Asi’. The divine
qualities of Sat–Chit–Anand (Absolute Truth–existence–
bliss) start revealing in his inner ‘self’.

The renowned Italian poet, Torquato Tasso,

was once visiting the court of King Charles IX, and in the
course of a conversation one day the monarch raised the
following question, “Who in your opinion is the happiest
person alive?”

“Of course, God is the happiest of all beings,” was

98 Devotion And The Modern Mind
the prompt reply.

“Yes,” said the king. “But who is the happiest person

alive after God?”

The poet thought for a moment; then he gave this

very profound reply, “I suppose the happiest person after
God is the person who becomes most like God.”

All that is real in me is God; all that is real in God is I.

The gulf between God and human beings is thus bridged. Thus
we find how, by knowing God, we find the kingdom of heaven
within us.
~ Swami Vivekananda ji
Divinity: Man as God Intended 99


In his sleep he dreams. He dreams that a tiger is chasing

him. He runs away from the tiger. As the tiger comes closer,
he runs faster and faster. He is terrified. He wakes up in a
fright and looks around for the tiger. There is no tiger. He
becomes aware that he was just dreaming. He laughs
~Book: Discovering Awareness
Beware, O Man! Have a stronghold of the Truth.
Believe more in the Truth than in outside objects. The
law of nature veritably states that whenever a man, being
practically oriented, believes in the gross objects and
outside wealth, he must fail. Carnal desires can never be
fulfilled. If you go on putting wood in the fire, the fire
will go on burning. When you try to satisfy one or two
desires, the mind will create a list of another twenty. Only
when you stop feeding the fire with fuel, will the fire
subside. When we discover our true ‘self’, we laugh at
100 Devotion And The Modern Mind
the tiger. We realize that it is only a fiction of our mind.

Deep down, within each one of us, there is an

undercurrent of an intense yearning which is very real. It
is felt by every person. No one is without it. And it is ever
present, hidden deep in the recesses of our being. What is
this yearning? Why do we feel this way? We feel this way
because we have evolved to this state. Man’s consciousness
has evolved to a level wherein he has become aware of his
own existence. Nature is constantly at work and this
evolutionary process has taken billions of years. Human
beings have reached the highest stage of evolution as they
possess self–awareness: the knowledge of ‘I am’. It is a
definite and constant feeling of one’s own existence.

All the species that are below humans on the

evolutionary ladder are incapable of this gnosis. There is
a tremendously positive side to self–awareness. It is a
tremendous blessing in disguise. It is a gift which has not
yet been unwrapped. A boon which has not yet been
discovered! The package needs to be uncovered, so that
we can recognize the blessing for what it is! A tremendous
benediction, a limitless potential, a flower waiting to
bloom and release its fragrance, in all its glory!

All the gods in heaven were in concordance that

men were created happy but they abused happiness. So
Lord Brahma (god of creation) decided to take it away
and hide it, where men would seldom find it.
Divinity: Man as God Intended 101
A council was held. Some suggested, “Happiness
should be buried deep in the earth.” But Lord Brahma
said, “No! Man will dig deep into the earth and find it.”

“Well, we shall sink man’s happiness into the deepest

ocean.” But again Lord Brahma replied, “No, for man will
eventually explore the depths of every ocean and will surely
someday find and take it again.”

The council concluded, “Then it seems there is no

place on earth or in the sea that man will not reach.”

Then Lord Brahma said, “Here is what we will do

with man’s happiness. We will hide it deep down in man
himself, for he will never think of looking there.” Ever
since then, the legend concludes, men have been looking
and searching elsewhere for something that is already
innate in them.

Human beings hold the pride of place in the entire

creation only because they are empowered to cognize their
true ‘self’ or chit. Illustrious Saints inspire the slumbering
humanity to awaken to the real bliss of knowing the ‘self’.
Enlightened Saints, through their illimitable benignity,
bestow divine edification on deserving souls who come
to their hallowed fold: the soul is a tiny part of Almighty
God, the manifestation of the divine qualities of Absolute
truth–existence–bliss (Sat–Chit–Anand). They bestow the
Holy Name on ardent spiritual seekers and bless them
with the divine experience of self–realization characterized
102 Devotion And The Modern Mind
by identifying the ‘self’ with the Ultimate Source: Almighty

As the rivers flow into the ocean, so may you flow on to

the Absolute, the ocean of Bliss Immortal.
~ Swami Sri Chidananda
Most people find it difficult to believe that a state of
consciousness, completely free of all negativity is ever
possible. And yet this is the liberated state, the attainment
of which, all spiritual teachings invigorate. It is the
promise of salvation, not in an illusory future but right
here and now.

A new teacher, James, stood at the front of his

classroom preparing for another battle. He glanced at
the students as they filed into the classroom – worn out
sneakers, untucked shirts, slumped shoulders. What could
his English class give these kids that would help them
with the problems they faced in the real world?

“OK everyone, grab a seat and listen up! Today we

are going to talk about character. So…..Damon, what
does character mean to you?”

The heavyset boy in the second row shifted in his

seat uncomfortably before replying, “Umm, character is
the people in a story?”

“You are right Damon, characters are the people

Divinity: Man as God Intended 103
in a story, but an individual’s character goes much deeper
than that. Let me show you something.”

The teacher lifted two plastic trays up on to his desk

so that everyone in the class could see them. In each tray sat
a large sponge. He then produced two glass jugs. The first
contained clear water and the second contained dark brown
drain water. He poured the clear water into the first tray
and the brown water into the second tray.

“OK, who can tell me what is happening here?”

“The sponges are soaking up the water?” replied

the usually quiet Sharon.

“That is right Sharon, the sponges are soaking up

the water that surrounds them. And that is exactly how
we develop our sense of character. We absorb the ideas
of the people around us just like these sponges soak up
the water. If we surround ourselves with supportive,
optimistic people we gradually develop a positive character,”
said the young teacher indicating the tray containing the
clean water.

He then motioned towards the second tray.

“On the other hand, if we continually associate

with pessimistic and cynical people, we gradually develop
a negative character. Now what happens when I take the
sponges out of the water?” he asked as he lifted up the
104 Devotion And The Modern Mind
sponges, one in each hand. The class looked puzzled.

“How do they look?” prompted James.

“They look the same to me” said Damon and the

class responded with a ripple of laughter.

“You are right Damon, they do look the same on the

outside, but there is one important difference. Watch what
happens when I squeeze the sponges.” James squeezed the
first sponge and clear water flowed back into the tray. He
then squeezed the second sponge and released a steady
stream of dark liquid.

“You see, even when I remove the sponges from

their trays, they still carry their water with them. It is only
when I squeeze the sponges that we can really see what is
inside them. The same thing happens with us,” continued
James, “When we leave our familiar environment, we still
carry our character inside us and when life puts us under
pressure, our true character emerges from within.”

Man must therefore be vigilant of the company he

keeps. Just as for a healthy body, you need nourishing
and wholesome food, in the same manner for a healthy
mind you need salubrious positive thoughts. And as in
the absence of good food, the body first becomes fragile;
in the same manner, a mind devoid of positive thoughts
becomes fallible. Water has no colour or form of its own;
it assumes any colour that is poured into it. For instance,
Divinity: Man as God Intended 105
if you pour in yellow colour, it will turn yellow and putting
red colour, the water will turn red. Similarly, the mind too
has no shape or colour of its own. It acquires the shape or
colour of the company it associates with. The mind becomes
polluted in bad company whereas it turns pure and crystal–
clear in good company.

What is good association? It is that where an

individual can inculcate the power of discernment. And
it is in the holy vicinity of the Realized Ones that an
individual is empowered with the ability of sagaciousness.
Whereas the path of illusion is full of sorrows and leads
to self–degradation, creating a wide chasm between the
‘self’ and God; contrarily the path of devotion is blessedly
joyous, capable of emancipating the strider from his
piteous life condition by bestowing on him the awareness
of his inner strength.

Saadhhasang khin maahi oudhhaarae.

“In the Company of the Holy Ones, you shall be
saved in an instant.”

When we purchase a machine, it is accompanied

by a set of instructions providing the guidelines as to its
use. An engineer is also commissioned to give a practical
demonstration of how the machine functions. Man is an
even more intricately designed but animated machine.
When he is born, he suddenly finds himself in a world
106 Devotion And The Modern Mind
where there are no signposts bearing instructions on how
one should live in this world. No school, in its curriculum
includes expert advice on the secrets of life or who to
approach for practical guidance. To satisfy man’s quest,
Almighty God sent Realized Ones to the world, who brought
the Word of God. Enlightened Saints elucidate the reality
of life to man, and grant him the vision to distinguish
between right and wrong. The Perfect Spiritual Maven’s
life is a practical demonstration of how a person should live
a God–loving life. The blessed holy–association of Illumined
Saints and their heavenly grace is divinely granted only to
the felicitous souls.

Such discerning individuals, rising above the

mundane orientation, take full advantage of the precious
human nascence: the only golden chance to come out of
the vicious cycle of births and rebirths by merging their
consciousness into the Supreme Consciousness. Their
inquisitive divine leaning marked by holy contemplation
on the Divine Name makes the glorious opportunity of
their blessed human birth fortuitously laudable.

Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see,

and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk
therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.
~ The Holy Bible -Jeremiah 6:16
Modern man brought about a wonderful and
admirable transformation in his outer environment, but
Divinity: Man as God Intended 107
failed to pay any attention to his own inner development.
So many fields of knowledge were brought about, cultivated
and evolved but awareness of the real ‘self’ was totally
neglected. This missing link is the reason behind the
rampant discontent in modern society. Recognition of one’s
higher nature as well as educing in mind, thoughts and
intellect, divine qualities and righteous tendencies, is one
of the most essential and indispensable requirements to
bridge that breach. Thus, that ‘something’ which would fill
our ‘Being’ with an overwhelming feeling of ineffable delight
is attained when we traverse the divine path that helps in
engineering life on the divine principle, which is the innermost
truth, of every human being. When accustomed to that Divine
Reality, one receives from it continual succour upon all
occasions. The road is often long, rugged and winding;
friends may despise, critics may laugh, but very soon they
all follow.

No one cleared the high jump or pole vault in one go.

After years of practice, the bar is raised a little and progressively,
it becomes a record!
~ Helen Keller
There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.
The way to the top is winding and arduous. Be it a material
pursuit or a spiritual pursuit, one cannot reach the goal
unless one passes the required test of character, hard work,
dedication, determination and perseverance. Success in
any pursuit comes easily only to those who toil, persevere
108 Devotion And The Modern Mind
and demonstrate considerable patience. Everybody desires
to succeed and conquer each hurdle. But, success is not
achieved by merely wishing and desiring. Success demands
action supported and supplemented by dedication,
determination and perseverance.

There’s no elevator to success - you have to take the

~ Anonymus
During the time of Lord Buddha, there lived an
old beggar woman. She used to watch kings, princes, and
other people making offerings to Lord Buddha and his
disciples, and there was nothing she would have liked
more than to be able to do the same. So, she went out
begging, but at the end of a whole day all she had was
only a small coin. She took it to the oil–merchant to try
to buy some oil. He told her that she could not possibly
buy anything with so little. But when he heard that she
wanted it to make an offering to Lord Buddha, he took
pity on her and gave her the oil she wanted.

She took it to the monastery, where she lit a lamp.

She placed it before Lord Buddha, and made this wish:
“I have nothing to offer but this little lamp. But through
this offering, in future may I be blessed with the lamp of

That night flame in all other lamps went out. But

Divinity: Man as God Intended 109
the beggar woman’s lamp was still burning at dawn. When
Lord Buddha’s disciple Maudgalayana came to collect all
the lamps, he saw that one was still lit, full of oil and
with a new wick. He thought, “There is no reason why this
lamp should still be burning in the daytime,” and he tried
to blow it out. But it kept on burning. He tried to smother
it with his robe, but still it burned on.

Lord Buddha had been watching all along, and said,

“Maudgalayana, do you want to put out that lamp? You
cannot. If you were to pour the water from all the oceans
over this lamp, it would still not go out. The water in all
the rivers and lakes of the world would not extinguish it.
Why? It is because this lamp has been offered with fervent
devotion and purity. That motivation has made all the

When the Enlightened One said this, the beggar

woman approached him and he made a prophecy that in
future she would attain God–realization and would be
referred to as ‘Light of the Lamp’. It is our motivation,
good or bad, that determines the fruit of our actions. If
we continue to strive on the path of devotion with ardent
zeal and enthusiasm there is nothing that can stop us
from merging in the rapturous bliss of union with the
Supreme Being.

To perfect diligence nothing is difficult.

~Chinese proverb
110 Devotion And The Modern Mind
One should just remember that one is a spiritual
being, having human experiences, not the other way
round. He, who travels this journey of life with Truth
embedded in his heart, will experience joy, comfort, peace,
love and freedom in his life. A balanced approach is to be
in this world but not of this world. One should remember
this Eternal Truth and keep moving with life’s experiences.
The individual should perform the role assigned, in the
Creator’s divine plan and walk the divine path with
impregnable faith.

Even the woodpecker owes his success to the fact that he

uses his head and keeps pecking away until he finishes the job
he starts.
~Coleman Cox
We may be a toddler at this path and take baby
steps; it is perfectly fine! We should always remember
that a small ripple can gain momentum and build a wave
that is insurmountable. Holding on tightly to the dream
mission of holy tryst with the Divine and never letting go
of this blessed obsession, treating disappointments coming
in the way as a blessing in disguise and embracing them,
never ever giving up, nurturing the idea of walking along
with the Almighty Saviour and believing that He shall
hold us in His firm grip whenever we stumble, as we walk,
are the essentials that we should harbour in our heart for
a successful journey along this path. Every time one rises
from any fall with the spontaneous help available and
Divinity: Man as God Intended 111
with self–conscious effort and determination, one gets a
few steps closer to one’s real ‘self’. Therefore, one should
not feel afraid of falling and should rise with bigger might
as the greatest glory lies in rising up when one falls.

The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach

your full potential... these are the keys that will unlock the door
to personal excellence.
Retracing steps on the spiritual path is always going
in the wrong direction. One should always stay on course
and consistently keep moving ahead. That is where the
Spiritual Master’s unfailing help is always available for
the evolvement of the spiritual seeker.

The Lord said to Jeremiah, “Get up and make your

way down to the potter’s house; there I shall let you hear
what I have to say.”

So he went down to the potter’s house. And there

the potter was working at the wheel. And whenever the
vessel he was making came out wrong, as happens with
the clay handled by the potters, he would start afresh and
work into another vessel, as potters do.

Then the Lord spoke to him, “Why cannot I do to

you what this potter does? Yes, as the clay is in the potter’s
hand, so you are in mine.”
112 Devotion And The Modern Mind
Too often people exert themselves in trying to solve
a problem their way, only to realize later that their
involvement does nothing but worsen the situation.
Enlightened Ones thus advocate leaving it all in God’s
hands and allowing Him to take care of it. There is a
blessing and tremendous peace that comes, often
unexpectedly, when we simply let go. It is one thing to
recognize that we are all a fraction of the Supreme Being,
but quite another to actively turn to His divine guidance
in our daily interactions. Without this broader view, it is
impossible to come to grips with everything that comes
our way. Again and again we need to let go of our
opinions, our attempts to control our own life, and then
God’s plans can have power in our lives. Through His
unfathomable love and incessant blessings He will
transform us into a very image of Him, provided we let
the showers of His love drench us to our core. We must
endeavour to be an instrument in the holy hands of the
Lord Almighty. This is the secret of self–surrender. This
leads to devotion. Have trust in God; you will ever enjoy
perennial bliss and eternal peace.

A man went to stay with a friend in Cornwall, in a

part where there was a large number of deep holes in the
ground. These were abandoned mine–shafts, some of
which had no rails round them. He went for a walk one
day and got lost. Darkness came and he realized that he
was near these holes and it was dangerous to walk in the
dark. But it was too cold to sit down and wait till
8 Divinity: Man as God Intended 113
morning, so he walked on with great care. In spite of
this, his feet slipped and he started to slide down in a
mine shaft. There he hung, terrified, with his feet dangling.
He managed to hang on for about twenty minutes, but
the agony in his arms got so great that he knew he would
soon have to let go and plunge to his death. He was about
to let go when he saw, to his immense relief, a little light
in the distance which began to grow greater and he knew
that help was coming. He shouted loud with all the energy
he was left with. When the rescuers arrived and shone
their light down on him the first thing they saw was that
his feet were dangling within a foot of solid earth. This
mine–shaft had been filled in! All his agony and fears
had been for nothing.

Whosoever walks towards God one cubit, God runs

towards him twain.
~ Jewish Proverb
There is no single mundane method or law following
which one can escape the rigours and uncertainties of
life. When troubles strike then call upon the Lord. He
who hears even the footfall of an ant, does not desert
them who call upon Him sincerely. Walking the eternal
path of divine knowledge with unconditional surrender
to the Will of God and unflinching faith in God’s doing,
can alone give us impenetrable sheath and shelter against
all misfortunes, mishaps and quirks of fate. Praying for
God’s guidance, we must seek Him as our only prop. If
114 Devotion And The Modern Mind
we can drop all hopes and aspirations in the face of Divine
Will, we will soon find the Almighty guiding us through
each and every turn on the lepidote path of life.

And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast

thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge
concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up,
lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
~ The Holy Bible –Mathew 4:6


Child of my love, fear not the unknown morrow.
Dread not the new demand life makes of thee;
Thy ignorance doth hold no cause for sorrow,
Since what thou knowest not, is known to Me.
Thou canst not see today the hidden meaning,
Of My command, but thou the light shalt gain;
Walk on in faith, upon My promise leaning,
And as thou goest all shall be made plain.
One step thou seest—then go forward boldly,
One step is far enough for faith to see;
Take that, and thy next duty shall be told thee,
For step by step thy Lord is leading thee.
Divinity: Man as God Intended 115
Stand not in fear, thy adversities counting,
Dare every peril, save to disobey;
Thou shalt march on, all obstacles surmounting,
For I, the strong, will open up the way.
Wherefore go gladly to the task assigned to thee,
Having My promise, needing nothing more;
Than just to know, where’re the future find thee,
In all thy journeying I go before.
~ Frank J. Exeley
True salvation is fulfilment, peace, life in all its
fullness. It is to be your real ‘self’, to feel within you the
good that has no opposite; the joy of ‘Being’ that depends
on nothing that is external. It is a state of freedom –
from fear, from suffering, from a perceived state of lack
and insufficiency and therefore from all wanting, needing,
grasping, and clinging; a freedom from incessant thinking,
negativity, and above all from past and future as the source
of constant wanting. It is experienced not as a passing
experience but as an abiding presence. It is to know God
– not as something outside you but as your own Innermost
Essence. True salvation is to know your ‘self’ as an
inseparable part of the timeless and formless Supreme
Soul from which all that exists derives its being.

Time is running out and the destination is afar.

The Enlightened Ones proclaim on a clarion that this
116 Devotion And The Modern Mind
entire mortal creation is, in fact, superficial and ultimately
everything else sans the Divine Essence would perish. Our
Benign Master has laid down five glorious holy principles
namely prayers and worship (Shri Aarti–Pooja), selfless service
(Seva), holy–asssociation (Satsang), meditation (Sumiran) and
contemplation (Dhyan), for our spiritual good. It is
incumbent on all of us to imbibe these holy expedients in
our lives with sincerity and precision, for that alone is the
true meaning of ‘striding on the divine path’. This is our
prime duty and aim of human birth. This is what God
intended us to pursue.

The Perfect Spiritual Master guarantees spiritual

elevation and God–Realization to souls that adopt these
principles with devotional fervour, zeal and reverence. It
is the heartfelt desire of Spiritual Adepts that the devotees
who have come under their divine protection may ever
revel in rapturous bliss. That every instant they may live
in peace and solace.

By remaining in this world and satisfactorily

fulfilling one’s duties, one can always remain attuned with
the Divine by following these five easy–to–follow infallible
guidelines to spiritual success. Holy Saints impress upon
the importance of this invaluable splendid human birth
and direct souls on the path of eternal happiness; such
devotees make best of both the worlds. Come! Let us all
join the Holy Caravan of the Realized Ones who are
treading on this Divine Path that ultimately leads us to
Divinity: Man as God Intended 117
our Real Abode for sure.


How unsuspecting do we wait
A visitation of thy power
And heedless wander in a maze
Nor reckon up the coming hour.
And when thy finger points at us
We glance behind, confused with doubt
That we are now become the one
Thy tutelage has singled out.
This is the moment to deny,
To hide our faces from thy sight,
Or else to stand and open wide
The doors of being to thy light.
~ Jane Tyson Clement
118 Devotion And The Modern Mind


A lot of emotional stress that people go through, some

people figure out a way to handle it. They have a strong enough
support system to keep going and keep moving forward. And
some people, they feel like they don’t have that outlet.
~ Terrell Owens
We find today that the levels of stress have gone
through the roof. The world has become a mad–house;
a place full of high–strung or restive individuals, ready to
have an outburst at the drop of a hat. Also, the ones who
do not display aggressive behaviour are by no means calm
and peaceful. They display different symptoms of the same
phenomenon. They are dealing with depression, low self
esteem, hyper–tension and various other psychological
disorders. Interestingly, these are considered to be normal
by modern society because such disorders are so commonly
observable that it feels absurd to call them as instances
of illness.
Faith: Stepping-Stone To Divine Grace 119
The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to
choose one thought over another.
~ William James
The carpenter I hired to help me restore an old
farmhouse had just finished a rough first day on the job.
A flat tire made him lose an hour of work, his sawing
machine quit, and now his ancient pickup truck refused
to start. While I drove him home, he sat in stony silence.

On arriving, he invited me in to meet his family.

As we walked towards the front door, he paused briefly
at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with
both hands. While opening the door he underwent an
amazing transformation. His tanned face was wreathed
in smiles and he hugged his two small children and happily
greeted his wife.

Afterward he walked me to the car. We passed the

tree and my curiosity got the better of me. I asked him
about what I had seen him do earlier.

“Oh, that is my trouble tree,” he replied. “I know

I cannot help having troubles on the job; but one thing
is for sure that troubles should not follow me inside my
home where my wife and children are anxiously waiting
for me. So, I just hang them on the tree every night when
I come home. Then in the morning I pick them up again.”

He paused and smiled, “Funny thing is, when I come

120 Devotion And The Modern Mind
out in the morning to pick them up, there are not nearly
as many as I remember hanging up the night before.”

The trials and tribulations that one is put through

on a daily basis are but a part and parcel of the material
lives that we lead. We must not let these impact our inner
being but limit them to the physical realm alone. Hanging
all our troubles on the trouble tree of the body and not
letting it disturb the tranquillity of the mind, one must
continue to rejoice within the soul. There is no greater
acquisition in this life than perfect faith in God that stands
all tests and trials.

Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things

are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole
world belongs to you.
~ Lao Tzu
We live in a time when the whole world is in
turmoil, and we can expect even more shaking events
than we have already seen. Over–burdened by the excessive
pressures and stresses of life, individuals today have
become so numbed and defeated that they seem to exist
without a soul. Their zest and vigour seem to have been
completely eroded. They are so spiritless that life seems
to them like a drag, a punishment of sorts.

There is only one hope, only one thing to hold on

Faith: Stepping-Stone To Divine Grace 121
to in every situation: the Omnipresent Lord. In life and
death, in joy and judgment, He remains our only Saviour.
In times of uncertainty, witness patiently, with unwavering
faith the working of God’s Will as a fisherman holds his
line. One should accept uncertainty and remain open.
Solutions will smoothly emerge out of the problem
howsoever difficult or confusing it may be. By being open
and optimistic about the future, one not only finds help
from the infinite organizing power of Nature but also
freeze oneself from any mental attachments to any fixed
notions or results.

Why are you always anxious? Lord Jesus Christ asked

his disciples. “Can anxious thought add a single day to
your life?” The Great Buddha taught that the root of
suffering is to be found in our constant wanting and

When the archer shoots for no particular prize, he has

all his skills; when he shoots to win a brass buckle, he is
already nervous; when he shoots for a gold prize, he goes
blind, sees two targets, and is out of his mind. His skill has not
changed, but the prize divides him. He cares! He thinks more
of winning than of shooting, and the need to win drains him
of power.
~ Sage Tranxu
Why are there so many people today who cannot
122 Devotion And The Modern Mind
find faith? There are several reasons. Some are satisfied
with what is happening; they are proud to be living in a
time of great culture and civilization, and they are blind
to the suffering of humanity and the whole of creation.
They have lost sight of God. While others despair. They
recognize the injustice of the Mammon, but in their
uninhibited desire for more, they see the creation but
not the Creator. They, too, have lost sight of God. Still
others see the sin, guilt and weaknesses of men, but they
have no heart, no patience. They would rather complain
and quit than initiate a turnaround in their lives in
absolute faith. Doubts and questions will be there
occasionally. None is free from these. But one must never
forget that the Divine is the only unchanging Reality. All
things change and pass including our own present
personality, which questions and seeks. In essence, man’s
true nature is Unchanging, Eternal Being. Have intense
faith in Him. He will protect you and guide you. He is
the Supporter of the entire Cosmos.

One day I decided to quit my job, my relationship,

my spirituality. I wanted to quit my life.

I went to the woods to have one last talk with God.

“O God!” I said, “Can you give me one good reason not
to quit?” His answer surprised me!

“Look around!” God said, “Do you see the fern

and the bamboo?”
Faith: Stepping-Stone To Divine Grace 123
“Yes,” I replied.

“When I planted the fern and the bamboo seeds, I

took very good care of them. I gave them light. I gave
them water. The fern quickly grew from the earth. Its
brilliant green covered the floor. Yet nothing came from
the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo. In
the second year, the fern grew more vibrant and plentiful.
And again, nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I
did not quit on the bamboo,” God said.

“In year three there was still nothing from the

bamboo seed. But I would not quit. In year four, again,
there was nothing from the bamboo seed. I would not
quit,” God said.

“Then in the fifth year a tiny sprout emerged from

the earth. Compared to the fern it was seemingly small
and insignificant; but just six months later the bamboo
rose to over hundred feet tall. It had spent the five years
growing roots. Those roots made it strong and gave it
what it needed to shoot up.”

“I would not give any of my creations a challenge it

could not handle,” God said to me. “Did you know that
all this time you have been struggling, you have actually
been growing roots? I would not quit on the bamboo. I
will never quit on you.”

“Do not compare yourself to others.” God said,

124 Devotion And The Modern Mind
“The bamboo had a different purpose than the fern. Yet
they both make the forest beautiful.”

“Your time will come,” God said to me. “You will

rise high.”

“How high should I rise?” I asked.

“How high will the bamboo rise?” God asked in


“As high as it can?” I questioned.

“Yes!” God said, “Give me glory by rising as high as

you can.”

God has a bigger plan for me than I have for myself.

~Nicholas Sparks
Of all the billions of people who live in the midst
of the evil and misery of today’s narcissist world, there
are some that still radiate joy and lead fruitful lives.
Through prayer and absolute faith in God’s Divine Will,
the hidden roots of their faith have reached down to the
source of living water. They draw from it energy and life
to bear spiritual fruit. Have perfect faith in the Lord.
His Divine Name is your sole refuge and support. Faith
heals, faith creates, faith works wonders, faith moves
mountains. If we lead active lives of prayer, we will also
gain the spiritual discernment to turn away from illusion
Faith: Stepping-Stone To Divine Grace 125
and evil and find the Truth we need for life.


Why worry about tomorrow
And the rising of the sun,
Of anguish over past mistakes
That cannot be undone?
Why waste life’s precious moments
On things that bruise the heart
When today is ours to fashion
Into a work of art?
Today comes but once, my friend,
It never can return—
So use it wisely while you can,
There’s a lesson you may learn.
Let history record the past
And tomorrow come what may.
Be content to do your best
With what you have today!
~ Clay Harrison
Life is not a problem to be solved, but a gift to be
treasured. Every test in our life makes us bitter or better;
every problem comes, to make us or break us. The choice
126 Devotion And The Modern Mind
is ours, whether we become a victim or emerge victorious!
Submit yourself to the Will of God. It is the Lord who is
running all the show in this vast Universe. We are only
His instruments. Nothing lies in our hand. The only thing
that we can do is to pray to Him. He will hear the prayer
that comes from the earnest and sincere heart. Therefore,
pray to the Lord and seek His mercy. God is an ocean of
mercy. He will always take care of His devotees. Have full
faith in Him. Whatever He does, it is for the good. In
His holy hands we are all safe.

The world we have created is a product of our thinking;

it cannot be changed without changing our thinking.
~Albert Einstein
Peace of mind has become an alien concept; a
phenomenon unknown to the modern day man. Peace is
when one is completely at ease with oneself; it is a state
of being ‘at home’, of feeling joyful, relaxed, completely
secure and carefree. When one is angry, frustrated,
complaining or not in peace, this is the first sign of one’s
not being with the Consciousness. At that time one must
let the ‘self’ remind one to come out of it. The longer
this toxin stays in one, the more it is going to weaken
one. Wisdom calls that one should deal with it as quickly
as possible, not allow it to go too far.

Tranquillity in the mind is experienced when all

thinking ceases, the clutter of thoughts disappears and
Faith: Stepping-Stone To Divine Grace 127
the mind dives back into its Ultimate Source disappearing
into the abyss of the luminous inner ‘Being’. It is a sublime
state of ‘no–mind’ because the mind is nothing but a
bundle of countless thoughts which move within our ‘Being’
like the traffic at peak hour on a busy road. When thoughts
disappear and the mind is nowhere to be found, that is
when one experiences transcendental peace and genuine

In reality, each thought we have carries with it a little

spiritual power, a tug toward or away from God. No thought
is purely neutral.
~ John Ortberg
As difficult as it might seem to realize this state of
‘no mind’, it is, in fact not. One should not let any
external tensions bother one. One should not let
circumstances overpower oneself. One must give one’s
level best in all the things one does as prompted from
within the inner ‘self’ and letting it go. Let Nature, the
organizing power of the universe, take care of the outcome
as it wills. One has to be authentic and sincere in the
performance of one’s duty. One should remind oneself
that one is not the doer but only an instrument through
which Nature is organizing things according to its Divine
Plan. By doing so, one would notice that one is effortlessly
enjoying all the experiences of life and ‘self’ as they are
presented, as an ‘Enjoyer’. Faith transcends reason. Faith
alone opens the door of Eternal Bliss and the Immortal
128 Devotion And The Modern Mind
Abode. Have unswerving, unshakable faith and enter the
illimitable domain of everlasting peace.

Some people were on a raft off the coast of Brazil

perishing from thirst. They had no idea that the water
they were floating on was fresh water. The river was
coming out into the sea with such force that it went out
for a couple of miles, so they had fresh water right there
where they were. But they had no idea. In the same way,
we are surrounded by joy, happiness and love; but we
lack awareness of the same. Possibilities are not far off.
Rather, they are close at hand.

Our grand business in life is not to see what lies dimly

at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.
~ Thomas Carlyle
The journey from the cares of life that generate
undue stress in our life, to a state of inner peace, is
sojourned at the junction of inexhaustible faith in God
and His Holy Will. There may be ups and downs, storms
and stresses, smiles and tears, as you go on living your life
amidst its many vicissitudes, trials and tribulations. Do
not lose faith but press on with a firm conviction that
Almighty God wants to mould you in His own image
through sufferings and tribulations. Pray fervently and
wholeheartedly. Leave everything to God. He will do what
is good for you. He has a reason for allowing things to
happen; we may never understand His wisdom but we
9 Faith: Stepping-Stone To Divine Grace 129
simply have to trust His Divine Will.

Worry and trust cannot live in the same house. When

worry is allowed to come in one door, trust walks out the other
door, and worry stays until trust is invited in again, whereupon
worry walks out.
~ Robert G. Le Tourneau
After the children of Israel fled from slavery in
Egypt, they lost faith in God and grumbled about all they
had to endure. Things became much worse when they
came to a place infested with poisonous snakes, where
many were bitten and died. Then the people were sorry
for their grumbling, and they asked Moses to pray to
God for relief from the snakes. Moses prayed and was
directed in a vision to make a snake of bronze and set it
high on a pole. Anyone who was bitten had only to look
upon the bronze snake, and the poison of the snakebite
was made harmless.

Now, there were some who still grumbled and

murmured, “If Moses would provide an antidote or some
medicine against the poison, that we could believe, but
what effect can a bronze snake have on real snake bites?”
So, in their unbelief, they refused to turn to the bronze
snake, and they died.

The Almighty Father provides release from the

deadly poison of sin if we turn to Him in faith. Those
130 Devotion And The Modern Mind
who refuse to believe because they cannot understand
the work of the Supreme Being with their minds, will
perish. But they will perish from the poison of their own
unbelief. The heart, not the head, is the temple of God.
Spiritual and religious ideas are matters of the heart –
not the head. If our hearts are filled with the presence of
God, then our minds will also find enlightenment. Our
physical eyes are useless, unless the light of day illuminates
the world around us. Similarly, our minds and the eyes
of our understanding are useless without the spiritual
light of truth. The wisdom and understanding of the mind
can easily be turned to clever instruments of evil if they
are not subjected to the light of spiritual truth.

I will not doubt, though all my ships at sea
Come drifting home with broken masts and sails;
I shall believe the Hand which never fails,
From seeming evil worketh good for me;
And though I weep because those sails are battered,
Still will I cry, while my best hopes lie shattered,
“I trust in thee.”
I will not doubt, though all my prayers return
Unanswered from the still, white Realm above;
I shall believe it is an all-wise Love
Which has refused those things for which I yearn;
Faith: Stepping-Stone To Divine Grace 131
And though at times I cannot keep from grieving,
Yet the pure ardour of my fixed believing
Undimmed shall burn.
I will not doubt, though sorrows fall like rain,
And troubles swarm like bees about a hive;
I shall believe the heights for which I strive
Are only reached by anguish and by pain;
And though I groan and tremble with my crosses,
I yet shall see, through my severest losses,
The greater gain.
I will not doubt; well anchored in the faith,
Like some staunch ship, my soul braves every gale,
So strong its courage that it will not fail
To breast the mighty unknown sea of Death.
Oh, may I cry when body parts with spirit,
“I do not doubt,” so listening worlds may hear it,
With my last breath.
~Ella Wheeler Wilcox
In the bitter cold of winter the trees stand bare
and seem to be dead. But, in the spring, they burst forth
into leaf and flower, and the first fruits begin to appear.
So it is with all of us who faithfully bear the burden of
suffering and distress. Though we may seem crushed and
132 Devotion And The Modern Mind
dead, we will yet bear beautiful flowers and glorious fruits
of eternal life.

A king was given spiritual guidance by a priest, who

was an erudite scholar of the Holy Scriptures. He would
always narrate stories and hold dialogues of renunciation
and wisdom with the king. In return, he would earn plenty
of money from the king. His wife was a devout soul. She
would always admonish him, “Do not pursue physical
comforts because the gain of material objects shall never
lead to soul’s elevation and eternal bliss. The king may
withdraw these objects from us at any time. We should
subsist on whatever we are given by rendering selfless
service for the welfare of our souls.”

The priest replied, “If I am not motivated to earn

money, then how will I lift my enthusiasm in narrating
the principles of the Holy Scriptures all day?”

The lady answered, “The sacred scriptures talk about

the adoption of the path that leads to self–realization,
not about indulging in carnal pleasures and allurements.
One’s incentive to read and narrate the holy texts should
solely arise for the elevation of the soul, not for gaining
worldly riches. This wealth is temporal, that may be taken
away anytime.”

The self–conceited priest, who thought of his wife

as extremely naive, said smilingly, “Why should we turn
Faith: Stepping-Stone To Divine Grace 133
away our good fortune! Let us first accrue a stack of riches
following which I shall try to reflect upon your noble

A few years later, the king got annoyed with something

the priest said, wherefore he ordered his servants to
auction the priest’s entire assets the next day and deposit
the financial gain into the royal treasury. The priest had
fallen prey to king’s fury. Oppressed by his misfortune,
he returned home and sadly told his wife, “Tomorrow,
our entire property will be auctioned. All joys will turn
into sufferings, what will we do?”

The lady responded, “What is the need to worry?”

The priest quizzically asked, “So, in your opinion,

is it a matter of delight?”

The lady asked, “What all will the king auction?”

He replied, “The king will auction all our belongings;

the entire gain will be deposited into the royal treasury.”

The lady explained wisely, “When the king cannot

sell our innate wisdom, innate experience and our innate
virtues, then what is there to be afraid of? What is there
to fear if he takes away our gross inanimate belongings?
Their pleasure might have been written in our fate for
only this long.” The lady had obtained tranquillity and
contentment within through her undying faith in Divine
134 Devotion And The Modern Mind
Providence and her perpetual awareness of the duality of
man’s mundane existence. She continued with equanimity,
“Neither were we born with these temporal worldly
objects nor will we take them along after death. Our
will–power, endeavours and knowledge are the priceless
gems that shall remain with us always. They have made us
truly affluent, so why should we worry!”

On witnessing his wife’s unwavering faith, reality

dawned on him. He realized the true significance of the
virtue of spiritual discernment, which is bestowed on an
individual only when he carries in his heart unfaltering
and unadulterated faith in the Almighty’s Divine Plan.
He thus pledged to sincerely follow the path of righteous
actions. Difficulties come in our path to test our strength.
We should welcome them with stoic courage, and with
faith in the Lord and His Holy Name, we should tide
over them. Therefore, take refuge in the Lord’s Name
and surrender unto Him happily and implicitly.

Many men have just enough faith to trust God as far as

they can see Him, and they always sing as far as they can see
providence go right: but true faith can sing when its possessors
cannot see. It can take hold of God when they cannot discern
~Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Faith is unquestioning surrender to God’s Will.
Faith: Stepping-Stone To Divine Grace 135
Whatever happens it must be attributed to the workings
of God. The Almighty Lord is great, good and kind. He
is the Sole Dispenser of all things. Since all events, changes
and movements in the entire universe proceed from His
magnanimous heart ever filled with goodness, love and
mercy, there is nothing to grumble about, nothing to find
fault with, nothing to grieve over, nothing to be anxious
about, and nothing to be afraid of — all is His doing. When
this faith is ours, the Creator becomes our never–failing
companion, guide and friend, and all our doings are
inspired by His promptings. He is in us, and all around us.
When faith finds residence in the seeker’s heart, all doubts
and fears vanish and the aspirant attains a state of freedom
which in itself is absolute peace.

When Bulstrode Whitelocke was about to embark

as Cromwell’s envoy to Sweden, in 1665, he was much
disturbed in mind, as he rested in Harwich on the stormy
preceding night, while he reflected on the distracted state
of the nation. It happened that a confidential servant
slept in an adjacent bed, who finding that his master did
not sleep, said, “Pray, sir, don’t you think God governed
the world very well before you came into it?”

“Undoubtedly,” came the reply.

“And pray, sir, don’t you think he can take care of

it while you are in it?”

To this question Whitelocke had nothing to reply,

136 Devotion And The Modern Mind
but turning about, soon he fell asleep.

In God alone is there faithfulness and faith in the trust

that we may hold to Him, to His promise, and to His guidance.
To hold to God is to rely on the fact that God is there for me,
and to live in this certainty.
~ Karl Barth
Complete surrender is the easiest way to self–
transcendence. He only is fit to enter the Realms of the
Divine who is a slave to nothing, not even to his virtues.
When we guilelessly turn to God and let Him fill our
whole ‘being’, our responsibility ceases. He keeps us in
His tender care leading us beyond all sorrow. Only
unreserved surrender to the Supreme Lord ensures that
He takes us up and raises us to our utmost perfection.

The All–Merciful, All–Pervading God is devoted

to the devotees; a slave for His slaves. The history of
mankind is studded with shining instances of God
descending on earth in the service of His devotees. The
Holy Scriptures are replete with instances where Mother
Earth, unable to bear the burden of the growing number
of selfish and sinful mortals, appealed to God to destroy
the erring ones. The human birth is a precious, priceless
blessing of the Lord. We are endowed with the human
garb after passing through endless cycles of births and
deaths as a result of good conduct and unswerving
devotion unto the Lord. It, therefore, ill–becomes human
Faith: Stepping-Stone To Divine Grace 137
genius to waste this glorious opportunity on earth; the
duty before mankind is to realize the purpose of life by
devotion to God.

Towards the end of the divine sermon recorded in

Srimad Bhagwad Gita, which Lord Shri Krishna delivered
to the great wielder, Arjuna, for posterity, a very simple,
but perfect insurance cover comes from the Lord, in these
words, “Abandoning all duties, seek my shelter. Be not
grieved; for I shall release you from all evils and difficulties.”

This divine assurance is very easy to follow. We do

not need any intellectual acumen to follow this path so
as to earn divine grace. Complete surrender to His Will
is the easiest way to earn divine grace. Insurance cover
obtained through divine grace has no parallel. No fear,
anxiety and hardship can pierce through the sheath of
grace. It simply requires a pure, guileless heart and absolute
surrender in His lotus feet. If we destroy trust in our own
little self and replace it by perfect trust in God, the Divine
Father surely feels delighted to see His children come a
step closer. God expects of us total self–giving.

The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up

on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for
God to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon
for help, but none seemed forthcoming.

Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little

138 Devotion And The Modern Mind
hut out of driftwood to protect Him from the elements,
and to store his few possessions. Then one day, after
scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little
hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky. The worst
had happened; everything was lost.

He was stunned with grief and anger. “God, how

could you do this to me!” he cried. Early the next day,
however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that
was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him.
“How did you know I was here?” asked the weary man of
his rescuers. “We saw your smoke signal,” they replied.

It is easy to get discouraged when things are going

bad. But we should not lose faith at heart, because God
is at work in our lives, even in the midst of pain and
suffering. Remember, next time your little hut is burning
to the ground, it just may be a smoke signal that summons
the grace of God.

God gives us opportunities to trust Him, brilliantly

disguised as impossible situations.
~Chuck Swindoll
Faith in the Perfect Spiritual Master, who is God
Incarnate, is the foundation of devotion. Doubt and
devotion do not go together. The devotee must have faith
that the Lord who has created all beings, has also arranged
for their sustenance and is looking after them, providing
Faith: Stepping-Stone To Divine Grace 139
for all their needs. Whatever man has to undergo during
his life in the world has already been ordained. The
devotee should have faith that the remembrance of God
will never go waste; nothing can stop it from bearing
fruit in the course of time. Seek faith which remains
unshaken in the face of any adversity. One has to surrender
one’s total entity in complete dedication in order to build
such faith.

A man was sleeping at night in his cabin when

suddenly his room was filled with light, and God appeared.
The Lord told the man that He had work for him to do,
and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. The
Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock
with all his might. So, the man did this, day after day.
For many years he toiled from sunrise to sunset; his
shoulders set squarely against the cold massive surface of
the unmoving rock, pushing with all his might. Each night
the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling
that his whole day had been spent in vain.

God only asks from you what He gives you power to do.
~Walsham How
Since the man was showing discouragement, the
adversary (Satan) decided to enter the picture by placing
thoughts of discouragement in the man’s weary mind:
“You have been pushing against that rock for a long time
and it has not moved,” thus giving the man the impression
140 Devotion And The Modern Mind
that the task was completely impossible and that he was a
failure. These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the

“Why kill myself over this?” he thought. “I will just

put in my time, giving minimum effort; and that will be
good enough.” And that is what he planned to do, until
one day he decided to make it a matter of prayer and
take his troubled thoughts to the Almighty God. “O
Lord,” he said, “I have laboured long and hard in your
service, putting all my strength and energy to do that
which you have asked. Yet, after all this time I have not
even budged that rock by half a millimetre. Why am I

The Lord responded compassionately, “My friend,

when I asked you to serve me and you accepted, I told
you that your task was to push against the rock with all of
your strength which you have done. Never once did I
mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task
was to push. And now you come to me with your strength
spent, thinking that you have failed. But, is that really so?
Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled; your
back sinewy and brown; your hands are calloused from
constant pressure; your legs have become massive and
hard. Through opposition you have grown much. But
your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise
your faith and trust in My wisdom. This you have done.
Now I, my friend, will move the rock.”
Faith: Stepping-Stone To Divine Grace 141
At times, when we hear a word from God, we tend to use
our own intellect to decipher what He wants, when actually what
God wants is just a simple obedience and faith in Him. By all
means, exercise the faith that moves mountains, but know that
it is still God who moves mountains.
~The Dawning-July 2012
Only when a disciple has developed complete faith
in his Magnanimous Spiritual Adept and in the invisible
and unfailing protection of the Divine Name does the
Perfect Master give the disciple the power to recognize
Him; only then is the disciple able to have a glimpse of
God in the Spiritual Master. The All–Compassionate Master
is a Super–human in whom individualism and universalism
find full and combined expression. One must never forget
the Source of all that is, and to whom one would be
returning to in the final journey. Therefore, seeking the
direction and protection from the Spiritual Adept is so
very essential for leading a free, loving, peaceful and joyful
life. One is entitled to reclaim this original inheritance if
one naturally and spontaneously starts feeling Sat–Chit–
Anand (Absolute truth–existence–bliss) and utilizes the
energy so derived in improving daily life while keeping
sight of the real purpose of life: union with the Lord.
One must cultivate a habit of engaging the attributes of
one’s lower nature – body, senses, mind and intellect,
according to the direction of the ‘Higher Self’ or in other
words, the Indwelling Spirit.
142 Devotion And The Modern Mind
Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and He shall sustain
The Holy Bible – Psalms 55:22
Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your
life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your
body, what ye shall put on.
The Holy Bible – Mathew 6:25
The Spiritual Master who puts the seeker on the
path of spiritualism guides him and stays with him at
every step of the journey. When a spiritual seeker develops
true love for God, all worldly fears come to an end; they
dissolve in God’s Divinity. There come moments when
we feel thwarted, when all spiritual avenues seem blocked.
These are the moments for us to remain steadfast and
wait patiently. If we can learn to keep our mind in truth
and rhythm, nothing can thwart us. As long as we adhere
to Divinity, we remain fearless and unfaltering.

God is full of compassion and never fails those who are

afflicted and despised if they trust in Him alone.
~Saint Teresa of Avila

You who dwell in the shelter of the Lord,
Who abide in His shadow for life,
Faith: Stepping-Stone To Divine Grace 143
Say to the Lord, “My refuge,
My rock in whom I trust!”
And He will raise you up on eagle’s wings,
Bear you on the breath of dawn,
Make you to shine like the sun,
And hold you in the palm of His Hand.
The snare of the fowler will never capture you,
And famine will bring you no fear:
Under His wings your refuge,
His faithfulness your shield.
You need not fear the terror of the night,
Nor the arrow that flies by day;
Though thousands fall about you,
Near you it shall not come.
For to His angels He’s given a command
To guard you in all of your ways;
Upon their hands they will bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
~Michael Joncas (Adaptation of Psalm 91)
144 Devotion And The Modern Mind


Our ‘I’ is the barrier that does not allow us to

experience ourselves as the ‘Whole’. It is not in our hands
to drop this ‘I’. It is ironically impossible. How can ‘I’
drop the ‘I’? For, any effort or exercise performed will be
done by ‘me’ i.e. the ‘I’. This is the dilemma!

To ask the mind to kill the mind is like making the

thief the policeman. He will go with you and pretend to catch
the thief, but nothing will be gained. So you must turn inward
and see from where the mind rises and then it will cease to
~Sri Ramana Maharshi
We have everything at our disposal these days.
Everything is pre–planned and set. We have tea sets,
television sets, sofa sets, video sets, but we, ourselves are
upset. Everything is set and we are upset. Why? Because
of this ‘I’ that tries to keep us in the centre of everything.
So, ideally we must remove this ‘I’, which is dividing us
10 Surrender: No More Me, Only Thee 145
from our own true selves, hindering us from envisioning
the Divine Light within us. Yet this is very difficult. Living
in the present world, it is nearly impossible to completely
remove the sense of ‘me’, ‘mine’ and ‘I’. So the next best
option is to take this ‘I’ and to change it. How?

When ‘I’ stands vertically it is an obstacle. It creates

borders, barriers and boundaries between our temporal
self and our Radiant Inner Being. If we keep standing
straight, tall and proud as the vertical ‘I’, then we will
always stand alone. We are so proud; this ‘I’ is so proud.
It thinks, “Oh, I am so successful; I am so good.” The
truth is that we only go to work, but it is God who works.
We can do nothing without His grace.

Do not try to be an Atlas carrying the weight of the

world. Leave that to God who has the whole world in His
~ Father Alex Rebello
In the journey from self–consciousness to Cosmic
Consciousness, to begin with, let us try to understand
the limitations posed by the state in which we exist now.
At the moment, we are all partially asleep, implying
unaware of what it is to be ‘Cosmically Awake’. If one is
asleep and unconscious, how is it possible to awaken
oneself out of slumber? Once one falls asleep, one is not
even aware that one exists! It is only when we awaken,
that we become aware that we were sleeping. Is it at all
146 Devotion And The Modern Mind
possible for us to wake ourselves out of deep sleep, when
there is no self–awareness of our being in slumber? Can we
wake up when we are unconscious? It is impossible.

Only ‘Someone’ who is awake can possibly wake us

up from deep sleep. At the moment we are all spiritually
asleep. Only the Spiritual Master is fully awakened. Only
He can shake us out of our slumber. We on our own
cannot conceive and embark on the way to enlightenment.
We cannot apply our limited mental faculties to force
ourselves out of our limited sense of ‘I’. How then, can
the ‘I’ make itself become the ‘All’? It would be like trying
to lift oneself up by pulling on one’s shoe laces. Is that
possible? Even if one were to try, one will simply tumble.

We need to reverently surrender our total entity in

the hallowed feet of the Perfect Spiritual Master in order
to attune ourselves with Cosmic Consciousness. Surrender
does not mean that we stop using our own intelligence.
In fact, spirituality sharpens intelligence. Our intelligence
grows as we progress. It is intelligence that gives us insight
into the nature of Reality. But one should not confuse
intelligence with the intellect and the chattering mind.
Intelligence is pure awareness. It is an aspect of our ‘Being’.
It is our inner nature. Relinquishing the intellect and
mind is not a relinquishing of our intelligence. The mind
is an obstacle on the spiritual path whereas intelligence is
our friend and companion and a great tool in attaining
insight into the mysteries of life.
Surrender: No More Me, Only Thee 147
What exactly does it mean to surrender oneself? The true
spirit of surrender means to become like clay in the hands
of the Potter. It is a willingness on our part to allow the
Compassionate Master to work upon us, as He deems fit,
with absolutely no interference on our part. And this kind
of surrender requires great courage. In fact, it is the most
courageous act one can perform.

In the transcendental state of enlightenment, the

‘I’ disappears. It is no more; it cannot remain! Because
there remains no other, against whom this ‘I’ can compare.
It needs the backdrop of others against which it can exist
relatively. But once a person has known himself to be a
part of the Cosmic Being, then everything that exists, exists
within Him, as Him. There is nothing other than Him.

I cannot imagine how the clockwork of the universe can

exist without a clockmaker.
I was passing one day, through the parts of Syria
when I spotted some pomegranate trees. My appetite was
whetted but I controlled myself and did not eat any, as
they were sour; and I wanted sweet ones.

Presently, I entered a valley where I saw a man lying

exhausted and helpless. The swarms had fallen on him,
and hornets were buzzing around and stinging him. My
compassion was moulded by his pitiful condition.
148 Devotion And The Modern Mind
“Would you like me to pray” said I when reaching
him, “that you may be delivered out of this affliction?”

“No,” he replied.

“Why not?” I asked.

“Because healing is what I would choose, and

affliction is what He chose,” he answered. “I do not prefer
my choice to His choice.”

“At least let me drive these hornets away from you.”

He answered, “Drive away from you that hankering

for sweet pomegranates. Why do you trouble me? Pray
for your own heart’s healing. Why do you pray that my
body may be made whole?”

“How did you know my thoughts?” I asked.

“Whoever knows Him, from him nothing remains

hidden!” he replied.

I have been driven many times upon my knees by the

overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My
own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for
that day.
~Abraham Lincoln
Now, the most pertinent question is that how does
Surrender: No More Me, Only Thee 149
one go from self–consciousness to Cosmic–Consciousness?
How does one go from ‘I’–consciousness to the All
Pervading Consciousness? To ask this question is to ask
how a seed develops into a tree. The potential to become a
tree exists within the seed itself. But a seed cannot become
a tree by simply wishing it. It cannot possibly convert itself
into a tree of its own accord. Many things will have to be
done before a seed can possibly become a full–grown tree.
The seed will have to be sown in the right soil. It will have
to be nurtured into a sapling through regular care and
watering. Adequate sunlight will have to be provided. The
sapling will have to be protected from elements like strong
winds, heavy rainfall, etc. And only after the roots have
gone deep into the soil can the plant flourish and grow
into a large tree, standing tall and majestic, stretching out
into the sky.

Likewise, as we exist now, we are all seeds. We all

possess the potential to become enlightened but we will
need a Gardener, who has the required experience and
skill to nurture us and help us grow to our fullest potential.
And if we believe that we are capable of achieving spiritual
growth on our own accord, we are simply befooling
ourselves. The only state of being that we have ever known
is this imprisoned, limited state of ‘self’ or ‘I’. We have
not known anything else. Anything we may have heard or
read about the Cosmic Experience can only help us to
create an idea or concept of it in our mind. And all ideas
and concepts of such a tremendous phenomenon are
150 Devotion And The Modern Mind
empty and meaningless. They are only figments of our
imagination. The absolute reality is above and beyond the
realm of thought. In fact, trying to understand the ultimate
reality through the mind will only cause false notions and
an utter misunderstanding of the Truth. No matter how
deeply we think about it, the mind cannot help us in actually
achieving the experience.

This is how men get to know God – by doing His Will.

~Henry Drummond
There is an ancient tale about a king who wanted
to pick the wisest man from amongst his subjects to be
his prime minister. When the search finally narrowed
down to just three men, he decided to put them to the
supreme test.

Accordingly, he placed them together in a room

in his palace, and on the room door he installed a lock
which was the last word in mechanical ingenuity. The
candidates were informed that whoever was able to open
the door first would be appointed to the post of honour.

The three men immediately set themselves to the

task. Two of them began to work out complex mathematical
formulae at once to discover the proper lock combination.
The third man, however, just sat down in his chair, lost
in thought. Finally, without putting pen to paper, he got
up, walked to the door, and turned the handle. The door
opened to his touch. It had been unlocked all the time!
Surrender: No More Me, Only Thee 151
What is the difference
Between your experience of Existence
And that of a Saint?
The Saint knows
That the spiritual path
Is a sublime chess game with God;
And that the Beloved
Has just made such a Fantastic Move;
That the Saint is now continually
Tripping over joy
And bursting out in laughter
And saying, “I surrender!”
Whereas, my dear,
I am afraid you still think
You have a thousand serious moves.”
This is a story of an old woman named Betty. She
accepted God late in her life. She was very poor but
helpful and active. She visited the sick; out of her poverty
she gave to those who were even poorer; collected a little
money from others when she could give none of her own,
and told many people of the love of the Almighty.

After some years she suffered from rheumatism,

and lay in bed for months and years, pain–worn and
helpless. A friend who went to see her asked her if after
152 Devotion And The Modern Mind
her active life of service she did not find the change very
hard to bear. “No sir, not at all. When I was well I used to
hear the Lord say day after day: Betty, go here; Betty, go there;
and I used to do it as well as I could. Now I hear Him say:
Betty, lie still and cough when you wish to! And I do it as well as
I can.”

There are three ways that prepare us for life’s trials.

One is the Spartan way that says, “I have strength within
me to do it, I am the captain of my soul. With the courage
and will that is mine, I will be master when the struggle
comes.’’ Another way is that of Socrates, who affirmed
that we have minds, reason and judgement to evaluate
and help us to cope with the enigmas and struggles of
life. The third is the spiritual way: It does not exclude the
first two but it adds, “You do not begin with yourself,
your will, or your reason. You begin with God, who is
the beginning and the end. When your strength grows
weak and your reason fails you, faith in the Creator gives
you the power to overcome all things.”

One often wonders, “Am I the doer?” or “Am I a

tool in the hands of an Adept Craftsman: God?” As long
as the traces of egotism remain within one, the sense of
doer–ship covers the ‘self’ with a thick veil of ignorance.
Roland Hayes, the great American musician would thrill
his audiences with his brilliant music, with his vibrant
recitals. People thronged the halls and would go to any
lengths to experience Roland Hayes’ music. His wonderful
Surrender: No More Me, Only Thee 153
music transported them to realms of ecstasy and refreshed
their mind and spirit.

Once, when asked about the secret of his success,

Roland Hayes replied: Whenever I give a recital, before
proceeding to the stage, I go to a silent corner, where, with
closed eyes, I offer a brief prayer, “O Lord! Let Roland
perish but let thy Name be glorified forever and ever more!
Let my name perish, but let these songs bring many closer
to thee, O Lord!”

And after this I saw God in a point; by which sight I

saw that He is in all things ... I saw truly that God doth
everything, be it never so little ... As all that hath being in
nature is of God’s making, so is everything that is done in
property of God’s doing . . . There is no Doer but He ...
~Dame Julian of Norwich—’Revelations of Divine Love’
This famous adage is well known to the world: ‘Pride
goeth before a fall’. The mind always wants to assert itself.
It does not want to submit to anybody at all. Therefore,
man must ever be cautious and avoid ego or arrogance.
When pride develops within, it holds us down and does
not let us merge into the Lord. Pride leaves no room in
the heart for God. Unless we are completely able to drop
this false notion of being an ‘I’, we cannot realize our
hidden reality.

Bhai Jodh ji was a Brahmin by caste. He was

154 Devotion And The Modern Mind
intellectual and held knowledge. He came to visit
Venerable Sikh Guru Shri Angad Dev ji’s court. He
experienced bliss, which he had never felt before. Everyday
Bhai Jodh ji would listen to the Spiritual Master’s sermon
and then go to the community kitchen or langar hall,
where he would wash all the dishes after meals, left there
by the devout seekers.

The devotees noticed that Bhai Jodh ji does a lot

of selfless–service but does not sit in with the congregation
to eat. They thought that it was probably because he was
a Brahmin and thus considered himself superior to the
rest of the devotees, that he would not partake food with
the rest of the Perfect Adept’s devotees. The devotees
reported this to Revered Guru Shri Angad Dev ji. “August
Master! Bhai Jodh ji engages in immense selfless–service
but he does not eat with the rest of us”. The All–Knowing
Master summoned Bhai Jodh ji. The latter arrived in the
Divine Effulgent Presence.

The Holy Master asked him, “Bhai Jodh! Is it true

that you do not eat in the community kitchen like the
other devotees?” “No, Gracious Lord! I do eat in the
community kitchen,” replied Bhai Jodh ji. The other
devotees said, “See, now he is a liar as well!” The Spiritual
Redeemer told Bhai Jodh ji, “You are holding something
from me. Tell me, when do you eat your meal?”

Bhai Jodh ji, now had tears in his eyes. He thus

Surrender: No More Me, Only Thee 155
explained himself, “O Lord, when I clean the dishes of
the congregation after meals, remnants of food eaten by
devotees are left behind in the dishes. I collect the leftovers
in a small bowl. When everybody has left, I then eat the left
over blessed food.”

The listeners were shocked to hear this; they had

thought that Bhai Jodh ji did not eat with the rest because
of his ego. But they were wrong; how could a person be
so humble? How could he belittle himself so much? The
All Compassionate Master asked Bhai Jodh ji, “Why do
eat the leftovers of the devotees?”

Bhai Jodh ji replied, “O Revered Master! When I

came to see thee for the first time, I was enormously
egoistic and took pride in the fact that I was an educated
Brahmin. But I heard in thine edifying preaching that
when we have ego we cannot obtain ultimate happiness.
I also heard that you do not like pride and conceit. Hence,
I put the leftovers in the mouth of my ego, to remove the
obstacle that prevents me from experiencing absolute

“Do not say that Bhai Jodh!” stated the Beneficent

Master. “All your sins have been washed away; your
Worshipped One now dwells within you.”

Whatever form of pride it may be, it surely leads

man to fall into a deep trench. Therefore, to save oneself
from this downfall, one must inculcate the virtues of
156 Devotion And The Modern Mind
modesty and humility. Humility truly means elimination
of our self–importance. It creates the awareness of how
powerless we are when it comes to the most important affairs
of our lives and the attainment of the highest goals.

Blessed [are] the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
The Holy Bible – Matthew 5:5
Someone knocked at the door of the Beloved and a
voice from within inquired, “Who is there?” He answered,
“It is I.” And the voice said, “This house will not hold me
and thee.” So the door remained closed.

Then the lover sped away into the wilderness and

prayed. His vehement longing swelled like the surge of
the unabated waves of the ocean in full tide. After a year
he returned and knocked again at the door and the voice
again demanded, “Who is there?” And the lover said, “It
is thou.” The door was opened.

Surrender is imperative because there is no other

way for the Holy Master to be able to help us. In order for
Him to free us from our limited perception of ourselves,
we have to step out of the way. By this, we mean that we
cannot allow our ‘I–ness’ or our ego to be an obstacle in
the Holy Master’s plans for seekers’ betterment. It is the
ego that causes us to experience ourselves as petty and
limited entities. It is the sense of ‘I’ that prevents us from
experiencing our Eternity and Immortality. If we do not
surrender ourselves wholeheartedly unto the Divine
Surrender: No More Me, Only Thee 157
Master, then this very ego keeps blocking the fountain of
bliss from gushing within us. Unless we are willing to
abandon this sense of ‘I’, we cannot possibly come to realize
our true hidden innate nature.

Finding His consort Ganga ji, keen on having a

child, Venerable Sikh Guru Shri Guru Arjun Dev ji, advised
her to invoke the blessings of Baba Budda ji, the most
revered soul. Accompanied by a large entourage of
attendants, Ganga ji went to seek the blessings of Baba
Budda ji, who lived in a jungle outside the town. She
presented Baba Budda ji with many delicacies to eat. It is
said that the Pious Saint did not approve of all the
fanfare. Far from blessing Ganga ji, he did not even touch
the delicacies that she had brought as an offering to him.

Upon hearing what happened, Revered Guru Shri

Arjun Dev ji told his wife to return this time on foot,
with a simple meal prepared by herself and with all
humility of a devotee. The next day she did accordingly.
This time Baba Budda ji was delighted and partook of
the simple food (missi roti or stuffed chapatti, an onion
and lassi or buttermilk). While crushing the onion with
his fist, he prophesied, “A son will be born to you who
will crush enemies, just as I have crushed this onion. His
gallantry and valour will be unmatched. He will possess
both spiritual and temporal powers.” That prophecy was
to soon come true with the birth of Valiant Sikh Guru
Shri Hargobind Singh ji.
158 Devotion And The Modern Mind
How failure does persuade
The tough and stubborn soul
To yield the prideful role
That it has blindly played!
Oh bright humility–
Oh blessed sweet despair
That racks us till we dare
To bend the stiffened knee!
~ Jane Tyson Clement
There is much work that the Holy Master has to
do for our consciousness to grow. If we allow our mind
to try to interpret the ways of the Divine Maven, then it
will lead us to great confusion. This is because we are full
of prejudices and predisposed concepts that distort our
perception. We want to know more than the silent God
deems it good to tell; to understand the ‘why’ which He
bids us wait to ask; to see the path which He has spread
on purpose in the dark. The Infinite Father does not
stand by us to be catechized and to explain Himself to
our vain mind; He is here for our trust.

The Spiritual Mentor’s ways are very mysterious!

The God–Incarnate Master functions from a level of
perception and understanding that is beyond our
comprehension. It is impossible for us to decipher the
significance of His divine design. Without love and fervour
Surrender: No More Me, Only Thee 159
of the Perfect Holy Master’s sanctified feet how can one
revel in divine elixir? According to Hazrat Sultan Bahu, the
only unfailing method of vanquishing ego is love. It enables
one to surrender oneself to the Will of God, whose Will is
a sword that kills the ego. By submitting oneself to divine
love, progress on the spiritual path becomes quicker, for
then the ego, which makes one feel separate from God,
disappears with all its attendant evils.

Deliberation and comprehension of man and

Saints differ a lot. Their thinking is much loftier and
transcendental. The extent, to which the understanding
and knowledge of Holy Saints can strike, is beyond man’s
intellect. Therefore, if we allow our mind to be judgmental,
which is a habit of the stubborn mind, then it will become
extremely difficult for us to sincerely follow the divine
mandates of our Spiritual Master. And if we are unable
to accept and follow the guidance of the Benevolent
Master, then all our endeavours on the spiritual path are
absolutely futile.

Cast off indecision and doubt not in the least, when

asking anything from God ... Those who are divided in purpose
are they who waver before the Lord and altogether fail to
obtain any of their requests. But those who are wholly perfect
in the faith ask everything with reliance on the Lord and they
~Shepherd of Hermas
160 Devotion And The Modern Mind
The spry mind is familiar with the ways of the world
but it cannot grasp the subtleties of the Spirit. The mind
is a hindrance in spirituality; once we decide to embark
on the journey towards inner enlightenment, the mind
becomes totally redundant. The tendencies of the mind
then are directed upwards instead of downwards. The mind
finds bliss in devotional love rather than outside material

Let your will be one with His Will, and be glad to be

disposed of by Him. He will order all things for you. What can
cross your will, when it is one with His Will, on which all
creation hangs, round which all things revolve?
~H. E. Manning
Saint Ignatius Loyola one day said to Father Lainez,
“Suppose God let you choose, either to go to heaven
now, or to stay on earth with the chance of doing
something for His glory, which one would you choose?”
“I would make certain of heaven now,” replied Father
Lainez. “Well,” said the Saint, “for my part, I would
remain on earth, to do the Will of God. As for saving of
my soul, I am sure God would take care of it. I do not
believe He would let anyone perish who, for love of Him,
had delayed entering heaven.”

Self–will should be so completely poured out of the vessel

of the soul into the ocean of the Will of God, that whatever God
11 Surrender: No More Me, Only Thee 161
may will, that at once the soul should will; and that whatever
God may allow, that the soul should at once willingly embrace,
whether it may be in itself sweet or bitter.
~Louis de Blois
All that is required of us is to remain completely
receptive thereby allowing His Divine Excellency to help
us. We have to become like an empty vessel and allow
His holy grace to descend upon us. All our spiritual
practices are nothing but expedients to help us to become
more and more receptive towards our Divine Master. For,
as we are at the moment, we are extremely unreceptive!
We may be unaware of this because it is at an unconscious
level. All our inhibitions, our hesitations, our fears become
a resistance and act as an unnecessary shield, blocking
the Benevolent Master’s grace from enveloping us and
transforming us. Therefore, we need to make a conscious
effort to drop this resistance and allow His Holiness to
do whatever is best for our spiritual progress.

During the American Civil War, a lady exclaimed

effusively to President Lincoln, “O Mr. President! I feel
so sure that God is on our side, don’t you?” “Ma’am,”
replied the President, “I am more concerned that we
should be on God’s side.”

We need to nurture a determination to become

more and more trusting as trust alone will help us to
overcome our inhibitions. Trust is simply an acceptance
162 Devotion And The Modern Mind
of the Spiritual Master’s authority and supremacy. It is a
deep acceptance and understanding that His Divine Majesty
is our true Well–wisher and Caretaker. To trust is to put the
mind aside and rest assured that our Perfect Master will
ensure our final deliverance. He is more than a father and
a mother. He is our Supreme Benefactor. It is only our
trust in our Spiritual Master that will give us the required
courage to drop the ego. We have invested so much in our
false identity, our name, our self–respect, our self–worth
and we are so strongly associated and identified with this
‘I’, that it is incredibly difficult to drop the ego. We are so
strongly associated with our near and dear ones, our
possessions and all the things we call our own; we have
invested so much energy and time in them that we are
unconsciously reluctant to forsake them. And all this ‘me’
and ‘mine’ become obstacles on the divine path. As our
trust in our True Spiritual Maven grows, we are able to
loosen the grip of the identities that we are so strongly
clinging onto.

Trust is not something that necessarily comes

naturally to most of us. It is especially difficult for the
modern urban mind, the so–called educated mind. We
are taught ever since childhood to rely greatly on our minds.
We are taught to trust and depend only on our intellect;
to question everything, particularly to doubt things that
are unknown. Trust is a very difficult abstraction for the
modern mind. Even after we have understood the need
for trust, many doubts and questions still arise in the mind.
Surrender: No More Me, Only Thee 163
We need to learn to become aware of all the doubts that
engulf our mind and at some point it becomes prudent to
doubt the ‘doubt’ itself. For, otherwise the mind will never
allow us to be at ease with the idea of surrender. This is why
great resolve is needed. We need to be constantly vigilant of
all the thoughts and emotions that zoom within us. It would
be really sad if we allow the sceptical mind to take us astray
from the spiritual path.

It is only through labour and painful effort, by grim

energy and resolute courage that we move on to better things.
~Theodore Roosevelt
Until now, all that we have been able to do is to
create misery and unhappiness for ourselves, although
that is not what we ever intended. We need to pray to
our Beneficent Master to take charge of our lives; to be
our Shepherd and to not only guide at every step of the
way, but to also protect us from our old habitual patterns,
negative thoughts and emotions. Pray that you may
surrender yourself to His plan. Seek forgiveness and divine
blessings every day. The Supreme Master showers His Grace
munificently upon all but you must seek His sacred shelter,
lift your hands in prayer and supplicate in humility with
unwavering faith; be sure that it will be given to you. For
He is the Lord of the Lords and the Benign Protector of
His devotees; He shall never let you go empty–handed. All
you need is a humble heart filled with abounding love for
the Perfect Divine Master.
164 Devotion And The Modern Mind
There is an old Hebrew fable that Rabbi Akiba
was compelled by persecution to wander in the wilderness.
He had a lamp to enable him to study the Holy Bible; a
cock that awakened him in the morning, and a donkey
on which he rode.

One night, being very tired he went into a village

and asked for shelter, but was refused. He sought an old
well, where he sat down to rest. He lighted his lamp, but
a violent wind extinguished the light. He lay down to
sleep, but a wolf killed the cock and a lion ate his donkey.
Though he had been inhospitably received, he went into
the village to see if he could find help. Then he discovered
that during the night a band of robbers had killed the
inhabitants. He saw that God had been very good to him.
If he had been received into a home for the night, he too
would have been killed. If the light had not been blown
out, he would have been discovered by the robbers. If
the cock and donkey had not been destroyed, they would
have revealed his presence. So it is, always with those
who love God. All things work together for good to them
who love God.

God’s Will on earth is always joy, always tranquillity.

~Frederick Faber
166 Devotion And The Modern Mind

In philosophy, it is not the

attainment of the goal that matters, it is
the things that are met with by the way.
~Havelock Ellis
Spirituality: The Ology Of Soul 167


One day Ananda, the Buddha’s friend and personal

assistant, who had been thinking deeply about things for a
while, turned to the Buddha and exclaimed: “Lord, I’ve been
thinking–spiritual friendship (kalyana mitrata) is at least half
of the spiritual life!” The Buddha replied: “Say not so, Ananda,
say not so. Spiritual friendship is the whole of the spiritual
~Samyutta Nikaya, Verse 2
Spiritual heritage is India’s most significant
contribution to the world. For thousands of years, people
in the East have been sitting in lotus position, immersed
deep in contemplation, searching for answers to the most
fundamental existential questions and seeking to unravel
the mysteries of life. India has given to the world a rich
spiritual legacy comprising of the Vedas and the
Upanishads; the auxiliar y scriptures like Ramayana,
Mahabharata, Yoga Vasishtha, Bhagawad Gita, Smritis,
Puranas, and Tantras; the six schools of Hindu Philosophy:
168 Devotion And The Modern Mind
Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Samkhya, Yoga system of Patanjali, Purva
Mimamsa and the Brahma Sutras (Vedanta Sutras), the spiritual
traditions of Jainism and Buddhism, the Vedanta, among

Spirituality is indeed the master key of the Indian mind;

the sense of the infinitive is native to it.
~Sri Aurobindo Ghosh
Long before the modern world split the atom in
search of the building blocks of matter and great scientists
developed their theories on quantum physics, the Enlightened
Mystics shared their personal experiences and pronounced
their deep insights into the nature of existence. The
modern scientists have only recently been able to create a
collision of sub–atomic particles in particle accelerators
and thereby understand the ‘cosmic dance of energy’.
Only recently have atomic physicists discovered that the
cosmos is an ‘organic unity’; that it is not matter but
‘pure energy’ and they have called their discovery the ‘unified
field of energy’. Interestingly, Enlightened Mystics have
known this Ultimate Reality for thousands of years as
Paramatma: the ‘Supreme Consciousness’ or the ‘Cosmic

However, the fundamental difference between

scientific research and spiritual quest is that science studies
the objective world whereas spirituality is a subjective
enquiry. And even scientists today are being forced to
acknowledge that their investigations will always remain
Spirituality: The Ology Of Soul 169
incomplete, because they are not taking into account the
subject: the one who witnesses the revealing of the cosmic
phenomena, in their experiments. Scientists today are in
agreement that in order to truly understand the mysteries
of existence, one cannot exclude the observer from the
experiment because the observer, in reality, is an integral
part of the experiment.

I want to know how God created this world. I am not

interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this
or that element. I want to know His thoughts; the rest are
~Albert Einstein
For a rainbow to appear, there must be the sun,
water vapour in the air and the observer; only then does
the rainbow manifest itself. The observer (beholder–
vision) is needed for the rainbow to manifest. Similarly,
atomic physicists are now concluding that the subject
implying the observer affects the experiment and can even
alter the results by his sheer presence. Thus, any enquiry
or research into life, the universe or existence itself, which
is purely objective in nature, can never completely reveal
the ‘Ultimate Reality’ or the ‘Absolute Truth’.

This is the reason why Mystics and Enlightened Ones

have been insisting on self–enquiry because exploring our
own consciousness or our own ‘self’ is the only way to
understand Nature; we are a miniature form of the
170 Devotion And The Modern Mind
universe, a molecular part of the cosmos! The molecule
is intrinsically identical with the Whole. It contains all
the attributes and characteristics of the Whole, just as a
drop of the ocean is the same as the ocean itself, or a
grain of sand represents the entire beach.

Eternity: I am drawn to the wild edge of the ocean of

my being. My curiosity unbound, I test the limits of the limitless
and the boundaries of the timeless. I walk the path – the way
– the way of ways – to the end which is not an end.
~Jonathan Lockwood Huie
We are not isolated islands disconnected from the
world around us. We are, in fact, the universe manifesting
as different forms. The cosmos is ‘one organic unity’.
That is why it is called a ‘uni–verse’, implying, one verse,
one unified whole. Of course, we do not feel this or
realize it as a constant knowing but that does not change
the fact. Is our body not made up of the five elements of
nature: earth, water, fire, air and ether? Just as the sunrays
create plant life on earth, so do the cosmic rays (prana)
infuse vitality into our bodies. We breathe in pure oxygen
and breathe out toxic carbon–dioxide. Seventy–percent
of our body is water. When we eat food that comes from
the earth, it becomes a part of us; it gets converted into
our blood, bones and bone marrow through the process
of digestion and respiration that generates heat. In so
many ways the universe becomes us, on a constant basis.
Spirituality: The Ology Of Soul 171
We, who are born into the universe and would die
into it, are made up of the very same universe. As a matter
of fact, we have sprung out of the universe. The universe
sprouts us; it manifests through us. All things, organic
and inorganic, birds, animals, plants, rocks and even stars
and galaxies, are nothing but the universe expressing itself
in myriad forms. So, how can humans ever be excluded
from that reality? We too, are an expression of the universe.
In fact, it would be more appropriate to say, ‘the universe
is us’.

When the vast cathedral of our being becomes a

sanctuary for all creation, we become the face of God.
~Jonathan Lockwood Huie
If this is the truth, then why do we consider
ourselves as separate entities from the universe; why do
we not feel connected? Why is it that we feel like islands,
lonely and absolutely disconnected from the vast
illimitable expanse? Just as the fish which has lived its
whole life in the ocean cannot comprehend beyond,
likewise we too are unable to experience Oneness with
the Whole. However, the unity has been experienced by
many who have strived to experience it through certain
prescribed practices and spiritual disciplines. We are the
universe and to realize that, we need to attain a heightened

Separate yourself from all two-ness. Be one in one, one

172 Devotion And The Modern Mind
with one, one from one.
-Meister Eckhart
Bahir antashch bhootaanaam acharam charmeva cha;
sookshmatvat tadagyeyam doora-stham chaantike cha tat.
~Srimad Bhagvad Gita XIII/16
“It is without and within all beings. It is motionless
and yet It moves. On account of Its subtlety It is
incomprehensible. It is both far and near.”

The pure experience of the Essence that exists in

all substances in the world is the ‘self’. The faculty of
experiencing it exists in all the beings: the reflection of
the Omnipresent ‘Self’. It exists in all equally as butter
exists in milk. Anyone who is established in the ‘self’ and
whose modus operandi is in complete sync with the inner
prompts of the ‘self’ is following the first essential
precondition for experiencing the Divine Presence. It is
the foremost duty of every individual to know this Truth
and perform one’s duty from this perspective while
journeying back to merge with the Source from where
we all came.

All individuals born on this earthly plane have a

true home, but still wander here and there. Although
the conscience is always alert like a watchdog, yet the
Inner Voice remains unheard and one gets deluded.
Awareness of one’s inner ‘self’ is the key to attaining
Spirituality: The Ology Of Soul 173
harmony with all that is.

No ray of light can shine if severed from its Source;

without my Inner Light I lose my course.
~Angelus Silesius
An intriguing conversation between the soul and
Soul: I am in the world, God, and I feel lost.
God: But you are in My world!
Soul: How come I do not see thee then?
God: You cannot see me because you are looking
outside. I am in you.
Soul: How am I to find thee? My senses can perceive
outside only.
God: To find Me you do not need your senses.
Soul: Then tell me what I need to do to find thee.
God: Put all your senses to rest and go into deep
Soul: How can silence help me?
God: Silence is My language, and Spirit is My Being.
Soul: How will I know that I have found thee?
God: You are Spirit and I am Spirit. You will know
Me when you experience that you are Spirit. Then
you will see that we are one.
174 Devotion And The Modern Mind
Soul: Will that take away the feeling that I am lost
in the world?
God: Certainly! You see, I am not lost. I am
everywhere. You feel lost when you are busy in worldly
pursuits only. Know Me and we will always be
~J. Das
Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it
became a butterfly.
What is spirituality? It is the search of our ‘spirit’,
our ‘being’ and our very ‘existence’. It is the quest for
our life force, our ‘I–ness’, our ‘Am–ness’. It is the search
for life itself and an enquiry into its mysteries. Spirituality
is the quest for knowing ‘Who Am I’ and what is my
place in the universe. It is a lifelong journey we embark
upon. It is a way of life. Through spirituality, we come to
understand what life is, its beauty and its majesty.

Spirituality makes our lives richer and fuller. It

makes us wealthy from within. We no longer feel lonely
and disconnected from the world around us. It gives us
a tremendous sense of well–being. It makes us feel whole
and complete, content and fulfilled. Spirituality means
growing into the form of our Divine Ideal. It is the
transformation of our nature from human to Divine.
The yardstick of success is not measured by fame and
Spirituality: The Ology Of Soul 175
wealth; it is measured by your level of understanding of who
you are, why you are here and where are you going from here.
~Tulshi Sen
Spirituality is not the same as religion. Spirituality
is a search for the most pertinent of all questions.... ‘Who
Am I?’ for how can we ever be at ease with ourselves and
our environment without even knowing the basic truth
of ‘Who we are?’ and ‘Where we come from?’ We may
feel that it is not necessary for us to know the answers to
these questions, or for that matter to even be concerned
with such questions, but without searching and seeking
our Essence, our very soul, we will always feel lost and
afraid. The world can be a very cold, heartless place to
live in. Spirituality brings warmth to our hearts. It makes
us loving and compassionate; it makes life meaningful
and imbues us with a sense of purpose. Spirituality is the
pathway to eternal happiness and everlasting peace.

In its simplified version, spirituality is a means to

convey and confirm that inner stillness which is the most
essential ingredient for knowing God within oneself. It is
the divine answer to the inner yearning to know God, to
love God, to call God for help, to listen to God for
direction, to enjoy with God, to free oneself from misery.
The process of inner silence or stillness is concerned with
changing the direction of one’s attention from the external
world to the internal realm. The key to unlock the inner
domain is the Divine Name which is an invaluable gift to
176 Devotion And The Modern Mind
the earnest seeker that is graciously bestowed by the
Spiritual Master.

Paganini, the great violinist, came out before his

audience one day and made the discovery just as they
ended their applause that there was something wrong with
his violin. He looked at it a second and then saw that it
was not his famous and valuable one. He felt paralysed
for a moment, then turned to his audience and told them
that there had been some mistake and he did not have
his own violin. He stepped back behind the curtain
thinking that it was still where he had left it, but discovered
that someone had stolen his and left that old second
hand one in its place. He remained behind the curtain
for a moment, then came out before his audience and
said, “Ladies and gentlemen! I will show you that the
music is not in the instrument but in the soul.” And he
played as he had never played before; and out of that
second–hand instrument, the music poured forth until
the audience was enraptured with enthusiasm and the
applause almost lifted the roof off the building, because
the man had revealed to them that the music was not in
the machine but in his own soul.

Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.

~Lao Tzu
It is your mission ... to walk out on the stage of
this world and reveal to all earth and heaven that the
12 Spirituality: The Ology Of Soul 177
music is not in conditions, not in things, not in
externals, but the music of life is in your own soul
God (Sat–Chit–Anand) is latent in every one of us and
can be realized if we have the passion for it; He is a
realization or an experiential certainty. Spiritual realization
is not something that happens by itself. The spiritual seeker
has to strive and work for this consummation through
detached action, knowledge, devotion and control of
mind. This perseverant endeavour towards self–realization
is ‘Dynamic Spirituality’; it stands for the steady spiritual
growth of man.

As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in

being able to remake the world – that is myth of the atomic
age – as in being able to remake ourselves!
~Mahatma Gandhi ji
Spirituality is the greatest of all subjects. It is not
simply a ‘learning’ but rather a ‘becoming’. We do not
just gather information or knowledge, we work towards
transforming ourselves. And transformation means
dropping the old ways. In spirituality, we have to transcend
the mind. We have to go beyond the ego. It would be
unwise to presume that we can make progress in
spirituality through our intellect. We cannot think our
way to enlightenment. Besides, our mind, intellect and
all mental faculties are only a small part of our Greater
Reality. Our spirit is far greater than our mental
178 Devotion And The Modern Mind
capabilities. Hence, reasoning and rationality are not of
much help on the path of spirituality. At some point, we
have to set aside the mind. We cannot allow our sceptical,
vacillating mind to become an obstacle in the way. We
cannot be full of doubts and expect to progress spiritually.

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by

reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is
easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.
When it is born, it’s shining and sparkling,
It springs out of rocks, it’s beauteous and loving.
Throughout its childhood it creeps slowly & moves caringly,
Sometimes it halts, collects, and then flows growingly.
In adolescence it gathers force and walks playfully,
Sometimes calm, sometimes noisy, it travels lovingly.
When in youth, power intoxicated, it goes on daringly,
Unmindful of rocks & stones, it penetrates thunderously.
From hilly heights announcing its might, it falls crushingly,
Caring not for ups and downs, it moves on speedily.
Its narrowness & force, its speed & roar die down slowly,
Spirituality: The Ology Of Soul 179
Wider it becomes, its horizon opens, and it travels calmly.
Old, wide and silent, it doth serve noiselessly,
If it stops, becoming self–centred, it stinks terribly.
If sheds its ego, continues to expand & serve universally,
Then reunites with the Sea, from which it emerged initially.
The purpose is met; the play is over; it rests finally,
Unto its own ‘self’, free from bondage, it remains eternally.
From birth till end, the billowing river runs ceaselessly,
In order to meet the Sea, it goes on constantly.
From birth, since a timeless beginning, this desire is in me,
Thou art my Sea: like the river, I too want to merge in Thee.
180 Devotion And The Modern Mind


Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted

among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
~The Holy Bible – Psalm 46:10
Have you ever gazed up into the infinity of space
on a clear night, awestruck by the absolute stillness and
inconceivable vastness of it? Have you listened, truly
listened, to the sound of a mountain stream in the forest
or to the song of a blackbird at dusk on a quiet summer?
To become aware of such things, the mind needs to be
still. You need to put down for a moment your personal
baggage of problems, of past and future, as well as all
your knowledge; otherwise, you will see but not see, hear
but not hear. Your total presence is required.

The sound of silence is the wordless eloquence of

the Divine. God speaks in the silence of our heart. He is
the friend of silence. He cannot be found in noise and
restlessness. While doing whatever one is doing – seeing,
hearing, touching, smelling, eating, moving, sleeping,
breathing or talking – one should realize one’s own
essential nature as Pure Consciousness.
Silence: Scent Of Saintliness 181
Whenever there is some silence around you – listen to
it. That means just notice it. Pay attention to it, listening to
silence awakens the dimension of stillness within yourself,
because it is only through stillness that you can be aware of
~Eckhart Tolle
Tranquillity of the ‘self’, the true nature of the
Infinite Consciousness, is not a vision but an experience.
By adhering to a few simple practices we can constantly
move towards this divine experience. A few times during
the day, one should pack up all thoughts and spend a
couple of minutes in silence. Then return to worldly
obligations with better awareness of being a soul. One
should be fully present in whatever one does. This helps
in feeling at a deeper level one’s own presence with the
Divine Presence in whatever one is doing.

One should practise seeing all as souls or tiny

reflections of the Infinite Consciousness. One should
remind oneself that their inherent virtues and aspirations
are the same as one’s own. This will help in avoiding any
negative interactions with anyone. Whatever one is seeking
– love, peace and joy – one should give it unconditionally
to someone else on a daily basis. By doing so, the principle
of giving and receiving becomes active to everyone’s
benefit. The circulation of pure positive energy keeps
improving the quality of everyone’s life.
182 Devotion And The Modern Mind
Oneness with the Inner Being can help an individual
tremendously in regaining the lost freedom from the
ongoing worldly trials and tribulations. One can gradually
establish oneself in one’s intrinsic divine nature of
absolute freedom, awareness, joy, peace and love. While
living in this mundane world, one enjoys performing one’s
role but is not attached to the outcome of self–efforts.
Awareness of the ‘self’ is freedom, love and joy while
attachment is nothing but misery and invitation to a series
of unnecessary struggles arising out of one’s own
controlling attitude.

Silence is a source of great spiritual strength. Silence

entails laying aside external distractions and emptying our
minds and hearts of trivial concerns. Inner quiet is
essential to balance the busyness of the days. We should
listen to God in the silence of our heart to know His
perfect plans for us. True silence brings answers to so
many unanswered questions in life. A peaceful uncluttered
mind can think more clearly and far better than a worked
up mind.

True intelligence operates silently. Stillness is where

creativity and solutions to problems are found.
~Eckhart Tolle
Silence plays a vital role in spiritual growth. In
silence one goes deeper into the innermost core of one’s
personality to feel the divine spark of God within. A silent
Silence: Scent Of Saintliness 183
mind is a meditative mind. It has been seen that silent
minds have attained pinnacles of great achievements.
Silence develops will–power, conserves energy and makes
one creative. Silence is to mind what sleep is to body. It
is that austerity which energizes mind. As much as the
physical body requires rest and sleep in order to function
properly, so our inner life requires regular times of quiet
in which the soul can be restrengthened.

All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit quietly
in a room alone.
~Blaise Pascal
Divine experience that comes to pass in silence,
can never be explained in words. It is just not possible.
Anything that may be said about it would be inexplicable
and would only create misunderstanding. Words can only
be indicative. They can never be the object they indicate.
Words can also be very misleading because they have to
be interpreted by the mind and the mind can only
comprehend a word based on its own experience.

The world of language, the world of words and

lexis belongs to the mind. All language comes from the
mind which is primarily a cerebral activity. Thoughts,
words and sentences are first framed in the mind. We
may not do it consciously because talking has become
such a habit for us – a second nature so to speak, that we
are mostly unconscious of the verbal thinking that occurs
184 Devotion And The Modern Mind
as a precursor to our oral expressions. All over the world,
languages may vary, but the mental activity is the same.

In the entire existence, man is the only creature

who resorts to the usage of words for communication. No
other creature uses words or language as a means to
communicate. They may use various other methods for
communication, but language is impossible for them. And
this ability of human beings to communicate through
language is possible due to the highly developed human
brain. It is a by–product of our evolution, and is, in
essence, a wonderful gift.

From thinking proceeds speaking; thence to acting is

often but a single step. But how irrevocable and tremendous!
~George Washington
Once upon a time an old man spread rumours
that his neighbour was a thief. As a result, the young man
was arrested. Days later, the young man was proven
innocent. After being released, he sued the old man for
wrongly accusing him. In court the old man told the judge,
“They were just comments, did not harm anyone.”

The judge, before passing a sentence on the case,

told the old man, “Write all the things you said about
him on a piece of paper. Cut them up and on the way
home throw the pieces of paper out. Tomorrow, come
back to hear the sentence.”
Silence: Scent Of Saintliness 185
The next day, the judge told the old man, “Before
receiving the sentence, you will have to go out and gather
all the pieces of paper that you threw out yesterday.”

The old man said, “I cannot do that! The wind spread

them and I would not know where to find them.”

The judge then replied, “The same way, simple

comments may destroy the honour of a man to such an
extent that one is not able to fix it. If you cannot speak
well of someone, rather say nothing.”

Let us all be the masters of our mouths, so that we

shall not be the slaves of our words. We are constantly
robbing ourselves of peace, because we choose to meddle
in the affairs of others. We talk. We gossip. And we forget
that for every idle word, we will be judged.

The tongue is our most powerful weapon of manipulation.

A frantic stream of words flows from us because we are in a constant
process of adjusting our public image. We fear so deeply what we
think other people see in us that we talk in order to straighten out
their understanding. If I have done some wrong thing (or even
some right thing that I think you may misunderstand) and discover
that you know about it, I will be tempted to help you understand
my action.
Silence is one of the deepest disciplines of the Spirit, because
186 Devotion And The Modern Mind
it puts the stopper on all self-justification. One of the fruits of
silence is the freedom to let God be our justifier. We don’t need to
straighten others out.
~Richard J. Foster
A man interrupted one of Lord Buddha’s sermons
with a flood of abuse. The Holy One waited until he had
finished and then asked him, “If a man offered a gift to
another but the gift was declined, to whom the gift would

“To the one who offered it,” said the man.

“Then I decline to accept your abuse and request

you to keep it for yourself,” said Lord Buddha.

Not to react, not to revise or embellish or expound,

not even to respond, but simply to listen is a gift. When
we are able to be truly silent, be able to truly listen, then
God can speak. Practising silence can relieve us of the
burden of having to respond. It can help us to avoid
getting flustered over petty things.

Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? There is

more hope of a fool than of him.
~The Holy Bible – Proverbs 29:20
Feel yourself becoming transparent, as it were,
without the solidity of a material body. Now allow the
Silence: Scent Of Saintliness 187
noise, or whatever causes a negative reaction, to pass right
through you. It is no longer hitting a solid ‘wall’ inside you.
The same could be with other noises; the car alarm, the dog
barking, the children screaming, the traffic jam. Instead of
having a wall of resistance inside you that gets constantly
and painfully hit by things that ‘should not be happening’,
let everything pass through you.

Somebody says something to you that is rude or

designed to hurt. Instead of going into unconscious
reaction and negativity, such as attack, defence, or
withdrawal, let it pass right through you. Offer no
resistance. It is as if there is nobody there to get hurt
anymore. That is forgiveness. In this way, you become
invulnerable. You can still tell that person that his or her
behaviour is unacceptable, if that is what you choose to
do. But that person no longer has the power to control
your inner state. You are then in your power – not in
someone else’s, nor are you run by your mind. Whether
it is a car alarm, a rude person, a flood, an earthquake,
or the loss of all your possessions, the resistance mechanism
is the same.

It is interesting to note that words are indeed

powerful and just as harsh words can do irreparable harm,
gentle words can be amazingly therapeutic.

There was once a wise sage who wandered through

the countryside. One day, as he passed near a village, he
188 Devotion And The Modern Mind
was approached by a woman who told him of a sick child
nearby. She beseeched him to help this child.

So, the sage came to the village, and a crowd

gathered around him, for such a man was a rare sight.
One woman brought the sick child to him, and he uttered
a few words of prayer.

“Do you really think your prayer will help, when

all medicines have failed?” yelled a man from the crowd.

“You know nothing of such things! You are

completely ignorant!” said the sage to the man.

The man became very angry at these words and his

face grew hot and red. He was about to say something, or
perhaps strike out, when the sage walked over to him
and said, “If one word has such power as to make you so
angry and hot, will not the words of a prayer have the
power to heal?”

And thus, the sage healed two people that day.

Language does have the power to change reality.

Therefore, treat your words as the mighty instruments they
are – to heal, to bring into being, to nurture, to cherish, to
bless, to forgive.
~ Daphne Rose Kingma
The virtue of speaking well, rightly and effectively,
Silence: Scent Of Saintliness 189
also includes the capacity to stay silent, when a situation
demands so. Besides earning respect and acceptance,
needless problems can be obviated because one is a slave of
the words he utters while being a master of those he chooses
not to speak.

Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted

wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of
~The Holy Bible – Proverbs 17:28
It is a great misfortune that today we have turned
the gift of communication into a curse. We have made
language our sole form of communication, highly
overused to the point of abuse. All our communication
occurs through words. And we communicate so much,
all day long, all through our lives. As a result of this
excessive communication, the mind is forced to remain
in a state of non–stop activity because the cerebral activity
occurs not just when we are talking, it occurs even when
we are listening, processing information, conceptualizing,
planning and imagining. They all require our mental
faculties to operate at optimum speed. In fact, we keep
training our minds to function with greater efficiency.
We polish it, sharpen it, and teach it to juggle multiple
processes simultaneously. Multitasking has become a
prerequisite for success; we are constantly juggling
between our professional and personal lives. There seems
to be so little time and so much to be done.
190 Devotion And The Modern Mind
The human mind is a channel through which things–
to–be are coming into the realm of things–that–are.
~Henry Ford
Technology has created havoc in our lives. We are
now forced to process so much information that it is a
wonder that our bio–computer, the mind, has not crashed
completely. We are being bombarded by information from
all sides. Television, telecommunication, internet and
various multimedia, have habituated us to keep our
processing mechanism on high alert round the clock. Just
because you can solve a crossword puzzle or build an
atom bomb, does not mean that you are using your mind.
Just as dogs love to chew bones, mind loves to get its
teeth into problems. That is why it does crossword puzzles
and builds atom bombs. You have no interest in either.
Let me ask you this: can you be free of your mind whenever
you want to? Have you found the ‘off’ button?

There is an elasticity in the human mind, capable of

bearing much, but which will not show itself, until a certain
weight of affliction be put upon it; its powers may be compared
to those vehicles whose springs are so contrived that they get on
smoothly enough when loaded, but jolt confoundedly when they
have nothing to bear.
~Charles Caleb Colton
Communication does not refer simply to oral
Silence: Scent Of Saintliness 191
communication. When we type e–mails or text messages,
the mental activity of forming words and sentences occurs
at a high speed simultaneously in the mind. Thus, use of
language to communicate has gone much beyond mere
talking and listening. It is taking on newer forms.
Technology is bound to keep developing. We will keep
getting subjected to more and more information, and
thus will have to process more and more information.
New forms of entertainment are constantly being invented.
Newer forms and methods of information delivery are
being created. Computers and laptops are getting smaller,
faster and cheaper, and can store more information than
we can probably use in our lifetime. It is getting dangerously
excessive. It is a world going mad; feels like it would just
implode one fine day.

The ill–effects of this overload on our mental

faculties are already beginning to show. In the developed
nations, more and more young people are burning out,
becoming disillusioned with their lives. There are more
nervous breakdowns than ever before. Relationships are
under so much strain. Family values have eroded and
despite the increased means of communication, human
beings are probably lonelier today than they have ever been
on this planet. Of course, psychiatrists are flourishing
more than ever before!

A man should keep his little brain attic stocked with all
the furniture that he is likely to use, and the rest he can put
192 Devotion And The Modern Mind
away in the lumber–room of his library, where he can get it if he
wants it.
~Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Those of us, who wish to attain any kind of joy and
sense of fulfilment in life, need to become aware of the
dangers of excessive communication. We need to
consciously reduce the load on our mental faculties. We
must make a deliberate discipline to cut back on our
communication and information intake, because all this
excessive cerebral activity drains our potential spiritual
energy. It leaves us feeling listless and empty. Having
abundant energy gives a feeling of fullness and jubilance.
The more energy we have, the more sprightly and cheerful
we shall be.

Too much cerebral activity makes the mind hyperactive

and restless. The mind begins to run amuck. It gains a
certain momentum of its own and in such a state of mind
we can never experience any peace and tranquillity. Only
a calm mind can experience happiness – a state of complete
fulfilment. Only a silent mind can know true bliss, which
is our inherent nature.

Silence is the element in which great things fashion

~Thomas Carlyle
A mind that is overcrowded with thoughts as a
13 Silence: Scent Of Saintliness 193
result of excessive mental activity can never know the
beauty of nature and the joys of existence. Thoughts act
as a smoke screen which distorts our vision, inhibiting
our clarity of vision. We are unable to enjoy the beauties
of existence. If we look around ourselves we find that
other than human beings, the entire creation is enjoying
and rejoicing. The trees are swaying, flowers are blooming,
birds are singing, animals are grazing; existence is so
glorious. The stars are twinkling as if they are smiling;
the sun is shining resplendently and is certainly not
complaining. Everywhere nature is utterly calm and
content. A quiet splendour pervades the mountains and
a royal beatitude the oceans. Nature is so psychedelic.

All this can be experienced only when the mind

becomes really quiet; this quietening of the mind is what
we call ‘Silence’. The entire dance of existence is taking
place in silence. And it is not a dead, lifeless silence. If
you dare to penetrate your own silence, then you will
truly discover the Light and the capacity to understand
what is beyond words and beyond explanations because
it is too closed to be explained: it is the intimate union,
in the depths of your own heart, of God’s Spirit and
your own secret inmost ‘self’.

God is the friend of silence. See how nature–trees,

flowers, grass–grows in silence; see the stars, the moon, and
the sun, how they move in silence.
~Mother Teresa
194 Devotion And The Modern Mind
There once was a farmer who had lost his watch in
the barn. It was no ordinary watch because it had
sentimental value for him. After searching high and low
among the hay for a long while, he gave up and sought the
help of a group of children playing outside the barn. He
promised them that the person who found it would be
rewarded. Hearing this, the children hurried inside the barn,
went through and around the entire stack of hay, but still
could not find the watch.

Just when the farmer was about to give up looking

for his watch, a little boy went up to him and asked to be
given another chance. The farmer looked at him and
thought, “Why not? After all, this kid looks sincere
enough.” So, the farmer sent the little boy back in the
barn. After a while the little boy came out with the watch
in his hand! The farmer was both happy and surprised;
he asked the boy how he succeeded where the rest had

The boy replied, “I did nothing but sit on the

ground and listen. In the silence, I heard the ticking of
the watch and just looked for it in that direction.”

Silence is the most direct way to deal with the

preoccupations of the mind, so that the still small voice
of God can be heard. But outer silence is not sufficient;
there must also be inward quietness.

We are surrounded by so much life all around us.

Silence: Scent Of Saintliness 195
Nature is so alive; all its creatures are so alive, in fact, far
more alive than man. And existence is in communion.
All of nature is in a state of constant interaction, a deep
communication. It is like a silent symphony. The stars are
in communion with the infinite universe. The earth is in
such a deep communion with the sun; it is nourished
and enriched by the sun. When the sun rises, life revives
on earth; trees sprout and flowers blossom. The grass
grows and birds begin to sing. The birds are in communion
with the trees and the trees in turn, are connected and
rooted in the earth. The mountains appear to be touching
the sky. Such a tremendous harmony exists in nature!
Interestingly, all this is happening in utter silence. A
beautiful dance of silence! No one is using words to
communicate, yet everyone is communicating; silence is
their language. They all understand one another in deep

God’s holy life would not be manifested without Nature,

but be only in an eternal stillness.
~Jacob Boehme
God communicates through nature in still silence.
The sun, the moon, trees are all sources of happiness for
us. The trees sprout and spread their branches to provide
shade under their green foliage for the passers–by. The
daffodils bloom within the green surroundings in which
they grow. The clear and small streams of water provide
a cooling respite from the hot season. The thick masses
196 Devotion And The Modern Mind
of ferns look grand with the beautiful musk roses.


The child whispered, ‘God, speak to me’
And a meadowlark sang.
The child did not hear.
So the child yelled, ‘God, speak to me!’
And the thunder rolled across the sky
But the child did not listen.
The child looked around and said,
‘God let me see you’ and a star shone brightly
But the child did not notice.
And the child shouted,
‘God show me a miracle!’
And a life was born but the child did not know.
So the child cried out in despair,
‘Touch me God, and let me know you are here!’
Whereupon God reached down
And touched the child.
But the child brushed the butterfly away
And walked away unknowingly.
~Ravindra Kumar Karnani
Silence: Scent Of Saintliness 197
The enduring earth with its forbearance; the fruit
bearing tree with its willing self–sacrifice; the mighty
Banyan reposing with patience in the tiny seed; the
dripping drops whose persistence wears away rocks; seasons
and planets with their punctuality and regularity, are true
mentors to him who will look, listen and receive. By
exemplifying courage, faith, willpower and sacrifice,
Nature silently gives the message of the true ‘art of living’
for all of us to imbibe in our lives.

Many a fine sermon doth Nature preach on the ever–

new, forever–transgressed text of silence. It is not the roaring
thunder that smites, but the silent lightning; and gravity, which
bindeth worlds together and keepeth them from falling asunder,
is ever silent. Prettily, too, doth the silent snow cover the
ground, and make it like unto a table spread for a feast: unlike
the noisy rain, which, after making a goodly number of puddles,
quickly runneth off.
~Ivan Panin
Only man has corrupted the symphony of silence;
when we relearn this language, will we be able to feel a
sense of unity with the Whole. If we wish to fall into
harmony with the Universe, of which we are an intrinsic
part, then we will have to learn to be silent: utterly and
completely. Only then will we feel a sense of oneness with
Nature and all beings. We will not feel lonely and cut
off, or finite and limited anymore. In silence, we attain
198 Devotion And The Modern Mind
deep communion with the Creator of existence.

Every flower of the field, every fibre of a plant, every

particle of an insect, carries with it the impress of its Maker,
and can—if duly considered—read us lectures of ethics or
~Thomas Pope Blount
Through silence, we become crystallized, collected
and centred. Thoughts scatter us; they dissipate our
energy. The moment thoughts enter us, we are disunited
with the Creator of existence, from the dance of the
universe. We become isolated like an island, all alone in
the middle of nowhere. The mind acts as a shield, a barrier
that separates us from everything. A sense of ‘I’, the ego
comes in. It is like the umbilical cord being snapped. We
become separated from the existence around us. As we
become more and more silent, a feeling of comfort arises;
a union of sorts starts manifesting. A sense of ease,
contentment and joy begins to descend upon us.

If you want to be deeply connected with yourself and

with God, you must spend time in silence.
~Christopher Jamison
Do you hear that dog barking in the distance or
that car passing by? Listen carefully. Can you feel the
presence of the Immanent in that? You cannot? Look for
it in the silence out of which the sounds come and into
Silence: Scent Of Saintliness 199
which they return. Pay more attention to the silence than
to the sounds. Paying attention to outer silence creates
inner silence: the mind becomes still.

Every sound is born out of silence, dies back into

silence, and during its life span is surrounded by silence.
Silence enables the sound to be. It is an intrinsic but
immanent part of every sound, every musical note, every
song and every word. The Immanent is present in this
world as silence. This is why it has been said that nothing
in this world is so like God as silence. All you have to do
is pay attention to it. Even during a conversation, become
conscious of the gaps between words, the brief silent
intervals between sentences. As you do that, the dimension
of stillness grows within you. You cannot pay attention to
silence without simultaneously becoming still within.
Silence without, stillness within. You have entered the

A little boy wanted to meet God. He knew it was a

long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase
with Twinkies and a six–pack of juices and he started his

When he had gone about three blocks, he met an

old man. He was sitting in the park just staring at some
pigeons. The boy sat down next to him and opened his
suitcase. He was about to take a drink when he noticed that
the old man looked hungry, so he offered him a Twinkie.
200 Devotion And The Modern Mind
The old man gratefully accepted it and smiled at
him. His smile was so pleasant that the boy wanted to see
it again, so he offered him a juice–can.

Again, the stranger smiled at him. The boy was

delighted! They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling,
but they never said a word.

As it grew dark, the boy realized how tired he was

and he got up to leave, but before he had gone more
than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the old
man, and gave him a hug. The old man gave the little boy
his biggest smile ever.

When the boy opened the door to his own house a

short time later, his mother was surprised by the look of
joy on his face. She asked him, “What did you do today
that made you so happy?”

He replied, “I had lunch with God.” But before

his mother could respond, he added, “You know what?
God’s got the most beautiful smile I have ever seen!”

Meanwhile, the old man also returned to his home,

radiant with joy. His son was stunned by the look of peace
on his face and he asked, “Dad, what did you do today
that made you so happy?”

He replied, “I ate Twinkies in the park with God.”

However, before his son responded, he added, “You know,
he is much younger than I expected.”
Silence: Scent Of Saintliness 201
The innermost being of God is perfect love which
expands itself for others.
~Dr. S. Radhakrishnan
When you look at a beautiful form and you become
wonderstruck, that wonder is the form of God. When
you listen to a beautiful sound and you become still, that
stillness is the sound of God. When you meet a friend
and embrace him and you stop for a moment out of joy,
that is the perfect peace of God. The path to God is to
see Him in His divine creation, in every being, for He is
Omnipresent, enshrined in the heart of the animate and
inanimate. It is an innocent heart filled with pure love
that makes one experience the Divinity of God. One’s
own body is God’s living temple. The sanctum sanctorum is
the chamber of your own heart. Close your eyes. Withdraw
your senses from the sensual objects. Search Him there
with one–pointed mind, devotion and pure love. You
will surely find Him. He is waiting there with outstretched
arms to embrace you. If you cannot find Him there, you
cannot find Him elsewhere.

The reality of our communion with Lord and in Him

with one another is the increase of love in our hearts.
~William Temple
Within each one of us resides a tremendous silence,
a very deep abyss of silence. We need to learn the art of
tapping this inward silence in solitude of our inmost ‘self’;
202 Devotion And The Modern Mind
it is indeed the most sublime experience. The mind
distracts us from this silence. Thoughts are a disturbance.
The silence that exists within us is the silence of our
‘Being’, our very existence! It is our lost glory, our hidden
treasure. All those who have set out on the journey to
seek out their Inner Silence, have been surprised and
utterly astonished by its splendour. The fact that we carry
it within us, and are not even aware of its existence is the
greatest mystery. The inner silence is very fulfilling. It is
full of energy; in fact, it is an overflow of energy. To bathe
in it is to be reborn and rejuvenated. It is pure bliss.

The Great Mystics of the East have called this Inner

Silence Shunayata, that means ‘Nothingness’ or ‘Emptiness’.
And this inner emptiness or rather ‘Nothingness’ is the
very core of our ‘Being’. It is who we are!

Silence is like a river of grace inviting us to leap unafraid

into its beckoning depths. It is dark and mysterious in the
waters of grace. Yet in the silent darkness we are given new
eyes. In the heart of the divine we can see more clearly who
we are. We are renewed and cleansed in this river of silence.
There are those among you who fear the Great Silence. It is a
foreign land to you. Sometimes it is good to leap into the
unknown. Practice leaping.
~Macrina Wiederkehr
In order to connect with our Inner Silence, we
Silence: Scent Of Saintliness 203
need time to sit silently, all by ourselves, without the
busyness and distractions of the modern world. Away from
the hustle–bustle of modern living, silence is the wisest
investment we can make, for it reconnects us to our roots.
It grounds and enables us to realize the futility of all the
frenzied activity of modern life. For, what good has all
that mental anguish done us? Have we achieved anything
of real significance? Are we really feeling alive and
exhilarated at the moment? Have our endeavours enriched
our inner peace? Most likely not!

As we cut back on our communication and other

mental stimuli and learn to remain silent for longer periods
of time, we will experience a containment of our energies.
Our energy will no longer be wasted, and our tendency
to escape our loneliness through social interactions and
various forms of entertainment will reduce. We will begin
to enjoy our own being, our inner energy. Of course, we
cannot completely eliminate communicating with others!
Silence, like gold, in its right place and time, lends charm
and grandeur to life and living. An appropriate blend of
good speech which is silver and silence which is gold
would indeed go to create an ornament, unparalleled in
its enduring beauty!

Once we have experienced the joy of being silent,

we will automatically avoid unnecessary mental activity.
We will start valuing our silence and the energy it helps
to retain; thus we become very cautious about not getting
204 Devotion And The Modern Mind
involved in activities that dissipate our energy, causing
mental anguish. Through silence, a sense of balance arises
which helps us to remain centred and thereby maintain our
composure and equilibrium.

In a beautiful analogy Saint Bulleh Shah ji says that

the maiden (soul) who is smitten with devotional love
chooses to remain ‘silent’. She loses all interest in the
noise and merriment of the evanescent mundane world.
She likes to remain alone and delight in the convivial
thoughts of her Divine Beloved.

Pyaria sanun mitthra na lagda shor.

~Faqir Mohd., Kulliyat
“This noise no longer pleases me, O dear! It does
not appeal to me any longer.”

God desires a heart that detaches itself in silence

from everything and turns and listens to Him, so that he
may fill it with his infinite love. If we face God in prayer
and silence, we can listen to God speaking to us. Then
we would know that we are nothing. It is only when we
realize our nothingness that God would fill our being
with His Holy Presence. Souls of silence are souls of deep

I, who live by words, am wordless when I try my words

in prayer. All language turns to silence. Prayer will take my
Silence: Scent Of Saintliness 205
words and then reveal their emptiness. The stilled voice learns
to hold its peace, to listen with the heart to silence that is joy,
is adoration. The self is shattered, all words torn apart in this
strange patterned time of contemplation that, in time, breaks
time, breaks words, breaks me, and then, in silence, leaves me
healed and mended. I leave, returned to language, for I see
through words, even when all words are ended. I, who live by
words, am wordless when I turn me to the Word to pray.
~Madeleine L’Engle
206 Devotion And The Modern Mind


God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves

the gift of living well.
Over the last century and a half, man has made
great strides towards improving the quality of life. Man
has made unimaginable progress in the fields of science,
medicine, information technology, transportation and
telecommunication. While these tremendous developments
have made life more comfortable, they have also led us
to become slaves to the very same conveniences and

We have become so accustomed to these technological

advancements that we now take them for granted. They
have become an integral part of our lifestyle; we have
become habituated to them and completely dependent
on them to the extent that if for some reason they are
not readily available to us, we become unhappy and
miserably uncomfortable. This is because we are not only
physically dependent on them, but have also become
Each Breath: Revel With The Lord 207
psychologically entangled in these modern day material
comforts. We have our hearts set on attaining and
retaining them. Thus, any loss of wealth or material
possessions causes us to become greatly disturbed and
sad. The state of affairs is such that they possess us more
than we possess them. Is it not strange and worth a serious

We define ourselves through our wealth and riches.

The bigger the house and the fancier the car, the more
respect the person commands. Naturally therefore, any
reduction in our possessions leads to distress; for, who
does not enjoy the attention and envy of others. We also
define ourselves by way of our soaring achievements and
accomplishments. The more successful we are, the more
we are respected and idealized. We esteem successful,
accomplished entrepreneurs irrespective of what or how
much wrongdoing they may have resorted to, in order to
attain that stature.

If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should

sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven
played music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep
streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause
to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.
~Martin Luther King Jr.
All this striving for prowess, wealth and fame comes
208 Devotion And The Modern Mind
at a great cost. We sacrifice our peace and happiness in
exchange for power and adulation. We are trading our
inner peace and joy for short–lived ego trips and evanescent
glory. There is a tremendous dogfight to reach the top
and once we make it through, soon enough somebody
else shall claim our position and snatch away our stature;
somebody who is hungrier and more driven than us
because once we reach the top, we become a little relaxed,
a little sloppy and less vigilant. And we are subconsciously
aware of this. That is why, the fear of losing that which
we have struggled so greatly to achieve, causes such great
anxiety and insecurity. First, we sacrifice everything to
achieve success, then we live in fear of losing it all, and
finally we lose it all, which we most certainly will, because
all who have attained fame and wealth have lost it
eventually. History stands witness to that. One suffers
from unimaginable mental agony upon losing that unto
which the entire life was devoted. Great is the anguish
and distress of such a man. One loses all sense of purpose
and begins to feel life as void and meaningless.

Illustrious Saint Shri Adi Shankaracharya ji was

walking through the market place with his disciples. They
saw a man dragging a cow by a rope. The Holy Saint told
the man to wait and asked his disciples to surround them.

“I am going to teach you something” and continued,

“Tell me who is bound to whom? Is the cow bound to
this man or the man is bound to the cow?”
14 Each Breath: Revel With The Lord 209
The disciples said without hesitation, “Of course,
the cow is bound to the man! The man is the master. He
is holding the rope. The cow has to follow him wherever
he goes. The man is the master and the cow is the slave.”

“Now watch this,” said the Holy Saint and took a

pair of scissors from his bag and cut the rope. The cow
ran away from the master and the man ran after his cow.

“Look, what is happening,” said the Holy Saint

“Do you see who the master is? The cow is not at all
interested in this man. The cow, in fact, is trying to escape
from this man. This is the case with our mind. All the
trash that we carry inside is not interested in us. We are
interested in it; we are keeping it together somehow or
the other. We are going crazy trying to keep it all together
under our control. The moment we lose interest in all
the garbage filled in our head and the moment we
understand the futility of it, it will start to disappear.
Like the cow, it will escape and disappear.”

The big question that remains to be asked is that how

does one get out of this pattern of attachment and greed for
things, comforts, prestige and status? Is it possible to
remain free from worldly attachments, from material
comforts and possessions? Thus far we have been living
with attainment of worldly ambitions and aspirations as our
only purpose of living. Is there any value to living if there
is no drive for the realization of temporal achievements?
210 Devotion And The Modern Mind
These are the ideals we have been taught and it is the only
way we know. All around us this is what people are doing.
After all, it is only natural for us to pick up traits and habits
from our elders, our peers and our immediate surroundings.

How do we snap out of the trappings of luxuries,

temptations and power–trips? How are we supposed to
undo the habits we have formed over a prolonged period
of time and what is the method to achieve the adequate
detachment from objects of comfort, wealth, prowess,
aspirations, honour and fame. We may have intellectually
understood that we are attached to objects and we may
realize that this causes pain and suffering, but just by
acknowledging all this, we do not become free from
attachment and desire. If only the matter was so simple!
You were born with potential.
You were born with goodness and trust.
You were born with ideals and dreams.
You were born with greatness.
You were born with wings.
You are not meant for crawling, so don’t.
You have wings.
Learn to use them and fly!
~Hazrat Jalal–ud–Din Rumi Sahib ji
We are mistaking the real for the unreal, the unreal
Each Breath: Revel With The Lord 211
for the real. We are mistaking the play to be the real
thing and the Player to be unreal; whereas God is the
only Reality and apart from Him all this creation is an
absolute mirage. If you analyse your own life, you will
find its utter hollowness. A birth, a death, and a little
space in between. Out of darkness you have come, into
darkness you will go again, and you call this little space
between, life!

A person functioning in the ‘now’ is in control of

his own mind. He is naturally happier, more successful.
He is performing every task with his fullest attention,
and the rewards are to be seen equally in the quality of
his work and the radiance on his face. If we look at the
past and we look at the future, both as a series of dreams,
and the only thing that we are concerned with is our
immediate reactions and what we carry with us now, we
see that the past is there to test us and the future is there
to challenge us. We cannot change the past, but we can
change how we react to what has happened to us in the
past. Let us not worry about the past ever again. Face
everything that comes up in the light of the present, not
in the darkness of the past.

Further, we need to make whatever minor lifestyle

change that may be necessary in order to imbibe the idea
of renunciation. One must remember that renunciation
does not mean physically disowning things or walking away
from our possessions; nor does it mean running away
212 Devotion And The Modern Mind
from home, or near and dear ones on the pretext of self
abnegation. We are certainly not supposed to go into the
mountains or some faraway forest and become a recluse.
That is nothing but escapism. Hiding from troubles is
not going to make the troubles disappear. It is only going
to enhance them because the attachments are not inherent
in the objects. Attachment is in our mind and wherever
we go, we shall be accompanied by our mind.

Renunciation is always in the mind, not in going to

forests or solitary places or giving up one’s duties. The main
thing is to see that the mind does not turn outward but inward.
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
Thus, renunciation is psychological and we need
to attain renunciation while remaining in whatever
circumstances and environment we are presently in.
However, certain lifestyle adjustments may be required
in order to help us to achieve the goal of renunciation
and each individual seeker needs to determine what those
may be. It may be changing our sleeping patterns to suit
our commitment towards adhering to the spiritual
disciplines; it may be gradually sacrificing certain luxuries
or comforts that are acting as an impediment in our
spiritual progress; it may be certain dietary choices like a
simple diet which is tremendously beneficial on the
spiritual path; it may be working towards dropping certain
indulgences like drinking alcohol, smoking or chewing
tobacco, etc.
Each Breath: Revel With The Lord 213
I renounced, for the love of Him, everything that was
not He; and I began to live as if there was none but He and I
in the world.
~Brother Lawrence
Our pattern of becoming attached to material
objects, our loved ones, pride and honour is an age–old
habit. In every lifetime, no matter what physical form we
may have had, we have fallen prey to these tendencies
and have suffered much due to it. Despite that we have
been unable to break the mould! This is because we are
governed by certain laws of nature. There are certain
inherent natural instincts that exercise control over us
and we become helpless in many ways. These instincts
and impulses are extremely powerful and most of the
time we are not even aware of their existence. They catch
us unawares; we are so completely overwhelmed by them
that before we know it, we are already caught in their
grip, helplessly unable to escape.

When all the desires that dwell in the heart are destroyed,
then the mortal becomes Immortal and here, alive in the body,
attains the Infinite Being.
~Kathapanishad II.iii.14
Do not fear that you can never be freed from pride
and envy. You can be freed. But, first you must see how
much greater the Almighty is than all your sins, and then
214 Devotion And The Modern Mind
He will take them away. Ask yourself, “What is there still
in me that hinders God from overwhelming me fully?”
For God to fill your heart, it must first be empty. One
must be completely empty and powerless before the Lord.

A man should surrender the personal selfishness which

binds him to this world. Giving up the false self is the true
~Sri Ramana Maharshi
God desires nothing more than a heart that detaches
itself in silence from everything and turns and listens to
Him. This means detachment from mammon, impurity,
and malice; from lying, mistrust, and hatred; from worldly
spirits and from all other spirits foreign to him.

Seek the Silence,

When the silence doesn’t seek you.
Seize the Moment,
When the moment doesn’t seize you.
Feel His Love,
As His Love is all around you.
~ A. S. E.
Like sunshine over a valley, God’s great love spreads
out over the whole earth. It is true that there are terrible
things in the world, such as war; and wars will come, but
God is greater. He is much greater than man, and his
Each Breath: Revel With The Lord 215
love is much greater than man’s. Do not live in fear.
Look down across the valley and towards the mountains,
and think of the great God who created all things, and
who has you in His Hand. Let us be faithful to Him and
leave all fear behind.

Spiritual life is a continual warfare between the

higher and lower natures of man. Malign and divine
tendencies are found often mysteriously blended in one
and the same individual. It must be the constant effort
of the aspirant to eliminate the evil and strengthen the
good within. But he must first of all be able to distinguish
the divine attributes that lead him towards perfection
and freedom, from the malevolent qualities that intensify
the soul’s ignorance and bondage.

As long as an individual is held by any one of the

senses, as long as he cares for good food or sweet sounds
or beautiful sights, one cannot hope to fix the mind on
God. You will have to go out of the creation; you will
have to turn your thoughts away from these outer things.
And when you go out of creation, where must you go?
The answer is, to the Creator.

Think of your inner being as a clear pond that

mirrors the sun, the stars, and the moon. If you stir up
the mud at the bottom, everything will become unclear
and cloudy, and the more you stir it, the cloudier it will
get. Become quiet and stand unruffled against malefic
216 Devotion And The Modern Mind
propensities. Then the water will clear again, and you
will see in its mirror, God’s love to you and to the whole

People are like stained glass windows: they sparkle and

shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in,
their true beauty is revealed, only if there is a light from within.
~Elisabeth Kübler Ross
When a man comes thus to identify himself with
the Universal Power, then he sees that nothing really
belongs to him, that he does not really belong to himself,
that all belongs to that Power. When a man thus knows
that he is nobody, then God comes and says: “Now he is
not trying to guide himself, so I will guide him. I have
been guiding him all the while but he did not know it.
Now let him see that I am doing it.” So, God begins to
walk with his legs, to work with his hands; He begins to
see through his eyes, to hear through his ears, to speak
through his mouth, to think through his mind; and the
man becomes a saint.

Every happening, great and small is a parable whereby

God speaks to us, and the art of life is to get the message.
~Malcolm Muggeridge
We should feed and nourish our souls with high
notions of God; which would yield us great joy in being
devoted to Him. We ought to quicken, to enliven our
Each Breath: Revel With The Lord 217
faith. We ought to give ourselves up to God, with regard
both to things temporal and spiritual, and seek our
satisfaction only in fulfilling His Will, whether He leads
us by suffering or by consolation, for all would be equal
to a soul truly resigned. To arrive at such resignation as
God requires, we should watch attentively over all the
passions, all spiritual things, as well as those of a grosser
nature. All things are possible to him who believes, they
are less difficult to him who hopes, they are easier to him
who loves, and still easier to him who perseveres in the
practice of these three virtues.

As we were sitting in the office of a busy College

President one day, our eyes were caught by a little framed
plaque with an interesting saying on it. It was almost hidden
behind a row of books, so as to be invisible to the casual
visitor but constantly in the view of the man behind the desk.
Here are the words that this President made it a point
to keep before him all through his day’s work. The plaque
read, “Lord, I Shall Be Very Busy This Day. I May
Forget Thee But Do Not Thou Forget Me.” These were
the words of Sir Jacob Astley’s memorable prayer before the
Battle of Newbury.
This simple thought suggests an important
principle: by directing our ‘intention’ we can make our
every ‘act’ a meditative prayer. Thus, our daily tasks are
218 Devotion And The Modern Mind
made more meaningful and more rewarding as well. If in
the beginning of each day we can spare some time in
thinking of God, so as to convince the mind of, and to
impress deeply upon the heart, the Divine Existence, by
devout sentiments and faithful submission than by studied
reasoning and elaborate meditation; the former short and
sure method, will enable us to fructify our utmost
endeavour to live in a continual sense of His Holy
Presence, and, if possible, never to forget Him anymore.
We will then revel with the Almighty in each and every
breath we take. When we begin the business of the day,
let us make an entreaty, with a filial trust in Him, “O
God! Since thou art with me, and I must now, in obedience
to thine commands, apply my mind to these outward
things, I beseech thee to grant me the grace to continue
in Thine Presence; and to this end do thee prosper me
with thine assistance, receive all my works, and possess all
my affections.” And then as we proceed in our work, let
us continue this conversation with the Maker, imploring
His grace, and offering to Him all our actions.

A king ordered a smith to prepare a signet with a

motto that would temper the king’s happiness when he
enjoyed a good fortune, and lift him in spirit when he
felt depressed.

The workman had no difficulty with the signet,

but could not think of a motto that would do what the
king demanded.
Each Breath: Revel With The Lord 219
Finally, he went to a Wise Seer and asked, “What
can I put on the signet that will temper the king’s ecstasy
and at the same time lift him when he falls despondent?”

The answer of the Wise Seer was, “Inscribe upon

the ring, ‘This, too shall pass.’ When the king gazes upon
it in triumph, it will humble his pride. When he looks at
it in despair, it will lift his hope.”

To sensible men, every day is a day of reckoning.

~ John W. Gardner
We must understand that all these current moments
are a part and parcel of the Infinite Nature. We must,
therefore, live amicably with the moment by accepting,
respecting and responding in paying full attention to the
moment. Just being the moment. As an exterior behavioural
expression at the individual and collective level, one must
act out in a way that it reaches out to all the interacting
parties in meeting the divinely inspired goal. Thus, develop
the authenticity, simplicity and courage in such soul
inspired communications and relationships, skills in our
daily actions and encounters. Live in this world with one’s
heart calm and cool, behaving outwardly like everyone
else. Establish a happy medium between two extremes
and opposite points of view. Reject every form of conditioning
and limiting views; thus always contemplating on the
Infinite Sustaining Energy of which we are all part and
parcel. Be consistently aware that we are in unity (not in
220 Devotion And The Modern Mind
separation) with all the beings and all things that make
the universe.

God has an infinite treasure to bestow, into which

we can dive deep with a little sensible devotion which
takes a moment. Blind as we are, we hinder the Lord,
and stop the current of His flowing grace. But, when He
finds a soul penetrated with a lively faith, He pours into
it His favours plentifully; there they flow like a torrent,
which on being deployed towards progress of the path of
rapturous devotion, spreads itself with impetuosity and
abundance, thereby instilling infinite bliss within.

Lord’s love is like water; it seeks the lowest place.

Yet we cannot make ourselves humble and lowly in our
own strength. We can see ourselves for what we are –
‘filth and scouring’ – only in the light of God’s love,
omnipotence, purity, and truth.

A man who finds all the hair of his body standing on

end at the bare mention of the Almighty Lord’s Name, through
sheer ecstasy, and who sheds tears of love on hearing the
Name of God, he has reached his last birth.
~Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa
A devout father narrates: Last week I took my
children to a restaurant. My six–year–old son asked if he
could say grace. As we bowed our heads he said, “God is
good, God is great. Thank you for the food, and I would
Each Breath: Revel With The Lord 221
even thank you more if Mom gets us ice cream for dessert.
And liberty and justice for all! Amen!”

Along with the laughter from the other customers

nearby I heard a woman remark, “That is what is wrong
with this country. Kids today do not even know how to
pray. Asking God for ice cream! Why, I never!”

Hearing this, my son burst into tears and asked

me, “Did I do it wrong? Is God angry with me?”

I held him and assured him that he had done a

terrific job and God was certainly not annoyed with him;
meanwhile, an elderly gentleman approached the table.
He smilingly told my son, “I happen to know that God
thought that was a great prayer.”

“Really?” my son asked.

“Cross my heart,” the man replied.

Then in a theatrical whisper he added (indicating

the woman whose remark had started this whole thing),
“Too bad she never asks God for ice cream. A little ice
cream is good for the soul sometimes.”

Naturally, I bought my kids ice cream at the end of

the meal. My son stared at his for a moment and then
did something I will remember the rest of my life. He
picked up his sundae and without a word, walked over
and placed it in front of the woman. With a big smile he
222 Devotion And The Modern Mind
told her, “Here, this is for you. Ice cream is good for the
soul sometimes.”

The art of living does not consist in preserving and

clinging to a particular mood of happiness, but in allowing
happiness to change its form without being disappointed by
the change, for happiness, like a child, must be allowed to
grow up.
~Charles Morgan
We must establish ourselves in a sense of God’s
Presence, by continually conversing with Him. We ought
to act with God in the greatest simplicity, speaking to
Him frankly and plainly, and imploring His assistance in
our affairs, just as they happen. God never fails to grant.
We need only to recognize God intimately present with
us, to address ourselves to Him every moment, that we
may beg His assistance for knowing His Will in things
doubtful, and for rightly performing those which we
plainly see He requires of us, offering them to Him before
we do them, and giving Him thanks when we are done.

There is nothing in this world a kind of life sweeter

and delightful, than that of a continual conversation with
God: divine votaries only can comprehend it, practise it
and experience it. We should never lose sight of Him,
not even for a moment. He is always near you and with
you; leave Him not alone. You would think it rude to
leave a friend alone who came to visit you; why then must
Each Breath: Revel With The Lord 223
God be neglected? Do not then forget Him, but contemplate
on Him often, adore Him continually, live and die with
Him; this is the glorious employment of a devotee.

When people are healthy and happy, or when their

economic foundation is stable, they all too often become
lukewarm. They may submit to the Supreme God the
things they feel are not healthy in them – things that
bring them distress or struggle. Yet even when these things
drive them to prayer, they reserve their innermost person
for themselves.

The fact that we seek Almighty God in all times of

misfortune, shows that our deepest being actually hungers
and thirsts for Him. We should bring our fears to God;
we should bring Him our sickness and anguish. But this
is not enough. We must give Him our innermost being,
our heart and soul. When we humble ourselves before
him in this way and give ourselves completely over to
Him – when we no longer resist giving Him our whole
person and whole personality – then He can help us, first
by bringing us to bankruptcy and then by filling us with
true life.

Junior high school students in Chicago were

studying the Seven Wonders of the World. At the end of
the lesson, the students were asked to list what they
considered to be the Seven Wonders of the World.
Though there was some disagreement, the following
received the most votes:
224 Devotion And The Modern Mind
1. Egypt’s Great Pyramids
2. The Taj Mahal in India
3. The Grand Canyon in Arizona
4. The Panama Canal
5. The Empire State Building
6. St. Peter’s Basilica
7. China’s Great Wall
While gathering the votes, the teacher noted that
one student, a quiet girl, had not turned in her paper
yet. So, she asked the girl if she was having trouble with
her list. The quiet girl replied, “Yes, a little. I could not
quite make up my mind because there were so many.”
The teacher said, “Well, tell us what you have, and maybe
we can help.”
The girl hesitated, then read, “I think the seven
wonders of the world are:
1. to touch...
2. to taste...
3. to see...
4. to hear... (She hesitated a little, and then added...)
5. to feel...
6. to laugh...
7. and to love.”
The room was so quiet that one could have heard
a pin drop.
May this story serve as a gentle reminder to all of us
that the things we overlook as simple and ordinary are often
15 Each Breath: Revel With The Lord 225
the most wonderful; we do not have to travel anywhere
special to experience them. We should enjoy our gifts!

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as

though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything
is a miracle.
~Albert Einstein
It is not enough that an aspirant subscribes to
doctrines and dogmas with strong faith. He must also
strive intensely to live a higher life and gradually attain
divine experience in its various aspects. Discipleship means
complete dedication. It demands everything – the whole
heart, the whole mind, and the whole of life, including
one’s time, energy, and possessions – for the cause of
love. What is true and unconditional surrender? A person
may yield to a stronger person, or an army to a stronger
army. One may yield to God because he is Almighty, or
because one fears His judgment. None of this is full
surrender. Only if one experiences that God is good, that
He alone is good, it is possible to surrender to Him
unconditionally one’s whole heart, soul, and being. This
submission will put us on the path of divinity.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see
your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
~The Holy Bible – Matthew 5:16
When we stand in need of a guide for our ordinary
226 Devotion And The Modern Mind
crafts and everyday pursuits, certainly we need Adept
Guidance for progress on the path of spirituality. If we
cannot acquire efficiency in any art or trade without a
competent teacher, how can we realize the Supreme Being
within ourselves without the benignant direction of the
Perfect Master? A teacher is a necessity in every facet of
life. Spirituality is the most difficult, most urgent and
most important of all human activities. Where else do
we stand in need of a teacher, if not here? Hence, we
should first of all search for a True Living Spiritual Adept.
If we succeed in finding Him, we would have done the
most important thing, for the Spiritual Path–Pointer will
look after us and lead us on the right path. Once the
Perfect Maven has taken us into His fold, He is responsible
for our salvation and union with the Supreme Being. As
we follow His behests, with His immeasurable external
and internal help, we shall advance in the direction of
spiritual realization.
Aapan leeaa jae milai vishhurr kio.
Saadhhoo sang paraapathae Naanak rang maanann.
~ Gurbani
“If people could meet the Lord by their own efforts,
why would they be crying out in the pain of separation?
Meeting Him in the Company of the Holy, O Nanak,
celestial bliss is enjoyed.”

One must put in conscious effort to learn about

the beneficial practices that help in progress on the path
Each Breath: Revel With The Lord 227
of spirituality, as well as the harmful habits that hold us
back. Having understood them, one must make conscious
effort to bring about changes in one’s way of living, so that
renunciation becomes a natural by–product of these actions,
rather than being a struggle and appearing like a
punishment. If we force renunciation upon ourselves,
then we are bound to feel a sense of deprivation. And we
will land up returning to our old ways soon enough, with
a sense of failure and dejection.

Jaisae jal mehi kamal niraalam muragaaee nai saanae.

Surath Sabadh bhav saagar thareeai Naanak Naam vakhaanae.
“As swan (Murgabi) and lotus flower, live unattached
and dry in water; Sayeth ‘Nanak’: he is delivered from
ocean worldly, attaining union of attention with ‘Word’

The lotus is a symbol of purity. It derives succour

from water but remains above it. Live a lotus life. Live in
the world but be not of it, just as lotus remains afloat,
whence untainted. Then you will attain Divine Perfection
in this very life. The duck (Murgabi bird) lives in water,
but always flies with dry wings. So also our mind should
be detached from materialism, and attached only to the
Lord. It should be fixed on the Effulgent God–Incarnate
Demeanour of the Spiritual Mentor. We might be in the
world but should not be of the world. We must adopt
228 Devotion And The Modern Mind
the spiritual disciplines in our life, for they have been
formulated with great love and care by our Benignant
Spiritual Master in order to overcome our frailties. They
help the seeker to forge ahead on the spiritual pathway
leading towards total liberation and absolute freedom.

The great awareness comes slowly, piece by piece. The

path of spiritual growth is a path of lifelong learning. The
experience of spiritual power is basically a joyful one.
~M. Scott Peck
Through meditation (dhyan) our awareness becomes
sharper and we become more alert. As a result, we are
able to observe our habitual patterns and this, in turn,
makes us capable of overcoming them. With regular
meditation, our thoughts become lesser and lesser; the
same energy which was being used for thinking turns into
enhanced awareness and in the fire of this awareness, all
our deep rooted habits which we were finding difficult
to overcome, suddenly begin to disappear. Our ability to
respond in a calm and composed manner grows more
and more and we begin to remain unperturbed even in
adverse situations. Our dependence on objects and people
automatically reduces because we experience within
ourselves a growing reservoir of joy and peace.

The life of action need not be renounced. If you meditate

for an hour or two every day you can then carry on with your
duties. If you meditate in the right manner then the current of
Each Breath: Revel With The Lord 229
mind induced will continue to flow even in the midst of your
~Sri Ramana Maharshi
Through selfless–service (seva), we naturally become
more humble and the ego loses its strength. This is because
ego thrives on praise. It is nourished by acknowledgement
and accomplishment whereas, while rendering service, we
become a miniscule part of much larger machinery. This
does not leave any room for the feeling of any personal
achievement. Thus, humility comes of its own accord.

Prayers and worship (Shri Aarti–Pooja) deepen our

devotional love for our Benign Master, which in turn
helps to melt and dissolve the ego. The aim of regular
worship is to grow our devotional ardency for our Beloved
Master to a point where our entity dissolves in the ‘Pool
of Spiritual Energy’ created therefrom.

Discourses in the holy assemblage of Benevolent

Saints act as a constant reminder and motivator to help
us to march steadfastly on the path of spirituality. Holy
association (satsang) acts as a guiding force and helps us
in reinforcing our faith from time to time. We often get
entangled in our day–to–day dealings and get influenced
by the impact of materialism that surrounds us. In such
times, Holy Communion acts as a reminder of our true
calling. We get spiritually rejuvenated to commit ourselves
to the spiritual disciplines. We are awakened from our
230 Devotion And The Modern Mind
deep slumber because divine preachment touches the very
core of our ‘being’.

Beholding the Holy Vision of the Divine Master

(Shri Darshan) fills our entire ‘being’ with spiritual joy
and eternal happiness. The Magnanimous Master’s
overflowing grace fills our hearts with immense peace
and contentment. In His Holy Presence we feel fulfilled
and truly blessed. Having been showered by the Perfect
Adept’s pristine love, who needs the false love and empty
promises of the world? The Beneficent Master is the Heir
of the Greatest Spiritual Treasure and His generosity
knows no bounds! He shares without holding back. He
gives unconditionally!


This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
Some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
Who violently sweep your house
Empty of its furniture,
Still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
Each Breath: Revel With The Lord 231
For some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
Meet them at the door laughing,
And invite them in.
Be grateful for whomever comes,
Because each has been sent
As a guide from beyond.
~Hazrat Jalal–ud–Din Rumi Sahib ji
It is a blessedly extraordinaire chance to be accepted
by the Perfect Benign Master and we are fortuitously
privileged to have received this greatest boon. It would
be a disgrace if we seek happiness in worldly objects after
being blessed with the gift of devotion. Instead of looking
towards worldly people for false love, we should focus
our loving affection towards the lotus feet of our Beloved
Master who illuminates His devotee’s heart and fulfils
every wish even without our asking!

O My All Merciful, Beloved Master! If all the gods are

wrath, and yet thou art satisfied with me, I am safe in the
fortress of thy Pleasure. And if all the gods protect me by the
parapets of their blessings, and yet I receive not thy benediction,
I am an orphan, left to pine spiritually in the ruins of thy
~ Sri Paramahansa Yogananda
232 Devotion And The Modern Mind


Akhand–Mandalakaram vyaptam yena characharam.

Tatpadam darshitam yena tasmai Shri Gurave Namah.
~Guru Stotram
“My salutations to that Divine Spiritual Maven,
the Sadguru who revealed to me that Truth which is
undivided, infinite, timeless divinity; which pervades the
entire universe – movable or immovable.”

By Nature’s own design, the complete system of

material activities is a source of perplexity for everyone.
The Absolute Being in the garb of Great Mystics descend
into this material creation for our good, leaving the abode
of true and eternal bliss. He comes down into the physical
plane only to take us out of darkness and delusion. It is
for the disciples’ benefit that He bears hardships of the
human form, subjected to the necessities of the flesh.

The transient world has been compared to a

carnival and the Supreme Lord comes to it in the garb of
the Perfect Spiritual Master. The True Spiritual Master
leaves no stone unturned to awaken, teach, guide and
Spiritual Maven:The Philosophers’Stone 233
accompany His disciples, constantly protecting and
showering His grace upon all to ensure that the spiritual
aspirant executes the true purpose of his life. This is all
out of His sheer love and compassion. None can be a
greater benefactor than the Spiritual Mentor. The Perfect
Adept comes down to the level of an ordinary man to
lead him to the higher goal, step by step. He can point
out to him the snares and falls on the spiritual path and
guide him to the supreme goal of God–Realization.

Mai chaarae kunddaa bhaaleeaa thudhh jaevadd n Saaeeaa.

“I have scouted and searched in directions quadruple;
none else is as great as thee, O Lord Venerable!”

There is nothing higher and holier than the

knowledge which comes to the soul transmitted by a
Spiritual Teacher. You may go and knock your head
against the four corners of the world, seek in the
Himalayas, the Alps, the Caucasus, the Desert of Gobi
or Sahara, or the bottom of the sea, but it will not come
until you find a Perfect Spiritual Master. Thus, having
been bestowed with the rare great fortune of the vicinity
of the Mystic Adept, one must serve Him as a child, open
the heart to His divine inf luence, see in Him God
Manifested. The attention should be fixed on the Divine
Preceptor reckoning Him as the highest manifestation of
God; and as the power of attention concentrates there,
the picture of the Spiritual Maven as human will melt
234 Devotion And The Modern Mind
away; the frame will vanish, and the Supreme Being will
be left there. The Holy Master is the bright mask which
God wears in order to come to us. As we look steadily
on, gradually the mask falls off and God is revealed.

In this cold and lonely world, the Benign Master

provides the warmth of the early morning radiant sun. In
our dark and dismal lives, He brings illumination and
joy, alleviating our misery and sorrow. The Benevolent
Master like a nurturing and caring mother and an
unfaltering disciplinarian and guide like a father, moulds,
channelizes and elevates His endearing disciple. The
Spiritual Maven is our True Companion, Confidant and
Well–wisher, who will accompany us on our journey into
the inner world until we have reached the final realm:
our True Home, the place of Eternal Retreat.

Just as a tailor cuts cloth to make a garment, a

carpenter cuts wood to proper dimensions, a goldsmith
beats gold in making an ornament, a blacksmith melts
iron to give it proper form, a sculptor carves stone to
make a beautiful statue, and a potter fashions a pot, so
also the Perfect Holy Master, with the well–being of His
disciple in mind, moulds him into a pure form to make
him worthy of union with God.

Jamale hamnashin darman asar kard,

Bagarna mahuma khakam ki hastam.
~Fakir Ramchandra
Spiritual Maven:The Philosophers’Stone 235
“The aura of my Beloved has so impacted upon
me; otherwise I am the same agglomeration of dust, which
I was earlier.”

In the beginning, however, one must have a

preliminary desire for self–realization. This will bring one
to the stage of trying to associate with persons who are
spiritually elevated. In the next stage, one becomes
initiated by an Elevated Spiritual Master, and under His
instruction the neophyte devotee begins the process of
devotional service. By execution of devotional service
under the expert guidance of the Illustrious Spiritual
Maven, one becomes free from all attachment, attains
steadiness in self–realization, and acquires a taste for the
transcendental love of God.

The Benignant Holy Master is the Paragon of the

Transcendental Divine Name: Almighty God’s subtle
divine reflection. The bright effulgence emanating in the
inner ‘self’ from contemplation on Lord’s Divine Name
is essentially same as the Ethereal Radiance resplending
from the Lucent Countenance of the Benign Master. The
All–Compassionate Master thus remains with the disciple
and confers upon him His blessed devotion till the disciple
attains the highest stage of Absolute Transcendence not
only in His God–Personified physical countenance but
also in the Divine Word bestowed by Him on the zealous
spiritual aspirant.

He became human that we might become divine; He

236 Devotion And The Modern Mind
revealed Himself in a body that we might understand the unseen
Father; He endured man’s insults that we might inherit
~ St Athanasius of Alexandria
In the sacred association of Benignant Saints, one
should advertently listen to the Holy Name, chant it and
contemplate on the same. Establishing thus, a blessed
nexus with the Infinite by pulling the thought–current
inwards, the dross of accumulated evil deeds performed
in countless previous births gets washed off and mind
becomes free of false pride. The vices of lust, anger, greed,
attachment and ego do not cast a bewitching spell over
such a zealous seeker; thus they stop pestering him.

Thy Word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto

my path.
~ The Holy Bible – Psalm 119:105
Emperor Napoleon I was reviewing some troops
in Paris when, in giving an order, he thoughtlessly dropped
the bridle upon horse’s neck. The animal instantly set off
at a gallop, and the Emperor was obliged to cling to the

At this moment, a common soldier of the line sprang

before the horse, seized the bridle, and respectfully handed
it to the Emperor. “Much obliged to you, Captain,” said
the chief, by this one word, making the soldier an officer.
Spiritual Maven:The Philosophers’Stone 237
The man caught the Emperor’s meaning, believed him
and saluting, quickly responded, “Of what regiment, sire?”

Napoleon, charmed with his faith, replied, “Of my

Guards,” and galloped off.

Then the soldier laid off his gun and instead of

returning to his comrades, approached the group of staff
officers. On seeing him, one of the Generals asked what
he wanted there. “I am Captain of the Guards,” said the
soldier, proudly.

“You, mon ami – you are mad to say so!” was the

“He said it,” replied the soldier, pointing to the

Emperor, who was still in sight. The General respectfully
begged his pardon: the Emperor’s word was enough.

If we thus took God–Incarnate Master at His Word,

how different our position would be. Think it over! When
the word of the monarch of a nation can hold so much
power, what miracles can work upon the Divine Word of
the Divine Emperor: God–Immanent Master, the Emperor
of the entire universe. Since the disciple is ignorant and
the Teacher is wise, the disciple is weak and the Teacher
is All–Powerful, the disciple is lost and the Teacher can
guide, it is necessary that we follow the Spiritual Adept’s
instructions with utmost humility, faith and devotion;
without which the disciple can make no progress.
238 Devotion And The Modern Mind
A True Teacher and Guide is a Perfect Being. He
never delays, falters or fails in fulfilling His responsibilities
and granting His gifts. It is only we who, weak and
imperfect as we are, become slack, falter and fail many a
time. Yet He does not give up on us. He lifts us and helps
us resume our way. It is crucial that we make our best
efforts to do our duty, while at the same time realize that
even if we move a mountain, it is moved not so much by
our limited efforts as by the Beneficent Master’s
unbounded grace and blessings.

Thou art My God, O My Spiritual Mentor!
Words flee when it comes to describing:
What Thou doth mean to me!
An ineffable emotion, an unsaid divine assurance;
That whenever I mess up,
Thou art there to make things clear.
With strong sentiments of love and reverence:
I say that Thou art My God, O My Spiritual Mentor!
And would never ever let me falter.
I can look up to Thee in times of crisis,
Confident of getting solace for all my worries.
Your ever–reciprocating love is my treasure indeed,
I do not hesitate to say that
Spiritual Maven:The Philosophers’Stone 239
Thou art My God, O My Spiritual Mentor!
A Blessing on me!
The Gracious Holy Master’s concern for us is
unflinching; He is ever–present in our hearts in the form
of the Divine Name which He has so kindly bestowed
upon us. His Divine Grace is the sacrificial fire which
burns up all our karma (our lot of past deeds) and frees
us from the cycle of birth and death.

The Benignant Master’s love is limitless and His

compassion is as vast as the infinite firmament. Once He
has initiated us and accepted us as His disciple, He will
never abandon us, no matter how long it takes us to attain
self–realization. He accompanies us for lives together,
finding us in each lifetime, helping us to restart our journey
from where we had left off. The Compassionate Master
is like the tender–hearted father who moved with pity,
receives his misled child back with the same affectionate
ebullience as before.

And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was

yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion,
and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
~ The Holy Bible – Luke 15:20
It was well past midnight. Little four–year old Tom
had been asleep for hours. Suddenly, he awoke from a
bad dream. Not knowing whether he was alone in the
240 Devotion And The Modern Mind
large, dark bedroom, he whispered into the darkness,
“Father, are you there?” From the other side of the room
came the comforting voice, “Yes, my child, father is here.”
For a moment Tom lay silent, still not quite sure his bad
dream was imagined. Once more he whispered, “Father,
is your face toward me?” And once more the kind voice
of his father assured him, “Yes, child, my face is towards
your bed.” With that assurance the little fellow turned
over, closed his eyes, and drifted back to peaceful slumber.

The Beneficent Master watches over us at all times,

night and day. He closely monitors our progress and gently
nudges us to work towards our progress on the spiritual
path. He not only leads by example in order to inspire
us, but also inwardly motivates us to practise the spiritual
disciplines. The Divine Master is not bound by time and
space. He has surpassed the limitations of the material
world. Thus, no matter which part of the world we may
be, the Holy Master protects us and gently inspires us
from within to pursue our spiritual quest and tread
steadily into the inner lofty realms. The Merciful Master
never loses hope, no matter how complacent we may be;
He never gives up on us. Even if we may forget Him, He
will never ever disown us. Even if we are not able to
complete our journey in this lifetime, He will find us in
the next life and bring us on to the divine path to
accomplish our unfulfilled aim. Once the Spiritual Maven
has initiated the disciple, He takes upon Himself to
deliver his soul from the ocean of mundane existence
16 Spiritual Maven:The Philosophers’Stone 241
and free him from the vicious cycle of birth and death.
Exceedingly fortunate are those who have found a True
Master, for they shall certainly attain to Eternity.

A sick man turned to his doctor, as he was preparing

to leave the examination room and said, “Doctor, I am
afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side.”

Very quietly, the doctor said, “I do not know.”

“You do not know? You, a pious man, do not know

what is on the other side?”

The doctor was holding the handle of the door;

on the other side came a sound of scratching and whining,
and as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room
with his tail wagging and an eager show of gladness.

Turning to the patient, the doctor said, “Did you

notice my dog? He has never been in this room before.
He did not know what was inside... He knew nothing
except that his master was here, and when the door
opened, he sprang in without fear. I know little of what
is on the other side of death, but I do know one thing: I
know my Spiritual Master is there and that is enough.”

There comes a time for all of us,

When we must say good–bye;
But faith, devotion, love and trust,
Can never, ever really die.
242 Devotion And The Modern Mind
Trust in the Lord’s Eternal Care,
So when the Perfect Master calls;
Let’s say that in the end: life was fair,
In His Remembrance if the curtain falls.
Due to our own deeds of past lives, as well as our
actions of this life, we often find ourselves in predicaments
that are beyond our ability to cope with. We sometimes
find ourselves in impossible situations, wherein we are
unable to deal with the hardships of life on our own. In
such times, the Benignant Master smoothens out the
hardships and gives us the courage and inner strength to
cope with the impossible.

If the All–Knowing Master deems it necessary, He

will alter the fate of the devotee. Ordinarily, Perfect Saints
do not interfere with the natural law of causation or karma
but in certain circumstances if He feels that it is imperative
for the disciple’s inner growth, He intervenes and protects
His devotee from impending calamity or major distress.
Just by exercising His Sovereign Will, He can transform
adversity into a more conducive environment (or prosperity),
so as to ensure that the disciple remains firmly on the
path of devotion and continues to march ahead on his
way to greater spiritual progress.

In one of Baba Shri Saab Singh ji’s travel programmes,

his disciples had once staged a street performance. “Bow
your head for this is the court where you could be
Spiritual Maven:The Philosophers’Stone 243
endowed with illimitable grace and benefits,” said the
performer to his accompaniment, the bear.

Since the bear had been previously trained to do

so, he immediately bowed his head at the lotus feet of
Baba Shri Saab Singh ji. Amused at the performance,
the Holy Saint remarked, “Should exuberant rewards be
conferred on you?”
“Please do, O Kind One!” entreated the performer.
Baba Shri Saab Singh ji instructed one of the devotees to
fetch Rupees 32/– and 9 annas (equivalent to 56.25 paisa)
from the holy treasury and give to the performer.

Back in those days this was a huge sum of money.

The performer was in the habit of receiving 50 paisa or a
rupee or a maximum of five rupees from the wealthier
viewers. He was elated at being granted such a considerable
“Count the money diligently. It is Rupees 32/–
and 9 annas – a pretty big reward as you had mentioned
to the bear alongside you,” remarked the Venerable Saint.
“It is indeed a huge reward, O Compassionate
One,” said the performer, more than content with his
“Now unbound the rope from the bear’s neck and
set him free,” enjoined the Saint.
“O Lord! If he escapes, it will be very difficult to
244 Devotion And The Modern Mind
catch him,” the performer was concerned.
“He can go nowhere now. He is at this moment
breathing his last few breaths. Whatever accounts the two
of you had amidst each other has now been cleared. He
owed you an amount of Rupees 32/– and 9 annas which
has just been extended to you. Your debt has now been
paid in full. This bear, on the other hand, has been
released from the consequences of his past deeds. If he
would have continued performing with you, he would
have had to go through the trammels of several births
but because he has sought grace at Lord’s holy threshold,
he shall now find place at his Spiritual Master’s holy feet.”

At that very instant, the bear’s soul was released

from his physical body and elevated to the Lord’s abode.
We have as many vices in us as there are waves in an
ocean but the Spiritual Master’s grace is boundless. Great
Spiritual Adepts dedicate every moment of their lives in
selfless service, for the welfare of mankind. Not a single
moment of their lives is spent otherwise.
He who has come to men
dwells where we cannot tell
nor sight reveal him,
until the hour has struck
when the small heart does break
with hunger for him;
Spiritual Maven:The Philosophers’Stone 245
those who do merit least,
those whom no tongue does praise
the first to know him,
and on the face of earth
the poorest village street
blossoming for him.
~ Jane Tyson Clement
The Holy Master is All–Compassionate, the greatest
Well–Wisher of humanity. The holy grace is the Spiritual
Master’s compassionate energy flowing from His Divine
Being which is all–pervasive and unconditional. Showers
of the Holy Mentor’s divine grace and love rain equally
on all who come before Him. He accepts the seeker just
the way he is, with all flaws and shortcomings. He does
not lay any precondition before accepting one as His
disciple. He loves His disciple for what he is. This is the
beauty of the relationship between the Holy Master and
the disciple. One can just relax and be oneself, without
any pretence or tension. What a glorious thing to be
accepted just the way one is! No guilt, no self–doubt. To
be in the Spiritual Master’s fold is to be within the
perimeter of His Divinity.

The Benevolent Master is the devotee’s True

Companion in this life as well as the afterlife. All other
relationships are limited only to the body and earthly
sphere. They cease to exist the moment death occurs.
246 Devotion And The Modern Mind
But the Spiritual Master–disciple relationship continues
beyond death, into the subtle spiritual realms. At the
time of death, the Spiritual Master comes to receive the
devotee and takes him into the higher spiritual planes,
guiding him upwards into higher states of consciousness,
thereby ensuring that the devotee completes his spiritual
journey to attain the state of blissful enlightenment.

Why did they believe? Because they saw miracles. Things

one man took as chance, a man of faith took as a sign. A loved
one recovering from disease, a fortunate business deal, a chance
meeting with a long lost friend. It wasn’t the grand doctrines
or the sweeping ideals that seemed to make believers out of
men. It was the simple magic in the world around them.
~ Brandon Sanderson
Bhai Prema, a devout Sikh, lived in the village of
Talwandi. Though he was lame, he was able to walk with
the aid of a crutch. It was his daily habit to take, as an
offering, a pitcher of milk to Venerable Master Sikh Guru
Shri Amar Das Ji, who would drink some himself, and
distribute the remainder amongst his disciples. One day
in the height of the rainy season with the roads full of
mud, he set out on his daily journey with his usual devout

The village headman had frequently observed his

journey to and fro the Holy Master’s court. On this
Spiritual Maven:The Philosophers’Stone 247
particular day the chieftain remained at home and having
nothing better to do, watched Bhai Prema about to pass
by when he furtively, with malicious satisfaction, took
away his crutch saying, “Go not today, there is too much
mud on the ground. If you persist in going, you will fall
and die.” Jeering, another man said to him, “If your
Spiritual Master is such a wonder–worker, why does he
not cure your leg? If he cannot do that, how shall he save
you hereafter?”

Bhai Prema begged the men to return his crutch

and allow him to go on his way to his Divine Master.
Then, in response to their impertinent remarks, he said
he had not become a spiritual votary to have his leg made
whole, and he would never think of asking the Perfect
Holy Master for a new one. He had sought the refuge of
the Gracious Master not for fulfilment of mundane needs
but for communion of his innate essence with the Divine.
The men continued to torment and tease him for some
time until, having had their fun, they finally tossed Bhai
Prema and his crutch. Grabbing the pitcher of milk he
quickly made his way to see his Beloved Master.

Noticing that Bhai Prema, who had always been

very punctual, was very late, the Omniscient Master
enquired of his tardiness and troubled visage. Bhai Prema
related the whole story of how he had been delayed by
the mischievous pranks of the village headman and his
cohort. Upon hearing this Revered Guru Shri Amar Das
248 Devotion And The Modern Mind
Ji said to him, “Bhai Prema, your leg must be mended.” The
Benevolent Master continued, “On the bank of the river
there dwells a devout ascetic called Husaini Shah. Go
and tell him that the Master has sent you to be thoroughly

Husaini Shah lived alone and allowed no one to

approach him, but hearing the man relate that he had
come at his Divine Master’s behest Husaini Shah made
an exception, and allowed Bhai Prema to sit down beside
him. When Bhai Prema had finished his narrative, the
renunciant took up a stick intending to hit him, as he
had done, many times before, to other visitors who dared
to intrude on his privacy. Bhai Prema seeing the ascetic
saint swinging the huge stick in his direction jumped up
and took flight, forgetting, in his haste, to take his crutch
with him. Looking down he noticed, to his delight and
surprise, that his leg was no longer twisted and his limp
was gone.

Bhai Prema then returned to the saint, fell to the

ground before him, and thanked him profusely for the
cure he had given him in such an unceremonious and
extraordinary manner. Shah Husaini modestly disclaimed
all credit, and said, “Your leg was cured the moment the
Perfect Master told you to come to me, but he would
give me the repute. Go now, fall at his feet, and offer
him my homage, as well. There are many servants of God
like myself, but I am confident that there is none who is
Spiritual Maven:The Philosophers’Stone 249
as perfect as is your Transcendental Holy Master.”

Although the Beneficent Master incarnates for the

purpose of uplifting humanity and showers His holy grace
on all seekers of Truth indiscriminately, He never reveals
His philanthropic holy work. He never imposes His love
or guidance onto anyone. He respects our free–will and
never compels us to do anything unless we wilfully choose
to do so. Therefore, in order to receive divine help from
the Benign Master, we must first of all become disciples
and accept His authority as our Holy Master. We must
recognize our own frailties and upon accepting them, we
must implore the Gracious Master to become our
‘Shepherd’ and guide us back to our Original Abode.

The Masters, the Good Shepherds of this world, come

down from their high places and give their lives to searching
for disciples who are lost in the darkness. They find them in
desolate and dangerous places, arouse them, lift them to a
divine shoulder, and bear them with rejoicing to a safe place in
the fold. They feed them with celestial food and give them
living water to drink, of which, if a man eats and drinks, he
shall live forever. They give them power to become the sons of
God. They give their own lives to the last ounce of flesh and
the last drop of blood, for the redemption of the sheep who
knows their voice.
~Sri Gyanamata
250 Devotion And The Modern Mind
In certain instances, if the load of the disciple’s
past deeds is enormous, the Benign Master may, out of
His infinite compassion, take on the load of the disciple’s
deeds on Himself, thereby alleviating His devotee from
sufferings while ensuring that the ‘Natural Order’ remains

Once, the Divine Court of the Great Sikh Guru

Shri Gobind Singh Ji was held. All devotees were paying
obeisance in the sanctified feet of the Benign Master and
were receiving divine benedictions. Some were granted
holy blessings in the form of material successes and pelf,
while prayers of childless parents were also heard.
Amongst the congregation of devotees was also seated an
unbigoted Muslim priest named Kaazi Salaardin. He was
observing the Holy Master granting wish–fulfilling boons
indiscriminately to all who were offering humble
salutation in His Holy Presence.

When the divine court got dispersed, noble Kaazi

Salaardin went up to the Benevolent Master, paid sincere
homage and meekly importuned, “O Divine Master! Why
do people come to thee with the hope of fulfilling their
temporal desires? Every individual being is bound to the
consequences of his past deeds; one gets neither an ounce
more, nor less. Then why art thou giving false reassurances
to votaries through thine holy blessings?”

The Magnanimous Master exhorted, “It is true that

Spiritual Maven:The Philosophers’Stone 251
only that bechances what is writ in one’s providence.”
His Divine Majesty then sent for some ink, paper and a
stamp. Then holding the stamp and elucidating further
He said, “Look at the alphabets engraved on the stamp;
they are inverted and therefore meaningless.” The
Spiritual Redeemer then dipped the stamp into the ink
and put it on the paper. Lo and behold! The inverted
alphabets now made complete sense. The Gracious Master
explained, “Similarly, people tied to the outcome of their
past deeds are likened to worthless inverted alphabets;
but when they renounce their pride and touched by
utmost love, bow at the Holy Threshold of True Saints
with humility, then the inverted alphabets of their destiny
get rectified; then they become worthy of attaining
substantial boons.” The priest, abandoning all doubts and
misgivings, left the holy court extolling the greatness of
the Benignant Spiritual Mentor.

If the Sun and Moon should ever doubt, they’d

immediately go out.
~ William Blake
We should develop utmost faith in our Spiritual
Master, the Divine Helmsman, who would certainly ferry
us across the worldly ocean. We have to trust that He has
our best interest in mind. We have not only to trust His
judgement over our own, but we also have to learn to
reverently surrender our whole being unto Him. The
Benign Master’s mandates must be followed with implicit
252 Devotion And The Modern Mind
faith. We need to develop absolute faith in His Divine
Majesty’s words and accept His wishes as our commands.
Trust in the Benevolent Master develops over a period of
time. It is not something attained in a day. It cannot be
attained just by willing it. Unflinching faith is something
that does not come very easily to the modern mind.
Instead of worrying, one should resolutely work towards
increasing one’s faith in the Perfect Master; by and by
one’s trust will surely grow. He will ensure this. He has
His divine ways. On our part, all we need is a firm
commitment, a strong desire to surrender ourselves to
the Holy Will of the Illustrious Master. His Grace is sure
to descend upon us, giving us the strength and courage
to take that great leap of total and complete surrender.

I am your armour,
And they who clothe themselves in me
Will not be vanquished;
But will obtain incorruption in the new world.
“O my chosen ones, walk in me!
And I will make known my ways
To them that seek me,
And will cause them to trust in my Name.”
~The Odes of Solomon
Some years ago a certain Captain Dennis was in
charge of a ship which sailed between Liverpool and New
Spiritual Maven:The Philosophers’Stone 253
York. During one of his voyages, he had all his family,
besides a large crew, on board. One night, while all
were quietly sleeping a sudden squall of wind arose. It
struck the ship with great force and threw her over on
her beam ends. There was a great tumbling and crashing
of things on board. The people awoke in a great fright.
They were in great danger. Some jumped out of their
berths and began to dress in a hurry, not knowing that
the vessel would soon sink. The Captain had a little
girl on board, about eight years old. She woke with
the rest of the people. “What is the matter?” asked the
frightened child. They told her that a sudden squall
had struck the ship and thrown her on her side. “Is
father on deck?” She asked. “Yes, father is on deck.”
“Then it will be all right,” she said, and quietly sank
back on her pillow and went to sleep again.


Hail victory to Spiritual Emperor! O Divine Aristocrat!
The Almighty has come amidst us to rule our heart.
Benevolent by nature is our Majestic Spiritual Monarch,
Thine every action is noble and divinely, up to the mark.
Thine Supreme Personage has known no bound,
Thy pristine glory and fame has spread all around.
Souls are overwhelmed with thine acumen–divine wisdom,
Devout followers imbibe in their lives thine holy sermons.
254 Devotion And The Modern Mind
Thine Luminary Personage has a unique generous way,
Thou doth shower mercy on all who doth come thine way.
Thou hast a big heart and doth grant absolving blessings,
To those who shed tears of regret and beseech pardoning.
Our Royal Emperor ever in his meditative form,
Has an effulgent countenance so radiant and warm.
Whosoever doth come in thine divine closeness:
Renounces false pride and begs alms of true happiness.
Thou art graceful, overflowing with divine charisma,
Illusion also gets jittery on beholding thine divine aura.
Thou art the Spiritual Guide and Saviour of devotees,
Guarding them against the attacks of power illusory.
Thou doth love ardent souls, wishing their true welfare,
Through the thick and thin, thou doth keep in thy divine care.
Tender at heart, Thou art stern against all spiritual odds,
Hail victory to Spiritual Emperor! Glory be to our Lord!
There is no greater blessing than to be in the sacred
presence of the Venerable Spiritual Maven who loves us
more than we can ever imagine. It pains Him to see the
disciples in a miserable state; the Spiritual Adept wants
to ameliorate the disciple’s life by revealing the Absolute
Reality. If a spiritual seeker takes just one small step
Spiritual Maven:The Philosophers’Stone 255
towards Him, He takes ten giant strides towards the
fervent seeker. He waits patiently for the yearner to
reach out to Him. He wants nothing more than to see
His disciples reaching their ultimate state of fulfilment.
To be in the refuge of the Spiritual Mentor is to be in
the refuge of God Himself. If one sincerely follows the
Holy Mentor’s divine exhortations, one will find ‘That’
which one seeks.

The Benign Master’s grace is very difficult to be

described in words. It can only be experienced. It is a
tremendously dynamic and profound experience; trying
to capture it in words is simply futile. It is the greatest
benediction in life; through personal experience it can
be felt. Blessed are those who have known it and most
fortunate are those who repose in His splendiferous
tranquil shade.

The ecstatic joy that one experiences in the

presence of the Radiant Master is ineffable. So graceful
is the Supreme Master’s Manifest Form, so contagious is
the transmundane bliss and infinite joy that flows in His
Holy Presence that even a single glimpse of the Effulgent
Master makes our soul revel in transcendental ecstasy.
What to say of the fortuitous benediction of sitting in
the divine proximity of His Holy Feet! The Illustrious
Master’s Divine Vision makes us inexplicably euphoric
and limitlessly elates our ‘being’. What years and years of
human effort cannot do, the Holy Master’s benevolent
256 Devotion And The Modern Mind
glance does in a split second. When a blessed glance of
the Compassionate Master descends upon us, it feels like
an ocean of sorrow has evaporated in an instant. We feel
ever–so blessed and fortunate when He glances at us with
His infinitely compassionate and deeply meditative
visionary eye.

Lakh khuseeaa paathisaaheeaa jae Sathigur nadhar karaee.

“Enjoyed are thousands of pleasures princely, if a
glance of grace doth bestow Master Holy.”

As our spiritual love for the Endearing Master

grows, we feel a deep communion with Him. Sitting at
His hallowed lotus feet we are delighted and our inner
‘self’ dances in ecstasy. Leading us on the path of divinity,
the Benevolent Holy Master fosters the purified, spiritual,
free, blissful, form–emancipated, thought–emancipated
consciousness which knows not, nor can know, any stain
or sin or bondage or limitation. A great joy and a serene
peace then forever abides with the spiritual aspirant.

Once, the Divine Court of the Great Sikh Guru

Shri Guru Nanak Dev ji was in progress. The Holy Master
was blessing all devotees with His ambrosial Divine Vision.
The Benign Master, out of His Ethereal Will, asked the
loving devotees to ask for some boon. The congregation
of devotees entreated, “O Compassionate Lord! After
attaining thee what else remains to be sought?” The Perfect
17 Spiritual Maven:The Philosophers’Stone 257
Spiritual Master is God–Incarnate and His elevated
perspective and sublime thinking surpasses our human
intellect. The Holy One ordained, “Ask for devotional
ardour when you have been bestowed with the divine
threshold of the Beneficent Master. Sans pure loving
sentiments for the lotus feet of the Spiritual Adept, the
devotee does not stand to gain.”
If a devotee’s heart does not beat in the loving
remembrance of the God–Incarnate Holy Master, every
cell and fibre of body does not horripilate with divine
thrill on beholding His Sacred Glimpse; the soul does
not revel in the rapturous joy of being in His Holy Vicinity;
then the disciple has a long, long way to go. The devotees
should imbibe their hearts with such pristine devotional
ardour for the Divine Master so as to receive torrents of
fortuitous showers of holy blessings.
The Spiritual Maven lives and breathes only for
the spiritual welfare of humankind. His every act is for
the benefit of those who are on the divine path and those
who are seeking but have not yet come to find it. Without
caring for His own well–being, the Altruistic Master works
tirelessly day and night to uplift those who have sought
His sacred refuge. He traverses various lands, without
rest, showering His ambrosial divine love on souls athirst
for divine communion. The All–Compassionate Master
is the Paradigm of pure divine love, eternal peace and
everlasting joy. Not even for a single moment does the
Omniscient Master lose sight of His devotees. In His subtle
258 Devotion And The Modern Mind
transcendental form He abides by the devotees at all times,
no matter where they may be.

Disciples might ask themselves: should we not do

anything we can to facilitate the Magnanimous Master’s
work, which He is doing precisely for our sake? Does it
not behove us to do our part to the best of our ability,
howsoever little we may be capable of contributing in
our limitation? The practice of spiritual disciplines enjoined
upon us, must be taken to be our necessary duty, and this
indeed, is of paramount concern to us as disciples. In
this respect our attitude towards our Divine Teacher and
his ennobling teachings is crucial.

The Gracious Master untiringly imparts His teachings

to all His devotees and followers, exhorting them to put
these sermons into practice, for the sole purpose of
enabling them to attain salvation. It is the disciple’s sacred
duty to execute the Holy Adept’s behests with utmost
sincerity. This is the real worship of the God–Incarnate
Master. In Lord Buddha’s last words to his close disciple
Ananda, when he was being honoured with flowers and
sandalwood powder, at the time of his leaving for the
Kingdom of Glory, this is precisely what he said:

If monks, nuns, and lay disciples were to live in

accordance with my teachings and strictly follow my teachings,
they would be honouring me and venerating me rightly, and
paying me true respect and true reverence...... This would be
Spiritual Maven:The Philosophers’Stone 259
the highest worship, which would please me most.
~ Lord Buddha
Concerning obedience to the Spiritual Master, it
has been emphasized:

The teacher whom you have met by the power of your

past actions, and whose kindness you have received, is the
most important of all... Obey him in all things and disregard
all hardships, heat, cold, hunger, thirst and so on. Pray to him
with faith and devotion. Ask his advice on whatever you may
be doing. Whatever he tells you, put into practice, relying on
him totally.
~Patrul Rinpoche
The infinite unfathomable glory of the Venerable
Master is beyond the bounds of finite articulates. Even
heavenly gods and goddesses have wearied trying to put
His ineffable glory in words. Our Spiritual Master is here
for our pristine love, our abounding reverence, our
undisputed faith, our ardent worship, our very life’s
endorsement and dedicated submission. Souls pray to
the Beloved Master to accept them in every life, howsoever
undeserving and piteously fallible they may be.

Gur Paramaesar Paarabreham Gur ddubadhaa leae tharaae.

Kith mukh Gur saalaaheeai Karan Kaaran Samarathh.
260 Devotion And The Modern Mind
Sae mathhae nihachal rehae jin Gur dhhaariaa hathh.
Gur anmrith Naam peeaaliaa janam maran kaa path.
“What tongue can praise the True Holy Master, the
Sadguru; He is the Sole Monarch, All–Powerful and All–
Knowing. If on your head is His Divine Hand, then you are
sure of salvation.”

If until Judgement Day I go praising him,

Oh, think not thou that this praise will be sufficient.
~Rumi, Masnavi I :2963
All ardent devotees, staunch followers and humble
disciples ever pray at the divine threshold of their Divine
Spiritual Maven, yearning for His unfathomable grace
and blessings.

A humble request is to my Eternal Beloved,

In the next life also I may be accepted as Thy loving votary;
Imperfect though I may be as always,
But sincerely wishing refuge in Thy tranquilizing lotus feet.
Death: Soaring High 261


O thou the last fulfilment of life,
Death, my death, come and whisper to me!
Day after day I have kept watch for thee;
For thee have I borne the joys and pangs of life.
All that I am, that I have, that I hope and all my love
Have ever flowed towards thee in depth of secrecy.
One final glance from thine eyes
And my life will be ever thine own.
The flowers have been woven
And the garland is ready for the bridegroom.
After the wedding the bride shall leave her home
And meet her Lord alone in the solitude of night.
~ Noble Laureate Shri Rabindranath Tagore
Saints and Realized Ones have said that life is
262 Devotion And The Modern Mind
like a bubble of water; one moment it is there, and the
next moment it is suddenly gone. The body is so fragile
that one moment it may seem to be functioning
efficiently and the very next moment, any vital organ
may simply stop performing its natural function, thereby
causing a collapse of the entire system. We have all, at
some point of time, heard or seen people die a sudden
death, either due to heart failure or brain haemorrhage;
and death comes as a shock due to its suddenness, but
that is how death is! It always comes unannounced and
catches us off–guard.

Ordinarily, we take our body functions so much

for granted. Breathing, which is vital for existence, occurs
automatically. On their own, the intestines digest the food
we ingest and infuse nutrients into the bloodstream. The
heart pumps blood without any effort on our part. The
blood circulates throughout the body providing essential
nutrients to vital organs and various body parts. The
neurotransmitters in the brain function smoothly. The
nervous system carries out its function efficiently. Thus,
there are so many processes in the body that are going on
rhythmically and effortlessly and that keep the body
healthy and alive.

But the slightest glitch can bring the entire

machinery to a standstill, thereby causing the body to
perish and immediately, the process of decay begins. The
body decomposes rapidly. It begins to stink and no time
Death: Soaring High 263
is wasted in disposing it off with a few rituals. Death
pounces on mortals absolutely unheralded. Has anyone
ever been intimated in advance about their death? Why
then, on hearing someone’s demise, do we say that his or
her death was untimely?

There is a story of a woman running away from tigers.

She runs and runs and the tigers are getting closer and closer.
When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines
there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking
down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She
then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to
which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of
strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She
looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then
she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it
thoroughly. Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the
predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and
death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only
moment of our life; it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever
eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally
appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single
moment of our life.
~Pema Chödrön
All Enlightened Saints teach that death is inevitable.
264 Devotion And The Modern Mind
Besides, we cannot even know when we will die. On 15th
January 1794, Edward Gibbon, the English historian, had
a hearty dinner amidst a large circle of friends and
announced that he thought himself good for at least ten to
twenty years more. The next day he was dead. Jowett, the
English essayist and philosopher, on the other hand, said
on his birthday that he was anxious to live for fifteen years
more “in order to finish my work”. He lived for exactly
fifteen more years.

The fact of the matter is that although we know

death is inevitable and an absolute certainty, we still
pretend that it does not exist. We behave as if we are
going to live forever. Never ever do we focus on the fact
that we may die any minute! And we do this because the
thought of death makes us tremble. It sends shivers down
our spine. It scares us out of our wits, and therefore our
way of coping with the discomfort is to turn our backs to
the reality of death! We simply avoid talking about death.
It is taboo to discuss death openly. It is frowned upon by
society. Even when children inquire about death, we
silence them. We are happier to live in denial. We just
pretend that death does not exist. And only then we are
at ease. By pushing the dirt under the carpet, we have
simply pushed the problem out of sight; like the ostrich
who buries its head into the ground, hoping that the
predator will not see it.

The only ultimate disaster that can befall us is to feel

Death: Soaring High 265
ourselves at home on this earth.
~Malcolm Muggeridge
Hot sun; salty air; rhythmic waves: a little boy is on
his knees scooping and packing the sand with plastic
shovels into a bright blue bucket. Then he turns over the
bucket on the surface and lifts it. And, to the delight of
the little architect, a castle tower is created. All afternoon
he will work. Spooning out the moat, packing the walls;
bottle tops will be sentries; popsicle sticks will be bridges;
a sandcastle will be built.

Big city; busy streets; rumbling traffic: a man is in

his office. At his desk he shuffles papers into stacks and
delegates assignments. He cradles the phone on his
shoulder and punches the keyboard with his fingers.
Numbers are juggled and contracts are signed and much
to the delight of the man, a profit is made. All his life he
will work. Formulating the plans, forecasting the future;
annuities will be sentries; capital gains will be bridges; an
empire will be built;

Two builders of two castles! They have much in

common. They shape granules into grandeurs. They see
nothing and make something. They are diligent and
determined. And for both, the tide will rise and the end
will come. Yet, that is where the similarities cease. For,
the boy sees the end while the man ignores it. Watch the
boy as dusk approaches.
266 Devotion And The Modern Mind
As the waves near, the wise child jumps to his feet
and begins to clap. There is no sorrow. No fear. No regret.
He knew this would happen. He is not surprised. And
when the great breaker crashes into his castle and his
masterpiece is sucked into the sea, he smiles. He smiles,
picks up his tools, takes his father’s hand, and goes home.
The grownup, however, is not so wise. As the wave of
years collapses on his castle, he is terrified. He hovers
over the sandy monument to protect it. He blocks the
wave from the walls he has made. Salt–water soaked and
shivering, he snarls at the incoming tide.

“It is my castle,” he defies. The Ocean need not

respond; one should know to whom the sand belongs.

Children know much about sandcastles. One must

watch them and learn; go ahead and build, but build
with a child’s heart. When the sun sets and the tides take
it away, applaud; salute the process of life and go home.
We come and we go from this world like the waves of the
sea, some smaller, some bigger, some raising high, some
passing by. We are travellers on the vast and shifting sands
of time. However long the life is, it is a short span for the
soul who is on an eternal journey. Life is measured not
by time but by our achievements. Achievements are not
the material gains but the spiritual progress we make for

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in

Death: Soaring High 267
ourselves that we are underlings.
~ William Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar’
Our so–called stars are of our own making. They
are a statement of our assets and liabilities; as such cannot
be side–stepped. Our birth, death and the rest of our
destiny are all determined. Not a word can be erased
from this writ. We must bear it smilingly with courage
and fortitude. However, we must take care not to sow
new seeds, for we will have to suffer their fruits. By the
practice of the Divine Word, under the instructions of
the Spiritual Adept, we can rise above the stream of karmas
(our lot of past deeds) and merge into the Almighty.

D. Clifford has recounted: I have heard of a poor

man who was carrying a load of sticks, when he became
tired and sat down on a bank. Laying his sticks on the
ground, he said, “I am sick and tired of this. I wish Death
would come to relieve me.” Instantly, Death slipped up
and said, “Here I am. What do you want of me?” “I want
you to help me to put this bundle of sticks on my back
again,” said the terrified pilgrim. Reflect, why the fear!
Alas, it is too late to regret! Had you sought Holy Master’s
cautionary admonition!

The shortest life is the best if it leads us to the eternal.

~ St Francis of Sales
As the sun rose, a dew drop became aware of its
268 Devotion And The Modern Mind
surroundings. There it sat on a leaf, catching the sunlight
and reflecting it. Proud of its simple beauty, it was very
content. Around it were other dew drops, some on the
same leaf and some on other leaves around. The dew drop
was sure that it was the best, the most special dew drop of
them all. Ah, it was good to be a dew drop!

The wind rose and the plant began to shake,

tipping the leaf. Terror gripped the dew drop as gravity
pulled it towards the edge of the leaf, towards the
unknown. Why? Why was this happening? Things were
comfortable. Things were safe. Why did they have to
change? Why? Why?

The dew drop reached the edge of the leaf. It was

terrified, certain that it would be smashed into a thousand
pieces below, sure that this was the end. The day had
only just begun and the end had come so quickly. It
seemed so unfair. It seemed so meaningless. It tried
desperately to do whatever it could do to cling to the
leaf, but it was of no use.

Finally, it let go, surrendering to the pull of gravity.

Down, down, it fell. Below there seemed to be a mirror.
A reflection of itself seemed to be coming up to meet
the dew drop. Closer and closer they came together until

And then the fear transformed into deep joy as

Death: Soaring High 269
the tiny dew drop merged with the vastness that was the
pond. Now the dew drop was no more, but it was not
destroyed. It had become one with the whole.

Death is not an anomaly or the most dreadful of all

events as modern culture would have you believe, but the
most natural thing in the world, inseparable from and just as
natural as its polarity – birth.
~ Eckhart Tolle
Death is not to be feared but always remembered.
The Sagacious Saints have assured us that if we keep death
in mind at all times, we are sure to remain alert and
awake and thereby make rapid progress on the spiritual
path and eventually reach our ultimate destination.
Devout souls feel no pain at the time of death. Rather,
they face it bravely because they have already kept death
in mind and have taken part in the affairs of the world
only as much as was absolutely necessary.

There is only one way I can get ready for Immortality,

and that is to love this life. And live it bravely and cheerfully
and as faithfully as I can.
~ Henry van Dyke
Man is born, and after going through his allotted
span of life, dies. But he does not know from where he
came before his birth and where he is to go after his
270 Devotion And The Modern Mind
death. Nor does he know what causes his bondage in
this world, what leads to his release and how he can
merge his finite being in the Infinite Being of the Lord.
The spectrum is not merely the visible band of light
(VIBGYOR) but extends even beyond violet (V) and
red (R) rays – just like the soul which has an infinite
past and an infinite future. Before every birth and death
the soul is pervasive. Only in the transition stage the
soul acquires the body. The soul is never destroyed,
only its physical medium changes.

A little girl lay dying, and she was afraid. Her friend,
the priest, came to see her, and after a little talk she told
him that she was frightened. “Listen, my child,” he said,
“supposing I said I wanted to take you in my arms, and
carry you upstairs to a beautiful room at the top of the
house, where you could see much farther from the
windows, and be more comfortable altogether, would
you mind?”

“‘Why, no,” answered the child, “you could do

anything you liked with me, because I know you love me,
and I love you.”

“Well, what people call dying is rather like that;

the Lord, your best Friend, who loves you more than I
ever could, when your time comes, will take you in His
arms, and carry you into one of His most beautiful
mansions; so you see you need not be afraid, need you?”
And the child lay back on her pillows, content.
Death: Soaring High 271

Now, God be praised, that to believing souls gives light

in darkness, comfort in despair.
~ William Shakespeare
Every night when we go to sleep we lay our weary
head on the pillow satisfied that the day’s work is done. We
turn and toss to make us comfortable and we know not
when but we are in a peaceful serene slumber forgetting
the events of the day. This is perhaps the rehearsal of death
that we experience daily. When a person connects with
God, the fear of death vanishes. While abiding in the world
if he is dead to its alluring ephemeral delights, he is alive to
his real purpose of life. Such an individual surely accepts
death as a part of the game. When a yearning votary lays his
weary head in the Benevolent Master’s sanctified feet, he
experiences the same peace, except that the ultimate sleep
will have no awakening in the physical body. It will be as
graceful, as peaceful and dignified as you experience every

A man’s daughter had asked the local priest to come

and pray with her father. When the priest arrived, he
found the man lying in bed with his head propped up on
two pillows. An empty chair sat beside his bed. The priest
assumed that the old fellow had been informed of his
“I guess you were expecting me” he said.
“No, who are you?” said the father.
272 Devotion And The Modern Mind
The priest told him his name and then remarked,
“I saw the empty chair and I figured you knew I was going
to show up.”
“Oh yeah, the chair,” said the bedridden man,
“Would you mind closing the door.” Puzzled, the priest
shut the door.
“I have never told anyone this, not even my
daughter.” said the man. “But all of my life I have never
known how to pray. At temple I used to hear the priest
talk about prayer, but it went right over my head.”

“I abandoned any attempt at prayer” the old man

continued, “until one day four years ago, my best friend
said to me: Prayer is just a simple matter of having a
conversation with God. Here is what I suggest. Sit down
on a chair; place an empty chair in front of you and in
faith see God on the chair. It is not spooky because he
promised: I will be with you, always. Then just speak to
him in the same way you are doing with me right now.”

“So, I tried it and I have liked it so much that I do

it a couple of hours every day. I am careful though; if my
daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she would
either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the
funny farm.”
The priest was deeply moved by the story and
encouraged the old man to continue on the journey. Then
he prayed with him, anointed him with oil and returned
18 Death: Soaring High 273
to the temple.

Two nights later the daughter called to tell the

priest that her father had died that afternoon.

“Did he die in peace?” he asked.

The daughter replied, “Yes, when I left the house

about two o’clock, he called me over to his bedside, told
me how much he loved me. When I got back from the
store an hour later, I found him dead. But, there was
something strange about his death. Apparently, just before
he died, he leaned over and rested his head on the chair
beside the bed. What do you make of that?”

The priest wiped a tear from his eye and said, “I

wish we could all go like that.”

The human body is nothing more than a heap of

clay, which will disintegrate one day. Do not get entangled
in this world, for it is only a temporary sojourn. One’s
True Home is elsewhere. Even powerful monarchs such
as Alexander the Great had to leave this world. The tulip
and the rose, the jasmine and the lily could not stay for
long. It is the world of transience; only God is abiding.
Only His True Name can take the soul back to Him.

Treat this world as transient, frail,

The voyage of life, a dream, a tale;
274 Devotion And The Modern Mind
But when a noble work you start,
Trust that breath shall never fail.
~ Khwaja Altaf Hussain Hali
Death, which is dreaded by most is a cause of joy for
some. Those pious discerning rare ones understand that it
is only in dying that one is birthed to an eternal life. They
divine that the soul never dies and the only way to
Transcendence is to live a righteous life by dedicating every
action to the Almighty Father and cheerfully embracing
death as a tranquil retreat into His Holy Abode. Devout
seekers have gained the awareness that the body, and the
life or the Consciousness within it, are distinct entities;
and that man is not the mortal body, but a spark of the
Transcendent Immortal Consciousness.

Imagine a ray of sunlight that has forgotten that it

is an inseparable part of the Sun. It deludes itself into
believing that it has to fight for survival and create and
cling to an identity other than the Sun. Would the death
of this delusion not be incredibly liberating?

Eberhard Bethage, a camp doctor who witnessed

Bonhoeffer’s execution at the Flossenburg Concentration
Camp, narrates, “Through the half–open door in one
room of the huts, I saw Pastor Bonhoeffer, before taking
off his prison garb, kneeling on the floor praying fervently
to his God. I was most deeply moved by the way this
loving soul prayed, so devout and so certain that God
Death: Soaring High 275
heard his prayer. At the place of execution, he again said
a short prayer and then climbed the steps of the gallows,
brave and composed. His death ensued after a few
seconds. In the almost fifty years that I worked as a doctor,
I have hardly ever seen a man die so entirely submissive
to the Will of God.”

I look upon life as a gift from God. I did nothing to

earn it. Now that the time is coming to give it back, I have no
right to complain.
~ Joyce Cary : shortly before he died
Bound by his karmas, man comes to this world
and departs from here. He has no will of his own to
determine where he has to stay or the length of his stay.
Birth is inevitably followed by death. It is incumbent upon
him to gather provisions for his return journey. The only
provision that he can take with him is the Lord’s Name.
Nothing else of this world can go with him. Through
steady recitation of the Divine Word, the heart and breath
are rendered a sublime calmness. When the mind is still,
the heaviness of the body disappears, sensations are
neutralized and the soul begins to know itself as existing
apart from the body. This awareness of the true ‘self’
alleviates the fear of death.

Take heed, dear friend, in passing by,

As you are now, so once was I;
276 Devotion And The Modern Mind
As I am now, you soon will be,
Prepare for death and follow me.
~On a tombstone
Do you want an easy death? Would you rather die
without agony? Then die to the past every moment, and
let the light of your presence shine away the heavy, time
bound self you thought of as ‘you’. Death is a stripping
away of all that is not the real ‘you’ – your false self created
by the spry mind, choking the earnest desire of your inner
being to merge into the Supreme Power. The secret of
life is to ‘die before you die’ and find that there is no
death. As a boy, Lord Buddha was sheltered from any
disagreeable sights, but one day he saw an old man, then
an ill man and finally a dead man. This one day’s
experience made him aware of the suffering and the
impermanent nature of life. The detachment that this
experience created propelled him towards enlightenment.

The cyclical nature of the universe is closely linked

with the impermanence of all things and situations. All
conditions are highly unstable and in constant flux.
Impermanence is characteristic of every condition, every
situation you will ever encounter in your life. It will
change, disappear, or no longer satisfy you. Impermanence
is central to the teachings of all holy texts and scriptures
across the globe.

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where

Death: Soaring High 277
moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through
and steal:
~The Holy Bible – Mathew 6:19
So, one should equip oneself with eternal spiritual
treasures. When we have to make a journey from one
place to another we prepare ourselves in advance. We
make adequate reservations even before we start; complete
information is obtained regarding the route we are to
take; means of transportation, requirements, baggage, etc.
But, do we prepare ourselves for the journey after death?
We have to go to an unfamiliar and strange place, and we
may be called even today. Are we prepared? We should
remember that this gross body is a temporary dwelling.
Hereafter there is a long journey and so we should carefully
make prior preparations. We should obtain all possible
information about how we are to make that journey. Such
information can be obtained from the Spiritual Master

There is an old story of a jester who sometimes

made very wise utterances. One day, the jester had said
something so ridiculous that the king, handing him a
staff, said to him, “Take this, and keep it till you find a
bigger dullard than yourself.”

Some years later, the king was very ill, and lay on
his deathbed. His courtiers were called; his family and
his servants also stood round his bedside. The king,
278 Devotion And The Modern Mind
addressing them, said, “I am about to leave you. I am
going on a very long journey, and I shall not return again
to this palace; so I have called you all to say Goodbye.”

Then his jester stepped forward and, addressing

the king, said, “Your Majesty, may I ask a question? When
you journeyed abroad visiting your people, staying with
your nobles, or paying diplomatic visits to other courts,
your heralds and servants always went before you, making
preparations for you. May I ask what preparations Your
Majesty has made for this long journey that you are about
to undertake?”

“Alas!” replied the king sadly, “I have made no


“Then,” said the jester, “Take this staff with you,

for now I have found a bigger dullard than myself.”

None knows when he might have to say a permanent

good–bye to this ephemeral world. We are all on a
journey, stopping in this world for just a little while. Life
is like a great caravan passing by. Your priority should be
to learn the purpose of this journey, and its destination.
The destination is Union with the Ultimate Being. Strive
towards it while there are still breaths left in this mortal

Alas, alas, we did not in time awake,

The peace of the grave never did we crave,
Death: Soaring High 279
Now that death holds us captive, we open our eyes,
When its time to sleep, we begin to wake.
~Mirza Salamat Ali Dabir
When the body’s earthen vessel will crack, death
will grab us. At that moment all regrets will be in vain.
During our life we called many things ‘mine’. We discover
at the time of death that even our body is not ours, let
alone wealth and kin. All worldly objects and relations
are left behind when one leaves the earth. It behoves
man, therefore, to keep the spectre of death constantly
before one’s eyes. The only thing that can sustain man
here and beyond life is the Holy Master and His Divine

Let us remember that we are wasting twenty–four

thousand precious breaths a day for nothing. Unless we
use them by devoting ourselves to spiritual practices as
ordained by the Spiritual Master, there is no redemption.
Devotees who keep on chanting the Divine Name
bestowed by the Spiritual Master are united with Him in
His Divine Realm. Such devotees are found to fare well.
They attain Him in this very life and reach higher planes
of consciousness after death.

Each person is born to one possession which out-values

all the others – his last breath.
~Mark Twain
280 Devotion And The Modern Mind
A servant of the Emperor Charles V was dying after
many years of faithful service to his master. Because of his
long service, the Emperor had a special affection for him,
and, filled with sincere grief, came to see him for the last
time in this life.

“My dear friend,” said the Emperor, as he stood by

the bedside of the dying servant, “you have served me so
devotedly that I only wish I could make you some return.
Is there anything at all that you desire? Let me know what
it is, and I will see that you receive it.”

“Yes,” said the dying man, “there is one favour I

would like to receive from your hands.”

“What is it?” said the Emperor eagerly.

“Give me one more day of life – just one more


The Emperor’s face grew sad. “Alas,” he said, “I

am considered to be one of the most powerful monarchs
upon this earth, but what you ask is entirely beyond my
power to give. Only God can grant and sustain the gift of

With a deep sigh, the dying man said, “Then it is

plain to me that I was ignorant in not spending more
time in the service of Almighty God, than I spent serving
an earthly king.”
Death: Soaring High 281
All human things are subject to decay,
And when fate summons, monarchs must obey.
~John Dryden
In earning our daily bread we try to be extra vigilant
and amass as much wealth as we can by toiling day and
night, but we never realize that this body, for which we
do so much, is after all to be taken away from us. We
plan deep into the future and know what we will do so
many years from now, sitting in the present moment. We
include all probable alternatives into our plans but ignore
one which is ever possible, and that is death. We do not
even care to find out what provision can be made for
this alternative.

Because of God everything else is. Because of Him

you exist. It is through His Grace, you have material
abundance and conveniences and all the satisfaction that
go with them. So, unto the Almighty your gratitude should
be immense. Why then do you not remember His
benevolence? How can you sleep away each day in
ignorance of Him? There is no excuse. Attend to your
temporal obligations but all the while think of God. For,
every day the final frailty is snatching people away from
this carnal world; and at any moment you might be taken

Do not think that whatever we may do here or

however we may live, we shall all attain to Divinity after
282 Devotion And The Modern Mind
death. If Divinity is a stage sublime, then it stands to
reason that we must fit ourselves for it. We must earn the
right to take our place there. One, who does not try to
unite himself with the Divine through his life and actions
here, will find himself in a degraded state, after death.
We must try to cultivate our taste for higher things now,
in this life, if we expect to enjoy them hereafter.

The Enlightened Ones exhort that the spiritual

aspirant must use the presence of death as an effective
reminder to shake ‘self’ out of slumber. Pondering over
death, and accepting its reality and absolute certainty
compels us to question our way of life and makes us sit
up and take stock of our situation. Contemplation on
the possibility of sudden death gives us a sense of urgency
to change our worldly ways and devote more time and
energy towards our spiritual growth. The absoluteness of
death, when accepted and dwelt upon, motivates us to
be cautious of the course our lives are taking. The more
we reflect on death and its certainty, the more we are
able to discipline ourselves and prioritize our actions.
Focussing on death puts things into a clear perspective
for us.

It is imperative that the spiritual aspirant should

not take life for granted and procrastinate on the spiritual
disciplines. It is the agelong habit of mind to postpone
actions which can lead to its own ousting. Spiritual
progress means the weakening of the mind’s control and
Death: Soaring High 283
sway over us. Enlightenment means the end of the mind
and the ego. Therefore, the mind uses all means to trick
us into postponement. We find ourselves constantly
reassuring ourselves by saying, “Tomorrow I will meditate,”
and “From tomorrow I will start the spiritual disciplines.”
But, tomorrow never comes. And life is rapidly slipping
out of our hands.

God has bestowed this priceless, invaluable human

birth, out of peerless generosity and grace. Therefore, an
individual being is indebted to His boundless favours.
This debt can be cleared off if one engrosses ‘self’ in
recital of Lord’s Divine Name bestowed in the holy
proximity of Revered Saints. Man’s pledge to God shall
be then fulfilled and one shall happily enter Lord’s
heavenly abode.

The snake and the silkworm begin their lives with

similar bodies. But as they grow, the snake remains a snake
no matter how many times it sheds its skin, while the
silkworm casts off its ugly form and emerges from its
cocoon as a completely new creature, flying in the air
with delicate wings. So, the believer casts off this material
body and enters into the kingdom of spiritual bliss, soaring
forever in the heavenly realm while the sinner remains a
sinner even after death.

Death is inevitable. No devices, no stratagems can

save one from its clutches. The rare gift of human life,
284 Devotion And The Modern Mind
therefore, must not be squandered. All effort should be
directed towards practice of the Divine Word bestowed
by the Spiritual Maven, so that the true purpose of human
life is achieved. There is only one thing that will count
on the day of reckoning: love for the Gracious Master
and practice of the Divine Word imparted by Him.

Therefore, Venerable Saints forewarn us against

falling prey to the deceit of the mind. Constantly keeping
death at the top of the mind, acts as an amazing awakener!
It keeps us vigilant and alert at all times. It keeps us
motivated and focussed on the divine path.

So long as the body lasts, fettered lie our feet,

When the soul quits the body, ’tis great relief,
Life is nothing but a dream profound,
Death may be called: awakening complete.
~ Sayed Ali Mohammed Shad Azimabadi
286 Devotion And The Modern Mind

A Spiritual Discipline is an
intentionally directed action which places
us in a position to receive from God the
power to do what we cannot accomplish
on our own….
The deep waters of God’s life are
already flowing. We simply learn the
strokes that will enable us more and more
to be at home in them….
The human body is our power-pack
of mind-body-spirit — we discipline it
in order to practice cooperation with
~Richard Foster
Devotional Love:The Swiftest Expedient 287


Love is the greatest thing that God can give us; for
himself is love: and it is the greatest thing we can give to God.
~ Jeremy Taylor
What is devotion? How does one become a
devotee? Devotion is the most sublime and the most
gratifying sentiment of loving submission to the Supreme
Being; it is renouncing one’s everything for the sake of
the Almighty Lord. It is only when night offers her total
entity to dawn that the day breaks. The seed loses its
identity to soil so that the sapling sprouts. Thus, devotion
is loyalty to a promise, vow, Holy Master or mission. It
means one is consistently trustworthy and willing to
sacrifice to uphold one’s commitment. It means staying
on course, even if the challenges are great and one’s energy
and will are weakening.

Of all the means of attaining God–realization in

this present Dark Age (Kaliyuga), rarefied devotion is, by
far considered the simplest, sublime and prime expedient;
288 Devotion And The Modern Mind
it is an aerial route to escalade supreme divine heights.
Devotion is a real, genuine search for the Lord, a search
beginning, continuing, and ending in love. When all
thoughts, all words, and all deeds are given up unto the
Lord, and the slightest distance from God–Incarnate
Master makes one intensely miserable, then love has begun.

I become you, you become me. I become the soul, you

the heart. How can they now claim I am apart, you are apart.
Rise above mundane identities, go beyond ritualism and
scholasticism, beyond hypocrisy and the mischief of philosophy,
and breaking the shackles of words to reach a state where we
can stay with him, beyond belief and unbelief lies a vast ocean.
I wander carefree in that clime.
~Ameer Khusro
The path to reach that clime is through divine love.
Divine love is that state of mind in which the consciousness
of the seeker is merged in that of the object of his
unflinching devotion; it produces in the devotee all the
attributes of humanity, such as resignation, renunciation,
contentment, humility, patience, calmness, gentleness,
faithfulness, charity, kindness, bravery, by which the
devotee harmonizes with the Absolute. For such an ardent
votary, a path is opened to the heavenly journey: at the
end he arrives at oneness with Supreme and his whole
individuality is dissolved in the Ocean of Eternal Bliss
where even the conception of God and man disappears.
19 Devotional Love:The Swiftest Expedient 289
Devotional love has the characteristic of joining,
uniting and ultimately transforming the lover and the
Magnanimous Lord into one entity, thus changing duality
and plurality into a monistic state. The devotee eventually
becomes one with the object of his devotion; this is the
supreme aim of human existence. Since devotion is the
swiftest means through which this goal can be achieved,
Enlightened Saints have taught mankind to adopt this
method, to merge into the Source of everything, and attain
release from the cycle of birth and death. We always begin
as dualists. God is a separate Being and I am a separate
being. Love comes in between, and man begins to
approach God; God, as it were, begins to approach man.

There is another sort of man, who is like the pearl

oyster of the story. The pearl-oyster leaves its bed at the bottom
of the sea, and comes up to the surface to catch the rain water
when the star Sväti is in the ascendant. It floats about on the
surface of the sea with its shell wide open, until it has succeeded
in catching a drop of the rain-water, and then it dives deep
down to its sea-bed, and there rests until it has succeeded in
fashioning a beautiful pearl out of that rain-drop.
~Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa
The Holy Scriptures describe numerous expedients
namely penance, austerity, pilgrimage, charity and so on,
for attaining the benign grace and divine pleasure of the
Almighty Lord but the most superior of all is the Eternal
290 Devotion And The Modern Mind
Lord’s unflagging devotion. Devotion is based on the
principle of love and faith. The devotee is intensely
attached to the All–Compassionate Lord and is
completely resigned to His Supreme Will, for he has faith
in His perfection, kindness and loving nature.

There was a certain yogi who used to practise

meditation in a lonely part of the forest, on the banks of
a river. There was a poor cowherd, a very ignorant man,
who used to tend his herd in that forest. Every day he
used to see this same yogi meditating by the hour,
practising austerities, living alone and studying. Somehow
the cowherd got curious as to what he did. So he came
to the yogi and said, “Sire, can you teach me the way to
God?” This yogi was a very learned, great man, and he
replied, “How can you understand God? You are but a
common cowherd. Go home and tend your cows and do
not bother your head with such things.”

The poor fellow went away, but somehow a real

want had come to him. He could not sleep; he could not
eat. He approached the yogi with the same entreaty as
before. The yogi, in order to quiet the man, as he was so
insistent, said, “I will teach you about God.”

Elated, the man asked, “Sire, what sort of Being is

God? What is His form? How does He look?”

The yogi said, “God is just like the big bull in your
Devotional Love:The Swiftest Expedient 291
herd. That is God.”

The naïve cowherd believed the ascetic and went

back to his herd. Day and night, he took that bull for
God and began to worship it. He brought the greenest
grass for that bull, and rested close to it, sat near it and
followed it. Thus days and months and years passed. All his
faculties were channelized on the bull.

One day he heard a voice, as it were, coming out

of the bull: “My son, my son.” “Why, the bull is speaking!
No, that could never happen,” the cowherd thought. He
went away, and sat near meditating in the great misery of
his heart. He could not comprehend this state of affairs.
Again the voice came, and this time he figured it out. It
was coming from within his heart. He realized that God
was in him. Then he learned the wonderful truth of the
Teacher of all teachers: ‘I am with thee always’. Whence,
the poor cowherd learned the whole mystery.

He went back to the yogi. The yogi had been the

most learned man in the country, practising austerity for
years — meditating, studying. And this cowherd, an
ignorant fellow, never studied a book nor learned his
letters. But, as he was walking towards the yogi — his entire
body, as it were, transfigured; his face changed, the light
of divinity shining round his face. The transfixed yogi got
up. “What is this change? What has begot you?”

“O Holy Sire, it is the result of the teaching

292 Devotion And The Modern Mind
imparted to me by you.”

“How is that possible? What I had said was only to

fend you off!”

“But I took it seriously. And I got everything I

wanted out of that bull. Is He not everywhere?”

So, that man worshipped the bull as his God and

attained the very realization of his true ‘self’ out of it.
So, that intense love, that innate desire, that languishing
for God, unravels the innate ‘Being’. When an individual
is devoted to someone or something, the object of
devotion becomes a part of that individual. The worshipper’s
own happiness depends on the Divine Pleasure of the
Worshipped. This makes devotion not only poignantly
effective but also profoundly rewarding. Everything is
within us. When the yearning for awareness becomes
strong, the Lord within awakens.

No one compels you, traveller;
this road or that road, make your choice!
Dust or mud, heat or cold,
fellowship or solitude,
foul weather or a fairer sky,
the choice is yours as you go by.
But here if you would take this path
Devotional Love:The Swiftest Expedient 293
there is a gate whose latch is love,
whose key is single and which swings
upon the hinge of faithfulness,
and none can mock, who seeks this way
the king we worship shamelessly.
If you would enter, traveller,
into this city fair and wide,
it is forever and you leave
all trappings of the self outside.
~Jane Tyson Clement
In the context of spiritualism when we use the word
devotion, ‘Who’ is it that we are devoting ourselves to?
Because devotion always has to be aimed towards a deity!
So ‘Who’ is the object of our devotion? If we try to direct
our devotion on the Formless Infinite Cosmic Being, then
we will be at a complete loss; we are unable to perceive
that which we cannot cognize through our senses. How is
it possible to love, serve, worship and meditate upon
‘Someone’ whom we can neither see, nor hear, nor sense
or feel! How is one supposed to fall in love with the
Invisible? How does one relate to ‘That’ which we cannot
perceive or even properly conceive of; ‘That’ which is
beyond our understanding and comprehension? It is
humanly impossible! We would simply be groping in the
dark trying to love a Formless, Imperceptible Spirit. It
will be an exercise in futility.
294 Devotion And The Modern Mind
Adibhootam ksharo bhaavah purushashchaadhidaevattam;
Adhiyagno’hamevaatra dehe deha-britaam var.
~Srimad Bhagwad Gita VIII/4
“O Arjuna, only by undivided devotional service
can I be understood as I am, standing before you, and
can thus be seen directly. Only in this way can you enter
into the mysteries of my understanding.”

It is possible to have a nexus with the Divine only

through the Perfect Spiritual Master of the times because
He is the Living Embodiment of the Cosmic–State of
Transcendence. The Revered Spiritual Master is indeed
the Cosmic Spirit; He is none other than the Supreme
Being in human form. The Venerable Holy Master is the
doorway into the Infinite. When God showers His
boundless benevolence, one comes within the sacred fold
of the Spiritual Master. Devotional love is inculcated
within one’s heart when one completely dedicates ‘self’
in the hallowed feet of the Spiritual Adept, by following
His ennobling preachment in practical life. Thus an
individual achieves complete redemption from the
entanglements of evanescent world; his inner being merges
in Divinity, only when he obtains true devotion in the
holy–association of Venerable Saints.

Remaining always aware of the true ‘self’ is central

to leading one’s life in a satisfying way: physically,
emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. This truth has
Devotional Love:The Swiftest Expedient 295
been known to humanity since the beginning of creation.
However, it seems to have been buried for centuries by
misdirected conditioning, superstition, ignorance, as well
as overindulgence in material wealth and sensual pleasures.
Yet, it is not lost, as it is recoverable and can be reclaimed.
Devotion is acquired by a few fortunate noble virtuous souls
who are blessed with the proximity of a Perfect Living Master,
for it is under the adept guidance of the Spiritual Maven
that real spiritual progress begins. Besides the beneficent
cynosure of the Perfect Adept, there must be an incessant
consuming desire for God. For only then will the devout
soul be receptive towards the limitless showers of the
Merciful Master’s Grace.

The seed must be a living seed, and the field must

be ready ploughed; and when both these conditions are
fulfilled, a wonderful growth of genuine devotion takes
place. The power that can transform life in a moment
can be found only in the Living Illumined Soul, the
Spiritual Master, the beacon light amidst us guiding
through the dark lanes of the mundane world to Eternal

In many different religions, holy personages have

been worshipped. Over ages, spiritual aspirants have
worshipped Lord Shri Krishna, Lord Shri Rama, Lord
Buddha, Lord Christ, and so forth. The vibration of light
is everywhere. The owl sees it in the dark. That shows it
is there, though man cannot see it. To man, that vibration
296 Devotion And The Modern Mind
is only visible in the lamp, in the sun, in the moon, etc.
God is omnipresent, He is manifesting Himself in every
being; but for men, He is only visible, recognizable, in
man. When His light, His presence, His spirit, shines
through the human face, then and then alone, can man
discern His divinity. Thus, man has been worshipping
God through men since times immemorial, and must do
so as long as he is a man. He may cry against it, struggle
against it, but as soon as he attempts to realize God, he
will find the constitutional necessity of thinking of God
as a man.

The God–Incarnate Master is the real ‘self’ of every

living entity. He is the Supreme Consciousness; but we
are currently oblivious of this Ultimate Reality because
we are sound asleep in the slumber of ignorance. As our
focus shifts from the ‘I’, towards our Spiritual Master, as
our love for the Benignant Master grows, as our devotion
towards Him deepens and reaches its acme, our own true
nature: Absolute truth–existence–bliss (Sat–Chit–Anand)
unravels, shining forth in all its crowning glory and
resplendence. The greater the inclination towards
devotion, the lesser will be the grip of ego; until there
comes a day, when the ‘I’ completely disappears. And all
that will be left in its place is pure devotion, pure ‘self’
with immense gratitude and bliss.

Just as the power of the Sun is the only force in the

natural universe that causes a plant to grow against gravity, so
Devotional Love:The Swiftest Expedient 297
the Grace of God is the only force in the spiritual universe that
causes a person to grow against the gravity of their own ego.
~Simone Weil
It is a belief in Indian folklore that the mason wasp
catches a worm and keeps hovering and humming over it. In
course of time the worm, in the company of the mason
wasp, itself turns into a mason wasp. The Indian mystics
have adopted this lore to explain the transformation that
the company of a Perfect Benign Master brings about.

The company of Illumined Saints and their devotees

is essential for increasing and strengthening our love and
devotion for God. One’s spiritual progress depends on
the vicinity of Saints. One must, therefore, avoid worldly
company which distracts the mind. Give up all ‘me’ and
‘mine’. To him who has nothing in the universe the Lord
comes. Cut the bondage of all worldly affections; go beyond
laziness and all care as to what becomes of you; never turn
back to see the result of what you have done. Offer all
unto the Lord and proceed on without a thought. The
highest form of devotion is to offer everything as a sacrifice
unto God — your thoughts, actions, desires and everything.
Devotional love itself is the eternal, endless sacrifice.
Finding love, you will, in fact, never want anything else.

Sacrifices are concerned with the feelings of devotion

and longing.
~ Xun Zi
298 Devotion And The Modern Mind
A true devotee is one who has realized that he and
the Lord of the universe are not separate. For such a
fortuitous soul, devotion is one–pointed, fixed on the
Magnanimous Master. They are so lost in the Ideal of
their devotion, that they become oblivious to all else. A
true votary identifies his own will in Lord’s Will. Whatever
comes from Him is cherished. Swami Vivekananda was
often tested by his Venerable Master, Sri Ramakrishna
Paramhansa. One day, when he entered the Spiritual
Preceptor’s room, he was completely ignored. Not a word
of greeting was uttered. A week later, he came back and
was met with the same indifference, and the third and
fourth visits saw no evidence of any thawing of the Holy
Master’s frigid attitude.

At the end of a month, the Perfect Maven said to

Swami Vivekananda, “I have not exchanged a single word
with you all this time, and still you come.”

The disciple replied, “I come to Dakshineswar (the

Holy Master’s place of residence) because I adore thee
and want to see thee. My adoration is unconditional, not
contingent upon thine utterances.”

The Gracious Master was overjoyed. Embracing the

disciple, he said, “I was only testing you. I wanted to see
if you would stay away on account of my outward
indifference. Only a man of your inner strength could
put up with such indifference on my part. Anyone else
would have left me long ago.”
Devotional Love:The Swiftest Expedient 299
I have one hope. They call Thee the Lord of the world,
and — good or evil, great or small — I am part of the world,
and Thou art also my love. My body, my mind and my soul
are all at Thy altar. Love, refuse these gifts not!
~Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda
To be a true devotee, one has to be self less,
motiveless and a willing taker of Holy Mentor’s Will.
Even if His Will is contrary to your wishes, it should be
accepted with utmost humility and calm; for He knows
your welfare more than you know it. This seeming
contradiction is best understood when you cultivate the
spirit of complete surrender and make conscious efforts
to undertake a higher form of worship. The devotee
gives up the notion of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ and becomes
conscious of the guiding hand of the Mystic Adept in
all his activities. The nature of a true devotee is that he
never exults over his gains, nor does he ever lament
over his losses. His trust in His Divine Preceptor is so
implicit that he is, at all times, contented no matter in
which situation he is placed.

True strength lies in submission which permits one to

dedicate his life, through devotion, to something beyond himself.
~Henry Miller
Self–surrender means that we cast the whole
burden of our anxieties and sorrows on the Supreme
300 Devotion And The Modern Mind
Master ever remaining free and cheerful; to realize His
Presence within and be the willing and playful instrument
in His holy hands; Such surrender leads one to be perfectly
free and blissful. Thus, to surrender oneself to the Divine
so wholeheartedly that there remains no one within who
can say ‘me’ or ‘I’, is devotion. True devotion is to submit
oneself to the Lord so completely that nothing remains
behind, not even an iota of ‘self’.

A pious devotee accepts the Spiritual Master as his

Adept Guide, his Divine Anchor, his Strong Helmsman,
his Eternal Saviour and having done so, follows His
instructions ardently and implicitly, never doubting or
questioning His ways. An ardent devotee firmly believes
that the Holy Master will not relax until He has ensured
that His disciple has become an enlightened redeemed
soul. A disciple has utmost faith in His Spiritual Master’s
plenary abilities and divine purpose. He has faith that
the All–Compassionate Master will never abandon him.
Therefore, he forsakes his identity, relinquishes his own
preferences and desires; he becomes like clay, allowing
the Divine Master to act as an Adroit Potter.

“......Be like a servant waiting for the return of the

master,” says Jesus. The servant does not know at what hour
the master is going to come. So he stays awake, alert, poised,
still, lest he miss the master’s arrival.
~ Eckhart Tolle
Devotional Love:The Swiftest Expedient 301
Such a devotee has completely entrusted and
dedicated himself unto the loving care of his Benevolent
Spiritual Master. Completely forgetting himself, his every
activity, in fact, his very life is only for the Perfect Holy
Master. He does not worry about his future. He has no
care in the world. He seeks nothing. He lives in the
stronghold of the Benignant Master’s grace and devotional
love. A devotee wants nothing except devotion: the divine
treasure. The overwhelming devotional love for his Divine
Master is his inspiration, his endeavour, his strength,
courage and destination. He reigns in most abounding
affluence in all three spheres.

A disciple went to his Divine Spiritual Master and

implored, “Sire, I seek thine devotion.” The Holy Master
looked at the young man, and smiled, though he did not
speak. The young man came every day unfailingly, insisting
that he yearned for devotion. But, the Venerable Saint
knew better than the young man. One day, when it was
very hot, He asked the young man to go to the river with
Him and take a plunge. The young man plunged in, and
the Benignant Master followed. The Holy Maven held
the young man down under the water by force. After the
young man had struggled for a while, He let him go and
asked him what he wanted most while he was under the
water. “A breath of air,” the disciple answered. “Do you
want God in that way? If you do, you will get Him in a
moment,” said the Enlightened Master. Implying that
until you have that thirst, that intense longing, you cannot
302 Devotion And The Modern Mind
get devotion; however much you struggle with the
intellect, or books or forms, until that thirst is awakened.
The mere want will lead you nowhere.

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find;

knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
~The Holy Bible – Mathew 7:7
How divine remembrance of Lord imprints our heart?
By conceiving a deep and abiding love for Him, and, till
that comes, a deep and abiding longing for that love. We
came from Him and we are here on our way back to Him.
Let us not lose sight of our goal by attaching ourselves to
the perishable baubles and toys of the world. By all means,
let us move, work and live in the midst of them. But let
us keep the divine light burning within our heart, never
losing hold of the Supreme Truth, never forgetting the
purpose and goal of life.

Truthful soul, prepare thy heart for this Bridegroom,

that he may vouchsafe to come unto thee, and to dwell within
~Thomas a Kempis
Consider that you lost your little pocketbook with
some money in it; you go twenty times into the house to
find that pocketbook. The anxiety, the worry, and the
struggle! If you cross someone who reminds you of it,
you think of it even if it has been twenty years since the
Devotional Love:The Swiftest Expedient 303
incident, you cannot forgive and forget. For the little
things of the senses you can struggle like that. Who
struggles for the Lord that way? None craves for the Lord
in the same intense spirit with which they crave for the
things of the senses.

Poignant longing within, is a frequent corollary of

overwhelming love. Yearning seekers of Lord have to
undergo the pain of longing as well. Actually, love without
longing is incomplete. With the thirst, the longing for
Lord, comes real devotion. The yearning must be strong,
vehement and unrelenting. If a man’s hands and feet were
so tied that he could not move and then if a burning
piece of charcoal were be placed on his body, he would
struggle with all his power to throw it off. When one has
that sort of extreme restlessness, that anguished struggle,
to throw off this burning world, then the time will have
come for him to glimpse the Divine Truth. True devotion
is not in doctrines and dogmas, nor in intellectual
arguments; it is being and becoming, it is just and just

When I am with you, we stay up all night. When you’re

not here, I can’t go to sleep. Praise God for those two insomnias!
And the difference between them.
~Jalal–ad–din Rumi
Suppose there is a thief in a room, and somehow
he comes to know that there is a vast mass of gold in the
304 Devotion And The Modern Mind
next room, and that there is only a thin partition between
the two rooms. What would be the condition of that
thief? He would be completely sleepless in obsession; he
would not be able to eat or do anything. His whole mind
would be on acquiring that gold. Now, if all people really
believed that the Mine of happiness, of blessedness, of
glory were right next to them, would they act as they do
in the world, without trying to realize Him? As soon as a
man begins to believe in Lord, he becomes unrestrained
with frantic longing to get to Him. Others may go their
way, but as soon as man is sure that there is a much higher,
much loftier life than that which he is leading here and
as soon as he feels sure that the senses are not all, that
this limited, material body is nothing as compared with
the immortal, eternal, undying bliss of the ‘self’, he covets
this bliss for himself. And this madness, this thirst, this
mania, is what is called the awakening to devotion, and
when that comes, man begins to walk the path of
consecrated devotion.

What I am is God’s gift to me; what I become is my gift

to God.
~Saint Augustine
Just as a piece of iron, which had been covered
with the dust of centuries, might be lying near a magnet
all the time, and yet not be attracted by it, but as soon as
the dust is cleared away, the iron is drawn by the magnet;
so, when the human soul, covered with the dust of
20 Devotional Love:The Swiftest Expedient 305
ages, of impurities, iniquities, and sins, after many
births, becomes purified enough by ingraining within
elevating devotion and love unto the Lord, its natural
spiritual attraction comes, it wakes up and struggles
towards the Lord.

The Lord God, the Gracious Spiritual Maven loves

us unconditionally regardless of who we are or what we
have done because His love is not dependent on us but
on Himself. He will never stop loving us. The Supreme
Maven does not see tribe, caste, appearance and clan of
souls. He does not lay emphasis on these extrinsic
parameters. The Compassionate Lord beholds only the
depth of the devotional sentiments of His votary and
is divinely pleased with it. In the eyes of the Gracious Lord it
is only firm devotion that gains currency and significance.

Patram pushpam phalam toyam yo mei bhaktyaa prayacchhati;

Tadaham bhakty-upahritamashnaami prayataatmanah.
~Srimad Bhagavad Gita IX/26
“If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a
flower, fruit or water, I will accept it.”

Centuries ago, in one of the Egyptian monasteries,

a man came and asked to be admitted. The abbot told
him that the chief rule was obedience and the man
promised to be patient on all occasions, even under
excessive provocation. It chanced that the abbot was
306 Devotion And The Modern Mind
holding a dried willow–wand in his hand; he forthwith
fixed the dead stick into the earth and told the newcomer
that he was to water it until, against all the rules of nature,
it should once again become green. Obediently the new
monk walked two miles every day to the river Nile to
bring back a vessel of water on his shoulders and water
the dry stick. A year passed by, and he was still faithful to
his task, though very weary. Another year and still he
toiled on. Well into the third year, he was still trudging
to the river and back, still watering the stick, when
suddenly one day it burst into life.

This story is related in the Dialogues of Sulpkius Severus,

on the authority of an acquaintance named Postumianus
who had travelled East. “I myself,” said the latter, “have
beheld the green bush – the former dead stick – which
flourishes to this day in the atrium of the monastery. Its
waving green foliage is a living witness to the mighty virtues
of obedience and faith.”

Devotion is not something that happens overnight.

We cannot reach the state of exalted devotion simply by
willing it. It is going to be a lifelong conscious effort. It
requires that we sincerely adhere to the disciplines
ordained by the Illustrious Spiritual Master. The Spiritual
Mentor’s command is like a specially selected seed, which
will certainly germinate and grow into a fruit–bearing
tree, no mistake about it. Abiding by the Perfect Master’s
behests let us revitalise our spiritual life and awaken in
Devotional Love:The Swiftest Expedient 307
ourselves a great intensity of aspiration for ideals divine.
Become so impervious as not to permit indolence to
invade in this direction. We must endeavour to experience
Lord’s Divinity in this very life. It is not impossible if
only we put in the needed effort, the inexhaustible zeal
and unending enthusiasm. The torrential blessings of the
Benevolent Maven abide by us unceasingly; the grace of
the Divine Adept will favour us with every opportunity,
assurance, solution and circumstances for progress.
Therefore, let us try, try right now. Let us pack our day
with thoughts of the Lord, with the memory of the Divine,
with feelings that are in contact with His Infinite Living

We are not drawn to God by iron chains, but by sweet

attractions and holy inspirations.
~St Francis of Sales
A fervent devotee is ever–rejoicing in the holy
remembrance of his Divine Spiritual Adept, completely
oblivious about the cares of the world. He is drowned in
the pristine devotional love of his All–Compassionate
Master – singing unbounded glories of the Spiritual
Mentor (bhajans), eagerly awaiting his Spiritual Master’s
Divine Vision (Shri Darshan), merrily engrossed in the
performance of selfless–service (seva), and contemplating
on the Holy Divine Demeanour of the All–Effulgent
Master (dhyaan). He feels and cognizes his Illustrious
Master abiding everywhere, in all things, all around,
308 Devotion And The Modern Mind
including within himself. A true disciple is obedient,
disciplined and sincerely follows every instruction and
mandate of his Venerable Spiritual Master. He melts and
blends into the Infinite Being of his Eternal Master. There
remains no trace of his own existence. Only the Cosmic
prevails; only infinite, everlasting devotion remains. The
devotee is no more, only devotion…...the pure divine energy
prevails. The real Master–disciple relationship is the most
beautiful relationship in the entire world. It is beyond
description; beyond expression.

Divine love of the Spiritual Maven is like the

boundless sky that opens a horizon of spiritual treasure
for the zealous seekers of Almighty God. Let us strive to
qualify ourselves to the sublime status of unfaltering
devotees and make our human birth laudable. Let our
prayer today be that our Venerable Mystic Adept’s
abounding blessings and limitless mercy descend upon
us on this day and every day. May we abide in the Lord of
the universe as He abides in us.


O Spiritual Maven! In thy divinely magical spiritual love,
I want to remain entrapped forever, O Gracious Lord!
I beseech, benevolently make me thy subservient slave,
And cage me in the divine lamp of thy pure love, O Lord!
Devotional Love:The Swiftest Expedient 309
In the radiant lamp of thine divine love I get all that I desire,
It makes my life mirthful, ecstatic and innately brighter;
O Divine Conjurer! Tame me & govern my thoughts–actions,
I beseech thy absolute power over my mundane existence.
Pray give me the strength to uphold my firm faith in thee,
May my faith in thee get stronger and all my doubts flee.
Thou art my Supreme Lord, I wish to be thy endearing slave,
May I ever remain confined in thy devotional love’s enclave.
310 Devotion And The Modern Mind


Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that

seek him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity: they
walk in his ways.
~The Holy Bible—Psalm 119:2,3
Spiritual disciplines are activities of the mind and
body purposefully undertaken to bring our total being
into effective cooperation with the divine order. They
are disciplines because a devout seeker of spirituality needs
to make a conscious choice to engage in them. They
provide a broad understanding of life choices that a
person makes for the purpose of entering into a deeper
awareness and relationship with the Lord Almighty. They
help us to see His Will for our lives more clearly so that
we can live the life He desires for us. The more we practise
these disciplines, the better we get at them, and the
stronger we make our faith.

Much to the benefit of the current piteous spiritual

malady of the modern man, there has recently been
considerable interest in spiritual disciplines and the process
of spiritual reformation more so. This derives from a
Spiritual Armoury 311
sense of our urgent need for mental and emotional health,
as well as spiritual depth. So much can be gained by living
a life of discipline. It gives us liberation from fear and
self–interest; ultimately showing us the way to real bliss.

Spiritual disciplines lead to a reformation of the

broken soul of man in a recovery from its alienation from
the Supreme Being. It is the soul, the inner ‘self’ of man
from which emanates the power of self–determination. Once
the awareness of this inner ‘self’ is awakened, then, the
divine restructuring can be extended to the rest of one’s
life, including the body. Spiritual disciplines are all matters
of utilizing the mind and body in special ways that access
Divine Grace and Ultimate Truth to a person. It is in the
earnest performance of these activities that God restores
a devout soul. The result is that the seeker walks on the
path of righteousness as a natural expression of his
renewed inner nature.

God has given us the Disciplines of the spiritual life as

a means of receiving His grace. The Disciplines allow us to
place ourselves before God so that He can transform us. …
They are God’s means of grace.
~ Richard Foster, Celebration of Disciplines
At the time of genesis of creation, the Almighty
Creator sent His souls to the universe out of His Holy
Will. The soul being the constituent part of the Supreme
Soul, was unwilling to leave its Origin and wanted to
312 Devotion And The Modern Mind
abide blissfully with Him in the heavenly abode. Such
loving souls were promised by the Creator that one day
all of them shall be called back to their eternal abode.

For millions of lives, we have thus been living with

the notion of being an individual separate from the Creator;
an entity that is separate from the Supreme Being but
identified with the physical body and its temporal
undertakings. We are so engrossed in our mundane
interactions that we start to regard them as a mere
reflection of our own selves; and in this fashion we have
passed through innumerable life forms, over and over
again. Millions of times, we have been born and died.

It is for the resurgence of humanity and for the

spiritual evolvement of mankind that God incarnates on
earth from time to time in the human garb. There are
many spiritual traditions and schools of thought that have
developed over thousands of years. There exist many
different paths with varying ideologies and methods of
spiritual practices. Spiritual paths enlighten extraordinarily
high number of mortal souls. Tens of millions have
attained spiritual growth and everlasting peace and bliss
by following the precepts ordained by Great Spiritual
Masters and Divine Mystics.

Of all the different mystic paths that have been

propounded by the various spiritual traditions, elysian
devotion is considered to be the most simple, natural
Spiritual Armoury 313
and easiest path of them all. This is because the other
paths require tremendous discipline, extraordinary
dedication and severe austerities. Great determination
and persevering self–control is needed. In today’s age,
wherein we have got accustomed to a life of comfort and
convenience, it is extremely difficult to adhere to the
strict, rigid disciplines needed in order to make progress
through any of these paths. The practices of today and
the principles of yesterday are far apart. Long hours of
meditation and long spells of solitude and silence seem
no longer feasible. Tremendous restrictions on diet and
intense restrain on the senses appears unachievable.
Besides, such extreme discipline has a greater propensity
to demoralize than to encourage a modern spiritual
aspirant; who might find himself devoid of the willpower
to persevere on these arduous paths.

On the other hand, on the path of devotion one

may continue with one’s existing way of life without any
drastic alterations. Whether one is a student, professional,
business person, or householder, the path of consecrated
devotion is most suitable to one and all. Akin to the
other paths, it does not need any prerequisites or great
preparation. Irrespective of what bent of mind one has,
or what one’s natural predisposition is, devotion can easily
become one’s way of life and with very little effort.

There are primarily five holy disciplines expounded

by the Benign Masters of this spiritual mission, Shri
314 Devotion And The Modern Mind
Paramhans Advait Mat, with the aim of uniting our soul
with the Almighty Lord. They are prayers and worship
(Shri Aarti–Pooja) at both dawn and dusk, selfless–service
(Seva) unto the Holy Mission, holy communion (Satsang),
meditation (Bhajan–Abhyaas) and Divine Vision (Shri
Darshan–Dhyan). These five holy disciplines are all equally
important and they all need to be practised in conjunction
with each other on a regular basis for best results. Their
practice brings the soul to that spiritual anchorage for
which it yearns.

Our ‘Being’ is Sat–Chit–Anand implying Absolute

truth–existence–bliss. These are the attributes of our
‘Being’. This is our true nature. Practice of the spiritual
disciplines helps to attain a glimpse of who we really are.
It enables us to reach the inner core. These expedients
help us to reconnect with our real ‘self’, the state of being,
which is beyond ego and the vacillating mind. The God
Incarnate Spiritual Master is fulfilling His promise and
beckoning His souls back to their true home. Disunited
souls can merge into their Origin: the Universal Spirit,
in this extraordinaire human birth alone, by steadfastly
imbibing these spiritual disciplines into their mundane

Plucking flowers of spirituality,

The body is a forest of blooming flowers,
But only the wise can pluck them.
How does one attain to this wisdom?
Spiritual Armoury 315
Firstly, go to the Perfect Teacher,
And learn from him the inner teaching.
Contemplate on the words of the Saints,
And strengthen your faith day by day.
Secondly, cast all your doubts away,
And shun the perception of duality.
See the One dwelling inside and outside;
Achieve this and you’re a saint.
Thirdly, rise above outer attributes,
And take a seat at the ‘third eye’,
This is verily the palatial throne,
Where you hear the Divine Melody.
Fourthly, reign in the restless mind,
And abandon all your cleverness.
Swing on the swing of divine love,
And entreat the Teacher for the gift of devotion.
Fifthly, acquaint yourself with the eternal elements.
And exert mastery over the senses.
~ Great Saint Shri Kabir Sahib ji - ‘Mystic Verses of Kabir’
God, our Almighty Father, loves His children
dearly. He abides by us through thick and thin, listens
to our prayers, fulfils His Promise of love, showers
torrents of limitless mercy and does so infinitely more
316 Devotion And The Modern Mind
for us, than what we can ever comprehend. The Merciful
God works untiringly, round the clock, for our plenary
welfare. But we, His children are of myriad types; some
reciprocate God’s love through their devotional love for
Him and by attuning their flow of attention to His holy
remembrance whereas some others see Him as a source
of fulfilment of material wishes.

A cobbler came to Rabbi Isaac of Ger and said,

“Tell me, what to do about my morning prayer? My
customers are poor men who have only one pair of shoes.
I pick up their shoes late in the evening and work on
them most of the night; at dawn there is still work to
be done if the men are to have their shoes ready before
they go to work. Now my question is: What should I
do about my morning prayer?”

“What have you been doing till now?” the Rabbi


“Sometimes, I rush through the prayer quickly and

get back to my work; but then I feel bad about it. At
other times, I let the hour of prayer go by. Then too, I
feel a sense of loss and every now and then, as I raise my
hammer from the shoes, I can almost hear my heart sigh.
What an unlucky man I am that I am not able to make
my morning prayer.”

Said the Rabbi, “If I were God, I would value that

more than the prayer as such.”
Spiritual Armoury 317
Every morning I spend fifteen minutes filling my mind
full of God; and so there’s no room left for worry thoughts.
~Howard Chandler Christy
God looks into the heart as against external action
or no action. When one is filled with intense love for
God, performance of duty itself becomes prayer. This does
not mean that one is absolved from prayer or from the
practice of any other spiritual discipline for that matter, but
rather one must transform one’s whole life into one
continuous prayer; a constant remembrance of the
Supreme Authority. Living consciously, always in the
awareness of God; letting one’s whole life revolve around
Him; letting every breath and every action be an offering
unto His sacred feet shall lead us into perceiving that we
have truly begun to abide in the Lord as He abides in us.

God admires His servile devotees who selflessly

worship Him, who are innately imbued with immortal
divine love, remain contented in whatever is writ in their
fate, always dwell in the perpetual bliss of His holy
remembrance and never ever feel complacent with their
present devotional practices. Ardent votaries forever yearn
for an opportunity to serve the Magnanimous Master and
to bask in the Divine Vision of the Effulgent Master.
God is compassionate even towards the worldlings who
might have a hidden material desire behind whatever they
do unto Him. God is All–Merciful; He just wants His
children to somehow remember Him and come back to
318 Devotion And The Modern Mind
Him. It is for us to define our type of association with
the Almighty.
Prayer is the most concrete way to make our home in
~Henri Nouwen
While journeying on horseback one day, Saint
Bernard met a peasant walking along the road. “You have
got an easy job,” said the peasant. “Why I do not become a
man of prayer? Then I too would be travelling on

“You think praying is easy?” asked the Saint. “If

you can say one prayer – Our Father without distraction,
you can have this horse.”

“It is a bargain,” said the surprised peasant.

Closing his eyes and folding his hands he began to

say the prayer – Our Father aloud, “Our Father, Who art in
heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come….” suddenly
he stopped and looked up. “Shall I get the saddle and
bridle too?”

Prayer is not an old woman’s idle amusement. Properly

understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of
~Mahatma Gandhi ji
After creating us, God did not abandon us but
Spiritual Armoury 319
gave us a beautiful medium of prayer to communicate
with Him. How often do we experience our relationship
with the Lord through prayer? Are we sincere in our
prayer and communication with the Lord? We should
pray that we may surrender ourselves to His plan, seeking
forgiveness and divine blessings every day. The Lord
showers grace munificently upon all; if only one seeks
His sacred shelter, lifts one’s hands in prayer and supplicates
in humility with unwavering faith; then be sure that it
will be given to us. For, He is the Lord of the lords and
the Benign Protector of His devotees; all one needs is a
humble heart filled with abounding love for Him.

Let’s worship Divinity, but understand the Divinity we

worship is beyond our comprehension.
~Sir John Marks Templeton
It is essential for the disciplines to be practised
daily in order to live a strong spiritual life and build
spiritual maturity. There is absolutely no other way for a
believer to consistently live close to God, be sensitive to
the inner ‘self’ and overcome the influence of the world
we live in. Following spiritual disciplines will enable us
to turn away from the world and into the realms of the
inner ‘self’ and as we diligently do this the acts will become
habits and so the habits will eventually become the normal
way of life for us. It is important for all spiritual aspirants
to forever cling to God by daily loving and pursuing Him
with all our heart, for, the pull of the temporal will remain
320 Devotion And The Modern Mind
strong as long as we live on this earth.

We all know how challenging it is to keep up a

regular exercise routine to keep our bodies fit and very
often when we fail to keep up an exercise regime usually,
the only one we let down is ourselves. For many it is not
significant enough to overcome the inclination towards
laziness and indolence. As with physical exercise, so also
with spiritual practice, unless we are able to diligently
follow them, our spiritual life suffers and there will be
little or no spiritual growth. We not only let ourselves
down but are also unable to stride towards obtaining all
that the Almighty God wants of us to accomplish in this
very life.

Once, Jonathan Swift, who wrote the famous

Gulliver’s Travels, was on a journey with his servant. On
the way they spent the night at an inn. Early in the morning
when Swift was ready to continue his journey, his servant
brought his boots. Swift was surprised to see his boots
still covered with dust from the road. “Why did you not
clean the boots?” Swift asked the servant.

“I thought there was no point in cleaning the

boots,” replied the servant. “Because, when we continue
the journey, they will be covered with dust again.”

“Is that so?” Swift asked him in mock anger.

“Alright, get the horses. Let us go now.” Swift acted as if
he was in a hurry to leave.
21 Spiritual Armoury 321
“We cannot leave now,” the servant cried. “We
have to have breakfast before we leave.”

“I see no point in eating the breakfast now,” Swift

immediately responded. “After a few miles on the road
we will be hungry again.”

Yes, the boots will become dirty again on the road.

Still we need to clean them and polish them every day
before we continue our journey. For, the accumulation
of impurities will make the washing and cleansing really
difficult, as time goes by. In the same way, we need to
cleanse our souls every now and then as we continue our
journey forward. This is what a regular practice of the
spiritual disciplines will do for us.

Spiritual disciplines help us to become stronger in

our faith. They are like finely honed tools that aid us in
our spiritual growth. Yet, each of the spiritual disciplines
takes time to develop and requires effort to incorporate
into our daily lives. Discipline is one of the hardest things
for us to learn. Surgeons spend years developing their
surgical skills and learning the human body so that they
are able to skilfully fix what is malfunctioning in the body.
It is only after years of inexhaustible and diligent practice
that they are accepted in the community as a dependable

Growth is an erratic forward movement: two steps

322 Devotion And The Modern Mind
forward, one step back. Remember that and be very gentle
with yourself.
~Julia Cameron
Progress on the path of spirituality requires time and
effort so that we can collaborate with the Lord to transform
our life. We must always keep in mind the fact that our life
requires a dramatic turnaround of our mind, will and
emotions. We cannot expect this to be easy and it is not,
but for those of us who commit to the daily spiritual
disciplines, the reward on this earth is to walk closely with
the Lord, be freed from worldly pressures, imbibe in our
daily mundane interactions the behests of the God–
Immanent Spiritual Mentor, spiritual growth and
preparation for leaving this body and attaining final refuge
in the Lord’s Abode.

The path of spiritual growth is a path of lifelong

learning. The experience of spiritual power is basically a joyful
~M. Scott Peck
Several times my daughter had telephoned to say,
“Mother, you must come to see the daffodils before they
are over.” I wanted to go, but it was a two–hour drive
from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead.

“I will come next Tuesday,” I promised, a little

reluctantly, on her third call.
Spiritual Armoury 323
Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had
promised, and so I drove there. When I finally walked into
Carolyn’s house and hugged and greeted my grandchildren,
I said, “Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible
in the clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world
except you and these children that I want to see bad
enough to drive another inch!”

My daughter smiled calmly and said, “We drive in

this all the time, Mother.”

“Well, you will not get me back on the road until

it clears, and then I am heading for home!” I assured her.

“I was hoping you would take me over to the garage

to pick up my car.”

“How far will we have to drive?”

“Just a few blocks,” Carolyn said. “I will drive. I

am used to this.”

After several minutes, I had to ask, “Where are we

going? This is not the way to the garage!”

“We are going to my garage the long way,” Carolyn

smiled, “by way of the daffodils.”

“Carolyn, please turn around,” I said sternly.

“It is all right, Mother, I promise. You will never

324 Devotion And The Modern Mind
forgive yourself if you miss this experience.”

After about twenty minutes, we turned onto a small

gravel road and I saw a small church. On the far side of the
church, I saw a hand–lettered sign that said, ‘Daffodil

We got out of the car and I followed Carolyn down

the path. Then, we turned a corner of the path, and I looked
up and gasped; before me lay the most glorious sight. It
looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold
and poured it down over the mountain peak and slopes.
The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns –
great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, white, lemon
yellow, salmon pink, saffron, and butter yellow. Each
different–coloured variety was planted as a group so that it
swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique
hue. There were five acres of flowers.

“But who has done this?” I asked Carolyn.

“It is just one woman,” Carolyn answered. “She

lives on the property. That is her home.”

Carolyn pointed to a well–kept A–frame house that

looked small and modest in the midst of all that glory.
We walked up to the house. On the patio, we saw a poster.
‘Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking’ was the

The first answer was a simple one. ‘50,000 bulbs’,

Spiritual Armoury 325
it read. The second answer was, ‘One at a time, by one
woman. Two hands, two feet, and very little brain.’ The
third answer was, ‘Began in 1958.’

There it was, The Daffodil Principle. For me, that

moment was a life–changing experience. I thought of this
woman whom I had never met, who, more than forty years
before, had begun ‘one bulb at a time’ to bring her vision
of beauty and joy to an obscure mountain top. Still, just
planting one bulb at a time, year after year, had changed
the world. This unknown woman had forever changed the
world in which she lived. She had created something of
ineffable magnificence, indescribable beauty, and matchless

The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of

the greatest principles of celebration. That is, learning to
move toward our goals and desires one step at a time,
often just one baby–step at a time, and learning to love
the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time. When
we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of
daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent
things. We can change our world.

We don’t wait well. We’re into microwaving; God, on

the other hand, is usually into marinating.
~ C. Peter Wagner
Think how much you might have been able to
326 Devotion And The Modern Mind
achieve if you kept persevering towards inculcating the
regular practice of the spiritual disciplines expounded by
the Gracious Master ‘one bulb at a time’! It is still not
too late and you could always start today. Do not let the
mightiness of the goal discourage you from pursuing the
goal itself. In fact, with continued heartfelt effort, you will
start to enjoy even the journey taking you towards the
ultimate goal.

Does your spiritual life sometimes seem more like

a burden than a blessing? Does your spirituality seem to
exhaust you as often as it refreshes you? Have your spiritual
practices become ‘just another thing to do’ in an already
overcrowded, stress–filled schedule? As everything else
in our lives becomes more complex, so can our spirituality.
Many areas of our lives are productive and prosperous,
yet, we have never felt so spiritually withered. Our
calendars are full, but our souls are empty.

The pattern of over involvement, clutter, and busyness

that is a part of our lives at home and at work will follow us
into our spiritual lives unless we are vigilant.
~H. Norman Wright!
We need to simplify our spiritual life. Spiritual
disciplines need to be an ongoing means of reinvigorating
the soul instead of being a task undertaken on a particular
occasion and a particular time. Constant contemplation
on the Divine continually refreshes the spiritual seeker.
Spiritual Armoury 327
We must be able to incessantly feel the divine presence
of the Lord, no matter what we do and where we are.

Twenty–five enemy prisoners escaped from a

prisoner–of–war camp by boring a tunnel through solid
rock. This feat must have taken them many months, because
the tunnel was only wide enough for one man to work at a
time. Their only tools were coal–stove shovels. What
ingenuity, patience and perseverance this task took! What
hardships people suffer to obtain liberty! Yet, how little
we do to preserve this precious gift of the human birth,
entrusted to us by God, for the attainment of true liberation
from the bondage of transmigration!

Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut

diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known.
Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a
useful life.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Spiritual disciplines enable us to overcome our
former materialistic life and take up the new spiritual
life. Our body, soul and mind are all needed and spiritual
disciplines help to ensure that these elements are brought
together in a way that enables us to live a life that is
pleasing to God. We can start by taking small steps that
will, if we persist, set us on course to meet our goal of
knowing Lord’s Will, living our life in accordance with
the Spiritual Preceptor’s behests, and growing spiritually.
328 Devotion And The Modern Mind
The discipline of daily devotion to God undergirds
~Edwin Louis Cole
We must deny ourselves, lose the life that we live for
ourselves and live our life purely by Lord’s Will and purpose.
The Lord requires all believers to be on a journey of
sanctification and spiritual maturity. This spiritual journey
must produce strong desire to turn our life around and live
for the Lord rather than ourselves. The disciplines enable
us to shift ourselves from being people who are controlled
by our physical senses and deeply entrenched ways of acting,
thinking, feeling and speaking, to people who are controlled
by our inner being under the direction of the Gracious
Holy Master.

Abiding by these disciplines will ensure that we are

more in sync with our inner being, weakening the
influence of worldly distractions. On this path of spiritual
transformation, we will come to know our inner being,
which is no separate from the Supreme Being, in a deeper
way. There will occur significant changes in our heart
and soul, which will discover manifestation in the way we
think, speak, feel and act.

I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and
every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may
bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word
Spiritual Armoury 329
which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As
the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the
vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye
are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the
same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do
nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch,
and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the
fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words
abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done
unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much
fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
~The Holy Bible – John 15:1–8
Spiritual disciplines are the equivalent tools for
growing the fruit of Lord’s love in our own hearts and
lives. They provide the nourishment we need and the
tool for stripping away all that is dualistic. We know they
are doing their job when the divine love is evidenced in
our lives, our actions and our relationships. We know
they are doing their job when we experience growing
intimacy with the Almighty.


The Beginning
Pure as a child the day is newly born;
Fresh from thy love the hours of light are given.
330 Devotion And The Modern Mind
So let me rise and turn my face to thee,
Newly created as the unblemished morn.
The Middle
Under the press of noon still may I go,
My hand in thine wherever I may wander,
All noise and tumult, labour and distress
Powerless to draw me from the path I know.
The End
And when thy day is growing dim and old,
Weary but steadfast may I homeward turning,
Find thy fire glowing, know myself to be
Thy true lamb gathered safely in thy fold.
~Jane Tyson Clement
Prayers & Worship 331



Prayer, in its truest sense, is an attempt to invoke the

mightier potential that is already in us, through mental
~ Swami Chinmayananda
Prayer and worship (Shri Aarti–Pooja) is a ritual of
adoration of the Divine with a lighted flame. The word
Aarti esoterically means the enamouring love of the soul
towards the Immanent Supreme Power. The lighted flame
depicts that the soul is a ray of the Empyrean Flame,
ever–radiant and luminous. Light symbolizes knowledge.
The Lord is the Source, the Enlivener and the Illuminator
of all knowledge. Knowledge dispels ignorance just as light
disperses darkness. Transcendental knowledge is a lasting
inner wealth by which all outer achievement can be

The traditional oil lamp has a further spiritual

significance. The oil or ghee in the lamp symbolizes our
negative tendencies and the wick, the ego. When lit by
spiritual knowledge, our frailties get slowly exhausted and
332 Devotion And The Modern Mind
the ego too finally perishes. Just as the flame of a lamp
always burns upwards, similarly we should acquire such
knowledge as to take us towards higher lofty ideals. The
movement of the light flame in a circle around the
Effulgent Form of the God–Immanent Benign Master, the
Divine Beacon, depicts the aura of radiance that always
surrounds Him. Bright, lustrous rays are always emitted
from the Holy Demeanour of the Divine Master. After
the lighted f lame has been circled around the Ever
Effulgent Form of the Benignant Master, it becomes
consecrated with the Radiant Rays of His Divine Halo.

Prayer is spiritual conversation with the Supreme

Being. It is not words that are just expressed through our
mouth or from our mind but words sourced from our
heart. When one prays, one should pray with one’s entire
being and attention engrossed in the prayer, the true
outpourings of the soul. Prayer is the time when we focus
on the Radiant Form of the Spiritual Maven, direct all
our thoughts towards His Divine Demeanour and wait
to hear His intuitive revelation that arises from deep
within our spirit. Through earnest prayer, we implore
the Beneficent Master to accept us as His humble devotees
and lead us to salvation. It is a time when all glory must
be given to the God–Incarnate Maven and all attention
must be directed towards Him.

The most difficult law to obey in the kindergarten of

prayer is this law of trusting relinquishment. To give a desire
Prayers & Worship 333
or a dream, or your loved one, or yourself WHOLLY into
God’s care means not only that you trust God but that you
trust God’s Power. Then letting God use time in his way, and
every avenue and agency which he chooses, you wait calmly
while he brings answers to your prayers down into the realm
of tangible realities…Father, you have given us our hopes and
dreams. We trust you to unfold them in time to save us from
despair…for we are falling into the arms of a perfect, Loving
~Glenn Clark, Windows of Heaven
Faith is the most essential thing in prayer. In order
that prayer be effective, it must be based on the fact that
the Lord is the sole refuge under all circumstances and
one must pray from the depths of the heart. Emotions
must support the words that we utter in prayer. The true
devotee while praying resigns ‘self’ to Lord’s Will. We,
individually, should cultivate the habit of turning to the
Mystic Seer at all times seeking divine guidance in all things
so that we may, in truth, be led by the Spirit of the Lord.
True prayer is an expression of soul’s longing for freedom.

To pray without faith is to make a small fire while it is

raining heavily.
~William Scott Downey
Prayer changes lives. Prayer changes history. Prayer
changes us. It is a way to feel God’s heartbeat. Knowing
334 Devotion And The Modern Mind
who the Almighty really is makes us want to conform to
the spiritual disciplines as expounded by the Benignant
Spiritual Master as a means to attain Holy Communion
with that Supreme Power. The Lord slowly and graciously
reveals Himself to us while we pray, and it is during those
moments that we can breathe deeply in His love. Prayer
is a very important source of power and strength. It builds
up one spiritually as a person, puts one continually in touch
with inner true ‘self’ and allows the power of the Cosmic
Spirit to flow in and through one’s body and soul.

God shapes the world by prayer. The more praying

there is in the world the better the world will be, the mightier
the forces against evil.
~E. M. Bounds
We need to remember that the Divine Master wants
to eventually get us to a point where a formal prayer
time, although essential, will be a daily supplement to
our communion with Him throughout the day. He is
with us always so we must never think that our prayer
should be restricted to our daily scheduled prayer times.
Wherever we are and whatever we are doing, we should
always remember that the All–Compassionate Master is
beside us and we can pray at any time.

Absolutely no evil can stand before a twenty-four hour,

living prayer pouring from a surrendered soul.
~Glenn Clark, Windows of Heaven
Prayers & Worship 335
As we live for Him and in His Divine Will, His
plan will unfold. We must dedicate even the most menial
daily tasks unto the Divine Spiritual Adept throughout
recognizing everything as His Holy Will and ensure we
performed our duties to the best of our ability with a thankful
and prayerful heart. This is so important for many of us
who become dismayed that so much of our time is taken
up in the conduct of worldly obligations that are
important or unavoidable but appear to provide very
little spiritual benefit. A life lived each moment abiding
in the Divine Subtle Presence of the God–Incarnate Spiritual
Master is a life of unremitting prayer.

The result of prayer becomes apparent in the

nobler lives of those who are constant in its exercise. In
many cases, a heart that overflows towards the Lord results
in an inability to express itself with words and in these
situations the Lord knows our heart and understands even
when no words are spoken.

God understands our prayers even when we can’t find

the words to say them.
~Author Unknown
The Perfect Divine Master and God are identical
in their essence. He alone is worthy of all devotion and is
the only Supreme Being on earth whose worship is the
worship of God. Worship is our way of expressing our
innate love; it means singing the unbounded glory of the
336 Devotion And The Modern Mind
God–Incarnate Holy Master. The word Aarti consists of
two syllables – Aa: meaning from all sides and Rati:
meaning love. Gathering one’s attention from all sides
and filling one’s entire being with the consecrated love
of the Holy Master while concentrating on His
Magnificent Divine Form and thus singing His Majestic
Glory is regarded as Shri Aarti–Pooja. Our hearts should
be filled with thanksgiving by focusing our mind on our
blessings rather than on our needs and wants. There is so
much for us to be thankful to the Lord for. Worship is
our human response to Lord’s divine initiative.

Joining both our hands together as we render

prayers unto the All–Pervading Master, we offer unto
the Supreme Lord our entire being – subjugating all the
ten senses: five senses of cognition (Gyan Indriyan) and
five senses of action (Karma Indriyan), and the mind totally
directed towards the Almighty Lord. There is also
significance behind the Jaikara (slogan of Lord’s victory)
that is sung at the beginning and the end of the prayer.
Its recitation in the beginning of the prayer enables one
to draw strength from the Divine to conquer the mind.
After the prayer it is sung as the slogan of victory implying
that the mind has been overpowered by true prayer.

As we lift up our heart in true worship we are

worshiping with far more than just empty words and this
worship from deep within ourselves is the worship in
spirit that the Spiritual Adept inspires in us. Under the
22 Prayers & Worship 337
Divine Master’s guidance as we become aware of the
Eternal Truth, we are able to express our worship to the
Almighty from a perspective where our life is based on
that Truth. We must forever remember who God is, His
power, His greatness, His might, for as we do, we will
humbly come before Him to worship Him with the great
respect that He is worthy to receive.

A satellite signal communicates from one site to a satellite

a 100 miles in the sky. It is then relayed to many receivers
around the world, reaching millions of lives. The network of
praying saints can be likened to the modern technology of
transmitting satellite signals, only in reverse. God transmits
His heart’s desires from heaven to millions of praying believers
on earth, who then transmit their prayers back to the ever
present God who reigns over all. He in turn reaches down to
touch every soul on earth in answer to our prayers, allowing
us the awesome privilege of participating in His eternal plan.
~Anne Murchison
People were created to live in a close relationship
with God. Worship is something that would have flowed
naturally from this relationship. However, with our
spiritual separation from the Supreme Being, we lost the
relationship and the knowledge of the Ultimate Truth. It
is only after restoring the spiritual relationship between
ourselves and God that we can come to love, revere and
338 Devotion And The Modern Mind
know Him. Therefore the restoration of the spiritual
relationship enables us to enter into the worship of God
that we were originally created to experience.

Every soul sings prayers full of the Lord’s Glory;

the humble supplications and outpourings of the soul,
offered to the Lord in form of worship. These humble
prayers are sung at dawn and dusk, both when the sun
rises and sets. The tranquillity that prevails during such
hours can be attributed to the human mind that becomes
still and calm then implying that the soul may be
submerged in the rapturous ecstasy of the prayers and
Lord’s remembrance, both at the beginning and the end
of life. If we are sincere in rendering prayers and worship,
fully alert and attentive towards the words while performing
them the spiritual benefits are immeasurable.

At the end of Shri Aarti–Pooja, we place our hands

over the flame and then touch our eyes and the top of
the head with much reverence. It means: May the Gracious
Radiance of the Divine Master, light up my inner ‘self’;
may my vision be divine and my thoughts noble and

During prayers and worship our consciousness

becomes instantaneously connected to the lotus feet of
the Venerable Master. The Divine Master has Himself
proclaimed that wherever prayer and worship is reverently
performed, He is most certainly present there in the
Prayers & Worship 339
Subtle Transcendental Form. Prayers and worship nurture
in us a spirit of devotional love. This holy discipline
deepens our pristine love for the Benevolent Master and
further strengthens our devotion.

Once the Revered Lady–Saint Rabiya Basri was

asked by a mystic, “When should I pray? Before God
comes, or when He has come or after He has left?”

The love intoxicated Self–Realized Lady–Saint

replied, “When God has come!”

That mystic filled with amazement enquired, “How

do you know that God has come?”

The Lady–Saint explained, “When, in prayer, the

soul is lost in rapturous ecstasy of Lord’s Remembrance,
it indicates that He has come. When one’s every cell and
fibre reverberates in divine intoxication, when tears flow
down one’s eyes unceasingly, when one revels in divine
elixir, when nectar of love instils in one’s being, God is
near you. He dwells in your heart in full magnificence.”

Haram–e–dil mein makeen thaa, mujhe maaloom na thaa;

Rage–jaan se bhee kareen thaa, mujhe maaloom na thaa.
~Book: Nirmal–Divyamrit
“He stayed in the temple of my heart, And I knew
not; Nearer than the nerve of life, And I realized not.”
340 Devotion And The Modern Mind


The word Seva literally means service. In the

spiritual context, it is the act of offering one’s time and
energy towards the Holy Mission of the Spiritual Master.
It is, in effect, service rendered unto the Beneficent Holy
Master. The service may be in the form of service offered
directly to the Venerable Holy Master, or it may be service
rendered unto the congregation of devotees who visit
the ashrams or it may also be service unto the saints of
the Spiritual Institution. Any service towards the cause
undertaken by the Benevolent Master is a service unto

For service to be of spiritual benefit to us, it is

essential that it should be performed selflessly, without
any ulterior motive in mind. Attaining the Holy Pleasure
of the Gracious Master should be the only motivation
behind every act of holy service. Selfless–service brings a
sense of deep satisfaction and personal growth.

When faith replaces doubt, when selfless service

Selfless-Service 341
eliminates selfish striving, the power of God brings to pass His
~President Thomas S. Monson
Selfless–service is the healthiest preoccupation of the
mind. It stops the mind from bearing new thoughts which
would otherwise have given rise to new actions, as every
action becomes an offering unto the Divine Adept. Just as,
it is the nature of fire to burn, it is the nature of the mind
to build castles in the air, create a new world of its own and
get entangled in its own creation, leading to suffering and
misery. Through zealous selfless–service, constructive
avenues are built, so that the hovering mind has no time
for new indulgences. The mind then dwells in peace and
bestows happiness to both the thinker and others coming
in contact with him.

I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I
know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are
those who have sought and found how to serve.
~Albert Schweitzer
Selfless–service thus purifies the defiled mind by
effacing the impressions of past deeds and purifies the
soul, removing the curtain of delusion; thereby preparing
the mind and the soul for steadfast meditation and
contemplation. Serving in obedience and love builds
humility and breaks the hold of self–righteousness. It acts
as a panacea to eradicate the disease called ego. If service
342 Devotion And The Modern Mind
is accompanied by elevating devotion, it brings with it all
fulfilment. Sins dissolve away and merit grows by leaps
and bounds.

When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.

~John Ruskin
A man of piety complained to the Baalshem
(Besht), saying, “I have laboured hard and long in the
service of the Lord and yet I have not improved. I am
still an ordinary and ignorant person.”

The Baalshem answered, “You have gained the

realization that you are ordinary and ignorant, and this
in itself is a worthy accomplishment.”

Persistence and perseverance in difficult times may

not guarantee that we will receive what we set out to do.
But, what we ourselves can become inside ourselves, in
spirit and soul, in the process, will be cumulatively much
more than the effort put in. In today’s time and age, when
most of humanity is in the comatose of ignorance, even the
commitment to persevere holds incredible significance.
If the desire is sincere and selfless then the Almighty will
Himself create opportunities of divine service.

Selfless–service should aim at promoting love for

the Holy Master resulting in kindling an ardent desire in
the heart to behold His Divine Demeanour. As a matter
of fact, the Beneficent Master is much pleased to see
Selfless-Service 343
devotees cheerfully ever–engaged in holy service. Selfless
service makes us content and live in peace. It unburdens
us and sets us free from our worries. Its benefits are
manifold and like all profound experiences, simply cannot
be described in words. One must treasure the joy and
satisfaction experienced through selfless–service in order
to fully appreciate its significance.

I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw
that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.
~Nobel Laureate Shri Rabindranath Tagore
Apart from annihilating false ego and making us
humble, selfless–service also helps us to become less
attached to our body and especially to our possessions.
Attachment to the Spirit within, automatically detaches
you from everything else. Even while executing one’s
worldly duties, if a spiritual seeker can keep his mind
always attached to the holy lotus feet of the Lord then
every act, takes the form of holy service. Be always on
spur in the sacred service of the Spiritual Maven, ever
basking in His Presence, giving up desire and anger,
humble and devoted, lauding in spirit, upright in doing
His work. If incessantly performed with the right attitude,
sincere selfless–service can ruthlessly destroy all sorts of
impurities, hatred, jealousy, envy, idea of superiority and
all barriers that separate man from the Truth within.

Selfless–service may be performed in three ways –

344 Devotion And The Modern Mind
through body, mind and wealth. With the body we
perform physical service; with the mind we serve by
constantly reciting the Divine Name which has been
bestowed upon us by our Spiritual Master; with wealth
we make material offerings unto the Benign Master. Where
goes the hard earned wealth, the mind (in the form of
devotional sentiments) and the body (in the form of
activities), there goes the heart. By serving and rendering
offerings unto Venerable Saints, we are actually serving
our soul, our real ‘self’, that is a part of the Essence of
God. Actually the God–Immanent Master does not need
anything. All is His. Whatever we have, has been given to
us by His limitless grace and benevolence. By making
offerings we actually offer our ‘self’: a step forward on
the path to Union with Him.

A German tourist once visited a temple under

construction where he saw a sculptor making an idol of
his Worshipped Ideal. Suddenly he noticed a similar idol
lying nearby. Surprised, he asked the sculptor, “Do you
need two statues of the same idol?”

“No,” said the sculptor without looking up, “We

need only one, but the first one got damaged at the last

The gentleman examined the idol and found no

apparent damage. “Where is the damage?” he asked.

“There is a scratch on the nose of the idol,” said

Selfless-Service 345
the sculptor, still busy with his work.

“Where are you going to install the idol?” The sculptor

replied that it would be installed on a pillar twenty feet

“If the idol is that far, who is going to know that

there is a scratch on the nose?” the gentleman asked.

The sculptor stopped his work, looked up at the

gentleman, smiled and said, “I will know it.”

The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a

humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because
it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor
good philosophy: neither its pipes nor its theories will hold
~John W. Gardner
The desire to excel in holy service is purely a matter
of offering one’s best to the Spiritual Adept with pure,
devout and lofty sentiments; with one’s utmost effort;
with matchless zeal. The true devotee is such that his
every muscle and sinew may be worn out in service of the
Lord; he will serve the Mystic Seer in any capacity that
pleases Him. He will bring water if He is thirsty, even
grind corn for Him if He is hungry, even fan Him if He
feels hot, and even massage His feet if He is tired with
untiring zeal. The devotee is fully aware that Saints are
346 Devotion And The Modern Mind
dear to the Lord, and it is the Spiritual Master who unites
us with the Lord, who is eternal, infinite and priceless.
Therefore, the devotee tries to serve at the Holy Master’s
threshold in an unmatched manner. Excellence is a drive
from inside, not outside. Excellence is not for someone
else to notice but for the satisfaction of one’s pining soul;
it is a silent reflection of a loving soul’s innate warmth
for and a keen desire to serve the Divine Master.

Duty makes us do things well, but love makes us do

them beautifully.
~Philip Brooks
All the fruit anticipated from undertaking severe
austerities such as long intense pilgrimages or performing
great rituals can be easily obtained by motiveless service
rendered unto the Spiritual Maven. Therefore, bear your
responsibilities for the sake of the Perfect Master. Acquire
wealth for the sake of the Holy Master. Exert yourself for
the Divine Master, regardless of your own life. Service
rendered with devotion, according to one’s means, has
the same merit. Requisite of pure devotion is an urge for
service for the sake of service. With one’s mind dedicated
to such divine selfless–service, Divine Pleasure of the All–
Compassionate Master can be attained.
Holy-Association 347


O Holy Master! In Thy holy association I feel light & free

All my troubles drown in the joy of divine love for Thee.
Of all the boons if I have the privilege to select any one
It’ll be a prayer to be a part of Thy divine convention.
O Holy Master! O Embodiment of Divine Love & Pure Bliss!
Thy blessed companionship ever makes me spiritually rich.
Please allow me Thy Holy Vision and dwell in my eyes’ cage
May Thy Holy Grace ever bring me to Thy Sacred Assemblage.
Holy–Association or Satsang literally means company
of the Truth; the Spiritual Master is the Embodiment of
All Truth. As one of the holy disciplines, holy–association
implies that we should spend time in the sacred assemblage
of the Benevolent Master, for it has an extremely positive
effect on us. Man’s entire life is moulded according to
the company he moves in. When the first raindrop that
precipitates when the sun is in same longitude as Arctturus
(or Sväti) falls on red–hot iron, it vanishes; in the mouth
of a serpent, it becomes poison; on a banana–leaf, it takes
348 Devotion And The Modern Mind
the form of camphor and the same droplet would transform
into a pearl if it is fortunate enough to fall in the mouth
of an oyster. Fortunate are those who abide in the holy
vicinity of the Enlightened Saints.

Jin jaisee sangat karee, taeso hee phal leen,

Kadlee seep bhujang mukh, boond ek guna teen.
~Author Unknown
“As one doth move in the company, so one doth
attain the fruition definitely; banana–leaf, oyster or mouth
of serpent it be, on falling, the same drop takes forms

Teachings of the Perfect Master touch us deeply at

the very core of our heart. Being in His Divine Presence
has an immeasurable calming effect on us. His Radiant
Energy is so overflowing with divine love and compassion
that it acts as a healing touch to our ailing soul. The
Divine Aura on His Holy Countenance and the Grace in
His Divine Demeanour is a sheer delight to observe.


’Twas battered and scarred,
And the auctioneer thought it
hardly worth his while
To waste his time on the old violin,
but he held it up with a smile.
Holy-Association 349
“What am I bid, good people,” he cried,
“Who starts the bidding for me?”
“One dollar, one dollar, Do I hear two?”
“Two dollars, who makes it three?”
“Three dollars once, three dollars twice, going for three,”
But, No,
From the room far back a gray bearded man
Came forward and picked up the bow,
Then wiping the dust from the old violin
And tightening up the strings,
He played a melody, pure and sweet
As sweet as the angel sings.
The music ceased and the auctioneer
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said “What now am I bid for this old violin?”
As he held it aloft with its’ bow.
“One thousand, one thousand, Do I hear two?”
“Two thousand, Who makes it three?”
“Three thousand once, three thousand twice,
Going and gone,” said he.
The audience cheered,
But some of them cried,
“We just don’t understand.”
“What changed its’ worth?”
350 Devotion And The Modern Mind
Swift came the reply.
“The Touch of the Master’s Hand.”
And many a man with life out of tune
All battered and bruised with hardship
Is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd
Much like that old violin
A mess of pottage, a glass of wine,
A game and he travels on.
He is going once, he is going twice,
He is going and almost gone.
But the Master comes,
And the foolish crowd never can quite understand,
The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought
By the Touch of the Master’s Hand.
~Myra Brooks Welch
“The Touch of the Master’s Hand, also sometimes
called The Old Violin is an inspirational and captivating
poem that speaks eloquently of the worth and potential
of each and every individual. Here, Myra Brooks Welch
tells the story of a battered and decrepit old violin
that is about to be sold for a very cheap price at an
auction; until a player steps out of the audience, picks
it up and demonstrates how lovely it could sound by
the touch of a skilled hand.”

“Whereupon, the previously unenlightened

Holy-Association 351
audience competes to acquire the violin for
thousands of times the previous perceived value. The
poem then draws the parallel to a wayward and
dissolute individual who is losing his soul through his
sinful and wicked life, until, at the last moment, being
saved, by the touch of his Loving Creator, starts a whole
new life. In this poem, the mess of pottage motif was
used in a very beautiful and elegant way to demonstrate
the importance of Lord’s presence in human lives.”

“It is a beautiful illustration of the saving power of

the Holy Master. A single touch of the Great Spiritual
Master can turn the life of a worthless sinner to a valuable
piece of treasure. He has the divine power to make all of
us clean from our iniquities and to transform us into a
new person. A common crowd may not be able to find
some value or importance in every person, who actually
are created in the image of God Himself. Being ignorant
of God, they prioritize an individual’s value purely based
on one’s earthly assets and status. So, as the poem
goes, when the Holy Master comes, and the ignorant
crowd never can quite understand the worth of a soul
and the change that is wrought by the touch of the Divine
Master’s hand.”

Holy preachings have the effect of enabling us to

clearly comprehend the Lord’s Will and spiritual direction
for our life. As we read and think about whatever we
hear in the proximity of the God–Manifest Spiritual
352 Devotion And The Modern Mind
Maven, we understand the sharp differences between the
worldly life that is inherent in our being, and divine life,
the realization of which is the true aim of human birth.
Thoughts and intentions that we previously had, are
revealed for what they are and we recognize the need for
them to be controlled and transformed. We increasingly
recognize those parts of our life that must go and at the
same time increasingly understand the new life we must

Any hardness in our heart is broken by Divine

Preceptor’s behests being continually applied to it. The
Perfect Master’s purpose is for the hardened heart of any
believer to be broken up into pieces so that His light can
shine in and He can reform it into a new heart. As the
blacksmith keeps alive the fire of his furnace by blowing
the bellows, so also the mind is kept clean and glowing
with the help of pious company. The prophet Jeremiah
speaks of the Word of God, being like a hammer that
breaks up the shackles of the mind ensnared in delusionary
entanglements and also like a fire. As fire is used to purify
metals, so, Divine Word also continually applied to a
person’s heart will refine it and purify it.

Is not My word like as fire? saith the LORD; And like

a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?”
~The Holy Bible – Jeremiah 23:29
Our daily lives are so overburdened with activity;
23 Holy-Association 353
we are so much preoccupied with our responsibilities
and commitments, that it is easy to neglect the spiritual
disciplines. Performance of the spiritual disciplines
somehow tends to become our last priority. Then holy
association (Satsang) acts as a potent reminder to us,
prompting us of our real purpose in life. Each time we
go astray due to mind’s habitual pattern of indulging in
sensory pleasures, vicinity of Holy Ones acts as a course
correction compass that brings us back on the right track.
There is no shortcut to re–routing the mind from deluding
materialistic thoughts to those of spiritual gain; and
therefore Enlightened Saints have exalted holy proximity.
Constant association with the Wise and Spiritually Evolved
Souls alone can remove temporal persuasions from the
mind of an individual.

Mahaajanasya samparkah kasya nonnatikaarakah;

Padmapatrasthitam toyam dhatte muktaaphalashriyam.
~Subhashita Ratna Bhandagara
“Company of Great Ones is always beneficial. A drop
of water on lotus leaf appears like a pearl (it gains status
similar to pearl); Here Subhashitkar explains how useful
it is to be with the Great.”

It is natural for us to get influenced by the company

we keep. It is a fact of life. Contact with worldly–minded
people at once affects the mind. The mind imitates. Vile,
luxurious habits are developed. Evil environments and
354 Devotion And The Modern Mind
unholy associations play a tremendous part and produce
a malefic influence on the mind of spiritual aspirants.
Old inclinations are revived. Therefore, for spiritual
evolvement, holy proximity is essential. Divine fold of
Illumined Saints helps to develop a latent urge in man to
achieve Godhead, self–realization and deliverance from
the mundane ocean of existence. It not only creates a
protective fencing that fights out all dreadful foes of
passions and vicious senses, but also creates a redemptive
atmosphere where the spiritual seeker or any worldly being
can begin to comprehend the Greatness and Holiness of
the Great Lord.

The word Satsang is also used in reference to the

spiritual discourses of Venerable Saints. As a practice,
Revered Saints of Shri Paramhans Advait Mat offer firm
motivation and guidance in the form of holy sermons.
On a regular basis, there are scheduled programmes held
at all ashrams at all times, wherein are conducted spiritual
discourses for the benefit of the congregation of devotees.
Through these illumining sermons, a spiritual votary is
provided constant motivation to embark on this beautiful,
unknown journey. The road to self–realization is a great
adventure. It is the greatest and most challenging journey
an individual can embark upon and we need encouragement
and inspiration along the way. Holy–association is the
guiding light on this path that gives us courage and
strength to keep marching ahead towards the real goal of
human birth.
Holy-Association 355
Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not
enough; we must do.
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
It is absolutely imperative to listen carefully, reflect
deeply and imbibe sincerely the sacred thoughts divined
in the edifying holy discourses. It is mandated that we
should participate in holy assemblage regularly; thereby
remain steadfast and committed on the spiritual path. It
would be a misfortune if we were to allow ourselves to go
astray; it is extremely difficult and rare to be born as a
human, and even more difficult to find the Perfect
Spiritual Master.

Mahat-Sangastu durlabho agamya amoghascha.

~Narad Bhakti Sutra
“The holy company of Realized Ones and Great
Enlightened Souls is very difficult to attain as well as
understand, and is unfailing in its effect.”

Having been endowed with this rare opportunity,

we have attained the expressway to Divine Enlightenment.
It will be next to impossible to attain such a golden
opportunity ever again. It is our duty and responsibility
to respect this great gift and blessed opportunity, and
thereby make the most of this lifetime. One attains
eternal, perpetual peace and bliss in the vicinity of
Illustrious Saints. It is then that one attains self–realization
356 Devotion And The Modern Mind
leading to God–realization. Spiritual awakening is aroused
only in the sacred company of Sagacious Saints.

The feelings of my smallness and my nothingness always

kept me good company.
~ Pope John XXIII
A water bearer had two large pots, each hung on
the end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of
the pots was perfectly made and never leaked. The other
pot had a crack in it and by the time the water bearer reached
his master’s house it had leaked much of its water and
remained only half full.

For full two years this went on daily, with the bearer
delivering only one and a half pots of water to his master’s
house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its eventual
accomplishments. But, the poor cracked pot was ashamed
of its own imperfection and miserable that it was able to
accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter

failure, it spoke repentantly to the water bearer one day
by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself, and I want to
apologize to you.”

“Why?” asked the bearer. ”What are you ashamed


“I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver

Holy-Association 357
only half my load because this crack in my side causes
water to leak out, all the way back to your master’s
house. Because of my flaw, you have to do all of this
work, and you do not get full value from your efforts,”
the pot said. The water bearer felt sorry for the old
cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, “As we
return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the
beautiful flowers along the path.”

Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot

took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers
on the side of the path, and this cheered it a bit. But, at the
end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out
half its load, and so again, the pot apologized to the bearer
for its failure.

The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that

there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not
on the other pot’s side? That is because I have always
known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I
planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every
day while we walk back from the stream, you have watered
them. For two years, I have been able to pick these
beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. Without
you being just the way you are, he would not have had
this beauty to grace his house.”

Each of us has our own unusual flaws. We are all

‘cracked pots’. But, if we will allow it, the Benignant
358 Devotion And The Modern Mind
Master will use our flaws to grace His table. When a
spiritual aspirant seeks the Perfect Master’s refuge and
completely surrenders his all unto His Divine Behests,
with His limitless grace the Spiritual Adept makes His
devotee ‘whole’. He guides and nurtures the devout soul’s
inner being, so that he lives in a perpetual awareness of
the Truth within. This realization, acquired in the most
opportune proximity of the Spiritual Path–Pointer, ensures
that the spiritual aspirant steadfastly treads the path of
blissful devotion.

Devotion can only be acquired from a True Master.

Maulana Rumi says, “Mind cannot be controlled unless
it takes refuge in the shelter of a Holy Master.” Other
Great Saints state that it is the satsang or company of the
Revered Saints that will make us throw away the worthless
trinkets of the world for the jewel of the Divine Word.
Always remain in the company of Illustrious Saints;
through their association you will be dyed in a divine hue
of manifold splendour. Mystics have extolled the benefits
of satsang, the association with truly evolved souls, that
is, the Saints. The wayward mind is subdued through the
company of the Saints and in course of time acquires the
lasting colour of divine love.

Holy–association assures that we remain on the

divine path and maximize our chances of attaining
enlightenment in this lifetime itself. By regularly attending
the sessions of divine sermons our resolve becomes steadier,
Holy-Association 359
our determination becomes stronger, and our spiritual
journey becomes smooth and easy. We must delight in
regularly heeding the divine sermons in holy assemblage
and must be diligent in applying the rendered instruction
to our daily life. As we do, our spiritual life will prosper.
How great is the glory of holy–association that leads us
to the highest consummation: salvation. In the divine
assemblage of Illumined Saints and Realized Ones, the
power of discernment emerges within us and we start
cherishing the pearls of devotion by shedding materialism
and sensuality. Every aspirant must seek holy–association
that renders one’s mind pure and devoid of all defilement;
ultimately one enters Lord’s Heavenly Abode with honour.

Mirathak dhaeh saadhhasang bihoonaa.

“Their bodies are corpses, without the hallowed
company of the Holy.”

Saadhhasang mil dhue kul Saadhh.

“Joining the venerated company of the Holy, you
shall be saved here and hereafter.”
360 Devotion And The Modern Mind


Prayer is when you talk to God; meditation is when

you listen to God.
~ Diana Robinson
Meditation (Bhajan–Abhyaas) refers to the constant
remembrance and repeated recitation of Lord’s Divine
Name bestowed upon us by our Revered Spiritual Master
at the time of our initiation into spirituality. Traditionally,
whenever the Perfect Divine Master is approached by a
spiritual seeker, the All–Merciful Master bestows upon
the yearning aspirant, a Holy Word (mantra: sacred
syllables). This process is called diksha or initiation into
the practice of the Divine Word or Name. Di means God
(Paramatma) and Ksha means to perform charity (daan).
Thus, when the Omnipotent God–Incarnate Spiritual
Master confers initiation, He bestows upon the devotee,
the Almighty Himself (in His Transcendental Essence).
The Holy Name or the Divine Word is but the Lord’s

The divine and creative Word was not uttered once for
Meditation 361
all, but it receives perpetual utterance in the radiation of light,
in the movements of the stars, in the development of life, in
the reason and conscience of man.
~ William Temple
Meditation is the process of ardent incantation of
the Holy Name, twenty–four hours a day; while walking,
talking, eating, and sleeping; throughout all kinds of
activities we perform on a daily basis. Initially this might
seem difficult. We might unintentionally forgo the practice
while conducting mundane responsibilities that require
mental activities like concentrating on work. But by and
by, with regular practice, it will start becoming natural
and easier. All we need to do is to feel the divine presence
of the Spiritual Mentor forever and wherever.

We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.
~John Dryden
Ordinarily, we do not bother to observe the mind.
We remain unconcerned with it. And the mind goes on
functioning within us, unnoticed and uncontrolled. It
sways us all of a sudden, whenever it so chooses. We are
gripped by urges and cravings so intensely that
unknowingly, we become subjugated by our mind. We
feel compelled to do things we may not even want to.
Impulses, urges, intense desire – they all appear to arise
out of nowhere and have a very strong hold on us. We
act upon them almost involuntarily. We cannot even gain
362 Devotion And The Modern Mind
mastery over habits that we are unhappy with. We seem
to be unable to change them even if we want to. We
seem to be incapable of dropping habits that we know
and believe are detrimental to our own wellbeing. Such
is the power of the nasty mind!

It’s all in the mind.

~George Harrison
The mind is synonymous with intellect: the faculty
of logic and reasoning, language, acquiring knowledge, and
so on. The mechanism of thought is used for all of these.
And especially in modern times, we have come to rely
tremendously on the intellect. We utilize the intellect for
all our functions of day–to–day life. Learning requires
intellect. We learn to speak, read and write through it.
Complex problem solving requires intellect. In the name
of general knowledge, we stuff the intellect with unnecessary
trivia. And all this overuse and abuse has caused the mind
to go berserk. We have over–burdened the mind to the
extent that now it works overtime. We are, in fact, unable
to stop it even if we want to.

Meditation brings wisdom; lack of meditation leaves

ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what hold
you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom.
~Lord Buddha
In the East, for thousands of years, Holy Seers and
Meditation 363
Exalted Saints created methods to enhance their detachment
and awareness, and in the process they gained great insight
into the mysteries of life. The yogis of yesteryears invented
realistic techniques and exercises for taming the vacillating
mind. There was universal concordance on ‘awareness’
as the key.

Awareness is the ability to remain alert. Awareness

means to be awake and vigilant; it is sharp wakefulness.
Recitation of the Divine Name causes us to become aware.
The process of incessant recitation of Divine Word creates
a heightened awareness. Otherwise, ordinarily our energy
is used up in all the thinking that goes on ceaselessly. We
become psychologically and emotionally drained due to
all our excitement and anxieties, our constant planning,
our endless worrying about the uncertainties of life. The
entire exercise leaves us feeling sapped of our energies. It
creates a feeling of vacuum, and a sense of meaninglessness
arises. It causes discontentment and hopelessness.

Your vision will become clear only when you look into
your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside,
~Carl Jung
When we begin to meditate, we transmute the
energies of the physical body. By sitting up straight, with
the spine erect, the head balanced at the top of the spine,
the energies of the physical body acquire a positive
364 Devotion And The Modern Mind
modality. In a position such as this we cannot become
worried, fretful or depressed or sleepy during our meditation.
If we slump the shoulders forward and short–circuit the
spiritual forces that flow through the spine and out through
the nerve system, the resultant outcome would be that
we will feel easily depressed, have mental arguments with
oneself or another, or experience unhappiness.

The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we

recognize that we ought to control our thoughts.
~Charles Darwin
Initially, awareness flows through many areas of the
mind. The mind strays, thoughts rise and flutter, tempting
us to sway, but if we remain steadfast and focus on
recitation of Holy Name, then by and by, slowly but surely,
the mind relents. We must call upon our willpower and
learn to hold awareness at attention, focussed upon only
one thing. The mind then caves in and not only allows us
to recite Lord’s Divine Name, but also begins to enjoy
the recitation. The more we recite, the more we sit in
meditation, the more the thoughts weaken. With reduced
thoughts, there descends a calm and a relaxation. The
less the thoughts, the more the energy! With the energy
suddenly available, awareness becomes possible. The
released energy becomes awareness.

Abhyasa [spiritual practice] consists in withdrawal within

the Self every time you are disturbed by thought. It is not
Meditation 365
concentration or destruction of the mind but withdrawal into
the Self.
~Sri Ramana Maharshi
We evolve into meditative practices from the earnest
practice of devotion. The transition is earned through
impacts of past meritorious deeds; as the transition of
external worship to internal worship is made, the devotee
must realize that meditation is the disciplined art of tuning
into the deepest and subtlest spiritual energies. It is not a
fad. It is not a novelty. It is not something you do because
your next–door neighbour does it. It is sacred, the most
sacred thing you can do on this planet, and it must be
approached with great depth and sincerity. During these
moments, we are seeking God: the Absolute Truth, and
actually controlling the forces of life and consciousness as
we fulfil the very evolutionary purpose of human life:
the Realization of the ‘self’ and thus God. Unless we
approach meditation in humility and wonder, we will
not reach our goal in this life.

When you give up thinking of outward objects and

prevent your mind from going outwards by turning it inwards
and fixing it in the Self, the Self alone remains.
~Sri Ramana Maharshi
Meditation is not easy, and yet it is not difficult. It
only takes persistence, working day after day to learn to
control and train the outer as well as the subtle, inner
366 Devotion And The Modern Mind
forces. But, one should remember that the
Magnanimous Master’s infinite grace showers upon us
ceaselessly. All that we have to do is become receptive
to it. Recitation of the Divine Name makes us receptive
to His bountiful grace. The Gracious Master’s blessings
are with us at all times. All we have to do is diligently,
sincerely and regularly practise the discipline.

Washington Irving, author of ‘Rip van Winkle’,

was an intense admirer of Christopher Columbus and
paid him many glowing tributes. One of his finest is as

“Let those who are disposed to faint under difficulties,

in the prosecution of any great and worthy undertaking,
remember that eighteen years elapsed after the time that
Columbus conceived his enterprise, before he was enabled
to carry it into effect; that the greater part of time was
passed in almost hopeless solicitation, amidst poverty,
neglect and taunting ridicule; that the prime of his life
had been wasted away in the struggle and that when his
perseverance was finally crowned with success, he was
about his fifty–sixth year. His example should encourage
the enterprising never to despair.”

The Holy Name is a reminder of our own Supreme

Reality. At the deepest, innermost core of our being, we
all are the pure consciousness. We have no separate
identity from the Whole. Our belief that we are separate
Meditation 367
individuals is, but an illusion. Reciting the Divine Name
is a repetitive reminder of this unalterable Supreme Truth.
Through ceaseless recitation of the Holy Name, we are
constantly reminding ourselves of our own true hidden
nature, our Ultimate Reality.

I sought thee at a distance, and did not know that thou

wast near. I sought thee abroad, and behold thou wast within
~Saint Augustine of Hippo
There is a story of a disciple who told his Spiritual
Mentor that he was going to a far place to meditate and
hopefully attain enlightenment. So, he sent a note to his
Holy Preceptor every six months to report the progress
he was making. The first report said, “Now I understand
what it means to lose the self.” The Holy One tore up
the note and threw it in the wastepaper basket. After six
months, he got another report, which said, “Now I have
attained sensitivity to all beings.” He tore it up. Then a
third report said, “Now I understand the secret of the
one and the many.” It too was torn up.

And so, it went on for years, until finally no reports

came in. After a time, the Holy Saint became curious
and one day there was a traveller going to that far place.
He said, “Why do you not find what happened to that
disciple?” Finally, he got a note from his disciple. It said,
“What does it matter?” And when the Spiritual Master
368 Devotion And The Modern Mind
read that, he said, “He made it! He made it! He finally
got it!”

Oh, who will give me a voice that I may cry aloud to

the whole world that God, the all–highest is in the deepest
abyss within us and is waiting for us to return to Him.
~Hans Denck
If we recite the Holy Name with ardent love and
with a sense of immense gratitude towards our Benevolent
Master for bestowing upon us the precious gift of the
Divine Word, then slowly, but surely the mind gets
beguiled by the Holy Word. It begins to enjoy the
recitation and incantation. Recitation becomes natural
and effortless; the Holy Name becomes our greatest friend
and companion. Compassionate Saints have exhorted that
we make the most of these limited life breaths, by ensuring
that we recite the Holy Name in each and every breath
that goes in and out. If the Divine Word becomes a part
of each and every cell of our being; if it permeates every
fibre of our being, we are sure to attain union with the
Supreme Being in this very lifetime.

We are the wire, God is the current. Our only power is

to let the current pass through us.
~ Carlo Carretto
24 Divine Vision 369


Shri Darshan literally means the Holy Vision of the

Venerable Spiritual Master. It implies beholding the Divine
Manifest Form of the Holy Master. Radiant rays effuse from
the entire Holy Being of the God–Incarnate Perfect Spiritual
Master, possessing the brighter luminosity than that of the
sun and far more tranquillity and lucency than that of the
moon. His Divine Words are the shafts of light that provide
refulgent illumination in the hearts of devotees dispersing
darkness of ignorance.

Chandanam sheetalam loke chandanaadapi chadramaha;

Chandra-chandanayormadhye sheetalaa Saadhu Sangataha.
~Subhashita Ratna Bhandagara
“Sandalwood is pleasant (cool), moon (moonlight)
is more pleasant than sandalwood but vicinity of a Pious,
Virtuous One (Enlightened Saint) is far more pleasant
then both moon and sandalwood.”

On beholding the Divine Demeanour of the Perfect

Maven every cell and fibre of the devotee swells in mirth;
370 Devotion And The Modern Mind
the soul dances in rapturous ecstasy of spiritual union
with the Divine Source. The divine rays emanating from
the Holy Personage of the Supreme Master extirpate one’s
impressions of past misdeeds. Waves of devotional love
surge in devotee’s heart washing the nasty mind of all
defilements, making it crystalline; while the soul revels in
blithe buoyancy.
When Thou are face to face with me,
There is all the pleasure and play.
The music fills me
And Thy songs make me gay.
There is peace and bliss,
And joy knows no bounds.
There is freedom and love,
And music plays Thy songs.
Vibrating with the music of Thy Will,
The taste of Thy touch is inexpressible:
Filled with eternal peace,
It’s intoxicating and blissful.
When Thou are face to face with me,
It’s all fine and gay.
There is Thy Lotus feet, my Lord,
Let me sit and play.
~Dr. Santokh Singh
Divine Vision 371
The Holy Master is not an ordinary human being.
He may appear to be so, but only because of our own
shortcomings. One who is closed on the inside of himself
misses the Divine Effulgence of the Spiritual Maven. He
sees in the Enlightened Master just another ordinary
person like himself. He does not possess the correct
perception; the required vision, his eyes being clouded
by prejudices, ideas and conceptions, and all the mental
activity that goes on ceaselessly. Our perception of Reality
is hazy and blurred by our ignorance. We are deluded by
the negative power: illusion (maya). The Divine Preceptor’s
Radiance, however, permeates all just the same. One who
is doubtful goes away from the garden not having smelled
a rose, but carrying the perfume of the rose himself. If
we can become as a sponge when we are in the holy vicinity
of the Gracious Master, we will draw in inspiring talks
and gracious blessings from Him.

The Spiritual Master is none other than the

Supreme Being. He is not the body that we see; He is the
Supreme Soul. He permeates every speck of the vast,
infinite expanse of Creation. He is the Spirit that resides
in each and every one of us. The Perfect Spiritual Master
is the manifestation of our own innermost core, in its
full splendour and glory. He is the Embodiment of
Absolute truth–existence–bliss (Sat–Chit–Anand). His
Divine Aura spreads all around His Sacred Personage and
extends far beyond. The Spiritual Master is a Profound
Silence: He is Infinite and Eternal.
372 Devotion And The Modern Mind
Just by being in the holy presence of the Great
Master, our slumbering being is awakened. As we come
closer to His Divine Majesty, His torrential grace showers
upon us, and our soul begins to dance. We experience
the divine euphoria and spiritual joy that we have been
yearning for. The Compassionate Master’s eloquent
silence is extremely overwhelming. In His Holy Presence,
our mind automatically stops its endless chatter. We
experience calmness and peace descending upon us, filling
our being with tranquil bliss.

Now that my love has come I see the reason;

Now I answer its demand;
It was here always just beyond my vision
Waiting for your lifted hand.
It has the width of sea, the depth of shadow;
It holds the storm wind wild and strong,
And light drawn thin to stars in the sweep of heaven
And the prow’s clear water–cleaving song.
~Jane Tyson Clement
One is fortuitously favoured if the golden chance
of beholding the Divine Vision of the Spiritual Maven,
for which heavenly gods also keenly aspire, is conferred on
him; while the devotee is physically away from his Holy
Mentor, he should contemplate on the Manifest Form of
the Holy Master. The Holy Vision of His Divine Majesty
leaves great impact of His Radiant Visage on the devotee’s
Divine Vision 373
mind and heart; contemplating on His Divine Manifest
Countenance (Dhyan) leads to unwavering meditation.

By a stroke of fortune and fruition of innumerable

past good deeds, one is conferred the most exceptionally
blessed opportunity of being in the Holy Presence of the
Gracious Master. We should feel immensely grateful for
having been blessed with the good fortune of being able to
sit in the sacred refuge of the Spiritual Master.

In olden times, people used to travel for thousands

of miles on foot and horseback, just to behold the Divine
Demeanour of their Spiritual Master. Holy Vision is the
yearning and thirst of the devotee’s soul; it is the devotee’s
greatest longing. Without the Beloved Master’s Holy
Vision his soul remains restlessly unfulfilled. How simple
it is in today’s time to bask in the glory of the Venerable
Master’s Divine Presence! The Merciful Master, out of
His infinite compassionate love for His disciples, even
comes to the very doorstep to bestow His Holy Vision.

Shri Darshan of the Perfect Master has the power

that stabilizes the devotee on the path of spirituality.
Philosophies, teachings and practices expounded by Pious
Saints are no doubt important, but it is the power of Shri
Darshan that is a spiritual seeker’s stabilizing influence,
enabling him to unfold easily the mystic secrets on the
path of enlightenment. By envisioning the Benevolent
Master at regular intervals, disciple’s love grows and
374 Devotion And The Modern Mind
deepens. The ability and willingness to surrender becomes
stronger; meditation on His Divine Form becomes more
fruitful. The soul gains wings and becomes ever–so–ready
for its flight into the Infinite Space of the Cosmic Being.

Once, Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa was walking

across paddy–fields in the environs of the Dakshineswar
Temple. He was speaking to a few of his disciples on the
life of the spirit. The disciples listened to him in rapt
attention. One of them said, “O Holy Master! For many
years I have worshipped God and called out to Him with
tears in my eyes. I have lived a pure life. I have served
friends and strangers to the best of my ability. But God
seems to me as remote as ever. And now, the thought
comes to me that the time I have given to my devotion is
time wasted. And I say to myself, this is not life for me if
I cannot envision Him!”

The Venerable Master smiled. Then, pointing

towards the tillers of the soil working in nearby fields, he
said, “Two classes of farmers there be. There are those
who are farmers by birth; their ancestors, like them, were
farmers. And they keep on tilling the soil even though it
does not rain for years together and they harvest no crop.
Come famine, come floods, they despair not! They do
not desert their fields.”

“But, there is another type of farmer. He takes to

agriculture with the sole purpose of making profits. Thus,
Divine Vision 375
even a single season of drought upsets him tremendously.”
The Holy Master continued, “A true devotee of God never
gives up his devotion and his service to God and His
creation. He chants Lord’s Name so long as he breathes.
He does not stop singing glories of the Divine Entity and
sheds tears of love, even though he is not once blessed with
the vision of God!”

The value of persistent prayer is not that God will hear

us, but that we will finally hear God.
~William McGill
“He who seeks God must do likewise. Even after
several months of strenuous devotion to God, you have
still not had a vision of Him, do not despair. Instead,
work harder to get success. Be patient and wait for Him.
Remember, His delays are not denials but tests of your
perseverance and dedication. The Lord will appear to his
devotees at the right time, not a moment later than that!”

Blessed [are] the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
~The Holy Bible – Matthew 5:8
Blessed are those who are granted the Holy Vision
of their Spiritual Master, for they shall inherit the supreme
state of eternal life and everlasting bliss. Reverently
envisioning the Mystic Adept billows sentiments of
devotional ardour in the devotee’s heart. The soul revels
in pure spiritual bliss in the paradisal proximity of the
376 Devotion And The Modern Mind
Spiritual Redeemer. One should, therefore, as a principle,
endeavour to visit the spiritual institution in person for
beholding the Divine Vision of the Effulgent Master.

The True Spiritual Mentor is forever alongside his

devotees. Through the uninterrupted subtle link of holy
contemplation on His Sacred Manifest Form, an ardent
votary will always find his Benevolent Master close. Divine
Vision (Shri Darshan) etches the Sacred Image of the Holy
Master in one’s heart while holy contemplation (Dhyan)
ingrains the same on the mental horizon when one sits in
meditation. Hence, Divine Vision (Shri Darshan) and holy
contemplation (Dhyan) are complementary in nature.

Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold,

the kingdom of God is within you.
~The Holy Bible – Luke 17:21
As dark is the night without the moon, as withered
is the lotus without water, so marooned is our soul without
the Lord’s Presence. It languishes in the agony of separation
from the Supreme. In this separation over countless ages,
it has pined for union with God. The Gracious Master
then, satiates the yearning souls – the raging fire of
separation is quenched. His Blessed Vision extirpates all
other cravings and just one longing of the soul gains
momentum: the longing of Union with the Divine. His
Holy Vision is the true pilgrimage which confers merits,
erasing all past impressions of unmeritorious acts.
Divine Vision 377
The Holy Master shows the way. Imparting directions
on the spiritual disciplines, He encourages the seeker to
imbibe them in his daily interactions. Then, the seeker can
feel the perpetual presence of the True Master, holding his
hand on the path. When the inner ‘self’ is thus revealed,
the soul firmly marches on the path of devotional love. As
the lily comes into bloom at the sight of the full moon, as
the streams gush forward to merge into the vast ocean, as
the peacock abounds in joy at the sound of the cloud’s roar
– so does the soul rejoice on attaining Union with the
Ultimate Being. Once this pinnacle has been reached, it
revels in eternal bliss, ever dwelling in Divinity within.
On the day when the lotus bloomed,
Alas, my mind was straying, and I knew it not.
My basket was empty and the flower remained unheeded.
Only now and again a sadness fell upon me –
And I started up from my dream
And felt a sweet trace of a strange fragrance in the south wind.
That vague fragrance made my heart ache with longing
And it seemed to me that it was the eager breath
Of the summer seeking for its completion.
I knew not then that it was so near, that it was mine,
And this perfect sweetness had blossomed
In the depth of my own heart.
~Shri Rabindranath Tagore
378 Devotion And The Modern Mind


In the golden case of your inner consciousness is the

Supreme Self, ever–shining, purest of the pure, all white. This
is the Light of all lights, This is the Omnipresent Being shining
within the heart as your innermost self. By knowing the self
you know That, the Infinite One.
~ Mundaka Upanishad II.ii.9
The God–Incarnate Master, in fact, gives Himself
to the ardent seeker, as the Divine Word during initiation.
It is in the form of the Divine Name that the All–Pervading
Master abides by His devotee forever. He dwells in the
depth of the votary’s heart. When man approaches that
region of blessedness in which the soul is self–contained
and is completely engrossed in the presence of the Highest,
all clamouring of desire is silenced; all sound of sense is
stilled. He is so absorbed in the remembrance of the
Effulgent Master that he becomes oblivious of the world.
Then, only God IS. These are the hours of meditation.

Meditation is communion of one’s attention with

the Divine Word. The Spiritual Master is the Embodiment
Meditation: Distilling Bliss 379
of the Transcendental Divine Name. Effulgence emanating
in the inner ‘self’ from contemplation on the Divine Name
is essentially same as the Ethereal Luminance radiating
from the Lucent Countenance of the Benignant Master.
The first step in mysticism is ‘mental prayer’, implying
devout contemplation on Divine Word: the withdrawal of
the soul from without and specially the devout observance
of Lord’s boundless love and grace.

If I had understood, as I do now, that in this little

palace of my soul dwelt so great a King, I would not have left
Him alone so often.
~SaintTeresa of Avila
So long as there is any disturbance in our mind,
we cannot see things as they are in Truth; we cannot obtain
the vision of our true ‘self’. And what is the mind? It is a
deep reservoir of thoughts. Mind is nothing but thoughts
…all kinds of thoughts. At any given moment, the mind
is presented with a wide range of sights, sounds, smells,
tastes, tactile sensations, and ideas. No sooner has the
mind found a place to cogitate than it is already looking
for where to feed next. Should it stay here? Should it go
somewhere else? The incessant question, What next, drives
its search for well–being.

Investigate what the mind is, and it will disappear. There

is no such thing as mind apart from thought. Nevertheless, because
of the emergence of thought, you surmise something from which
380 Devotion And The Modern Mind
it starts and term that the mind. When you probe to see what it
is, you find there is really no such thing as mind. When the
mind has thus vanished, you realize eternal peace.
~Sri Ramana Maharshi
Once the mind becomes active, the floodgates of
thoughts are opened and emotions start floating around
and begin to flow freely in our consciousness. Soon, we
become so preoccupied with thinking that there is never a
moment when we are without thoughts. These thoughts
act as a crash barrier and obstruct us from experiencing
ourselves as a pure being. We lose touch with our real
nature and lose all ability to just be; we come into the
habit of constantly thinking and feeling. We may not be
very aware of this phenomenon: this constant current of
thoughts that flows within us, but it is there nonetheless.
The process of thinking and feeling goes on and on. While
we sleep it exists as dreams, while we are awake it continues
ceaselessly without our being consciously aware of this
non–stop activity. And the process of thinking exists at
many levels: conscious, sub–conscious, unconscious. At
times it is extremely subtle, at other times it is active and
predominant. And so much energy is constantly being
dissipated because of this non–stop thinking that we feel
drained and exhausted most of the time. We are simply
not living up to our full potential.

Nothing contributes so much to tranquilize the mind as

a steady purpose – a point on which the soul may fix its
Meditation: Distilling Bliss 381
intellectual eye.
~Mary Shelley
So, what is one supposed to do in order to break this
habitual pattern of non–stop thinking? The only way to
slow down the process of constant thinking is by training the
mind to contemplate on a single, repetitive act. As our
concentration grows and we become more and more single–
pointed, the thoughts begin to slow down; they start to
diminish slowly and gradually. This is because the mental
energy which was being utilized for thinking is now being
channelized into this one single mental activity; this is called
meditation. It is an act of repetition of the Divine Name
bestowed upon us by our Spiritual Master.

Meditation occurs when mind has been transcended;

when all thinking subsides; mind ceases to exist as we
know it. There are absolutely no thoughts; just a pure
awareness prevails with no movement, and no mental
activity. There is no subject left, who can be aware of any
object. All melts and dissolves into Pure Consciousnesses.
There is only awareness with no content and no duality.
No subject and no object. There is a complete stillness
of ‘being’, a tremendous calm, full of energy, alive,
throbbing and an absolute silence!

You need not do anything.
Remain sitting at your table and listen.
382 Devotion And The Modern Mind
You need not even listen, just wait.
You need not even wait,
Just learn to be quiet, still and solitary.
And the world will freely offer itself to you unmasked.
It has no choice; it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.
~Franz Kafka
There once was a king who offered a prize to the
artist who would paint the best picture of peace. Many
artists tried. The king looked at all the pictures. But,
there were only two he really liked, and he had to choose
between them.

One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a

perfect mirror for peaceful towering mountains all around
it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All
who saw this picture thought that it depicted perfect peace.

The other picture had mountains, too. But these

were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky, from which
rain fell and in which lightning played. Down the side of
the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not
look peaceful at all. But, when the king looked closely,
he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack
in the rock. In the bush, a mother bird had built her
nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat
the mother bird on her nest – in perfect peace.

Which picture do you think won the prize? The

Meditation: Distilling Bliss 383
king chose the second picture. “Because,” explained the
king, “peace does not mean to be in a place where there
is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the
midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart.
That is the real meaning of peace.”

There is no holier sanctuary than a purified mind,

a mind concentrated upon the Supreme Being. There is
no more sacred place than the region of peace into which
the mind enters when it becomes fixed in the Almighty.
Purity, bliss, blessedness, peace! These make up the
atmosphere of the state of meditation. The Spiritual
Consciousness dawns in these silent, sacred hours. The
soul is close to its Source.

Learning to meditate is the greatest gift we can

possibly give ourselves. It is immensely beneficial if we
make it a regular regimen; if we are disciplined and
consistent with our practice, then meditation blossoms
as beautifully as the lotus in the muck. In the silent hours
of meditation, the soul draws from the Transcendent, those
true qualifications which are of its nature – fearlessness,
the sense of reality, the sense of deathlessness. This creates
the awareness that the ‘self’ is but the substance of Truth,
the substance of Divinity.

Oh, let me tell you how much God desires our presence.
How much God longs to hear from us. How much God yearns
to communicate with us. At the very heart of God is the
384 Devotion And The Modern Mind
passionate disposition to be in loving fellowship with you ...
with me. From the human side of this equation it is meditative
prayer that ushers us into this divine–human fellowship.
~Richard Foster
The method of meditation or Surt–Shabd–Yoga implies
union of awareness or attention with the sound current.
Thus, the objective is to create union with the inner
reverberation, through the flow of attention, or more
appropriately, consciousness.
If an egg is broken by outside force, Life ends. If broken
by inside force, Life begins. Great things always begin from inside.
~Jim Kwik
Meditation helps us become aware of our own
thoughts. It makes us capable of observing the goings–on
of the mind. We become familiar with our own thoughts
in such an intimate manner that we suddenly begin to
discover things about ourselves, which we did not know
until now. Meditation enables us to go beyond our
thoughts and perceive the space within ourselves which
lies behind the clutter of the spry mind. By and by, it
brings us to a state of tranquillity; a state of peace and

All mortal things are but shadows. Unreality

dominates all appearance. One’s inner ‘self’ is the reality
within which no change abides. Life is but a play. Every
mortal soul must play its part. Such is the law. Yet, one is
25 Meditation: Distilling Bliss 385
neither player, nor play or law. Never has the soul been
nor can it ever be apart from the All–Powerful Creator.
This knowledge, added with complete resignation unto
Lord’s Divine Will, is what dawns through meditation.
Meditation is the daily consecration of one’s life to God
and seeing wisdom in His Will. And then, even in the
mouth of a tiger, even in the presence of death, even on
the threshold of hell, one will find God.

Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself

and know that everything in this life has a purpose, there are
no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to
us to learn from.
~Elisabeth Kübler–Ross
Through regular practice, meditation can become
an integral part of our daily life. Meditation does not
just calm the mind; it increases our awareness and expands
our consciousness. We begin to see things in a clearer
perspective. We are able to feel wonder at ordinary,
mundane things. Life becomes richer, deeper, more
meaningful and more fulfilling; certain contentment
begins to set in! For the first time silence happens; not a
dead empty silence, but a potent silence is experienced.
A tremendous sense of well–being is experienced. Life
becomes a blessing and a tremendous feeling of gratitude
arises. Joy and bliss become companions. We find
ourselves to be calm and collected even in the midst of
chaos. The daily stress of modern day living does not
386 Devotion And The Modern Mind
seem to affect us at the core anymore. Progressively, we
are able to remain tranquil and serene. We do not react
when provoked. Instead, we are able to remain composed
and respond more appropriately. We are less impulsive
and more in control of our actions. Many unnecessary
habits and addictions which we were otherwise struggling
to shake off do not seem to cling to us anymore. They
just drop away by themselves.

This happens because we become more conscious

and awake and less trapped in the mind and its ways!
Intelligence grows; we become more alert and the mind
gets sharper. Certain equanimity comes naturally, elevating
‘self’ above dualism that exists in the mundane world.
We do not get upset or angry easily. Acceptance of things,
people and our own shortcomings, comes automatically
to us. Vanity and negative emotions disappear. We become
more understanding and more patient. As we begin to
understand our own mind and its habitual patterns, we
come to realize that others too are helpless in their
behaviour and instead of feeling angry, we begin to feel
compassionate for them.

In short, there is a complete transformation in the

way we feel, think and behave; the way we perceive the
world around us, and the way we interact with people.
Living takes on a whole new meaning. Desire loses its
hold on us. The rat race appears so futile. The frenzy and
feverish manner in which we had lived thus far, becomes
Meditation: Distilling Bliss 387
a thing of the past. We begin to see the joy of living in
simplicity. We are less attached towards possessing
things and objects of comfort and luxury. ‘Being’ becomes
more important than achieving and attaining. Living
becomes more significant than struggling to acquire and

If we know the divine art of concentration, if we know

the divine art of meditation, if we know the divine art of
contemplation, easily and consciously we can unite the inner
world and the outer world.
~Sri Chinmoy
We begin to see the sheer folly of ambition because
we are so happy and contented to ‘just be’. Whereas
ambition is a struggle to become something in the future; it
is an idea, a projection into the future, which causes us
to miss out on the present moment. The past is gone, the
future is unknown and it is only the present that we have.
Life is happening this very moment, but we have always
been striving to achieve goals and success, or attain status
and wealth, or gain recognition and fame. And all of this
aspiring and chasing is for something in the future. The
utopia is always somewhere in the distant future; whereas
living is possible only in here and now! Life is happening
in this very moment, but we have been postponing life,
postponing living! For, to strive for something in the future
means that we are missing out on the present!

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future,

388 Devotion And The Modern Mind
concentrate the mind on the present moment.
~Lord Buddha
The root cause of so much that has gone wrong in
modern life is the loss of any awareness of Eternity. For
most people nowadays, it is the temporal things of life
that are most important. That is not surprising, for those
things are immediate, tangible, and visible. But, it is still
lamentable, because it means that the eternal dimension
of life – that part of it that is divine and thus enduring –
falls by the wayside, unnoticed and unacknowledged.
When Eternity is forgotten, human destiny is robbed of
its real significance, and the goal of life gets limited to
the search for fulfilment on an earthly plane. And this
has made us dead and unconscious! Meditation makes us
grounded in the present moment, in this very moment!
It makes us fluid and flexible. It enlarges our view and
creates the awareness of what is noblest in us, reminds us
of the promise of another home on a higher plane: the
world from which we have come, and to which we must
one day return. To be mindful of eternity is to know that
our earthly existence will one day be overshadowed by
the Eternal Reality of everlasting life.

The deepest need each of us has, even if we are not

conscious of it, is that of eternal life.
~Christoph F. Blumhardt
In deep meditation, when we experience a cessation
Meditation: Distilling Bliss 389
of all thoughts, we suddenly feel an abundance of energy.
It is not an upsurge of energy or a rising of energy, but
instead it is like being surrounded by a pool of energy.
And astonishingly, we realize that we are this energy! It is
ours and we are it. And this energy is blissful! This pure
‘Being’ and the spontaneous and definite awareness of
the fact that we ‘Are’ is very ‘Blissful’! Great Realized
Ones have called this Sat–Chit–Anand or Absolute truth–
existence–bliss. Through meditation we become aware
that it is this innate ecstasy that we have been missing, the
perfection we have been seeking for so long. And this
splendour, this treasure has always been there! Hidden
deep within the recesses of our own ‘Being’! The more
we meditate, the more we get in touch with this hidden
treasure and gradually, it begins to shine through!

In true meditation all organs of cognition and

perception must be totally engrossed: all outlets of senses
blocked: sight, smell, taste, touch, and sound. The sense
of sight (roop) implies that eyes should behold the Manifest
Divine Demeanour of the Spiritual Maven and remain
supersaturated with the Holy Vision; the sense of smell
(gandh) entails esoteric smelling of the fragrance of divine
love; the sense of taste (rasa) refers to drinking the divine
ambrosial nectar that drops within the ‘self’ when one is
in deep meditation; the sense of touch (sparsh) implies
feeling the aura of the Spiritual Preceptor’s Divinity; the
sense of sound (shabd) signifies hearing the Melody of the
Divine Word within while the sense organ of tongue is
390 Devotion And The Modern Mind
employed to utter the Divine Name. When all these
sense organs are controlled and coordinated, actual and
balanced meditation blossoms; otherwise an imbalance


Draw for yourselves water,
From the Living Spring of the Lord;
Because it has been opened to you.
Come, all you who thirst, and take a draught,
And rest beside the Spring of the Lord.
For fair it is and pure,
And gives rest to the soul.
Sweeter by far than honey are its waters,
And the honeycomb of bees cannot be compared with it,
Because it flows forth from the lips of the Lord,
And from the heart of the Lord is its Name.
And it came unhindered and unseen,
But until it sprang up within them,
Men knew it not.
Blessed are they who have drunk from it,
And have found rest thereby.
~The Odes Of Solomon
The votary should meditate with regularity and
precision on the Holy Name magnanimously bestowed
Meditation: Distilling Bliss 391
upon him by the Spiritual Master. Many people get
initiated but do not practise recital of Holy Name
diligently. This is inappropriate. For spiritual ascent, it is
mandatory to meditate on the Lord’s Divine Name
regularly and unfailingly, in the manner prescribed by
the Embodiment of Introspection: the Spiritual Master.
One should contemplate with abounding reverence and
unswerving faith. One must whip up the steeds of religious
earnestness and powerful faith. Crush one’s own self if
need be, but let nothing stand in the path. Marching on
with surety and strength of soul, contemplation thus done
with absolute faith alone leads to fruition. One must
imbibe blind obedience. What more is a mortal being
than a mere child! Do we have any real knowledge?
One must give one’s ‘self’ up entirely to the wishes of
the Spiritual Maven and be led by Him along the path,
even as a child is led. Thus, sacred contemplation
should be done daily and religiously.

In the inmost recesses of the inner world, into

which one enters is the way of ardent love or ardent
prayer; there are universes upon universes of the Divinity
in Revelation. And the Lord is always near. He is near
not in a physical sense; He is near in a spiritual sense as
the very ‘self’ within us. He is the very Substance of our
soul. He is the Knower of all our thoughts and of the
most hidden and most silent aspirations of the heart.
Give yourself up to His adept guidance for He is waiting
to lead you.
392 Devotion And The Modern Mind
In the not too distant past, a company would send
to a shopkeeper about a week or so ahead, a card saying,
“Our Mr. Smith will have the pleasure of waiting on you,
on such and such day.” The representative duly arrives and
waits inside the shop for the buyer to be free. He comes
expecting an order and promises to return if one is not
forthcoming. So, God wants us to wait upon Him – come
into His presence and expect an order from Him.

God often visits us, but most of the time we are not at
~Joseph Roux
Ordinarily, the mind runs in various directions
simultaneously. There are many thoughts running
concurrently within us. This random, incessant thinking
creates a kind of cloud, a fog of sorts, which acts as a
curtain that does not allow us to see our inner reality;
our real nature, as to who we really are. Meditation brings
about a synthesis, a certain crystallization of the mind. It
assimilates the thoughts and the whole thinking process
and makes us collected and centred. Our energies get
suffused; we become integrated. Of course, it is not easy
because the mind is so habituated to juggling multiple
thoughts simultaneously. It has become its very nature! It
is cumbersome and arduous. The mind constantly needs
stimulation; that is its nourishment. When we meditate,
the mind is bound to resist, and be non–cooperative.
Naturally, it will want to continue to function in the way
Meditation: Distilling Bliss 393
it has been functioning for so long. All kinds of thoughts
will occur... a whole river of them. But, do not be worried.
This is natural and common.

Sometimes, in meditation, you may remember very

important things which had slipped your mind previously.
These were hidden in your unconscious memory, and have
now resurfaced into your conscious memory. They will be
available to you later too. So, do not dwell on them now.
Do not drift off. Beware of this! Be alert! This is your time
to meditate.... You can plan later.... Your meditation session
is not going to last forever. There is absolutely nothing
that cannot wait. There will be plenty of time and
opportunity to think later. Time being spent in meditation
is extremely precious. It is the time to reconnect with
yourself; to rediscover your real ‘self’. Stay focussed on
doing just that! Simply meditate…..!

Make your struggle for immortality here and now.

Train the mind. Keep strict guard over the mind. That is
the only important task. That is the great meaning and
purpose in life. Now is the opportunity to demonstrate
immortality by overcoming the body–consciousness, even
when the Spirit is encased, as it were, in flesh. Make
yourself worthy of immortality. Even the gods worship
him who has vanquished the body–idea.

The mind is strong; but it can be tamed by sincere

prayer. Prayer is the one thing. Nothing is greater than
394 Devotion And The Modern Mind
the Name of God. Constant vigilance must be exercised
along with constant prayer. Prayer goes deep; it eats out
the vitals of temptation. Pray, pray constantly. Prayer lends
wings to one’s soul. Even if mountain–loads of iniquity
have fallen upon the devotee and have buried every vestige
of his spirituality, prayer can raise him up.

A missionary on Furlough told this true story while

visiting his home church in Michigan: “While serving at
a small field hospital in Africa, every two weeks I travelled
by bicycle through the jungle to a nearby city for supplies.
This was a journey of two days and required camping
overnight at the halfway point. On one of these journeys,
I arrived in the city where I planned to collect money
from a bank, purchase medicine, and supplies, and then
begin my two–day journey back to the field hospital.
Upon arrival in the city, I observed two men fighting,
one of whom had been seriously injured. I treated him
for his injuries and at the same time talked to him about
the Lord. I then travelled two days, camping overnight,
and arrived home without incident.”

“Two weeks later I repeated my journey. Upon

arriving in the city, I was approached by the young man I
had treated. He told me that he had known that I carried
money and medicines. He said: Some friends and I
followed you into the jungle, knowing you would camp
overnight. We planned to kill you and take your money
and drugs. But just as we were about to move into your
Meditation: Distilling Bliss 395
camp, we saw that you were surrounded by twenty–six
armed guards.”

“At this, I laughed and said that I was certainly all

alone in that jungle campsite. The young man pressed the
point, however, and said: No, sir, I was not the only person
to see the guards, my friends also saw them, and we all
counted them. It was because of those guards that we were
afraid and left you alone.”

“At this point in the sermon, one of the men in

the congregation jumped to his feet and interrupted the
missionary and asked if he could tell him the exact day
this happened. The missionary told the congregation the
date and the man who interrupted told him this story:
On the night of your incident in Africa, it was morning
here and I was preparing to go play golf. I was about to
putt when I felt the urge to pray for you. In fact, the
urging of the Lord was so strong that I called men in this
church to meet me here in the sanctuary to pray for you.
Would all of those men who met me on that day stand

“The men who had met together to pray that day

stood up. The missionary was not concerned with who
they were, he was too busy counting how many men he
saw. There were twenty–six.”

This story is an incredible example of how the

Almighty Lord moves in mysterious ways. You can, at this
396 Devotion And The Modern Mind
moment, ascend higher than storms and tumult, for on
the wings of faith and prayer the humble soul can reach
the pinnacle of realization and commune with the Eternal
God: its refuge and its strength.

Thus, be not discouraged when faced with evil

tendencies because the Lord God is always near. He knows
your woe and your sincerity, but never forgo calling upon
Him. From out of the depth of earnest prayer, all things
come – love for God, spiritual vision and spiritual
realization. Take your stand upon the thought that God
is All–Powerful and that His nature is that of the Good
Shepherd who guides His sheep especially when they go
astray. All that is needed to be done is to remain alert of
what we are trying to do: stay focussed on the act of
meditating. In order to still the mind, remain centred on
reciting the Holy Name that was bestowed at the time of
initiation by the Spiritual Master. His love and grace are
then made manifest to the seeker, and he is lifted up as a
testimony of the works of the Most High.

Your sincerity will make you steadfast; steadfastness

will take you to the goal. Sincerity will also make you
resolute; and resoluteness will enable you to overcome
all fear. The Benignant Master’s blessings are forever with
His devotees. Everything depends on individual effort
and the mercy of God is always at hand.

Each individual is the custodian of his own karma;

Meditation: Distilling Bliss 397
each is the breaker of his own bondage; each must for
himself discover the Reality within him. There is no other
way. Each stands on his own ground; each must fight his
own battle; and realization is always a wholly individual
experience. Ultimately, each is his own Saviour and his
own Lord. For, when the realization dawns, Divinity shall
shine through each and every fragment of the spiritual
seeker’s personality.

Five frogs are sitting on a log. Four decide to jump off.

How many are left? There are still five – because there’s a
difference between deciding and doing.
~‘Five Frogs On A Log’’
Meditation is something you can do in any situation
and in any posture. However, some situations are more
conducive than others in helping the mind settle down.
Especially when you are just getting started, it is wise to
look for such situations where there is a minimum of
disturbance, both physical and mental. Choose a quiet
spot, in your home or outside. Choose a good time to
meditate. Also, some postures are more conducive than
others in helping the mind to settle down. The standard
posture for meditation is sitting, and it is wise to learn
how to sit in a way that allows you to meditate for long
periods of time without moving and without, at the same
time, causing undue pain or harm to the body. It is
important to sit in a comfortable way. Meditation should
be an enjoyable exercise, so that your love for it grows
398 Devotion And The Modern Mind
each day, and it becomes an important part of your
life. Determine to be consistent each hour of the day
until your whole nature becomes charged with the
spiritual idea and intention. Be always on the guard.
Resign everything to Him who is the Dispenser of all
good things. Embrace whatever will keep you steady
on the spiritual path. Always be true and loyal to the
Source from which you received inspiration. Have faith
and love; have hope and be patient. All these veils of
illusion shall be soon ripped asunder, and you will
behold the Supreme One in His true nature.

In meditation, all that we need is alertness, the

ability to know what is happening in the body and mind
while it is happening. Be attentive. Stay focussed on the
recitation. Thoughts will come. Exterminate them through
constant recitation. Remain disengaged and detached. By
paying attention to them, we empower them. Attention
is the fuel that strengthens them. And on getting engaged
or involved with them, we lose ourselves in them. Just
keep reciting the Divine Name, and by and by the
thoughts will lessen. They become powerless if you
simply remain a detached observer; like a bystander.
Ignore whatever goes on as if you were standing by the
side of the road, watching the traffic go by!

Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless – like water.

Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup, you put
water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot,
Meditation: Distilling Bliss 399
it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be
water, my friend.
~Bruce Lee
Recite calmly, patiently and most importantly
lovingly! Create an intense fondness for the Holy Name.
Recite it wholeheartedly, with your whole being, with all
your energies. Not forcefully, but gently. There must be
an innate longing for complete redemption, for peace
and bliss. One must be ardent in one’s desire and effort
to abandon any unskilful qualities that may arise in the
mind, and to develop skilful qualities in their place. Stay
with the breath. There is essentially a deep correlation
between the breath and thoughts. Breathing is intrinsically
connected with thoughts. Have you noticed, when we
become agitated, upset or angry, our breathing changes!
It becomes rapid and shallow. We breathe faster and the
breath is shorter. Only in intense moments of rage, or
physical activity, we suddenly become aware of our breathing.

When we are anxious, pensive or tensed up, and

the mind has become overactive, our breath again loses
its natural rhythm. Conversely, just as thoughts affect our
breathing, we can alter our state of mind through the
breath. Whenever somebody is ver y perturbed or
disturbed, we say, ‘Take a deep breath’. Why? Because
deep breathing helps to calm them down. Similarly, focus
on the breath while reciting the Divine Name causes the
breath to fall into a rhythmic pattern. And this has a very
400 Devotion And The Modern Mind
direct effect on the mind. It causes thoughts to subside.
They automatically begin to disappear. They lose all power.
Soon you will be surprised! Thoughts will begin to evaporate
into thin air, into nothingness! They dive back into their
source and disappear. Gradually, the mind will begin to
become less and less active. Thoughts are like clouds moving
in the sky of our ‘being’. If we do not engage ourselves in
them, they simply drift away, and the sky becomes clearer
and clearer, and finally the vast expanse of our ‘being’ is
laid bare – revealed to us in all its expanse and emptiness
like a clear sky!

Gradually, one will get detached from the breathing

process. Suddenly, it is not we, who are breathing, but
instead the breathing is going on, and we are simply the
observer. And as we become unidentified from the
breathing process, we simultaneously become separate
from our thoughts. Suddenly, there comes a moment,
when we are there; the breathing is there; and the thoughts
are also there, but the two are separate from us. We have
become the witness of the two occurrences namely, the
breathing and the thinking. The breathing is going on;
the thinking is going on; and we are simply watching them.
And this is a great phenomenon, simply miraculous. A
revelation! For the first time we come to realize that we
are not our thoughts. Thinking is occurring, but we are
separate from it. We are just observing it. And we also
realize that we are not the body. The body is sitting; the
breathing is occurring; but we are simply a witness to it.
26 Meditation: Distilling Bliss 401
We suddenly come to realize that we are neither the mind
nor the body. We are separate from both, the body and the
mind. We are in the body, but the body is not who we are.
We have a mind, but we are independent of it. This moment
of realization is a great moment for a devotee.

Some people think that meditation takes time away from

physical accomplishment. Taken to extremes, of course, that’s
true. Most people, however, find that meditation creates more
time than it takes.
~Peter McWilliams
This is the story of President Lincoln’s youth. He
was born in a very poor family but he had the grim
determination to move forward and improve his straitened
circumstances. Once, he learnt that a retired judge lived
in a village on the opposite bank of the river. This judge
had a very useful collection of law books. Lincoln decided
to see him. He started rowing a boat to the other bank.
It was extremely cold and the river–water was icy. He had
hardly crossed up to the middle of the river that his boat
was wrecked having collided with an iceberg. Lincoln was
a brave man. He did not lose courage and swam in the
icy waters and reached the house of that retired judge.

Nothing can withstand the power of the human will if it

is willing to stake its very existence to the extent of its purpose.
~Benjamin Disraeli
402 Devotion And The Modern Mind
Incidentally, at that time the judge did not even
have a domestic help. So, Lincoln had to do his household
work. He had to bring wood from the forest and draw
water from the well. What did he get in return for his
service? He did not ask for anything except his permission
to read the books in the judge’s library. The judge was
very happy to allow this. It was because of this willpower
and determination that Lincoln became the central figure
in the national life of America and occupied the highest
post in the land. He became its President. How true is
the axiom that a man can achieve anything if he has the
willpower and determination!

God loves to help him who strives to help himself.

Shortcuts attract all of us. And, of course, we are
free to take the easy way out. As oaks do not grow
overnight, the mind and character cannot be moulded at
a stride. Similarly with meditation, one needs to be
patient, as with all things of great value. Do not expect
instantaneous results or get frustrated at the initial stage.
Valuable things are never attained with ease. If they are
attained easily, we tend not to value them. Meditation is
the greatest blessing in life, the greatest benediction. It
will take some time to grow within you. Be patient and
trust that it will happen to you as it has happened to so
many. Just persist and persevere. Do not give up.

It is beneficial to be disciplined about your meditation

Meditation: Distilling Bliss 403
because that way the mind gets trained. The mind is not
our enemy. It has just become used to rigorous activity
because of all the things we have been doing until now. We
simply have to train it now to become still and silent. The
mind is a very flexible mechanism. With regular meditation
practice, it will learn to dive back into its Source, which
is our inner ‘being’, our pure existence. Have faith that
this will happen. Adherence to faith and trust is
indispensable in meditation. Develop a loving relationship
with your meditation practice. Inculcate a yearning within
yourself to look forward to meditation; then meditation
will shower greatest rewards.

To bring a total end to the mind’s self–inflicted

stress and suffering requires a great deal of dedication,
training, and skill. Even if you simply want help in
managing pain or finding a little more peace and stability
in your life, meditation has plenty to offer. It can also
strengthen the mind to deal with many of the problems
of day–to–day life, because it develops qualities like
mindfulness, alertness, concentration, and discernment
that are useful in all activities, at home, at work, or
wherever you are. These qualities are also helpful in
dealing with some of the larger, more difficult issues of
life. Addiction, trauma, loss, disappointment, illness,
aging, and even death are a lot easier to handle when the
mind has developed the skills fostered by meditation.

It was once announced that the devil was going

404 Devotion And The Modern Mind
out of business and would offer all his tools for sale to
anyone who would pay his price. On the night of the
sale, the tools were all attractively displayed. Even so,
they were a bad looking lot: malice, hatred, envy, jealousy,
sensuality, deceit, and other implements of evil were
spread out, each marked with its price. Apart from the
rest, lay a harmless–looking, wedge–shaped tool, very
much worn–out, but priced higher than any of the others.
Someone asked the devil, “What is that?”

“That is discouragement,” replied the devil.

“Why do you have it priced so high?” the prospective

purchaser inquired.

“Because,” answered the devil, “it is more useful

to me than any of the others. I can pry open and get
inside a man with that when all the other tools fail. Once
I get inside his mind with discouragement, I can bend it
in whatever way I want. The reason this tool is so much
worn–out is because I use it with nearly everybody; but
very few people know it belongs to me.”

The devil’s price for discouragement was so high

that it was never sold. He still owns it and is still using it!
While practising spiritual disciplines we must never allow
discouragement to overcome us. In meditation, we must
remain alert and relaxed at the same time. And this is
what makes meditation difficult. Ordinarily, we are either
alert or relaxed….Either one or the other... Never both
Meditation: Distilling Bliss 405
at the same time…..But, this is the secret to success in
meditation; the knack of right meditation. We need to
be alert because the whole idea of meditation is to awaken
the reality of who we are at the core of our ‘being’. The
mind, keeps trying to escape by disappearing into sleep.
Therefore, it is paramount that we remain vigilant and
alert. At the same time, it is important that we remain
calm and relaxed. Be at ease with ourselves. Be loving
and patient, like a lover waiting for his Beloved. The
alertness and the relaxation are both equally important.
Thus, meditation is a relaxed attentiveness. Or
alternatively, meditation is an alert relaxation. The
relaxation must be as deep when we let go in bed at sleep–
time, so that sleep descends upon us. And the alertness
must be like when we are trying to cross a busy road.
There should be acuteness to the quality of our attention.

The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too
greedy, or too impatient. One should lie empty, open, choiceless
as a beach – waiting for a gift from the sea.
~Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Meditation thus is simply an ‘awake sleep’; a paradox.
But, that is the beauty of it. That is why it is so refreshing,
so rejuvenating. It recharges every cell of our bio–
mechanism. We feel revitalized, as if born anew! Through
meditation our intelligence grows and the mind gets
sharper, and we gain insights into the deep mysteries of
life! That is why learning to meditate is the greatest gift
406 Devotion And The Modern Mind
we can give to ourselves.

All our life, we have lived under the impression

that we think, therefore we are! In meditation, when for
the first time we experience the state of thoughtlessness,
we come to realize for the very first time, that we ‘Are’
and therefore we think, and not the other way around.
We realize that we are independent of our thoughts. This
realization is liberation. It creates a great transformation
within. We come to know that we are the master and the
mind is a mechanism for our usage. We realize that we
are not simply an accumulation of our thoughts, but
something much more! We come to know of ‘Something’
within us, which is pristine and pure, unadulterated by
all the madness of the mind and the world around us.
We encounter ‘That’ which has always been, even before
we were born. ‘That’ which will remain even after death!

God is all and I am nothing.

~Fr. Francesco Pitocchi
Death does not feel so fearful anymore, because now
we know that it can only destroy the outer garb. There is
something within us, which cannot be touched by death!
We have experienced something so undeniably alive and
real within ourselves, that the concept of death being the
end of our existence completely disappears. We know
without doubt and with complete certainty that we shall
persist, even beyond death! The soul lives to Eternity.
And this knowing transforms us! There is a deep relaxation
Meditation: Distilling Bliss 407
that occurs, because the fear of death is a very deep–rooted
anxiety. There are so many decisions we have taken and
acts we have performed simply because of our fears. And
the root of all fears is the fear of death. It is our greatest
fear, ever present, lurking all around us!

To the enlightened man... whose consciousness embraces

the universe, to him the universe becomes his ‘body’, while the
physical body becomes the manifestation of the universal mind.
His inner vision an expression of the highest reality, and his
speech an expression of eternal truth and mantric power.
~Lama Gouinda
Once meditation has happened to us, life is never
the same anymore. The whole perspective changes! Our
old concepts and ideas disappear and a new birth occurs!
We have invested our whole lives in our bodies and our
minds, thinking them to be our true identity! But, once
we have realized our Essence; our real nature, then the
body is just a vehicle and the mind is just a mechanism;
and both are available to us, so that we may make their
optimum usage to tread forward and march steadily ahead
on the path towards our ultimate blossoming...............
408 Devotion And The Modern Mind


This mercy comes to the pure. So purity is the condition

of His mercy. How that mercy acts! He reveals Himself to the
pure heart; and the pure and stainless man sees God, yea,
even in this life. Then and only then, all the crookedness of the
heart is made straight. Then all the doubts cease. Man is no
longer the sport of the terrible laws of cessation.
~Swami Vivekananda
However different may be the approaches leading
to the Divine, there can never be any true spiritual life
without a firm moral basis. Ethics is a necessary stepping
stone to spiritual culture and divine realization. It permits
us to operate from a foundation of comparative stability
instead of the constantly shifting sands of life’s dramas
that drain us of innate, spiritual vitality. Virtuous living
enables the soul’s presence to be revealed and the higher
ideal to be achieved in the present lifetime.

On an intellectual, technological and monetary

scale, humanity’s progress has evolved dramatically. Rapid
material advancement accompanied by an almost
unaltered furtherance of our ethical perceptibility has in
Let Virtues Garnish Thoughts 409
fact created conditions of strife and instability in our
manifest reality. Our behaviour remains tethered to the
baser instincts. Body and mind have become a hindrance
to the recognition of the Inner Spirit as whatever occurs
in our mundane life easily reverberates to the Inner Being.
Man has lost all sense of stability and control. We require
discipline in our emotional lives. No spiritually awakened
soul can thrive in an unrighteous body.

Let one avoid atheism, contempt of scriptures and divine

forces, hatred, hypocrisy, pride, anger, and severity.
~Manu Smriti IV/163
All holy scriptures and texts are in concur that
ethical practice is indispensable for all spiritual aspirants.
There might be different paths in spiritual life but there
is only one system of moral culture. At the beginning of
his spiritual life, the aspirant may be able to draw a
distinction between moral culture and spiritual practice;
but as he advances, the dividing line between the two
disappears. The two become indissolubly connected with
each other.

In this state, one can navigate one’s life looking

for wisdom in each new challenge, the creative spark in
the mundane, the intuitive feeling around each corner
and the deeper rhythms in the apparent calamity of
everyday life. It is in this self–empowerment that we rise
as spiritual beings to the challenges of the physical world.
410 Devotion And The Modern Mind
We are able to discern wholeness and unity in what earlier
appeared to be separation and isolation. Regardless of
where one is physically in the world or what one is
encountering, the inner ‘being’ is saturated with divine love.
Whether one can attain and maintain this state of divine
coherence rests largely on one’s vigilance in applying ethical
virtues to one’s daily interactions.

One day the Holy Master asked, “What, in your
opinion, is the most important of all religious questions?”
He got many answers: “Does God exist?” “Who is
God?” “What is the path to God?” “Is there a life after
“No,” said the Holy Master. “The most important
question is: Who am I?”

Master Tung Kwo asked Chuang: “Show me where the

Tao is to be found.” Chang Tzu replied, “There is nowhere it
is not to be found.”
~The Way of Chuang Tzu

A king with a defect in one eye and one leg asked
Let Virtues Garnish Thoughts 411
all the painters in the kingdom to draw a beautiful portrait
of his but no one was ready to draw, as how to show him
beautiful with defects in one eye and a leg. One painter,
however, agreed and drew a classic one. It was such a
fantastic picture that everyone was surprised. He painted
the king aiming for a hunt, targeting with one eye closed
and a leg bent for it.
Why can we all not paint others like this, hiding
their weaknesses and highlighting their strengths?

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its

ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it
is stupid.
~Albert Einstein

A broadminded Emperor in China, wanting an
heir, determined to sidestep his family and partners and
trace one from among the youth. After preliminary tests,
a group of young men turned up at the palace one
morning. The Emperor told them that he was going to
select one of them to succeed him. “I am giving you each
a seed now, an extraordinarily unique seed. I would like
you to sow it, water it, nurture it and come back after a
year with what you have grown.”
A youth named Chen among the fortunate youths
412 Devotion And The Modern Mind
was very much thrilled. He went home and let know his
mother regarding the competition. Right away he started
watering and caring for the seed. He waited patiently for
a few days, but nothing turned out. A few weeks passed,
but still there was nothing sprouting. Meanwhile, he heard
about the animated gossip among the other youths as to
how well their plants were coming up.

The year passed. On the prearranged day, all the

youths came to the palace with well–nourished and fine
looking plants. Chen was hesitant to go, but his mother
persisted that he should go with his empty pot. At the
palace, the others looked with some contempt at Chen’s
pot, and commented, “Hey, pleasant attempt!”

The Emperor arrived and began scrutinizing the

endeavour of the youngsters. Towards the end, he saw a
nervous Chen near his empty pot. The Emperor looked
at the pot, and looked at Chen and then asked the
attendants to bring the pot and the chap to the dais.
Chen assumed his end was near, while the others could
not hold back their glee at Chen’s distress.

The Emperor now ascended the dais as pin–drop

silence prevailed. He said, as he caught hold of Chen’s
hand, “This young man will succeed me as the Emperor.”
Sighs of incredulity filled the hall, as the Emperor
continued, “A year ago, I gave you all a seed and asked
you to plant it and nourish it. But, I gave you boiled
seeds which would not sprout. When the seeds did not
Let Virtues Garnish Thoughts 413
sprout, all of you, with the exception of Chen, replaced
it with another seed. But he was honest not to make any
change. And I reward him for his righteousness.”

An honest man’s the noblest work of God.

~Alexander Pope

Years ago, a young American girl visited the home
of Beethoven. She sat down at the piano of the great
artist and played through with pride his Moonlight Sonata.
When she had finished, she turned to the stern old
caretaker of the house and said to him, “I suppose many
great people come here?”
“Yes,” said the man; “Paderewski was here last
“And did he play on Beethovan’s piano?” she asked.
“No,” said the old man; “he said he was not worthy.”

Whosoever therefore grounds his virtue in humility,

he shall never err.
~John of Ruysbroeck

A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with his
414 Devotion And The Modern Mind
begging bowl by his feet. He held up a sign that read: “I
am blind, please help!” There were only a few coins in
the bowl.
A man was walking by. He took a few coins from
his pocket and dropped them into the boy’s bowl. He
then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some
words on it. He put the new sign back so that everyone
who walked by would see the new words he had written.
Very soon the bowl began to fill up with coins and
bills. That afternoon the man who had changed the sign
came to see how things were. The boy recognized his
footsteps and asked: “Were you the one who changed my
sign this morning? What did you write?”
He replied, “I said what you said but differently. I
wrote – “Today is a beautiful day, and I cannot see it!”
Let us be thankful for what we have.

Be thankful for the least gift, so shalt thou be meet to

receive greater.
~Thomas Kempis

A grocer came to a Saint in great distress to say
that right across his shop had opened a large chain store
that would drive him out of business. His family had owned
Let Virtues Garnish Thoughts 415
his shop for a century, and to lose it now would be his
undoing, for there was nothing else he was skilled at.
“If you fear the owner of the chain store, you will
hate him; hatred will be your undoing.” said the Saint.
“What shall I do?” said the distraught grocer.
“Each morning in your prayers, wish prosperity for
your shop and also for the chain store.”
“What? Pray for my competitor’s success?”
“Any blessing you give him, will rebound to your
good; any evil you wish him, will destroy you.”
After six months, the grocer returned to report
that he had to close down his shop as he had feared, but
he was now in charge of the chain store and his affairs
were in better shape than ever before.

A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good

deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and
he who plants kindness gathers love.
~St. Basil (329-379 A.D.)


A young and successful executive was travelling
down a neighbourhood street, going a bit too fast in his
new Jaguar. He was watching for kids darting out from
416 Devotion And The Modern Mind
between parked cars and slowed down when he thought
he saw something. As his car passed, no children appeared.
Instead, a brick smashed into the Jag’s side door! He
slammed on the brakes and spun the Jag back to the spot
from where the brick had been thrown. He jumped out of
the car, grabbed some kid, and pushed him up against a
parked car shouting, “What was that all about and who are
you? Just what the heck are you doing?”

Building up a head of stream he went on. “That is

a new car and that brick you threw is going to cost a lot
of money. Why did you do it?”

“Please, mister, please. I am sorry, I did not know

what else to do,” pleaded the youngster. “I threw the
brick because no one else would stop...”

Tears were dripping down the boy’s chin as he

pointed around the parked car. “It is my brother,” he
said. “He rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair
and I cannot lift him up.”
Sobbing, the boy asked the executive, “Would you
please help me to get him back into his wheelchair? He is
hurt and he is too heavy for me.”

Moved beyond words, the young executive tried to

swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat. He lifted
the young man back into the wheelchair and took out his
handkerchief and wiped the scrapes and cuts, checking
to see that everything was going to be okay.
27 Let Virtues Garnish Thoughts 417
“Thank you and May God bless you,” the grateful
child said to him. The man then watched the little boy
push his brother down the sidewalk toward their home.
It was a long walk back to his Jaguar... a long, slow walk.

One cool judgement is worth a thousand hasty councils.

The thing to do is to supply light and not heat.
~ Woodrow Wilson

A minister noticed a little boy holding securely the
end of a long string. The attached kite was indistinguishable
in the evening twilight.
When he inquired of the lad why he was acting so,
the boy said he was flying a kite.
“I cannot see it; but I know it is there, for I feel the
Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the
dawn is still dark.
~Shri Rabindranath Tagore


Each day a bird would shelter in the withered
418 Devotion And The Modern Mind
branches of a tree that stood in the middle of a vast
deserted plain. One day a whirlwind uprooted the tree,
forcing the poor bird to fly a hundred miles in search of
shelter – till it finally came to a forest of fruit–laden
If the withered tree had survived, nothing would have
induced the bird to give up its security and fly.

Life can only be understood backwards. It must be lived

~Soren Kierkegaard

When a man has cast away all the desires of his heart
and feels satisfied in the Self alone, then he is said to be one of
steady wisdom. Having realized in the transcendental state,
the Self dwelling equally in all, he hates no creatures, and is
friendly and compassionate towards all. He is free from the
feelings of ‘I and mine’. Even minded in pain and pleasure,
forbearing, ever content, steady in meditation, self-control,
possessed of firm convictions, he has his mind and intellect
fixed on the Divine.
~Srimad Bhagwad Gita II/55-56
All evils having been eliminated through strenuous
moral and ethical practice, there remain for the spiritual
Let Virtues Garnish Thoughts 419
seeker, during the state in which he is somewhat conscious
of the world, only the good desires. In whatever he does,
his conduct is in full agreement with the highest ethics, and
he is above the distinctions of relative good and relative
bad. Thus, treading on the path of spirituality he is not
only able to efface the impacts of previous misdeeds but
also does not create any new karmic impressions, under the
adept guidance of his Spiritual Maven.

Thus, with the anchorage of the spiritual disciplines

expounded by the Perfect Holy Master, the devout soul
attains realization of the Eternal and the Immortal as his
own ‘self’. Imbibing the Divine Master’s holy behests,
spiritual votaries remain free in life as in death. May their
noble lives and examples be a source of abiding inspiration
to the seekers of Truth all over the world.

Gentle showers of Lord came upon me, granting rest,

And caused a cloud of peace to hang above my head;
Which protected me at all times,
And became the source of my salvation.
Though all things were shaken and afraid,
Smoke and judgement rising from them;
I was at peace in the Word of the Lord.
More than shelter was the Lord to me,
And more than a foundation.
420 Devotion And The Modern Mind
I was carried like a child is, by his mother,
And He gave me milk, the Dew of the Lord.
And I grew strong through His gift,
And rested in His Perfection.
I spread out my hands in the ascent of my soul,
And turned myself towards the Most High;
And was redeemed by Him..
~Odes Of Solomon
422 Devotion And The Modern Mind

All know that the drop merges

into the Ocean, but few know that the
Ocean merges into the drop.
~Great Saint Shri Kabir Sahib ji
My Benevolent Master 423

What to say in the admiration of my Spiritual Master:
O Benevolent Master! Thou art my everything!
O Lord! Accepting me as thine own,
Thou hast showered thine benevolence.
I am thine humble servant,
And thou art the King of kings.
The realization has dawned upon me
That I am a drop of the vast Ocean;
That my soul is a part of my Almighty Father,
I can reach my True Home:
Only by practice of regular contemplation.
Lifting up the consciousness to see thee,
In the higher planes of this human frame –
Will be a true divine meeting;
That gives purpose to life and makes it worth living.
Union of the soul with the God Almighty,
Is the only means to attain Eternity.
All the hustle bustle of life comes to rest,
In the lotus feet of the Benevolent Spiritual Master.
O Lord! Thou doth grant succour to the soul,
Moreover, nurseth it with tender care.
424 Devotion And The Modern Mind
The ecstasy springing from service and devotion,
Is indeed my Spiritual Master’s precious benediction.
Remaining submerged in that ocean of bliss,
Is the longing of the soul and its earnest wish.
Blessed are seekers of True Name of Providence,
To such fortunate ones joys come in abundance;
O Adept Master, thou art our Father and we thine children,
How happy we feel when unto thee we come!
The mother knows that the child is hers’
And so does the child.
But she feels delighted when the kid says,
“O Mother! I am yours!”
Soul is a drop and Divine Master is the Ocean Vast,
Thou doth feel elated when we exclaim,
“I am what Thou art!”
Let us take a pledge to please our Benevolent Master,
By remembering Him in every breath with fervour.
Sacred Remembrance would cleanse inner defilement,
O Lord! Thou art the Saviour!
Thou art the Healer of all our ailments,
O My Benevolent Master!
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