November 11, 1967 — Morning Talks, chapter 19
There are nine ways*) and means to strengthen our bhakti or devotion to God.
First of all, devotion is developed and strengthened through the eyes. So when you see the God in you, which is the Light and Sound Principle, or the Physical Body which radiates that Light and Sound, you see Him. Eyes are the windows of the soul, through which we receive impressions from outside. About eighty percent of all impressions from outside are received through the eyes.
So eyes are the most effective way to develop, to strengthen the devotion in us for Him, whom we love. When you look at the God-in-man, you will receive impressions. Those impressions will be embedded in your heart and if you close your eyes, you will see the Light which radiates from Him. You are just to look at Him, intently, minutely, penetratingly, forgetting everything else, receive impressions, close your eyes and let those impressions be embedded in your heart. The result will be that in due course of time, devotion will be developed in you and will be strengthened from day to day, so much so that you will feel that He is in me and I am in Him. This is true devotion, true bhakti and can be developed through the eyes.
God radiates through the eyes of the God-man. Through your eyes, you will see into His eyes. He sheds lyrical glances of His Higher Divinity through His eyes to you. You should receive the impressions, close your eyes and be absorbed in them. This is the best way of strengthening the devotion within you.
Out of the nine ways, one is taken as a bridegroom and a bride. Christ has said,
“God is our Bridegroom,
our everlasting Bridegroom.”
The worldly bridegrooms are for a hundred years at the most. The bridegroom of the soul is God Himself and all our souls are His virgin girls. So if you want Him to be infused in your very life, then receive the impressions through the eyes of the God-in-man. This is the most effective way of developing love or devotion.
Jesus, St. Catherine and others said,
“I have become betrothed with Christ.”
St. Catherine used to wear a ring on her finger as a sign that she was betrothed to Christ. These outward examples are given just to bring home the truth. When two unite in this way, they forget their body, everything. They just enjoy by absorption, soul into soul and forget the world. Similarly, when your soul receives impressions and these are embedded in your heart, you feel from day to day, that He is in me, and I am in Him. This will happen in due course of time, patience is a necessity, perseverance is a necessity.
Kabir has given an example:
“Just lay down the bed within your eyes
and look at Him,
absorb His radiation that He gives you,
and close your eyes.
You will be there and He will also be within you.
Don’t look to anybody else
and let Him not look to anybody else.”
This is an example to show. In this way, you will please the Lord and the Lord will be pleased with you. When you receive His impressions within, naturally your heart will be overflowing with devotion and love.
What will He give you?
You will always be thinking of Him. When you meet others, you will talk of the Lord, or the Bridegroom, just as in the outer way, those brides who are newly married will sit down together and talk about their husbands. It is the same with those who are on their way back to God. When two of them meet, they talk of God, or the God-in-man. That devotion overflows still further, becomes stronger and stronger, so much so that by radiation, you are overflowing with the Divine love. This is one way how we can have devotion. There are other ways, that were spoken of before.
So today’s subject is “How to do Devotion to the Lord.” In the olden days, in the time of the Rishis and in the time of Soami Shiv Dayal Singh, people used to look into the eyes of the Master. They would sit and look into the eyes of the Master for a few minutes and would receive His glances. This is the best way to receive the radiation of the Master. When I used to go to my Master (Baba Sawan Singh), He used to say, “All right, sit by me and give a talk.” So I used to talk to Him and the people enjoyed.
So I was just explaining that in the olden times, the Masters allowed their disciples to sit before them and look into their eyes. Eyes are the windows of the soul. It is God within Him that looks at you. When you are receptive, you receive all those impressions. This is I think, the best way out. Then the time came when one of the disciples tried to touch the feet of Soami Ji but he was not allowed to do it. Soami Ji said, “Why are you doing that? look at me!” One of the disciples who was sitting there cried out, “Oh Master, why don’t you allow us to do that?”
So this is one of the nine forms of devotion or bhakti, which is I would say, the most effective. Naturally, when devotion is embedded in your heart, out of the abundance of heart a man speaks. You will always be singing praises of God, or the God-in-man. When two such disciples sit together, they will always talk of the Master. When more than one sit together, the devotion to the God-man is strengthened.
You follow me now, how devotion is developed? These things are not given in ordinary talks. These are practical hints which are given every day in the morning. Naturally, when devotion is embedded in your heart, you will speak out of the abundance of your heart. When two disciples meet, He will be remembered, not to whom you talk. As two newly married girls talk about their bridegrooms, similarly two disciples who are devoted to the Master or God, will always talk of the Master or God. Then naturally, His love will be radiated between them. When you speak of your Bridegroom, how nearer at heart you will feel to each other. When those who are on the way speak of God, they will feel more love. This is such a relation that cannot be broken even after death. God unites us in a relation which continues even after leaving the body.
Our Master (Baba Sawan Singh) used to say, “Out of a number of people who cross a river, some will reach the other side before the others, but all will eventually meet together.” Similarly, those who are initiated on the way back to God are all to go back to Him. But who will go? He who will do bhakti in this way. These are things to enable us to judge where we stand.
So the highest aim in the human life is to know God. You cannot know God unless you know yourself first. You have to withdraw from everything, you have to be cut off from outside. This is the most effective way, I would say.
This is the Bread of Life of which Christ said,
“I am the Bread of Life.
This Bread of Life has come down from Heaven.
Those who partaketh of it
shall have everlasting life.”
This is not the outer bread of life. You get this Bread of Life by looking through the windows of your soul into the windows through which the Master or the God-in-man is radiating His Love. This is the most effective way, only expressed in words, through which you really get the Bread of Life. When that is there, naturally you will enjoy. Those who are on the way will talk only about the Master. You will always be singing praises of Him, the God in Him. This then, is one way in which our devotion is developed and also strengthened. But the time factor is a necessity, patience is a necessity, perseverance is a necessity. It will not happen in one day.
When it does happen, you will forget who you are. You will say,
“It is I, no more I, it is He
who dwells within my breast.”
— Saint Paul
The final criterion is, if you put the same question to the Master and also to the one disciple who is just in tune with the Master, the same words will be spoken by the Master as you will hear from the disciple, exactly the same words. If the Master speaks of such a disciple, who may be hundreds of miles away, the disciple will feel the radiation coming from the Master wherever he is. I learnt everything from my Master by simply looking at Him. All through life, two or three questions I put to Him, no more. So the Master comes within us, God is in Him and also comes within you. Very simple, no philosophy required.
You learn more by radiation, thousands of times more, than you can have through your practices. Your practices will only become fruitful when you are receptive. If for a while you sit, withdraw and go in, all foreign thoughts won’t intervene or interfere.
This then, is the most effective of the nine ways of doing bhakti. Whatever is within you, of that will you speak. Out of the abundance of heart, a man speaks. Whenever two are on the same Way together, they overflow with love for God, not for love of each other. The God-in-man unites us in such a relation which is never broken, even after leaving the body. You are all on the same Way.
You have to judge how far you have developed. There is no question of high or low, rich or poor. Whoever does it, has it.
*) The “nine ways of Bhakti or devotion to God” is a reference to Navaratnamalika (garland of nine gems) — nine compositions by Syama Sastri describing nine forms of bhakti or devotion:
- sravana (listening to ancient texts),
- kirtana (praying),
- smarana (remembering teachings in ancient texts),
- pada-sevana (service to the feet),
- archana (worshiping),
- namaskar or vandana (bowing to the divine),
- dasya (service to the divine),
- sakhyatva (friendship with the divine), and
- atma-nivedana (self-surrender to the divine).