Life is a Game of Chaupar
During a meeting with Madame Blavatsky, founder of the Theosophical Society, the learned professors of Lahore – then part of India – were most sceptical over many of her statements. A particular professor remarked,
Madame, what you are saying is a mere rigmarole and as impossible as flowers raining down from the ceiling.
Madame Blavatsky calmly replied,
Professor, do you think that is impossible?
and at once, showers of flowers began to fall from above, and the table became covered with fragrant blooms. Naturally, the professors and others present were amazed, but Madame Blavatsky smiled and explained,
You see, it is all in accordance with the laws of nature, which are hidden from most of us as yet.
Many of nature’s laws are not known to the common man. For instance, one’s length of sleep can be decreased as much as you like by natural law, if one has the knowledge of that law. This also applies to the intake of food, which can be decreased to a bare minimum – one can decrease it to a single grain of rice, for instance. As for rest, actual sleep is normally not more than a minute anyhow.
When Prophet Mohammed was asked if He slept, He replied,
No, I do not sleep – my soul is ever awake – but my body sleeps.
In meditation, when you rise above body consciousness, the body gets complete rest, and your consciousness increases. When you resume the body, it is recharged and gets a fresh lease on life.
In 1912 I saw an interesting example of the use of nature’s laws. There was a Muslim fakir by the name of Abdul Vahab, who allowed no one to remain in his room at night, yet he permitted me to come and go freely. In meditation, his body would rise to an elevated position, several feet from the floor. You must have heard also about the famous devotees, Dhruv and Prahlad, who, it is said, used to elevate their bodies. It is purely a matter of knowing the laws of nature. If both positive sides meet, they will separate and rise above. Usually people have no knowledge of these things and term them miracles, but it is a wrong term; they are according to the hidden laws of nature.
Many such incidents occur in the lives of Saints, and if we also live as They do, and according to Their instructions, we will also become as knowledgeable as They, for every Saint has His past and every sinner a future. One can say that Whoever is a Master today, was like us yesterday. The man with an M.A. degree was studying in the first class at one time. So, those on the first rung of the ladder will reach the top one day, if they go the right way about it.
The present conditions of the world are not at all new – discord has ever been present in one degree or another; but it is the Masters and other Sages Who see the condition as it truly is, in this critical stage. This land of rishis and munis has ever been protected by the Lord, and always will be; but nevertheless, upheaval will come, and for that the only answer is to love one another. Our religions are like schools and colleges, and blessed are they; so remain in your own formations, for when Masters come, They all give the same advice: to sit together and try to understand each other.
Guru Arjan Sahib was here at a very difficult time in the religious history of India, and during those drastic days He collected the words of the True Masters into a comprehensive omnibus – a work which can truly be called a banquet hall of Spirituality. He named it the Sri Adi Granth – i.e., supreme Sacred Scripture – although it is now called the Sri Guru Granth Sahib. This monumental work serves as proof that although They spoke in different languages, yet all Masters have said the same things, and have given the same teaching to mankind: that all human beings are One, for God Himself made man, giving the same privileges to all; so none are different. It is man who has made the religions and encompassed them in a variety of customs and rituals. Whenever Masters came, They revised the ordinances to meet the mode of the age, thereby affording continuance of Their missions; and as long as these Realised Souls were here, peace and happiness lasted. Unrest and unhappiness returned some time after They left the scene. For want of Them, the formations which were made for a noble purpose dwindled down into stagnation, which resulted in deterioration.
Truly, when we enter any religion we join the Army of God, and thus all become God’s people, with no difference one from another. While the Master is here, there is right understanding that first we are human beings, and also that each one is a soul in the human form. Furthermore, the soul’s caste is that of God, only He is the Life Sustainer, and we are all His devotees. As long as this right understanding was prevalent, man had right thoughts, which followed through with right speech and right actions, and peace reigned because of it. When man forgets this right understanding, the only solution is for the Master to come again to revive it; it is the saving Grace.
During the religious troubles of the Muslims and Hindus in India, Kabir, Guru Nanak, Guru Arjan, and others came. The need is none the less great today, for in those days there were principally two religions, whereas today they are numerous – one on top of another.
He who sees becomes one in thought.
Regardless of language or mode of expressions, whoever has seen the Truth will say the same thing, for the subject remains the same.
There is a hymn of Guru Arjan Sahib which deals with this subject, which I will now take:
“Get together and become one, my brothers; put aside your differences, with love.”
Masters think of all as brothers being the children of God, and, therefore, all are brothers and sisters in God. Guru Arjan Sahib is explaining that our duality or diversity is the root cause of all our misery, and while this remains, how can we expect to be happy? One person’s rigid thought against another’s – this dogmatic attitude incites conflict. All variance should be removed, but how? – for each one stubbornly sticks in pride to his own views and insists that everyone else is wrong. True understanding of one’s religion is the only cure, for deep in each religion one will find that every Master’s teaching was the same: for the purpose of helping man to come nearer to God. All True Masters awakened mankind to the realisation of oneness.
When I visited Rome, I met the Bishop in charge of the Roman Catholic Church’s relationship with other religions. We had a heart-to-heart talk, and he said,
What we can all understand by sitting together cannot otherwise be understood at all.
It stands to reason, if there are two charged bodies opposite to each other, there will be sparks. If they become blended in one, there will be no sparks. Sitting together in oneness avoids all that. What does it matter how many different religions, sects, or dogmas there are – we are all men and brothers and sisters in God, are we not? This is a complete and natural relationship which can never be broken; but we have forgotten it because when formations are made, the same good old customs corrupt themselves. The formations stagnate, and also the devotees of the formations deteriorate them; when this happens, another Master comes to revive the pure Truth. It is then discovered that He says the same as other Masters have said. The very same message continues to be given to the same children, age after age.
The world is a room wherein the Truth dwells.
But, man forgets again and again. Guru Arjan Sahib’s wonderful collection of the words of the Masters is one of the world’s most valuable possessions, for each One gave out the right understanding to all mankind; but on what grounds can all men sit together?
“Get together in God’s Name and sit in the Gurumukh’s company.”
What does this mean? It means that our attention should be connected to the Lord – each one of us. This is the goal of all religions. Our attention should be constantly directed towards Him, no matter what customs or rites we daily perform, for it is He Who has given us birth, and we are all in the same human form. We are embodied souls and God resides in each human form; the Sustainer of all life. When any man prays, does not the thought go out to God? Put the attention on Him more and more until even the body is forgotten completely. While the attention, even a minute part of it, remains in the body, the mind’s directional attitude is divided.
So, the Name of God is the only suitable ground upon which all men can sit together; and what is this Hari Naam or God’s Name?
Hari is the Supreme Name through which all creation came about.
How does this help? In the company of the Gurumukh, Whose face is turned to the Lord, Who has the right understanding, Who has experience of Him and has become the very expression of that Name, the souls can be directed to God. We are, in fact, all One in His Name, although not as far as customs and rituals are concerned. And yet, if we look deeply into the customs and rituals, we find that the meaning and purpose remain the same.
For instance, in Arabia there is usually a dearth of water, and they say that the namaz, Islamic prayer, may be read by first washing only the hands and face with water. In places where water is more scarce, people perform their namaz by first cleaning the hands with sand, which is called taumam. The meaning in this action is to be wide awake for the prayer. In India where there is no shortage of water, they say that devotions cannot be truly performed without first taking a full bath. Again, the meaning is to sit in His remembrance fully awake and refreshed. In Sikh temples it is the custom for men to enter with their heads covered, whereas in churches gentlemen enter with bare heads; they are gestures of respect to the Lord, but are different in each religion. Customs also change with climatic variations, but all have the same purpose: that is, to show respect, to sit in God’s remembrance quite wide awake in a respectful attitude. Only in the Gurumukh’s company can this single-pointed attention on the Lord, with all thoughts of the body and its surroundings abandoned, be achieved and the duality removed.
They asked Guru Nanak,
Who are You?
and He replied,
I am neither Hindu nor Muslim; Allah and Ram are the very breath of my body.
But, they persisted in their questioning, and He enlarged on this:
If I say I am a Hindu, you will kill me, and Muslim I also am not.
He meant that by outward appearances, He looked like a Hindu, and through narrow-mindedness they might kill Him. It also indicated that their idea of a True Muslim was one who paid attention to outer form only. We face the world always, even though our mode of dress may indicate that we profess to follow the Lord in a certain way. We may hoodwink the world, but no one can deceive the Lord, Who resides in every being and sees everything.
So, Guru Nanak explained that He was not their kind of Muslim. Then they asked,
But Who are You?
and He said,
I am a puppet made of five elements called Nanak.
Even the name Nanak is not specifically Hindu or Muslim. They pressed Him further to think deeply and try to explain exactly what He was, and finally He said,
A puppet of five elements, in which the Invisible is playing.
Our Real Aim is to realise the Lord – He Who resides in every being. With this understanding we can have a sympathetic attitude towards each other – then who will be an enemy? It is a truly Spiritual Ground upon which we can all sit together in loving harmony. There is an underlying unison, of which the Masters remind us when They come.
In this age, Baba Sawan Singh Ji also came, and He said,
Make me a common ground on which brothers of all religions can sit together.
It is the crying need of the hour, when there have sprung up many different branches and sects out of the few original religions. However, little opportunity is available to do this, for in the temples you will find only Hindus, and in the mosques only Muslims, and in the churches only Christians, and so on; what chance do the people have for sitting together? There is so much narrow-mindedness. By God’s Grace, people have started mixing together a little in this age; whereas before, one sect would dislike to see even the faces of another. So, to sit together in the Name of God is the only way and the only cure to eradicate all divisions.
To be born into this human form is really a great blessing, for only in this form can the Truth be realised. If all sit together without any attention on outer forms, the attention will rise and see the Inner Sky. How can this be seen when we are all imprisoned within four walls? Man is a social being and must have social bodies in which to live, which are called religions, and which are already so many. In the word ‘religion,’ re means back, and ligio means to bind; so the full meaning of religion is to bind our soul back to God. To remain in one’s own religion is necessary; otherwise, corruption will spread; but while in that religion one should seek out a Gurumukh – an Awakened Soul – One Who has come into full realisation already. Without such right company, right understanding cannot be gained.
Meeting One through Whom all durmat (wrong understanding) goes; He is our True Friend.
If you search the whole world, such a Friend you will rarely find.
Masters are also born into some religion or sect, but They rise above all forms and formularies and can see everyone at the level of the soul.
Whatever the Master says is equally for all.
When all men live as one, diversity and division vanish. All difficulties can be lessened by sharing them, one with another. Each would share his food with one who is without, and we need not depend on foreign aid for food supplement. A man would eat a little less to share with his needy brother.
Some time ago there was a shortage of wheat, and it was rationed by the government who appealed to everyone to give up one day’s ration to help the areas in need. Someone mentioned this to me, and I asked the people during Satsang to give up one day’s ration each. At my single request that day, thousands gave; which shows that when all are sitting together in sympathy, need or misery as well as joy will be instantly shared. When woes and misery are shared, they become less. Wrong understanding or dogmatic attitude only tends to increase the bad condition; all differences, whether social, political, or religious, can be removed if all sit together in the company of an Awakened Person in Whose Radiant Presence all blend in harmony and oneness.
When a person’s Spiritual Foundation has been established and his soul is fed daily with Spiritual Food, anyone who comes into his contact feels uplifted and everything becomes beautiful because of his radiance. Without this upliftment the pressure of life’s misery weighs upon a man in full measure. Two kinds of Gurumukh come to the world – one is called an Avatar, and the other a Sant – but both do the Lord’s important work. When They meet, both highly respect each other; but Their work is different.
The Avatar is like a Commander-in-Chief, without Whom the world would be in a topsy-turvy state; so His work is very necessary. He works at the outer level when man’s righteousness is at stake, punishing the wrongdoers and rewarding the righteous; but the Sant’s mission is to unite man with God at the level of the soul.
Whosoever meets Them becomes at once connected back to God.
When Guru Gobind Singh announced that He required an offering of heads as a sacrifice, how many people came forward to give their lives? Only those few whose Spiritual Background had been established – actually five in number. He did not cut off their heads, but made them His five generals in charge, and called then the Khalsas – True and Pure Disciples, in Whom God’s Light is effulgent. When the Spiritual Background is firm, no matter what happens in life, or what a man must do, the Spiritual Strength remains. If the background is not developed, then temporary upliftment can be had, but it dies out. If Mahatma Gandhi achieved success, it was because of this Spiritual Basis.
So, sit together and share each others’ joys and sorrows. We usually think only of our own comfort and advantage, without even a care for others, and the result of all this selfishness is all-around misery in the home and in religion, too.
“Oh braves, adopt this means and repeat the Name as given by the Godman day and night; when the end comes, you will not feel the sting of death.”
Follow the way referred to above, by which all unhappiness and pain of the sting of death will subside. Just try this for a while, putting all your attention into your meditation – you will forget your body and the soul will withdraw. Attraction to God can only be developed by full concentration on Naam. The man who learns to control his attention by turning it towards the Lord within acquires Great Power. The Greater Attention which is God, through Whose single Word all creation came into being, is All-Powerful; and our soul is of the same Essence and, therefore, has great power also – but our scattered attention has rendered us very weak. Single-pointed attention can be gained by turning one’s face towards Him; then outer thoughts will go and even awareness of the body will not remain.
At the time of death, what happens? The soul withdraws from all parts of the body and gathers at a place behind the eyes. Rising above like this, at will, drives away all fear of death; but this can only be done through development of Love for the Lord. With such Spiritual Advancement we see clearly a glimpse of Him in each and every being – whom then would we wish to hurt or hate? How could we then covet the possessions of others, or squeeze the blood of our brothers for our own greedy gain? The Masters speak with brevity, placing the clear Truth before us in a few concise words.
“Think of karma and dharma as a game of Chaupar, and you become the counters.”
Life in this world is just like a game of Chaupar – a game with four sides. The jiva, embodied soul, is born in four kinds of species: setaj – born of moisture; utbhuj – growing from the earth; andaj – born through eggs; and jeraj – born through the womb. We are all counters in this game of life, and just as the game is played, we all have to reach Home. The nearer one is to reaching Home, the less likelihood there is of being knocked off the board and having to begin again. If we have a Guiding Principle at the back of us – the Gurumukh – we will be able to go through our journey unharmed.
In the game of life, lust, greed, anger, attachment, and ego are causing our downfall daily; with the aid of a True Companion there is a chance of reaching Home. And, if we can reach Home in this life, we will have achieved our True Purpose – otherwise, we will have to go around the board again.
In the game, if two counters of a kind stand together, the other players cannot knock them off the board; similarly, if we have the company of an Awakened Soul, we will be able to qualify for the higher expression of life, instead of losing whatever we have gained. When we learn how to rise above the body consciousness and its environments at will, this enables us to reach our True Home.
The Kingdom of God cometh not with observation … behold, the Kingdom of God is within you.
God’s Kingdom cannot be had by man, because his attention is constantly scattered outward.
Conquer lust, anger, greed, attachment – this play is loved by the Lord.
The fifth, which is not mentioned here, is the ego.
What is lust?
All the mind’s desires are called lust.
To protect one’s chastity is the first task and also to lessen all other desires. Be desireless. And, how does anger occur? When there is a blockage in the path of one’s desire and one does not get the desired thing, then anger results. When desire is pursued, any blockage in the way causes greed, which results in jealousy, hatred, backbiting, and many other unwanted traits. They are all basically due to desire or lust. If one does receive the object or subject of one’s desire, this, in turn, becomes an attachment – you won’t like to part with it.
You will notice that if water is flowing very fast in some stream and a large rock is placed in the middle, two things occur – froth and noise. A man who is in the throes of anger cannot speak softly, and in his mouth foam begins to form – all because he insists that he must have his way. When he gets it, he asserts and enjoys – resulting in ego.
So, we must conquer these expressions of iniquity, and the only successful way is to place a higher desire in the path which will overcome the lower ones. The ego remains strong while in the body, but when you can leave it at will, you will be able to reach the True Home. But, unless we conquer the sinful side of our character, we will go on being dragged into the outer expressions of life.
A very broad view has been given: that life in the world is like a game, with four kinds of births. We are the counters, and we create our own karmas and dharma.
“Rise and take a bath before sunrise; have the sweet remembrance all through sleep; small hours are best for communion with Naam.”
Rise early every day and do your meditation.
Rise before sunrise and repeat the Naam; all negative effects will be mitigated, oh Nanak.
Early morning is the most beneficial time for meditation.
Supreme oneness of thought upon the True Naam is had at the ambrosial small hours before dawn.
So, rise early and shake off all feeling of sloth. Go into the remembrance of Him even if you are lying down – even at night, or when resting. Go to sleep with the same thought, so that the very remembrance of Him will be the very beat of your pulse. When you arise in the morning, be awakened – have a bath or wake yourself by any means, but be really awake when you sit down for meditation. With these habits, even in sleep your meditation will continue, and when awake, even then you will have that meditative attitude all day.
He is always awake – never seen sleeping.
Masters never sleep. Our Hazur would retire to His bedroom at about midnight or 1 a.m., and at 3 a.m. would rise again. So, this can become a habit. When the soul gets a connection with the Greater Consciousness, it gains strength and refreshment. If one removes the attention from the body and goes up, the body gets perfect rest. The law is that if one gets True Sleep for just a few minutes, it is enough. For those who travel on this Path, reduction in sleep is a very frequent occurrence. But for those who have not progressed very far, it is something like a miracle to see a person awake all the time.
So, when night comes along, be in His remembrance. Go into the Lord’s lap and rest. If the night is used unwisely, the whole life is ruined, and those who use the nights to their advantage secure their whole future. Free your mind of all things and have but a single thought all night, and in the morning continue with that thought and sit in an awakened state; your soul will partake of the Spiritual Food, the very Bread of Life. With this, all gifts will be received.
“My Satguru takes me across all the difficulties, here and hereafter; reaches me Home, safe and sound.”
Outwardly, in the body and all its environments, and inwardly when one rises above – in both phases of life, He protects. He Who is the very Form of Truth works here and there also. How can anyone be of any real help if he just gives a lecture and leaves us here? So, it is said,
Oh Nanak, leave the company of these who are not constant and search for the True Friend, the Sant; the former will leave you while living; the latter will be with you even after death.
It is also said,
Save for the True Satguru, Who gives the True Protection? At the end, He comes to meet you.
All Masters say the same thing. A Muslim fakir says,
Oh brave man, catch hold of Someone’s shirttail – One Who is the Knower of this world and the beyond.
The illusion of negativeness is very far-reaching, but the Positive Power, which is God’s, will always protect.
The Path to the True Home really starts when the soul is reborn, for the first birth is in the body, and the second above the body into the beyond. Learn to die so that you may begin to live. Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God. The meaning of meditation is to concentrate or meditate upon one thing; so much so that all other things are forgotten. Remain in any religion – in any country – it makes no difference, but sit in the company of a Gurumukh and gain the helpful upliftment that comes from His radiation.
“The Lord Himself plays, and He Himself observes; the Lord Himself designed all this.”
The game of life is the play of the Lord, Who has created it, and it is He Who sees all this. The body is merely a shell, through which the soul works and is directed. If the trend of a man’s mind is inclined to the soul, he becomes spiritual; and if it is inclined to the body through the senses and into the outer environment, then he becomes worldly. If he is worldly, he creates such conditions for himself that he must come again and again into the worldly environment.
Those in the Great Powerhouse know and say that without His orders, nothing can move; but those on lower levels think that all things are due to their own actions. If they would only come up to that higher level, they would see that it is not themselves, but Someone else in control, and their I-hood would depart. That is the stage when one becomes the Conscious Co-Worker of the Divine Plan, and one sees that on every level, according to the laws there, He is working throughout.
“Oh Nanak, those who play in the company of a Gurumukh, will win the game and return Home.”
In the Gurumukh’s company this game of life can be won, and the winner returns to his Home. Those who unfortunately never meet the Gurumukh, continue round and round the everlasting circle of births and deaths.
This hymn started with the words:.
“Get together and become One, my brothers, put aside your differences, with Love; get together in God’s Name, and sit in the Gurumukh’s company.”
You will become the same as whatever company you keep; so an Awakened Soul will awaken you. An Experienced Person will give you an experience, and He Who has right understanding will teach you that also. Remain in whatever religion you are in at present, for it is good to be born in a temple; but this does not fully benefit us or give us the full opportunity of the human birth if, while in that religion, one does not learn to rise above and become One with all life. When Masters come, They are born into various religions, but They rise higher and see that
With one Light the whole world came into being; who is high and who is low?
They have this profound realisation, and no matter what Their country of residence is, They bring an awakening to the whole world.
This Great Light has ever gone from the East to the West.
One well-known Archbishop was heard to remark,
Brothers, we await the Light from the East.
And, we of the East? Well, most of us are without it yet. India has always been fortunate to have those Great Souls with knowledge of the beyond – this is a play of nature – but the people must turn their faces towards the Truth to gain the benefit. So, all truly Spiritual Teaching goes out from the East to the whole world, and the West has great respect for Unity in all religions. Each really great Spiritual Voice has risen from the East, and we in India are highly blessed therefore. The Unity already exists in all men, but man has forgotten it; that is all. Under the present circumstances it is most necessary that everyone should sit together in Love and share all weal and woe. If all are bound together in Love, even in the worst conditions there will be no fear.
Strive to give happiness to others, and you yourself will receive joy.
When we selfishly want only our own happiness and care little for others, naturally it ends in fighting for it, in one way or another, and the result is the very opposite of happiness.
Love knows service and sacrifice. If you desire to love God, then start by loving all, for He is in everyone; and in True Love, there is service and sacrifice. Learn to give instead of taking always. If all, in Love, were prepared to give their lives for others, then who would be unhappy in such a world? You will be living for me, and I will be living for you.
Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you.
Whom should we love? Not everyone, but the God in everyone – the Overself. If from outside some trouble is threatening, then let the government do whatever it must from its level – but we should sit together in Love and help each other.
Both Avatars and Sants are necessary for the world’s balance, but the cementing power is Spirituality, and there is a crying need for it at this time. Keep in the company of the Awakened Soul, and stay away from those who are still asleep, who are deep in narrow-mindedness, and therefore have no right understanding. This kind of company will drag you down.