Many people take it for granted that waking up in the morning is a given. They do not realise that it is by the grace of God that we take our next breath. Coming out from the sleep state to the waking state, we realise that we are alive, that we are breathing. But before the waking state, we were not aware of our existence. Taking the breath is not an act of personal will or ego. But many people think that their personal ego made them survive difficult times. This is pure illusion.
Everything happens by the grace of God. Anything and everything happens by God’s will. There is a big distinction between people who are initiated by a Guru (gurumukh) and those who choose not to be initiated (manmukh). The latter do not believe that there is divine orchestration in all that happens to them, in all that happens around them. They are unable to see the higher dimension of life. They proudly believe that they are the Master and that there is no such thing as grace. How many times have we not attempted to do something, but have not been able to so? It could even easy tasks. Some people have even tried to commit suicide, but have not died. This is because there is a higher intelligence working in the background. Being able to perform an act requires our willpower to do it, but also God’s grace to have it done. Only the Guru can shower such grace upon us. We are made aware of our physical identity by our parents when we are born. But to know our true identity, we need a Guru. The Guru comes into our life to unveil the mystery of our existence, to reveal our real Self to us.
“Satguru Mile Ju Sab Mile, Na To Milaa Na Koy; Maat Pitaa Sut Bandhavaa, Yeh To Ghar Ghar Hoye”.
(see transliteration and pronunciation guide here)
Only after meeting with our Satguru that we are complete, that we know our true Self. Parents, siblings, friends and relatives are in great numbers and in each and every house; but they cannot replace the Satguru.
When we are at peace, it is actually a deep acknowledgement that the grace of God is at work. The feeling of inner quietude, of bliss cannot be attributed to any of the physical attributes of our existence. In the same context, people pray because they find a connect between themselves and God, and they trust that their prayers will be answered. But why will their prayers be answered? Because we are all part of that universal whole, which if we are in harmony with it, the grace of God will work. Only if we are in tune with the divine expressions of the universe will our prayers be answered. But why should we pray if everything happens by God’s grace? Because prayers are acts which are done in consciousness. It is an act which harmonises with the existence of God. So, the prayer is also a reminder that God exists and that His grace is there. And it is His grace which allows us to fulfill what we cannot fulfill by ourselves. As a matter of fact, even passing on is by His grace. For the good of the soul, the physical body has to die.
The other mystery which the Satguru unlocks for us is that we are no different from God. We are all parts of the same whole. Our ego prevents us from acknowledging that. But once the Satguru instills that wisdom in us, we overcome that ‘ego’ barrier. Satguru Kabir Saheb says:
“Jab Main Thaa Tab Hari Nahin, Ab Hari Hai Main Naahin; Prem Galee Ati Saankari, Taamen Do Na Samaai”.
(see transliteration and pronunciation guide here)
In other words, as long as the ego is present, one cannot realise that God is within him. But once God is realised, the ego is dissolved. Satguru Kabir Saheb says that it is only through love that this realisation can happen. But, he says, the path of love connecting us to God is very narrow, so narrow that two different identities cannot walk on it. One has to shun his ego to be able to become one with God to embark on that path of love.
There once was a boy who wanted to learn the Vedas. So, he went to a Guru, who interviewed him to assess if he was fit to be his disciple. In ancient times, disciples had to commit themselves to live with their Guru in his hermitage (Gurukul) for a number of years to learn. After being admitted to the Gurukul, the boy learnt all that the Guru taught him. After a few years, the boy went to the Guru and asked to be tested so that he could take leave from the Gurukul. So, the Guru told him to come on a specific day for his exams. On that day, The Guru instructed him to go under a tree to recite the Vedas. The Guru told him that for every mistake that he will make, the said tree will shed one leaf. At the end, by the number of leaves that fell, he will know how many mistakes he made. The boy was ready, and very confident to start his test. He went under the tree, and as soon as he started reciting, all the leaves from the tree fell off. He was puzzled, and went to his Guru for explanations. The Guru told him that his biggest mistake that that he did not invoke his Guru before starting his recitation.
Paying respects to our Guru before doing anything is very important. We must always acknowledge our Guru, who has instructed us; otherwise failure is guaranteed.