The thousand-headed Serpent


A True Human Being is he who has sorrow in his heart for the suffering of others. If he is without this, then he is not a man.

When king Nadir Shah invaded India, there was bloodshed and strife. Some people went to a fakir and asked him what was happening to the country, for without any apparent cause the people were being tortured and killed.

The fakir explained to them.

The reaction of our own bad actions has brought on misery in the form of Nadir Shah. This was a land of rishis and munis, pure clean and untouched by the poisons of the cities: vice, corruptions and iniquity. But today, it is overrun with these evils and the very atmosphere has become foul.

I also remember that a few years ago, around 1915, there was just a few shops in the sacred town of Hardwar, which was surrounded by forests. People did their meditation in the banks of the holy river Ganges, and scattered in isolated spots here and there. When I returned in the place after a few years about 1920, I found the conditions somewhat changed. Then when I revisited the town in 1926 I saw that someone had opened two cinemas; the atmosphere of the sacred place was poisoned. A welcome change for the worldly people. If the holy places have changed, it is due to the sinful actions of the people there. It is useless to wait for a thirst before digging a well. When strife comes upon us, very little can be done at that time. We can but have sympathy in our hearts for the innocent who are suffering along with others, and pray to God for His Mercy. To be prepared in advance is the only way of avoiding the trouble, and in the future we should learn a lesson and not destroy the purity of our surrounding by our sinful actions – especially those places meant for meditations. Swami Vivekananda said that if we repent the sins we commit in the worldly places, God will forgive us, but He will never forgive the sins, which are committed in Holy Places. So when you go to a Sacred Place, keep your thoughts pure and turned towards God alone.

A lover of God says:

I had only one mind, which Shyam (Krishna) has taken, so who is now to take the name of God? Beloved I have not ten or twenty minds; only one.

Everything is a play of the mind, and to give it away completely to someone is most difficult.

Our Hazur once said at Satsang – the Saints use very few words:

Give your mind today and you will go straight to God.

One man stood up and said,

Maharaj, I am ready to give up my mind,

but the Master replied,

First make your mind your own, then you can give it.

We can only give what is ours. At present, we are dragged from one place to another by the mind; we are at its mercy. In turn, the mind is at the mercy of the senses and the senses heed only outer enjoyment and sense objects. Our condition is degenerate.

Those conditions considered to be the result of Negative Power will never touch us if we lead a pure life. The Negative Power is a great judge and is very just in his punishment. His pen writes according to our karmas, so what constitutes purity and goodness? A mind, which is given up wholly to God. All trouble and strife will thereby finish. When the mind withdraws from the Lord and attaches itself to something else, then whatever the person does takes further away from God. And further he goes the greater the sin. This is really the true definition of sin.

The Negative Power says,

I will never punish anyone if people become pure.

So, in the course of Saints this is the Greatest Teaching, the secret of our secrets: that God is won by him who will give his mind.

Through the Master’s Grace you receive some experience at the very first sitting, however little, to prove that there is something inside. But truly speaking, the disciple will only succeed when he gives up his mind. Wherever the mind goes, the body will follow, and so will the heart and intellect. You can term it a play of the heart also.

As I have already quoted –

I had only one mind, which Shyam has taken away, now who will take the name of God? –

you cannot do two tasks at once.

The worldly duties are as necessary as the spiritual, and if you make the best use of them in a detached manner, all is well; but if not, day by day you will recede farther from God. To gain the utmost benefit from this human life, given to us with such Great Blessing, the price we must pay is our mind. Hazur Maharaj – Baba Sawan Singh Ji – used to say that a washer man will never refuse soiled clothes, no matter how filthy they are; even those of a coalman. He regards it as his work to make them clean, even if it takes more than one washing.

If the mind is dirty, everything is dirty; washing the physical will not clean the mind. The world is travelling in forgetfulness from millions only one will discover the Truth. The world is just steep in illusion. We should be clean both outwardly and inwardly, for this physical form is the temple of God in which the Light of Truth is burning. Even if the fish of the mind goes into the limpid waters of the holy Ganges, it cannot be rid of its bad smell.

The mind will go wherever you want to place it. The Master says, I gave the body to the Sant; I gave the wealth to the Sant; I gave the mind to the Sant. Then? I got God in the highest. There are those who will give the body not many, but there are some. You will find thousands to give up their wealth – though there are those who hesitate: ‘You can take my skin, but I will not part with my penny!’ But you will not find one to give his mind. He who has the courage to do so would realise God at once.

Guru Amar Das Ji had a disciplined name Jetha Ji, Who later became Guru Ram Das; but many of His disciples had the desire to the Guru’s successor. But all Masters have Their own ways of testing and selecting and Guru Amar Das Ji told His followers to make a lot of platforms from mud. They all came – you see they were very obedient – and they made the platforms. They did not satisfy the Guru, so they remade them. This happened again and again and eventually the Guru said that the clay was not suitable and to choose another place for the purpose. After remaking, the clay was again found to be unsuitable, so a new supply was brought from a different place. That work was also rejected by the Guru, and another sight was chosen.

By this time the disciples had started talking among themselves, asking each other,

What is he trying to do?

On the way to the next site, some of them dropped out and went home, and during the building many more left the work. Finally the remaining few started agreeing that Guru Amar Das Ji had gone old and could not think properly –

He is more than one hundred years old, and this is not an intelligent thing to do – build platform and break them again and again!

They thought there was some decline, due to the Guru’s age. They tried to induce Jetha Ji leave off building them, but He, Whose eye was opened to the Truth, heard this and started crying.

He said,

My work is to obey the Master and if He ordered me to do this work throughout my whole life I would be happy to do so.

Guru Amar Das was looking for one who had surrendered his mind to be the fit receptacle for the onerous job of Master; and He is One in Jetha Ji. This is what is meant by giving up the mind.

God is not far away, but the mind is the obstruction. If you have a very strong desire to realise God then put one foot on your mind, and then next step will be at God’s door. He who gives his mind will receive the secret of all secrets.

In the past, the Master would not give initiation until He first made something of the disciple, just as a potter will first form and bake the pot, and then fill it with something. The Masters use to keep the disciples at Their feet for sometime, until they were ready to receive initiation. In this Kali Yuga – Iron Age – men need the Master’s Mercy in abundance; who can sit at the Master’s feet for years in these days?

Kabir Sahib says,

I am the worst being of all; other than me, all are good. He who thinks like this is my True Friend.

The mind is standing in our path, and if you can give it up, you have given everything. Wherever them mind goes, there goes the body and soul. The heart was given by God into our charge for safekeeping, and we should have invited Him to sit there, but instead we have allowed the world to take that place.

Wherever our desire is, we shall go there.

That is why a person’s thought should be on God at the time of death. But who can keep his attention on God, when our thought are always involved in those things that have held our attention all through life? A well cannot be dug in one day. So the invaluable advice from the Master is that if you wish to realise God, then give up your mind. The Kali Yuga is at its height and in full force, and therefore so is the Master’s Grace and Mercy.

Man is doubtful: ‘Is there really anything inside?’ We light lamps in the temples and perform all kinds of outer observances, but rarely does it occur to us that there could be something within man himself.

I once met a Mahatma – I am accustomed to meeting all religious leaders, just to hear them. This particular leader had heard of me, and the science I teach.

He said,

What is inside the body? Nothing but filth, flesh, blood and bones. You say there is a Sun inside; can we not see It outside?

If a person hast not seen for himself, how would he know that there is Light within or not? You people who have seen something should increase it. Remember, however much of your mind you can give – you will succeed that much. The alphabet of Spirituality begins when you leave the body, withdrawing from outside, and turn your face inwards. Whatever experience is given at the beginning is for you to know that there is something inside.

As long as I do not see with my own eyes, I will not believe even the Guru’s words.

This is why there is proportionately more Grace now we are at the height of the Iron Age, so we should make the best us of it while we can.

How can the mind be controlled? By outer actions you can control it for a short while only. Just as a fire covered with ash seems dead, yet a brief gust of wind will blow away the ash and reveal the burning embers beneath. However, if water is applied, then even the most furious storm will fail to bring forth any heat. To control the mind there is only one solution, and that is the Naam.

By coming in contact with the Naam, the mind is controlled.

Why? Because the mind is then getting far better enjoyment than the senses can offer.

This forest of outer enjoyments is tasteless; leave it and drink the nectar of Naam.

This worldly sphere is filled with the depravity of outer enjoyments, all of which have no real flavour or goodness. In that God Who is ever-existent, is the Everlasting Nectar, and that is the food for the soul. While our soul is starved of the Bread and Water of Life, it will never have permanent happiness. And the mind, when getting a taste of it, calms down and becomes serene. In the Hindu scriptures it is written that if a person boasts of drinking a whole ocean, then it is possible for one to believe it without actually seeing the action. Also, if a person assures one that the mountains and trees are walking, then this also might be believed. But if anyone states that he is in control of his mind, this is impossible to believe unless it is seen with one’s own eyes.

Guru Nanak says,

The mind can be controlled, oh Nanak, with the Mercy of God in the Master.

The treatment then is by drinking the nectar from the highest of the Most High, drinking which the wine of outer enjoyments becomes insipid; or by keeping the company of One Who has the Nectar of Life in Him.

If you keep your attention on a True Master, the mind becomes stilled.

A Muslim Saint says:

One should keep the company of Him Who knows the condition of our mind, and sees how we are drifting in the current. Sit under that flowering tree from which the refreshing fragrance fills the air with a sweet coolness; a person who is scorched by the sun will enjoy the soothing balm when sitting there. We should not roam around the market streets with no purpose; but should sit in the shop which has the pure honey. There may be delicious brews boiling in the pots, with much talk in their favour. But do not sit there with your cup; for who knows if it is pure milk being cooked or just the chef’s selfish desires and thoughts?

All the knowledge in the world will be of no avail, for mind can only be controlled with the Nectar of Naam – God’s own sweetness.

The secret of all secrets is the God Which up to now has never been seen, and into Whom we must become absorbed. When He expressed Himself, from one He became many, and from out of the Grand Sun in the Maha Brahmand came the Sound. This teaching was given by Ingris Rishi to the son of Devki, known as Krishna. There is reference to it in the Upanishads. It is the Real Truth which one gets by giving the mind, and the more you give, the more Truth you will get. Many great rishis and munis in the past have fallen from elevated height through the mind. But why take their names? In their lives they may have fallen only once, but we are falling daily.

When Astavakra gave the knowledge of the beyond to King Janaka, what did He ask for in return? Body, wealth and mind. Excuse me, but where did all this trouble start?

This body is the beginning of illusion.

Illusion is the other name for forgetfulness, and it all started when we began thinking we were the body. We think it is permanent, but it is just a brief expression which is soon finished, and we waste all our precious time caring for it, ignoring the priceless jewel inside. We are the indweller of the body – not the body itself. We are the sustainer of the senses and the intellect. Through us, this whole machinery of our being is working, until we withdraw from it. God resides within us, and is not to be brought from some other place. To learn how to rise above the body and senses has taken yogis hundreds of years, but you people did this on the very first day you got the connection at your initiation, and you should strive to go ahead, for the Goal is yet very far.

Another Muslim prophet says,

The swell of the Ocean of Love is continuously heaving – endlessly.

What would happen if someone fell into the ocean? He should give himself up to it, and go wherever it takes him. To stop and think, ‘Where is it going? Say that it takes me where I do not wish to go’ – this is wrong, for in whatever direction the soul goes, it is being dragged by the Lord towards Him. The whole panorama of creation was made by Him, and if our soul turns towards Him, then all will be ours. This lack of control is the only defect in us. I may tell you in one or one hundred words, but what I am stressing is that you have to give up your mind if you want to realise God. Put aside you mind, and simply obey the One in Whom God is manifested. It is true you have not seen God, but to obey the Master is to obey God.

There was once a girl who outwardly appeared very simple, but was actually most intelligent. She heard one day that the king of the land was holding a fête, at which many wonderful gifts were being freely given to everyone. Each of the king’s subjects could choose one gift. When the girl arrived at the fête, she wandered around the beautiful display of things, finding each one more attractive than the last, but she was not in a hurry to choose. She thought carefully, and then seeing the king sitting at one end, surrounded by his staff, she ran towards him. The king had been watching the proceedings with great interest, and was well aware of the fact that the little girl had not yet chosen her gift, so as she curtsied before him, and said, Innocent child, the fête will soon be closing, you had better hurry up and choose something. Without hesitation, the girl put her hand on the king’s head and asked, Now, to whom do you belong? The king smiled and replied, Now I belong to you. She laughed gaily and asked, And all the things in the fête?They are mine, but now they are yours, replied the king who in his heart was extremely happy that at least one of his subjects preferred him to anything else.

‘If you become mine, the whole world will be yours.’ To surrender to the Lord, Whom so far you have not seen, you must go to the One in Whom He is manifested. Sitting at His feet is like sitting with God, and the more you give to Him, the more successful will you be. This is not a question of sacrifice – you should understand that.

You have discarded the invaluable jewel for the sake of a seashell.

Clouded with illusion, we have thrown away the fruit and are enjoying the peelings. We have got the physical form, and to realise God is the Greatest Aim in life. You have been given the Bhajan, and have been told to keep a diary. To cut down a tree, it is easier to chop off the branches first. We have to cut off the ego to gain progress.

Ego and attachment are burned by the Shabd, when, by becoming a Gurumukh, fully devoted to the Guru, you get the Jyoti or full Light.

Daily contact with God is the only remedy, until you see that He is the Doer, and not yourself. While the I-hood remains, all actions whether good or bad will merely continue to reap reward and punishment. But when the disciple becomes the conscious co-worker of the Divine Plan, and know that he is nothing, then he has crossed the stream of life.

Swami Ji has said that we should not hesitate to go all out to still the mind. We do not fully grasp that the mind takes everyone to his doom. It is like a thousand-faced snake, which is constantly with each being; it has a thousand different ways of destroying the person. The rich with riches, the poor with poverty, the orator with his fine speeches – it takes the weakness in each and plays upon it to destroy him. The result? ‘Who is a great as I?’ ‘Without me, there would be failure!’ ‘Apart from me, there is no one!’ In such sad conditions, the Truth is destroyed.