Giving and Receiving

Swami Agnimitrananda Saraswati

In life we cannot feel or see God until we have given everything to Him. People may say with their lips that they have given their life to God, but their actions speak differently. Disciples say that they have given everything to the guru, but when their thoughts disturb them or desires come up, they are affected. They worry, asking themselves, why do I think like this? What shall I do? Then they tell their friends. They feel that it is their own problem. At that time why don't they believe that the guru will take away their thought or desire? When there is any sorrow or unhappiness they don't believe in God or guru; they turn to their friends, relatives or doctors. Only when they are cured they go to the guru and say, "Oh my beloved guru, please help me".

The guru is not an ordinary man but his behaviour is very simple. He does normal everyday duties but he is above all those things. He is just bringing us to God. The guru gives everything but the disciple is unable to surrender anything; even he keeps his little ego to himself. Disciples are insecure. They worry about their future. Why be aware of your future? When you have given yourself to him, forget about a future. Some people hope that by staying with the guru they will get nice material things, but to be close to the guru is like being close to God. When one is close to the guru there should be no ambitions, not even the longing for enlightenment.

Some disciples change the guru when he doesn't act as they would like him to. But when you sleep on the bed at night and you have good or bad dreams, you don't blame the bed for it. When your stomach is upset, you don't say that the toilet is at fault, or my stomach is bad, I should change it. In the same way, never say that the guru is good or bad. It is only your own mind.

Meditation is not the only way to realise. There is another important practice called bhakti yoga, and another called karma yoga. They can be practiced together. The enjoyment and happiness they bring, no one can describe. Meditation is external and internal, both. It is practiced not only while sitting. While you are in the garden, the office, the factory, the shop, the plane, or the kitchen, you can feel God or guru. Some people see a light. That light or inner power is something very real. It is not explicable, but it is an experience. Some people see this light while they are sitting for meditation, others while they are walking or working. To repeat God's name is not easy but with practice it goes on automatically. You don't need gears or an accelerator. When it comes you will feel it, without leaving your worldly duties. You can carry on with your work, and enjoy the divine light. Once you have seen that light, your normal duties do not stop but your approach changes. You do your duties for others instead of for yourself, so that they will receive God's grace too.

"But when I have not given anything to my beloved one and kept everything with me, how can I say I have surrendered? So many desires, all kinds of thoughts are with me. When I don't know him how will I say to others that I have surrendered completely to him? There is someone who guides me; I don't know who, but I feel him. He clears my mind and controls my ego. He has given me something - but I, selfish, what have I given to him? O beloved, take my everything and make me free. Keep me in your hand, I want to be with you always."