November 20, 1967 — Sawan Ashram, Delhi (Morning Talks, chapter 22)
To abide by the teachings of the Master is just like treading a razor’s edge. The more you walk on the edge of a razor, the more it will cut your feet. What does this mean? The more you abide by the teachings of the Master, by the sayings of the Master, the more you have to tear up your old name and fame, what you are, whether high or low. You have to care only for the Master. What He says is Bible truth. This is what God said through the Koran and all Masters have said the same thing. So we must abide by His sayings whether the people admire us or not. You have to be true to the God in you and the God in Him, not caring for what the people say. Christ said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” To keep the commandments of the Master is difficult. Sometimes for one reason or another we evade keeping them, we fear what other people will say. So always abide by what your Master says, the God in Him, whether the people admire you or not. You must abide by the teachings, sayings, or orders of the Master and live up to them, irrespective of whether the world admires you or otherwise.
When a man develops inside, naturally he sees the God in the Master. There was one disciple of Nizam-uddin Aulia, called Khusro, who worshipped his Master like anything. The people began to say, “Look here, he is a Mohammedan and he is worshipping a man, a body. He is not a Mohammedan.” Khusro replied, “I don’t care what the world says about me, whether this or that thing, I am a devotee of my Master and will abide by what He says.”
So we have to live up to what the Master says. If He says, “Stop!” then stop, that’s all. He who lives up to what the Master says, who pays obeisance to the words, to the orders of the Master, is the foremost to get salvation. For those who simply obey Him physically, but do not live up to what He says, there is yet time. The time factor is most necessary to enable you to have full emancipation. So the first difficult thing on the way to devotion to the Master is that you must abide by what He says, irrespective of whether the world praises you or not. It may be possible that He says something that does not appeal to your intellect, but what is your duty? When the officer in the field orders “fire”, what will the soldier do? He must fire. The Master will never say anything which is not becoming. It may be that you do not understand what He says at the time, but He has some noble purpose behind it for your betterment. That is why it is very difficult to follow the orders of the Master.
I was just giving an instance from my own life. I was ordered by my Master not to go anywhere except to the place of Satsang. I was always busy in attending to the sick, the poor, holding Satsangs, and helping people in difficulties, sometimes till late at night. Then I stopped altogether. People went to the Master and said that I do not visit them anymore. The Master said, “He won’t go!” One lady came up to me at that time and said that her husband was on his deathbed and asked me to come to see him. I told her, “Well dear lady, I am sorry, but I am afraid that I cannot go. I cannot transcend the imperial wall laid before me by the Master,” and so she went away. The next day she came again and said, “My husband said that in the name of the Master please come.” I shed tears. I told her, “Well, the Master is to look after him. I am sorry, but I cannot transcend.” Her husband died. Two or three days after, our Master came to Lahore. I met Him and that very lady also came up and complained to the Master saying, “Look here Master, my husband was crying for him to come but he did not come.” The Master looked at me and said, “If you find any such event, you should go.” Now, wherever I should go, whoever I should see, he must die, because I had to go only when a man was dying, and not before. People complained to the Master — “He does not come to attend our sick. Even when they are dying, he does not care.” The Master told them very bluntly, “All right, if somebody of his dies, don’t you go!”
Just look to the difficulty you see, how difficult it is to abide by what the Master says. Once my elder son (he is here) fell sick and the doctors said that he would die in two or three days. On the third day, he was quite near to his end. I was told that I must attend him, so I took leave. Fortunately or unfortunately, there was one day on which I had to go, under the orders of the Master, to give a talk at a place about thirty miles from Lahore. I thought, “Well the doctors say that my son will die and here is my Master’s order. What should I do? Oh well, it is for the Master to look after him, I cannot prolong or cut down his life.” So I left for the place where I had to give the talk, and it was about noon when I finished. The place where I gave it was near to Beas and I thought that I should like to see the Master. It was a very hot day, I remember, and I reached there at about 2 p.m. When I arrived the Master sent for me and I went and paid obeisance to Him. He was lying on His bed and when I came in, He sat up. The first thing He said was, “What about your son, how is he getting on?” I told the Master that he had been very sick and that the doctors said he would pass away in three days, but the Master’s orders were for me to give a talk. The Master became very sad and I said to Him, “Whoever thinks of You, all his grief and sadness go. Why are you so sad?” The Master said, “Well look here, you have thrown your burden on me and I have to take care.” So my son never died and he is still alive. You follow how difficult it is to keep the word of the Master? Another time, my baby daughter died in the evening and I had to go to conduct the Satsang at a far off place. These are very ordinary things but we have to obey the Master’s order. Early in the morning I sent for Dalip Singh and gave him directions to attend to the disposal of the body in my absence. Other people said about me, “What is he doing?” but still I went on my job. You follow me? To keep the commandments of the Master is very difficult. We simply make an outer show of obeying the Master’s orders but do not live up to them. Even in His absence, orders are orders. The very order is the Guru, is the Master. Those who pay obeisance to the words of the Master are sure to be emancipated. This is one reason why devotion to the Master is like walking on the sharp edge of a razor.
Second, bhakti or devotion to the Master does not need any outer forms or rituals, acting or posing. Just live in a simple way. The Master has got a very human touch, I would say. He is a man like you and lives in a natural way, no acting or posing, no show, nothing of the sort. This is but natural. So these are the two things which stand in our way of full devotion to the Master. This is why it is difficult to speak of the love of the Master. We can make oceans of talk, but how far do we abide by His commandments? An ounce of practice is better than tons of theory. Those who obey His commandments will forget whether they are a Sikh, Mohammedan, Hindu or a Christian. They will never think in this way. They will just consider themselves a devotee of the Master.
Once I was invited by a loving disciple of the Master to a place located in a jungle wilderness and I promised that I would go. There were some other people living near that place who were not in my favour and who said that they would kill me if I came. Those who were with me were afraid to go. I said to them, “You either come with me, or I go alone. When I have promised, I must go!” When I entered that wilderness, those very people who were against me showed up. “All right friends, come on and guide me on the way,” I said. They were running before me, to the place where I was to give a talk. I told them, “Look here, I am not a Sikh, a Mohammedan, or a Radha-Soami. I am not a Christian, but I am a devotee of my Master. My ‘ism’ is that of my Master. You can come to me or not.” They were all changed. The loving disciple was waiting for me there in all anguish and crying for me.
So bhakti knows only devotion to the Master. You will do what He wills. A devotee will not await the orders of the Master, he will divine what is the intention and will follow it, without having to be given it. This is why there are difficulties in the way of devotion to the Master. It is just as difficult as walking on the sharp edge of a razor. So the main thing lies in what? “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” This is what Christ said. Those who keep the commandments and live up to them will have emancipation, sure and certain. To keep the commandments of the Master is to live up to them, not only to have them in your brain. He may be before you or you may be in His absence. You have just to abide by His word. That is the God in you, the Master in you.
So for these two reasons, Guru bhakti or devotion to the Master is difficult. He may give us something, or He may take something away from us. It is all His. Like a treasurer, He may send you some thousands of Rupees and ask you to send Rs. 2000.00 to such and such a man. You are only a keeper. To be true to the Master is to be true to His words, what He says. We should live up to them, whether people admire us or speak ill of us. The Master does not know any show, no acting, no posing. He lives always in a natural way. To keep His words in your brain is not sufficient, you must live up to them. An ounce of practice is better than tons of theory. Food that is digested will give you strength. Food which is not digested will cause disease. If the Master is situated at a place thousands of miles away from you, then you must develop receptivity. From radios and televisions, you hear the voice, you see who is speaking. The God-man is Word-made-flesh, He is everywhere. You simply have to turn your minds and hearts in His direction to develop receptivity. You will then have help from there. However, to come into contact physically with Him cannot be underrated. In this way you come direct to the fire. In the other way you have to direct your attention. Here you have little or no effort to make to direct your attention. You see Him with your own eyes. You follow me now how devotion is developed, how it can be strengthened, how you can transmute yourself by devotion? So now we should judge where we stand.
If our hearts are devoted to One and for the sake of that One we are devoting selfless service, that will not become binding, mind that! If you are only devoted for the outward name and fame, so that you will have a good name in the world, then you are bound. You will go where you are attached. Masters have been explaining these things in their own way and you will find that the sayings and scriptures of all Masters speak of the same things. But he who has done it practically will know what true devotion means. For this purpose you should be regularly devoted to your spiritual practices. You should also keep your diaries, as this will make you regular. I always enjoin “Send your diaries blank.” How long will you send them in this way? One month, two months, then you will feel morally obligated to do something. You will become regular. I will then say, “All right, please put in more time.” I never chastise anybody, even those who do not do as I say. I just request them again to please do as I tell them. So this is the purpose of the diaries and how important it is to keep them. How many are there who really keep true diaries? Sometimes people simply bring their diaries to me and I see that they are all clear, but that little or no experience has been had. I tell them, “Dear friend, your diary is all right, but you should have gone to the third plane!” The heart which is not attached anywhere, which never thinks of worldly things, nor has any failures shown under the different headings on the diary, will be pure and God must sit in it. He is there already, but He will become manifest.