Prawesh Singh talks about surrendering to our Inner Divine, on whom we can always rely to shepherd us through the journey called Life
It’s been about four years since that morning, but if I close my eyes, I can recollect it with such lucidity that it feels just like yesterday.
I had woken up to the distant rolling of clouds that sounded like the sigh of a lover calling for his beloved. This deep sound resonates every time with my heart, and just like the clouds, I drew a sigh thinking of my Beloved. I closed my eyes once again, and I saw my Beloved within me, smiling at me. I smiled back. Outside, the clouds rolled on, still calling for their beloved.
As I left my home for office, the clouds seemed to have got tired of calling, while the earth lay looking up silently. Then the tears of longing began to gently drizzle from above. First, a drop, then some more drops, and then, even more. With each drop touching the earth’s parched body, its fragrance wafted slowly up, all the way up to the clouds. This blissful experience of love was palpable as I stepped into the soft drizzle.
All of a sudden, this reverie dissipated as something started within my heart. It was the chanting of my Master’s mantra. I was a little confused as to why it had started on its own. I consciously tried to stop the chanting, as I wanted to enjoy the blissful weather. It did for a few seconds, but then it reverted. This was akin to shifting from dream state to wakefulness. After some time, I gave up fighting against the spontaneous chanting and allowed it to continue.
At that time, I used to live fairly close to my office and would travel by a shared auto. As I walked to the highway, the rains intensified, and so did the ceaseless involuntary chanting within me. Luckily, I got an auto which hadn’t got any fare yet. Even as I sat inside, the internal chanting went on, and I began to wonder why it was happening. In a short while, another staff member from my office hopped in. I smiled and he started a conversation, but he never got to complete his first sentence.
The experience was that of a free fall. There was a sharp sound, and I could see him falling forward in slow motion. I felt my own body weightless, and then, upside down. Everything happened within a few seconds, and even though the eyes saw everything in slow motion, the mind could not interpret what had just happened. I climbed out of the auto.
The auto now lay topsy-turvy off the road, its rear end mangled. Slowly, I saw my colleague and the driver climb out of the vehicle, both wincing in pain. It seemed so surreal; everything happened so fast! When I finally got my bearings right, I came to realise that a speeding truck had hit the auto, and it had been thrown off the highway, rolling over a couple of times as it did.
A few passers-by rushed over. Both my companions were badly hurt. My colleague had gotten his leg trapped under the side rail and couldn’t even stand; he had fractured his shin. The driver was injured even more; his head had hit the windshield and one of his radial bones was sticking out of his forearm. I examined myself and realised that I had come out of it unscathed, with nothing more than a little bump on the head when the vehicle had rolled over.
The chanting had stopped. I closed my eyes and offered myself at the feet of my Master, my Divine within me.
I realised that his grace and my deep connection with him had saved my life on that fateful day. And this had happened quite naturally and effortlessly, as though my safety was guaranteed.
My Divine Friend, my guru Dadashreeji says, “Spirituality is ‘being natural’.”
But somehow, this simple truth seems to have eluded most of us.
But what does it mean to be natural? Unless we inherently get to this state, we will continue to fall into pits and get lost in the labyrinth of life, in the absence of right knowledge and guidance.
The purpose of your life
Necklaced by the mystical Bhimashankar Hills, our ashram in Karjat, Maharashtra, is set in the lap of Mother Nature. During the monsoons, the entire landscape transforms into nothing short of paradise itself. The breathtaking beauty, coupled with the reverberation of the Divine energies present there, is enough to exalt one to a state of bliss.
During one of my stays there last year, I went to the nearby stream. Sitting on her banks, feet dipped in the crystal-clear cool waters, I was feeling happy and relaxed, when I felt the sentience of the stream very strongly. I closed my eyes and spoke to her. It was the first time something like this had happened.
She shared that her whole existence was centred around just one purpose, and every moment was spent fulfilling that purpose. From the first drop of the rain that brought about her existence, to the now cavorting stream, her only purpose was to reach the sea. In her journey, she passes through countless terrains and habitats, joining other streams on their way to a wise, mellow river, but all the while, steadily moving towards the sea.
Everything in nature has a purpose and a role to play. And all it takes is to move towards being natural.
How to be natural
At the very beginning of time, at the very beginning of everything itself, everything was One. That One was the Source of all; that One was Divine. Then came the moment of separation—the Big Bang—when that One became many, and the world as we know it, slowly evolved into existence.
Our true nature is of love and bliss but, after millennia and millennia of this separation, we have somewhere forgotten this true, natural state of being. Every day, we toil, either to make our ends meet or in the pursuit of mundane fancies, with the result that we don’t seem to experience our true Self. We have created mirrors, selfie sticks, and Snapchat filters to provide us with an external image of ourselves, but we have forgotten the most important image of all—that of our inner Self.
Our life is either shrouded by the web of pomp and show of this world or by adversities, which makes it seem impossible to look beyond the existing predicament, making it difficult to find the purpose of our lives.
Yet, as bleak as it may seem, all hope is not lost! Even though the conditioning of our mind obscures the truth of our existence, the soul is fully aware. At the level of soul, the purpose of life is to return to the Source from which it originated and then got separated. The purpose of all life is to reunite and be One with the Divine.
The soul is pure. However, for the soul to be One with the Source, it needs to shed all the layers of conditioning it has accumulated over it. All the karmic baggage needs to be cleared for the soul to merge with the Divine.
One of the best ways to cast off this baggage is by taking birth and undergoing some life lessons. Depending on the baggage that we have, we get to choose a life which is most suitable and conducive to clearing the baggage, viz., specific life conditions, people closely related to us, and so on. Though it might seem hard to imagine, the life we have at this moment is the life that we have chosen to learn our lessons and clear the karmic baggage. With each lesson learnt in each life, the soul moves a little closer in the journey back to the Divine.
Along with the soul, the individual life also has a specific purpose. There is nothing in the world that is just random, not even in human life. Everything has a purpose.
In my current line of work, I get to travel quite a bit. On one such occasion, I was at an airport to board the return flight to Delhi. During the security check-in, I realised that the bag was not given clearance. The officer-in-charge asked me if I was carrying any sharp metal object in my bag. I thought for a fraction of a second and then replied in the negative. He took my bag through the scanner once more, but again, it did not clear. The officer asked if I was carrying a nail-cutter. I thought hard but could not recall putting a nail-cutter in the bag. So I curtly denied again, a little irritated now. The officer wasn’t convinced though. I had to disembowel my bag—books, clothes, toiletries—cluttering the entire tray table with the contents.
The bag went through the scanner for the third time, and yet again, it was denied clearance. The officer then sternly asked me to check the inner pocket of the bag. Glaring at the officer, I put my hand inside to rummage through the inner pocket, and my fingers touched a metallic object. Feeling temperature rise in my face, I pulled out the nail-cutter.
I felt embarrassed as well as irritated at the officer for the entire fiasco. It was even more embarrassing to stuff all the contents back into the bag while many onlookers smirked and giggled. If only I had been aware of that nail-cutter in my bag, I would have been saved from going through this entire ordeal!
In our daily lives too, we carry a baggage, thinking that everything contained in it is going to help us in the journey. But most of the time, we are not aware of the contents of the baggage . And, in my case, even a tiny object like the nail-cutter was enough to cause a lot of grief.
Just like the bag getting scanned again and again, there are times in our lives when we go through similar experiences repeatedly, so much so that it leads one to think that it is the pattern of life itself. To make matters worse, the intensity of the experience seems to increase with every iteration. This is the experience of suffering! And the experience keeps on repeating until one learns the lesson and moves ahead.
The design of life
In order to know one’s purpose in life, one doesn’t need to put in any active efforts. Since the moment we are born, all of life’s experiences, situations, and people that we come across, gradually lead us towards the purpose of our life. However, the journey of reaching our purpose is crucial; it determines how the experiences of this life will be.
Imagine travelling to a new place for a vacation. Based on the funds that you have and the experiences you want to have, you can select the ideal location for yourself. You can pre-book the accommodation and identify the sights that you want to see.
Once you reach your place of vacation, there are things which are predestined: the hotel, the staff, and the sights that you want to see. Your funds may not allow you to change the hotel. The hotel staff is fixed by the hotel itself. There are some specific sights you have signed up to see: this may be a blissful cruise in the sunset, a roller coaster ride, or anything in between. The duration of your stay is based on the booking that you made before you landed here.
One queer thing though is that once you reach the vacation site, you forget about the plan that you had signed up for. You only remember the hotel and its staff. All the sites that you needed to visit or even the reason for hotel selection are lost in temporary oblivion. However, as your vacation nears its end, you remember everything again.
This is exactly what happens before and after our souls come for a vacation on Planet Earth. We feel that we have reached all the exciting tourist spots by accident. When the ride is to our liking, we enjoy the thrill; when it’s not to our liking, we blame ourselves or others for getting us on the ride. But the truth is that we ourselves have selected the rides.
So, what is it that we can do to make this vacation as pleasant as possible?
Having a guide
With our own efforts, we may be able to move a certain distance, but there will come a point where we will need someone to guide us. In our journey—whether it is spiritual, professional, personal, or emotional—we always need someone to help us progress to the next level. The role of a guide is not just to show the way ahead but also to make the journey worthwhile.
So, who is the guide?
A guide is someone who understands the path that we are walking on as he has already trodden it and is willing to help us navigate the path.
With the advent of the Internet and the birth of giants such as Google and YouTube, there is no dearth of guidance available on almost every mundane thing. For other needs, one may find guidance in a mentor, colleagues, family, friends, and so on. There are also professionals who may give you guidance on the professional or personal front.
To find guidance is important, but what is even more important is to find the right guidance!
And, when it comes to life itself, who can we look towards to get the right guidance?
At this moment, you can take a pause and reflect on who you turn to for guidance in your life?
Who best to receive guidance from than the One who has created all of Life itself! For it is as per His design that the world exists and functions. The intricacies and the interconnectivity of all life and everything in the world is far beyond the comprehension of the human mind and understanding. He, who is the Creator of the worlds, is also the master planner of our lives. He looks over galaxies, but He also has His sights on each and every one of us. And all He wants from us is to grow and move ahead in life and return to Him.
Now, how we can take guidance from Him, the one who is beyond words and beyond limited human comprehension? How do we connect to Him, how can we understand or experience Him? The mind could never begin to fathom, but the heart knows the truth.
Almost 600 years back Sant Kabir ji had sung in his couplet:
Moko kahan dhundhe re bande
Mein to tere paas mein
Na teerath mein, na moorat mein
Na ekant niwas mein
Na mandir mein, na masjid mein
Na Kabe Kailas mein
Main to tere paas mein
Oh Follower, where do you search me?
I am always with you
Not in pilgrimage, nor in statues
Neither in solitude
Not in temples, nor in the mosque
Neither in the Kaaba nor in Kailash
I am with you, oh follower
This couplet is a popular number in various genres of music. But no matter which tune it is played in, the truth remains the same.
We’ve always searched for the Divine outside, in different places, in different forms, in different times. The Divine is present in all of those places and all of those forms and times. That Divine is the sustainer of all life and taking care of the entire world. But there is also a form that is very personal to us.
The same Divine who has created this entire world has created us as well, and within each one of us is the same Divine spark. That is our own Inner Divine (antaryami). For your own Inner Divine, you are the world. Each form of Divine has His own purpose. Your Inner Divine is ever present within you and His only purpose is to guide you and help you grow. He wants only the very best for you.
This form of the Divine is mostly shrouded by the conditioning of the limited mind and veiled by the cloud of ignorance. We keep searching for the Divine outside, while He is ever waiting for us inside. All we need to do is connect with the Divine within, and then we will see the truth of life unfolding itself into a blissful journey —a path of divine association, a path of bliss.
Imagine your life as a car that you can drive around your vacation site. You are at its steering wheel trying to figure out which way to go. If you are determined to drive all by yourself, you are almost certain to get lost. Since you do not know the roads well, you might end up in rough terrain and enter a turbulent patch of land. You can certainly ask for directions, but chances are that your fellow beings on vacation are equally lost as you are, if not more.
Maps might help you a bit, i.e., books or scriptures that have been passed down by awakened beings or divine forms. If you know how to read the maps, it would be most helpful; else you would need to take help from someone who knows how to read maps and guide you. But then again, you never know whether those old maps can be interpreted well enough to help you find a way in these modern times. Only a true master can guide you well on your own personal path.
Imagine meeting someone who has perfect knowledge of all the roads as well as the best path specifically for you to take. Someone who knows about what path you have taken and what lies ahead of you. Finding someone like that seems almost too good to be true. The truth is that that someone has always been there with you; that someone is your own Inner Divine.
Somehow, you never took the opportunity of connecting with Him. He is willing to not just give you the directions but sit in the car of your life and take you along. Instead of driving the car alone and hurtling through rough terrains and obstacles, why don’t you just hand over the car itself to Him? Allow Him to take the steering wheel of your Life; He knows the paths, He knows your destination. When you allow Him to drive, you can just sit back, relax, and enjoy the beautiful journey.
At this moment, you can take a pause and visualize sitting in the car of your Life. Whichever form of Divine you associate with, allow that form to take charge of the steering wheel.
Unbeknown to me, my own journey of association with the Divine started lifetimes back. In this lifetime, the journey restarted in the spring of 2013. I had gone to Rishikesh to attend a two-day experiential retreat called Bodh. That was when I first met my Master, Dadashreeji.
The most profound part of that experience was the Shakti Pravaah (a process of Divine Energy Transfer). The objective of this process was to help awaken the Divine within and allow the seekers to connect with that Divine form. When I awoke the next day, it was not the same—nothing would be the same again.
Before this, I used to feel like a forlorn wanderer; surrounded by many things, yet detached. I used to feel that there was something more to life than what I was experiencing, that there was some purpose for me too. I was seeking, searching, but could not really understand what. It was like some sort of a void that nothing could fill permanently. The mundane happiness was transient, like a whiff of vapour—there but not really there. I thought, “Surely there is something that is more enduring?”
Shakti Pravaah was the first tryst with my Inner Divine. Just knowing that someone is always there with you, no matter what, is truly reassuring, but experiencing that that someone is your own Divine, your true Friend, is something that cannot be expressed in words. The form of the Divine was my Master— Divine Friend Dadashreeji.
Since that day, there has not been a moment when He has not been with me. All I need to do is close my eyes, and I can see Him at the core of my Heart. Over the years, our bond has grown ever stronger. He accepts me just the way I am and helps me to grow to be a better person. When times are difficult, He stands by me and gives me assurance; in happy times, He is there to share the joy. His guidance is there perpetually at every moment.
My Inner Divine has helped me to truly experience life at each and every moment, devoid of fear. I know not what lies ahead of me, but what I do know is that my Divine has meticulously laid down every step of the path for me, and that is enough for me to know.
There are so many spiritual aspirations: liberation, enlightenment, samadhi state, and so on. I do not know of these, but what I do know is what I experience in my heart—the Love that comes with divine association. Anything that is associated with the Divine, itself becomes Divine; when you associate with the Divine, you yourself become Divine.
If there ever was a panacea to heal all the suffering of the world, then there is nothing but one—bonding with your own Inner Divine. Only this association will help you experience the true meaning and purpose of Life!
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