| by Ruzbeh Bharucha |
Very often I wonder what is it that we, as human beings want, not only out of life but from oneself. What is it that shall fill the gaping void within, quell the churning and restlessness and remove the angst that comes about due to the futility of existence?
Have you ever asked yourself what is it that you truly want? What is the sole purpose and soul priority of your very being and lifecycle? I often feel most of our pain and sorrow comes forth not from not having the right answers but from not asking the right questions. And this comes about because we tend to go on a journey without a road map. If there is no road map, how would you know what to take along with you for the journey? When you know your destination, you will know what to take along and to leave behind all the unnecessary baggage that shall make the journey a nightmare from the very start itself.
If life and existence is a journey, most of us seem to be wandering about not really sure where we are headed and where we would finally reach. And this I think comes from the fact that most of us never really ask the right questions at the start of the journey and thus, have really pertinent answers or solutions through meanderings of by-lanes, that only lead to more by-lanes and eventually, having missed the highway, way behind, one gets lost, but still unaware, as one never really knew where one was headed, in the first place itself.
We are so lost, that even the pure, selfless exchange of love has got the stench of I-myself. Nowadays, the mantra to love somebody, whosoever it may be, child, parent, sibling, spouse, friend, is a simple - I love you so much ... don't you bloody breathe!
When I look back at my road map and walk through the by-lanes of my past, I am convinced that I have been solely responsible for most of my heart breaks, failures and angst. My misery has been mostly self-inflicted. I have chartered my own road to hell assisted well by my loved ones, no two doubts, but I have been the captain of my own sinking ship.
Yes, of course there is always the elusive but omnipresent law of Karma, but often I think, the chap in charge of dishing out Karma, stands dumbfounded, viewing the way we go about making a hash out of our lives, single handed, without allowing him to even make his presence felt, by the sheer wrong use of Free Will. He is like a professional assassin waiting to make his entrance and go about his job, but God riding a neon tricycle, all his targets keep shooting themselves to death by mistake.
If partaking of ones Karma is mandatory, the manner in which each karmic association and involvement is experienced, faced and gone through, is at ones discretion and Free Will.
Let us assume we have to go through failure at a sadistic regularity. For some reason we have given our very best, but our Karmic balance sheet necessitates, that no matter what, failure is calmly waiting, at the end of the finish line and success isn't in the scheme of things.
We have a choice now either to learn from your failure, accept it calmly (may be after the initial outlet of anger, frustration and the use of words not found in the Holy Scriptures) and move on with the knowledge that you have given your best, couldn't have given more and that's that. Or, one can get bitter, nasty, negative and become an insufferable pain in the rectal opening.
Similarly, if successful, one can remain humble, grounded, charitable and compassionate or can get egoistic, mean and niggardly and basically become an individual, who should have been efficiently strangulated at birth by a wise gynaecologist.
So coming back to the original question, what is that we truly want out of life and out of oneself? During the course of channelling, I have met people who very often are their own cause of suffering and frustration. I have met innumerable good people who are going through a nightmare, plainly because they haven't asked a simple question: what is my priority in life; what is it that I truly want, what is that my true being desires; what is my sole and soul priority.
The best way to know what your main priority in life is, ask yourself a simple question; what is it that I want for myself, not just for now and this life time but for all of eternity.
If your Master were to metamorphose in front of you, in the flesh, (and in all probability you would pass out with professional agility, but after regaining consciousness), if S(H)e were to ask you, my sweet demented child who looks at me dumbfounded with mouth ajar,
"I have come here to grant you One wish, but after I grant you that One wish, for the rest of eternity and all your lifetimes.and the way you are going about leading your life, my sweet tangled child, it is going to be many lifetimes
I shall grant you no more wishes. Ask for one thing and make Peace for all of eternity."
What is it that you would wish for then, if that wish would be your sole and soul priority?
What would you want your Master to bless you with for all of infinity? That one thing after which you for the rest of all your lifetimes, either in the physical plane or in the spirit plane, you would receive no more grace and have to make your peace and never expect anything else in your journey of now to the beyond?
Would you ask for that much needed office promotion, money, power, that fancy car, jewellery, obliteration of the one giving you grief or abusing you, health, that love of your life, child's wellbeing, your wellbeing, success in all financial endeavours, popularity, fame.
What is that one thing you would want for yourself.
It is important you are truly honest with yourself. I have had old people weep and grownups astounded, when it dawns on them, that what they would ask for, has got nothing to do with what they pray for or hope for or yearn for or are obsessed with, in their present day to day life.
Most people never ask for what they truly think they would ask for. Of course there are exceptions. But out of hundred, may be ten would ask for money, or fame or riches. Most ask for happiness and peace of mind and then they realize that their every moment, their actions are directed towards being as far away as possible from achieving that state of happiness and peace of mind.So though the soul wants happiness and peace, every action, thought and word, brings about disquietude; if not all, most at least.
So it is like you are craving for cool water to drink and every time somebody offers you a glass of cold water, either you fling the glass away or spit in it. This is what most of us do.
But what is happiness and peace? What could give you happiness in the morning could become a source of discomfort or angst at night. Peace is such a fragile term. Both happiness and peace are dependent on outside stimulus. When ones child is healthy and calm, one experiences happiness and peace. Five minutes later when the child begins to behave like a strange mix of a disgruntled alien, a highly stubborn mule with a vocal-chord that could make the Heavens weep, happiness and peace have flung themselves off from the seventh floor. If you realize most of our so called peace and happiness is dependent on external impetus. Happiness and peace are subjective to too many outside factors and forces.
Then many say they want peace of mind? My dear demented goat, till you have a mind, you are not going to have peace. It is like saying, I want all politicians to work for the wellbeing of society and world at large.The mind is designed to give you unease. It is programmed to give you grief. The mind is a composition of all experiences and desires, ever lived through the souls journey in every form and specie. We aren't the mind. We are the spirit. We are pure consciousness. The mind is limited perception. It is an amalgam of all that you have lived and learned and experienced. It is filled with fears, phobias, prejudices, wants, likes and dislikes and assumptions.
The purpose of life is to let go of the limited mind, bring in the calmness of silence, and to use the foundation of silence, to go further within and then beyond the three dimensions and merge into pure knowledge, which will then take you into pure wisdom which will take you into pure love which will take you into nothingness which will take you into Oneness which will make you realize your own Origin and Source and Godhood.
Now I need a drink.
Ok, so I remember an elderly lady had come for channelling and for half an hour all her questions were about her husbands health and business, the future of her sons and her grand-children. She went on and on about it and after getting all the answers, she was asked about what was her true soul priority. What did she really want for herself?She was told to shut her eyes and imagine her Master standing in front of her and telling her to ask for one wish to be granted and then for all of eternity make peace within. So she sat with eyes shut, and I could first make out that she was truly thinking about what she could ask that would take care of not just this life but all lifetimes and I realized that this was probably the first time in her life she actually thought about what could her soul wish and priority be.Then slowly her face began to show conflict within herself. After a while tears began to flow down her shut eyes. Then after a long time she opened her eyes and looked at me. I realized she wasn't sure whether to hate me or thank me for putting her into this situation of choice.This woman whose life apparently revolved around her family couldn't meet my eyes and in the end she whispered that her soul need and priority was to live in an ashram all her life and for all her remaining lives. That she wanted to leave everything and just live in an ashram and spend her day serving and praying and be left alone. And if ever she were to be born again, she wanted to be born as an orphan and left in an ashram, where she wanted to live her life, having nothing to do with family or friends or the world. She hated herself that moment for speaking or thinking like this, but if Baba Sai were to grant her one wish, she was certain, this was the wish she would want to be fulfilled. She then began to cry and called herself selfish and not a good human being, but she realized that this is what her soul truly desired. I asked her if she said all this because she wasn't happy at the moment or she had had a fight with her husband or sons or daughters in law, and she nodded in the negative. She said all was fine. She just realized all her life she was asking the wrong questions and thus had to live with false answers.So where it mattered most, her family was not present in the larger and more eternal scheme of things.
She came back six months later, looking years younger. She had begun to spend fifteen days every two months in an ashram and her family had made peace with her decision. She told me in this life time she had found her state of peace and it was not an ideal compromise, but at least she had begun asking the right questions and moving towards her priority.
To find out what your soul need or priority is you need to be real honest with yourself. Brutally straightforward and this truthfulness can come about when one is in a state of calm and not agitation.
Many try to seek an escape out of their circumstances and situations by taking a route that is basically to get out of a state of affairs or situation than to pursue a life that leads towards fulfilment of their soul priority. If the going is tough, one tries to find the nearest exit. That plan has got nothing to do with following and living ones priority. Basically you are trying to get your way out of either responsibility or just running away. Thus I am not advocating deserting ones common sense, moral accountability and ones duty towards family and those who are dependent on you, all in the guise of pursuing ones soul need and priority. Don't you go about fugging all that which is noble in the name of pursuing your priority, for GOD sake!
Let me give you a personal example. When I was around twenty one, I had three options for my future. One was pursue dramatics and get into professional theatre. Second, get into music and begin to teach and play on stage. Third was my writing. So I chose writing as a career. Now I chose writing, which was all fine, but I refused to join the rat race. I would tell one and all that I don't want anything to distract me in my pursuit of art which in reality was a beautiful card with heavy load of undiluted crap as in reality all I wanted to be was left alone and not interact with the world. So I made my priority a convenient excuse to really avoid the world. Eventually one day in prayer I was asked by my Master as to how many hours I spent writing. I replied maybe two or three hours. Then why don't you get up early, sleep a little late, write for those couple of hours and stop being a burden to your family and losing out on your self-respect which goes beyond art, the world and all that which is tangible. I got the message. Stop using my priority as an escape route. So I began to work, would get up at five, write till eight, and then at night work till eleven, and thus pursued my priority and without running away; though it made perfect sense to run and keep running; even now it makes perfect sense, but these Masters don't think so, thus, one aims to please the Old Man, on and off, at least.
I have met a few intellectuals who have left family and obligation to become authors or pursue other forms of art. When I have questioned them as to how many hours they put into their art, the answer is usually very abstract and if I insist, the reply is usually a few hours every day. So for a few hours of artistic pursuit they have either given up a lucrative career that keeps their family well taken care of or given up the family itself, when in reality, all the person had to do was to sacrifice a few hours of sleep and comfort, and go about taking care of his or her responsibility as well as pursue the form of art. But the individual took the easier route. We all try to take the easy route.
So the first step is do not bullshit yourself.
Second, usually ones soul priority will have little to do with worldly matter, but let us take a persons priority is to always be very rich, not only in this life time but in all times, there is absolutely nothing wrong in that. A lot of good can be done for a lot who truly need help, via money and power. But let us assume the individual cares a rats arse for doing good, and wants to be rich, to have all the perks money can provide. Once again nothing wrong with that. The thing to focus on then would be is the individual living a life filled with dexterity and purpose and intelligence to amass a lot of money. You cant say your priority is to make lot of money and then spend a large part of your time faffing around and watching television and generally not breaking into a sweat over achieving your dream. So first don't bullshit. Second, if you want something truly, then your every wakeful moment should be logically spent in achieving that goal or priority.
(n.b. - Bhakti Yoga defined below)
I meet a lot of folks who say their Master is their priority. Then your every action, thought, word; your very essence should be a testimony of pure surrender and that material ups and downs should matter little; fame and ill repute shouldn't matter at all; envy, gossip, slander shouldn't be encouraged; your breath should have the fragrance of your love for your Master and your Masters name should dance to the rhythm of your heart beat. That to serve your Master should be your only desire and to try and make Him or Her happy and proud of you should be your only reward. Now imagine this is your soul priority, that you would want to be blessed with for all eternity, your actions, thoughts and words, would move towards your priority of serving your Master and making your Master happy and proud of you. No doubt you would mess up now and then, but you would strive to hold on to your Master, virtually each moment of the day. Thus, your main priority or soul goal would define your other priorities in life too.
If a mans priority is his familys wellbeing, then he would work hard to provide his family with the best he can, but without neglecting them, trying to earn the extra buck. He would take care that he doesn't indulge in any criminal or illegal activity as that would shake the very foundations of his priority which is his family's wellbeing. That he would take care of his health, as his health and wellbeing would determine the wellbeing and security of his family. That he would be there for his family when they needed him and spend quality time with them, as that would enhance the wellbeing of the family. He would think of the future, without compromising the present. So his main priority would decide the satellite priorities too.
This is why it is important to sit with yourself and find out what is it that you truly want for all of eternity for yourself.
I remember a few days back a lady kept talking about her son and she went on and on, and she seemed truly affected as the son was, how do I put it delicately, ah yes, a shmuck. The woman, who all her life had led a very noble life, was now angry, bitter, negative and sort of going down a path which would not be good for her spiritual graph. And Baba Sai told her, this child of yours is with you for karmic reasons. In the next lifetime he is not going to be present with you as his karmic balance with you finishes. Why do you want to stall your spiritual growth and increase your karmic account, over something that is just a matter of give and take, which began in some life time and logically should end in this? Why stunt your spiritual growth over something temporary and which in reality is a karmic business transaction. Yes, do your duty and give your best, but don't get sucked into this game of illusion. Go beyond and focus on your true soul journey, where this boy, is a co passenger who is going to get off the vehicle, and catch another mode of transport, while you should be travelling logically to the very end till the arrival of your original destination. Would you get off the train, just because another passenger helped you pass time? You wouldn't. You would promise to keep in touch and both of you would continue with your respective plans. His destination and yours are different. So why are you jumping off the train for this co passenger? Why stall the most important journey of your soul life? And you know what, forget about future lifetimes, if you know what your priority in this life time is that is good enough, and yes, what are you doing about achieving it? Be it soul priority or your present life time priority, be honest with yourself, find it, accept it and work towards it.
So what is your true priority and what are you doing about it? If it is earning money, are you working intelligently towards becoming rich? If peace, are you reacting less and positively accepting your lot? If spiritual growth, have you stopped searching for answers outside and have begun to live in the moment and gotten inward. If it is happiness and peace of mind then you know you can't let the external affect you as then you are never going to have lasting peace or happiness.
The moment you give the world or anybody the power over your state of wellbeing, you are going to hurt on and off, for the rest of your life.
Find out what is your soul priority and get moving. And once again, be honest to yourself, as this could be the most important decision you might take for yourself, not just for now, but for eternity and beyond. Be blessed always.
Ruzbeh N Bharucha is the author of The Last Marathon, The Devis Emerald, The Fakir Trilogy, The Aum Of All Things.