Sambandh

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

There are beliefs that any relationship is cultivated for seven life­times. Some people believe that even the relationship of husband and wife will last for seven lifetimes. These are only speculations, whether it is in relation to husband and wife or whether it is in relation to guru and disciple.

Develop the connection

What matters is the connection: the deeper the connection in this life, the closer you will be together in other lives as well. If the connection is not deep, if it is just superficial, then it is just a passing, ‘hello and goodbye’.

It is that connection which has to be looked at, not the theory or the speculation whether the relationship with the guru will last for one life or for seven lives. If you can identify with the aspirations of your guru, then the connection may go beyond seven lives to seven hundred, seven thousand or even seven million lives. However, if you cannot identify with anything, then it won’t last even this lifetime.

Some people come here only once and have no desire to ever come again. On the other hand there are others who will make the effort to come again and again to keep connected and to develop that connection. As it happens in real life, it happens in spiritual life too.

Beyond identification

There is a word in Hindi sambandh which means connection. Sambandh can also mean identification. Bandh means to lock, and sam means total. Therefore, sambandh means total locking.

When we see each other, we are creating an idea, an opinion and an understanding of each other. Our perceptions are bound and butted on all sides by our views about each other. My understanding of you, which is now bound by certain ideas and opinions, is defined as sambandh. This is how I know you as.

Identification and dis-identification happen at that point. They are the outcome of my sambandh, of recognizing you in a particular manner. If I engage with you, it is because I can identify some aspect with which I can interact. If I disengage with you, it is because I do not find anything in you with which I can interact.

Identification and dis-identification are not important, but how you view your sambandh, how you acknowledge your sambandh, how you hold your sambandh is important. If there is infatuation in the sambandh, then identification will be different. You will have more the feeling of belonging, wanting, desiring, needing. If the identification is not there with the sambandh, you will feel more isolated and aloof.

Interaction and non-interaction are not the issue. That is your choice. What is important is how you define and identify a connection which allows you to develop, maintain and sustain that connection or to change, alter and reject that connection. Sambandh is more important than identification and non-identification.

If you disconnect, like blowing out the burning match stick, then that sambandh is finished in one moment. However, the more integrated you become with the aspirations, inspiration and luminosity of the guru, with that faith and conviction, the longer the connection and the sambandh remain.

—3 April 2016, Ganga Darshan, Munger