If you have a desire for the Truth, then each breath should be spent in devotion;
and you should steal away from the attachments of the world by averting the eyes of the heart.
From the roza (Muslim fast), attain the purpose for which it stands, and leave off all outer practices;
do the true prayer, and enjoy the bread of love to the best of your heart’s content.
Do you understand the meaning of this? As for outer prayers, one should first wash the hands and feet; so when you sit down in God’s remembrance, you should wash away your mind from the worldly attachments only then the true prayer will be performed. If you can do the true prayer, then which is better, the outer or the inner? Just compare the two.
It is said that if one succeeds inwardly, then one should give more time to that; but we are inclined to give more time to outer things. I once met a learned pandit (one learned in religious knowledge). He was given an inner contact, and after that he gave three hours daily to reading the Vedic mantras, and only half an hour to inner meditation. If you have got what is mentioned in the Vedic mantras, do you give more time to continue reading the holy books, or to what those very books have instructed you to do? One should compare the two carefully and decide where to give more time. However, if one has not got the inner contact, one should not give up whatever devotions one is doing; otherwise, you will be altogether the loser.
What is the purpose of the various observances? You light a lamp and ring the bell in the temple. If one is worshiping outwardly in this way, and instead of that, the other way manifests the inner Light within, then to which practice should you be giving more time? To the inner practice, of course! Outer practices may cease, but one need not worry as long as one has the inner contact. But, having received It, what do we do? We go on doing the outer practices, and do not give time to the inward practice — it is a pity. All the outer things were designed to lead us to the inner Truth.
This situation reminds me of a story of a man who went to the priest to get some parshad (blessed food). He took the parshad in one hand and hid it behind his back, and then extended the other hand for some more. The priest did not give him any more, and a dog came and ate what he had hidden behind his back. So, what we already had we did not use, and what has now been given we do nothing about; so we are left with naught. The outer practices are the first steps, so should be used in the best way possible. Then, if one reaches the purpose and aim behind them, then one should give more time to that. Very often we give three or four hours to outer things, and only five or ten minutes to the inner practice. The meaning of this hymn is that once a person gets the true contact inside, it will not matter much if he does not keep the outer prayers and observances. Actually, if one is enjoying the true inner prayer, he will become oblivious of outer practices.
You should count the nights of separation (from the Lord) through each rosary bead.
Throw away all outer prayers and sing only the Song of Truth.
Some people go on doing the rosary, perhaps for one or two hundred times; and it is good to have remembrance of God. But, if one’s attention is withdrawn and one contacts the Inner Truth, then how will one remember the rosary, for one’s attention or soul has completely withdrawn from outside. Do not misunderstand the words of the hymn and the meaning behind them you can compare for yourself. You should go inside. If one does not do the inner practice and at the same time leaves off the outer ones, then then what? One should at least do something!
Don’t take baths in the sacred rivers Ganga, Jumna, or Pushkar;
but go on diving into the Ocean of Love.
The reason for going on a pilgrimage is to go to some saintly personage and, while sitting beside him, give time in sweet remembrance of God. If one’s remembrance becomes very strong and one gets intoxicated through that, then one’s condition will be so: No words come from the mouth, but through the eyes the tears will tell the story.
There is the famous romance of Princess Laila and Majnu, which illustrates the power of remembrance. One day Laila was going to meet Majnu, and on the way there was a Muslim priest doing his namaz (prayers). They spread a mat in front of them, meaning that they have cut themselves off from the world and there is no one between them and God; they then do their prayers in this attitude. Laila, who was intoxicated with the thoughts of her beloved Majnu, stepped on the prayer mat as she passed by. Kazi Sahib, the priest, lost his temper and started cursing the princess; but she did not hear him. The priest, recovering from his outburst, realized that he had cursed a princess and feared that the King would behead him; so he awaited her return, and when she approached he stepped forward and said, “Please forgive me, I made a grave mistake.” She asked what he had done and he replied, “You crossed my prayer mat and I cursed you.” Princess Laila opened her eyes wide with surprise and asked, “In whose remembrance were you sitting? I, who was remembering a mere mortal, did not see you or your prayer mat — what kind of prayer were you doing?”
Do you understand this? When you get the true thing, the outer things are left behind. When the fruit comes on the tree, the flowers fall away of themselves. The tree that first bears flowers and then the fruit, that fruit will ripen. So, these blossoms that we have — the outer practices — will fall away automatically when the fruit comes out of them. Everything has its own value.
Do not become the devotee of an idol there is nothing in it.
Withdraw your heart from idols and start worshiping the Truth within you.
Just as I have said, there are images of various gods; but when He Himself appears within you, that is far better than any image. Such worship is like the first steps taken to help one to have love for God; but if you ask my opinion, how can a man love anyone he has never seen nor met?
O being, lose not thyself in beautifying the body;
Go on forgetting the body which is made of dust;
journeying toward the Elixir of life.
Leave all worldly intoxication and smoke only
the true soolfa (a form of hashish);
With every breath, pop only the cork of the bottle of love.
If the intoxication wears off drink and drink again;
Become thou so thus intoxicated that the world’s intoxication fades.
The outer intoxications will go away by themselves if one gets the true intoxication from within. If this inner intoxication wears off, then drink more — but from where? It can only be had in the company of Someone Who has got it. If it wears off, we should again drink. This means that again and again we should keep His company to replenish the intoxication which comes from being in His presence. If we do this, one day we will be permanently intoxicated. The outer intoxicants wear off, but daily contact with the inner intoxication increases the state until we become that very Intoxication itself.