Thief of your Life’s Breath


I will give you an example from the life of Guru Nanak. A disciple named Bhai Ajitha once questioned the Guru, Maharaj, you say that some have had but a fragrance of sikhi – True Devotion to the Guru –, and some live under the protective roof of a True Disciple, but there are some who taste the Nectar from a True Disciple. Please give me the darshan of these three types of followers.

Now listen carefully to this story: Guru Nanak took Ajitha to a certain house at night – houses in those days were made with inner courtyards. The owner said to his family, There are some Holy Men outside, we must feed them. But they were very poor people, with very meagre fare, and they collected a piece of bread from each one’s share and with devotion offered it to Guru Nanak and returned to their places. Guru Nanak and Ajitha passed the night in singing praises of God, and in the morning the Guru sent Ajitha to tell the owner, We are leaving now. The owner replied, Brothers, you are going? Then go. Who asked you to come?

As they walked on their way, Guru Nanak told Ajitha, This man has had a little fragrance of discipleship. This type of person will listen, they will serve both financially and physically, etc., but they will remain where they are. You see, when someone gets a slight fragrance they are ready and willing to do anything, and yet when they leave that fragrance all their aspirations are forgotten. Ajitha then said, Maharaj, I see this type of man everyday; now please show me one who lives under the Master’s protection.

They went to a village and entered the house of a large family, who entertained and fed them with Great Love and devotion. When night came, they said, Maharaj, have Mercy on us. How can we control our mind? We are pitifully imprisoned in this world – show us the way to salvation. So the whole night was spent listening to the advice of Guru Nanak, until the sun rose at daybreak. When the Guru showed His intentions to depart, the family quickly cooked more food and packed it for their journey. As the Guru left, they pleaded for His Grace and begged Him to look after them and return soon to their home. So Guru Nanak explained to Ajitha that this was the type of people who live under a True Master’s protection. How many people can you find who will spend the whole night talking about the Lord? Have you met anyone like that? Such people have hope of salvation. They may not go anywhere just now, but there is hope later.

Ajitha then said, But what about those who have gained the Essence of Truth from a Master? and Guru Nanak promised to show him such an example. Some days later they went to another house where lived a man, his wife, two sons and a daughter, who were imbued with the Love of the Guru. They all received and entertained Guru Nanak with respect and devotion. To show True Devotion to a Master is like showing it to God Himself. The wife immediately retired to the kitchen to prepare food. Her son came running to help her, but slipped on the floor, fell down and died. Of course she was distressed; but, thinking of the karmic laws, attributed it to give and take, and then thought of the Saint that had just come to her home. Resolving that the incident should not mar the occasion, she hid her son’s body in a room under the covers of a bed, meaning to tell her husband only after the departure of the Saint.

Meanwhile, the husband had gone into the courtyard for something, accompanied by his younger son, who suddenly slipped, fell down and died. The father then had exactly the same thought as his wife, and hid his son’s body in another room, after which he continued devotedly to help prepare the meal.

When the food was placed in front of him, Guru Nanak picked up the small daughter and placing her on His lap, asked her, Where are your brothers? She replied, They are in the lap of the Guru. In life or death, we are all in His lap. Guru Nanak then picked up a morsel of food and put it in His mouth but could not swallow it. He said, It will not go down my throat; they have bound me by their Love and complete surrender to the Guru, and turning to the father said, I want to meet your sons, so kindly call them. The husband and wife both became alarmed, for both were concealing the facts and did not know what to do. But the Guru insisted, so the husband called the names of his two sons. At once both boys came from the respective rooms where they had been lying. They told of their interesting sleep during which both were held in the lap of the Guru. Who can imagine the joy in the hearts of the parents! Guru Nanak turned to Ajitha and remarked, Now this is the type of person who enjoys the very essence from the Guru’s presence.

This last example was one of True Living, the kind of life that we must learn to live. You can see for yourselves where you stand at present, and the only reason for that position is the fact that you do not know how to truly love the Master. Why would he who rises above the mind and senses try to keep you imprisoned here in them? It is the fervent wish of whoever has tasted the Real Nectar that everyone should enjoy the bliss.

Meet the Master, my brothers, and take the True Naam into thy keeping; tie this life’s treasure to thee, here and hereafter.

The treasure of the Masters has value in both worlds, so where does the Negative Power stand in this? The Negative Power comes in when we do not truly love, we do not obey, or we obey only as far as our mind agrees. This is what is called the power of negativeness. We even go so far as to give advice to the Master, at times. Hafiz of Shiraz made the startling statement that if your Guru tells you to drench your prayer-mat in wine, then do so! Why? Would the one who has the intoxication of Naam wish to trap you in the worldly intoxicants? We should try to carefully understand the Master’s teachings and what lies behind them – not waste time in intellectual wrangling and reasoning. When an officer gives the orders to fire, the soldier must fire, and the responsibility of the decision rests upon the officer. So our duty is to obey, and die if necessary! As long as the condition of our mind does not develop to this kind of obedience, we will not get the full benefit that the Naam has to offer us. The Guru is not ignorant of the pathways to Spirituality.

You have got the connection, then daily increase it. And if you learn to obey without question, the colour of this world will fade and you will be dyed deep in the colour of Naam. Disobedience results in being consumed perpetually in the fire of senses, not only in this life, but hereafter also.

When someone remarked to Lord Vishnu that he must be very busy always preparing the hells, etc., for so many erring souls, he replied, 

No, I do nothing – the souls bring their own fires and are consumed in them.

We go through life strictly according to the Inner Condition of mind. The Masters show a straight road out, but the worldly people object to it, being convinced that he is doing nothing but obstructing the fulfilment of their desires. The Master comes to give the True Understanding of life, but the people chase Him away, protesting that He has come to rot their roots by flooding them with water. They do not or will not understand the deep meaning of Satsang, although in all religions it is stated that there is no salvation without Naam or Word.

It is already within you; you have but to be made aware of it. That person who is already all-awareness can awaken you. He who has no Light radiating within cannot show it to others. It is a work impossible to be accomplished by intellectuals or those learned in Sacred Scriptures, etc. Get the full benefit of meditation, and increase it day by day. The more you increase it, the nearer will you advance towards your goal. If you refuse, the day will come when you will be filled with regret for the lost opportunity. It is all a very simple matter of fact, and outer show of respect will achieve nothing. Learn to obey implicitly – this is the secret in a nutshell.