The Festival of Raksha is observed by our Hindu brothers, and the true meaning of Raksha Bandan is to have good intentions toward someone and be a protection for them in every way - to protect them from difficulties, unhappiness, calamities, etc., or to save them from the force of such occurrences as cannot be prevented. The custom has been upheld in India for many generations, and at the time of wars for instance, sisters would tie a small token on the wrists of their soldier brothers, and whisper the prayer, "May God protect you!" It is a common custom still continued nowadays, but unfortunately with time it has deteriorated from its true meaning, and we find that when the sister now ties the token, she feeds him some sweetmeat and then expects some money in return, and so the true reason for the custom is lost.
What is Raksha or protection, and who can give it wholeheartedly? When a child is born it has no awareness of anything, but its mother protects it from birth until it is fully grown. The father is the bread-earner, but the mother is the protector. First, for nine or ten months she carries the baby in her womb, giving it all her love and attention; then when it arrives in the world she starts to take care of its every need. She keeps him clean, for he is constantly dirtying himself. If he gets wet and there are no more dry clothes, though it be the depth of winter she will keep him warm on her breast and cover him with her own clothes, oblivious to the danger of catching cold herself. When the child gradually begins to have some awareness of his surroundings, he starts to realize a little of the love of his mother toward him, for the mother first loves the child, not vice versa. The child's love comes in response, and when he learns to love he is reluctant to leave his mother's lap. She spends her life in worrying about the child - his health, his food, his education, good character, and his future. Everything concerning him is dear to her heart until he stands on his feet and gets established in life. Even then her worrying does not cease. You will find that most mothers are like this, the whole world over.
However, this worldly life is not the true living - we have to be born again, not physically but into a new and different world. Christ said that unless a man be born again he cannot enter the kingdom of God, and only after getting this physical form can we get rebirth into the Beyond. Just as the mother is the physical protector, it is even more necessary to have a protector through the second or spiritual birth and on through the spiritual life until one has grown in awareness and is able to stand upright spiritually. With conditions as they are today, even man's closest ties offer little protection. A brother is not a true brother; father is not for his son and the son will do nothing for his father. Even the mother has started cursing her child, who in turn has lost all respect for its mother. It is such a terrible and degraded condition that mankind has sunk into - I feel like weeping. Anyway, one might have the sympathies of a righteous person, but for how long can he protect one? For as long as he stays in this world - not beyond that, and in the process of rebirth he will be of no avail whatsoever. So who can protect us in the new world? He who dwells there. The true Raksha Bandan happens when you have a protector for your soul, who can take care of you in this world and the next, and without whom nothing can be achieved; with all due respect and gratitude to our physical and material protectors.
The mother hen sits on her eggs with full concentration, so that the chicks will form. When they are fully formed, she conveys to them that they are ready for the world which is waiting for them with open arms; the sun which is brightly shining, the grass is green and fresh, and there is plenty of food to eat. But the chick is in darkness, and cannot realize there is any other state. The mother then has to resort to tapping on the shell with her beak, and on hearing this he instinctively feels encouraged to do the same from inside and in a short time he is putting his head into a new atmosphere filled with light and life. Only then does he understand the promise conveyed by his mother.
If we want to be born into the new world, we need the help of someone who will not only take us there, but who will protect us to the end of the journey. Do you think this is work for our mother, father, sister or any friend? No, it is impossible. The whole world is unable to assist you. There is an account of an incident during the life of my Master, Baba Sawan Singh Ji, of a woman disciple whose only son was arrested on a false charge of murder, and was given the penalty of death by hanging. The sessions judge presiding over the case was also a disciple, and before the final verdict was concluded, Baba Sawan Singh Ji requested him to help the accused, and said, "I know he is innocent and falsely implicated"; but the judge disregarded the Master's words and gave the death sentence. A few days later, I was present when this same judge came to pay his respects to Hazur, and when the Master passed very close to him, without even looking in his direction, he said casually to another person, "I have no need of a judge - I can ask the Lord to do my work." Just then, the mother approached the Master and started crying. "He has been sentenced to death," she said. Baba Sawan Singh Ji replied, "Don't worry - you just put in an appeal." It was not the type of case that had the slightest chance through appealing, but on the Master's advice the mother did appeal; and when they re-examined the case, certain facts came to light and eventually the son was released. So one can see that even when there is no hope in any direction, a true protector can give the maximum help. Frankly, what is a human being's life but a series of interruptions? At each step there is a barrier - what one wants does not happen. Some people are dying, some are sick, some are in difficulties of various kinds. There are thousands in poverty, and in appallingly afflicted conditions. The whole of mankind is lamenting its unhappiness every step of the way. Who is there to give consolation in world, and guidance in the next?
Guru Nanak has said on the subject, "O Nanak, break off all connections with the imperfect, and search for a perfect Master; they will abandon you even while you live, but he will never leave you even after death." Maulana Rumi has also said that one should grasp the coat-tails of a man who knows the secrets of this world and the Beyond. The protection of such a personage cannot be described, but the individuals who experience it hold the knowledge close in their hearts. His single thought is very powerful, for God is Superconsciousness. He is a part of the Creator - a drop of the Ocean of All Light. Remember, with one thought God created the world - from One, many came into creation. If we, the soul, become the mouthpiece of the Oversoul, then how powerful will we be! Our soul, though it is the same as the Oversoul, is surrounded by the mind and the senses, and is enclosed in the carcass of the physical form. The Masters come like motherly hens to foster the children, which is very necessary, for unless they sit at some Master's feet and absorb his words they cannot be reborn - remember that - though in the beginning it may be by mere words that the facts of life are conveyed, of a new world more beautiful than this, viz.: And, Brahmand, Par Brahmand, and Sat Lok or Sach Khand. O Soul, you are the dweller of that land - why have you allowed yourself to be captivated here?
On hearing the words of the Masters we slowly start thinking, and want to know what else there is. When the Master gives the soul a connection with the Beyond, it hears it, and responds. "There is no way without the Shabd to leave this pot of clay." With repetition or Simran, you can achieve single-pointed concentration, and with concentrated attention - Dhyan - you will come to a standstill; but Shabd is the only power to take you up into the Beyond. The Master is that consciousness which has become the mouthpiece of the All-consciousness and his single penetrating glance can lift the consciousness of not only one but hundreds at one sitting, if necessary. To be connected to such a personage is the true Raksha Bandan, otherwise it is merely a worldly custom.
What are a Guru's responsibilities, and what does he do? When one gives real thought to this, one's soul shivers to realize the extent of his protection. People do not understand that the Guru's responsibilities are vast. They are overjoyed with the prospects of becoming Masters themselves; forgive me for saying this. Each one's desire is to be a Guru, Sadhu or Sant, and spellbound with these thoughts he forgets his duty toward himself and what he has to become in reality, thereby spending his precious time in leisure and wasting away whatever he has got. But the Master, with each breath, goes on saving the disciples all the time. Whenever he initiates, he sows a seed for a new life; like the seed enters the mother's womb and then develops. "Howsoever God's words come, he brings them into outer knowledge." He is a perfect being - the mouthpiece of God, the conscious co-worker - who sees that it is God sitting within him who is doing everything. This kind of Master sows the seed of attention and gives a way up into the Beyond, which is a new experience.
In India some time ago, the Masters who gave Initiation into the Beyond were termed Brahmins - the supreme caste - but today only the caste remains, and initiation is but a mantra; mere words, that is all. The raksha or protection is a question mark. You are in the custody of a true Master from the very day he gives initiation. He becomes the very breath of the disciple. Baba Sawan Singh Ji used to say that from the day the Master gives the blessing of Naam, the Guru becomes the indweller, along with the soul. From that very moment, he starts forming the child, with love and protection, until ultimately he takes him into the lap of the Oversoul. Until that time, he does not leave him for one minute. This advancement may take one, two, or three lifetimes. Masters have mentioned up to four, but if we become receptive it can happen in one lifetime.
God is working in the Master, and if you think of him in this way, then whatever you desire will be given. In physique he looks the same as other men, but he is not man alone; he became a man to dispense the treasure of God to the souls. "He is not in birth and death. The benefactor came for the souls, to give them the treasure of devotion and join them back to God." Like a father gives the germinal seed of life, the Guru bestows the Life Force - the incomparable gift. There are many kinds of gifts, but the gift of Naam is above all others, and having given it, the Master then develops it within you, because he wants you to reach the same stage as himself. He wants you to enjoy the bliss that he enjoys. The Master goes on protecting and giving, whether the disciple knows it or not; for he is like a small child which never realizes how much worry and trouble it is to its mother. The child may turn out to have a bad character, and perhaps become a gambler, but the mother will continue to concern herself with his needs, that he may not starve and so on.
A child thinks that he knows his mother very well, but what child understands about a mother's heart? We also think that we know our Master, but we can know only as much as he wishes to reveal to us. Eye can see only as much as our eye is developed. To convince us of the Truth, he will approach us in various ways: as a brother, or a friend, and will sometimes appear to be inferior in knowledge or intellect. He acts in whatever way will help the disciple to gain confidence in his Master. In this depth of humility, his greatness is revealed. Thus, this great personage gives rebirth to the soul, and gradually makes us as great as he is. Truly, it is a profound blessing to have a living Master, who has come to give new life.
You may ask, "Is all this the truth?" but you can prove it through your own experiences; and in the many letters I receive daily there are numerous accounts of the Master's protection. For example, a car was traveling along the road and it overturned into a very steep slope. The disciples in the car remembered the Master, and the car righted itself onto all four wheels again. Disciples who have faith in their Master can go through many dangerous experiences and will be astonished how they are saved and protected. These things are daily occurrences. Become receptive and obey his orders implicitly, even though at times he may show anger and displeasure, for he has taken this task upon himself, and has to make you into something. A sculptor will pick up a rock lying on the roadside and chisel it to make eyes, nose, etc., and finally it becomes a work of art, a valuable thing. The Master will make the disciple into something priceless, and those who are receptive will progress quicker, regardless of how long they have been traveling along this path. What good would it be if the stone started fighting with the sculptor, saying "I do not want a nose chiseled---I do not want my face like this"? He has to make something of it and he does so with great love.
Sometimes, due to the fate karmas, many difficulties cross the student's path, and who is there to console and give strength to bear them? A single word from a perfect Master goes to the depth of the heart, that it can stand upright and bear the burden. I remember when Pakistan was formed - you know the condition at that time - whole families died, friends were killed, many people starved, even rich people were destitute and hungry for a slice of bread. Naturally they tried to console each other, but the misery and hurt was so deep that they were inconsolable. However, when they came to Hazur he would say, "It is all right, don't despair - God will give you more," and he would lift his hand in love and blessing. His words were like soothing balm on their raw wounds. The truth is that there is great power in this Attention, and when one is helpless and feels that there is no hope, one will get full protection and assistance by turning one's face toward the Master.
For example, if a child has to undergo some minor operation by the doctor, he will feel more assured and protected if his mother holds him in her lap, where her tender concern and love will help to take his attention from what is happening. There are many disciples who, while going through serious operations have seen their Master as the surgeon performing the operation. It is a question of love and faith in the Guru. Some have seen the Master standing near them with loving and concentrated gaze; they lost their fear and forgot the operation completely. These are not stories from invention, but true facts which have happened and are still happening. It is very necessary to have a living Master. On this subject, Guru Ramdas, the fourth Guru of the Sikhs, says:
As the mother takes care of the baby selflessly with all her strength, in all his needs, even going without herself if necessary, so does the true Guru take care of the disciple through all the tribulations of life. If the disciple's eye is open enough, he will see for himself how he is being protected, and even if he does not see he will still receive the protection. If the child gets dirty, the mother does not spurn him, but washes him clean and lovingly embraces him to her breast. We are covered with the filth of ages of worldly living, and the Guru with all love and concern teaches us how to refrain from soiling ourselves.
Guard the invaluable gift from the Master with your very life, for it will remain with you in this world and the next. It is not a trivial thing to meet a Guru, but with deep sorrow I observe that many people do not have respect for their Master. A child can never forget his mother and all she has done for him; if anyone does forget their mother's love, it is a great sin. To forget all the blessings the Guru has bestowed is unforgiveable. Kabir says, "This sigh will never leave my heart; that I can do nothing in return for all that the Guru has done for me." Forgive me, but the task of the Guru is not an easy one. To make something of the disciple, to put him on his feet, to give him new life, to reach him to his true home - this is the Guru's work. Giving lectures or fine talks is not the Guru's work. His talks are merely to help them be aware that are in deep forgetfulness, but the Master's duty is a matter of custody.
The Master unfolds our understanding, first as a teacher and then by taking on all the headaches, like bringing up a child from infancy; worrying about everything we do, just like a mother. When the child is fully grown, the mother knows that when he is hungry he will himself come for food, but if by chance he does not come, she again goes looking for him everywhere. If the disciple does not listen, the Master will offer alternative ways to help his progress, but if he is clever and keen to learn he will understand much from but a single gesture, and so learns accurately and advances rapidly. When the disciple does not learn from Satsang, books and messages, the Master uses many other ways to encourage him. There is the indirect method. Baba Sawan Singh Ji would sometimes rebuke a man when the actual wrongdoer was another, standing nearby. He would say, "This is not right; it should not happen again," and the person being addressed would wonder in his heart, "What have I done, that he is saying this?" not realizing that the words were indirectly meant for someone else. The ways of Masters are often misunderstood, through lack of spiritual growth. At times the disciples would perpetrate wrong deeds (it is very easy to fall) but when they came to Hazur he would show special love and say, "It is good you have come." This special attention was given particularly to save them from themselves, but many would foolishly think, "If we sin, our Guru is very happy with us!" This is our intellect misguiding us. Fortunately for us, the Master's purpose is always the same: to save the child, that he may stand erect. The road is very long, but he gives his time to each individual; after all he has great love for each and every one - what can he do?
If, after all these means are applied, the disciple still does not understand and progress, he uses yet other means to keep him on the straight path. Forgive me, but when he pulls the rope, the soul writhes in torment. When the child does not obey and wastes his life, the Master shakes him hard, and though he might be a hopeless case the unceasing love of the Master will infuse a breeze of enthusiasm into his heart eventually. If you go on sitting at his feet, you will come nearer to realization. That is why it is advised, "Don't leave the Satsang - whatever has gone wrong will right itself."
Why is your condition today so appalling? Because of the mind and the senses overpowering the soul, and too much living for outer enjoyment. There are grievances in your hearts against others: you cut each other's throats and squeeze the blood out. In this condition, what is the saving factor? Go to the Satsang regularly: one day you will think a thing is right, another day you will think a thing is wrong, but do not cease to attend and your condition will right itself. The more a child is obedient to the Guru's every wish, the quicker will be salvation.
A certain Mahatma by the name of Panap Das has said that a man should have three blessings: first God's, second the Guru's, and third your own soul's. God's blessing you have already got; He has given you the human form and to come across a perfect Master is His very special blessing. The Guru's blessing you received when he gave you rebirth by taking you above the senses and rejoining you to the Sound Current within, which will take you back to the source of all Life. But what about the third blessing, which is your own? What is that? Having received the experience and connection with the Truth from the Master, then whatever he advises, you should do. Give whatever is the time requirement necessary to your inner progress. This is your own blessing on yourself. When the child learns with interest, he benefits from the teacher's pleasure also.
These days, most teachers are just paid, but when I used to study as a child, they were people dedicated to humanity in children. If a child was promising, the teacher would wave aside the question of fees and call him to his own home for extra tuition. We often went to our teacher's home. He did not have any water laid on there, so we used to bring it in buckets and do other work around the house, purely out of love for him. He loved us and taught us with love.
There are Satsangis and near Satsangis. By near Satsangi I mean one who has come in closer touch with the Guru. This teaching is the same for all children, but those who become receptive come closer to the Master; they get a special protection. Though his protection is extended to everyone - all are fed and eat the same bread - yet the child who is more hungry will receive more food. O Lord, we are your ignorant children. The Guru teaches us and makes us open up into awareness. Today you may do one thing, tomorrow something else; you are unstable and always wanting new things, from which you go on desiring other new things. The Master always gives permission for what you want, and remains with you in all you do, but gradually continues turning you toward the Truth, that your interest in It becomes more and more powerful. When he has your interest well established he will make a new life for you and take you into a new world. Now, tell me, is there anyone who would not like to have such a Guru?
When the world turns its back, the Guru is standing beside you. Through desert and forest, over seas and mountains, in this world and the next, he is with you. In the other world the Guru is called Guru Dev (the Radiant Face of the Master) which appears within the Light. A man's face cannot appear inside, only the God-power. When the Guru Dev comes, the disciple will know that he has become a true disciple. If you would all keep daily diaries and honestly note in them all happenings, you would see what a grand treasure you would accumulate; but we listen to the Master's advice and then forget it. We even forget the subject of the Satsang after a few minutes. How can we expect success? Christ said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments."
Satguru's words - Words ARE Satguru.
The words of a Master are the Master himself, and those who respect his words will most certainly get salvation. Generally we respect him only when we see him, and when not in his presence we do what the mind tells us; but remember, he sees our every action. Our Hazur used to say that when a man comes to the Master, he sees him just like a clear glass bottle, and knows whether it is pickle or preserve. But no one knows what goes on behind his bland expression; he is completely unfathomable, and will not show what he sees in a person but will try and wash him clean. Some think he knows nothing, but he gives them his protection always. Those children who are in a dangerous condition get extra care - though very often they think they have succeeded in hoodwinking the Master. What foolishness this is!
The Guru awakens us from our unconscious state, gives physical and intellectual food, that we may have good living and right understanding, and protects us in all phases of life. Our Guru is the Blessed One who has bestowed all this wealth upon us; whoever has such a Master is blessed also. I want to emphasize that if after getting this priceless gift, no consideration is given to it - that is the greatest of all misfortunes. There are certain birds, which when migrating fly many hundreds of miles, but their thoughts are with their children for they have left their eggs behind. The Master might be anywhere, but his thought and protection is constantly with his children, wherever they may be.
The Satguru protects the disciple with his life.
Breath for breath, he remembers you. Without the Master's remembrance, love for him cannot be born in the disciple. He sends out rays of love, and the disciple experiences a strong pull toward his Master. This is also a gift. Now the question arises, should one always be near to the Guru physically? To be always close to the physical presence of the Master takes extremely good karmic background, and only happens with great destiny. Should the followers leave their homes and cast aside their duties? A true Guru will never recommend this; why should he? If he was only on the physical level, then he might advise this, but he tells us that he has another form other than the physical and can travel thousands of miles from where his physical form remains. A true Master stresses that it is not necessary to be always close to his physical form. There is no doubt, that if one is receptive, by being near him one will be enriched with greater wealth, but it sometimes happens that those near him become critical of outer happenings around him, with the result that they do not gain anything. You can live far or near, but your face should be ever turned toward him; that is the point. Kabir said that even if the seven seas are between the disciple and his Guru, the disciple's attention should be directed toward his Master. The speed of attention is very fast. One can judge from the force of electricity; the pranas or life current have faster speed than electric current, and the attention is faster than pranas. With a radio set, one has to just tune it to a certain point and one can hear the sound immediately. Even if the disciple does not set his attention on the Master, the radiation goes on emitting, and the effect of this is the making of him. If he becomes receptive, then the Master appears before him.
There are disciples in various parts of the world - North America, South America, Africa, England, Germany, France, etc.-and who is protecting them? It is not the physical form that travels around, but the higher power, the God-power; you can call it the Guru-power, and it is also called the Christ-power too. This power is protecting the disciples, many of whom have seen clearly the form of the Master - the Master-power - in their daily lives. The power that works in the human pole is the Guru, and if messages can be transmitted and received through radio, then why not become a human pole connected to the Guru through the Guru-power? There should be no obstruction in the way, like worldly affairs, children, one's own physical form or wandering thoughts. Another thing is: purity is very necessary, in living and in being free from ill or impure thoughts. A radio will not work properly if it is jammed up with dirt and dust.
We frequently hear accounts of how the Master has protected his children. At death, he appears before the child, who in full consciousness happily states, "The Master has come." When a child learns to rise above the body consciousness at will, the Master is there to protect and guide him, talks to him and takes him upward from stage to stage. If Gurudom is looked down upon today, it is purely through incompetency and material motives. They themselves are doomed, but the tragedy is, so are the thousands who follow them. However, there is always hope, and if any have a sincere longing for the Truth, God will see that they are in torment to realize Him and make it possible for them to meet a true Master."How is it possible for the servants to be well fed, if the master is starving and naked?" If at the time of initiation, the man you are following does not give you anything - it may be little or more, according to one's background - and open your inner eye, then it means that he is not competent. He should give you something; and that is the criterion of a true Master. Even if he gives a little at the beginning, then there is hope for much more; and whatever he gives, protect it with your life. After you have got contact with the God-into-Expression Power, where will you go from there? To the Formless and Nameless - the Source, from where the expression is coming. The word "religion" is derived from the Latin `religio,' through `re' and `ligare,' which mean "back" and "bind" - so we have, "to bind back to the Source or God." This is the actual meaning of the word, but we are satisfied with sticking a label on ourselves and performing customary rites and rituals, which are merely the elementary steps to prepare the ground for higher things. No matter what you do, your life will not bear fruit until you meet someone to give you rebirth and connect your soul back to the God-power.
Only recently I received the urgent news that a certain disciple was dangerously ill. I wrote and told the people to advise the patient to concentrate within. They wrote back and said that my instructions had been conveyed to the patient by telephone, and within hours she had started improving, and is now on the way to recovery. This was just through a word on the telephone, so you can see that the thousands of miles between cannot stop the protection of the Master-power. However, that physical form in which the God-power has manifested is also pure, though it is not a question of praise for the physical; it is worthy of respect because God is manifested therein.
I will tell you of another instance. There was a man in America, named Walter Kirel. When I initiated him, he had a very good experience, but after some time he fell ill. When a man is in a helpless condition, he gets restless and worried. He wrote and told me that the doctors were pressing him to eat meat and drink wine. Each time he wrote I tried to make him understand that the non-vegetarian diet would not help him, and he should remain on the vegetarian diet. After a few months he wrote that he could not fight any more, that he had become helpless and could not breathe, and that the doctors were insisting on a meat diet. I replied, "All right, do whatever you feel like." When I visited America and reached Santa Barbara, the doctors had then given up hope for him, and he was at the door of death. Violet Gilbert, one of the hospital nurses, was a Satsangi, and she met me and told me about Walter Kirel who was dying in the hospital: "He cries a lot and goes on saying that he has disobeyed his Guru who is now in America but will not want to see his face. Do you think you could visit him, Master?" I said, "Of course I will." When I arrived in his room, Nurse Gilbert told him, "The Master has come." He opened his eyes and saw me, and the tears started flowing down his cheeks. I put my hand on his forehead, and said, "Do not worry - whatever has happened has happened, and it is finished. Do you hear the Sound?" He said, "No." "Do you see the Light?" Again he said, "No." I put my hand on his head and told him to close his eyes and forget all outer things. When he did so, not only the Light came, but the Radiant Form of the Master too. His ears were closed for him and he heard the Sound clearly. I told him, "Now go, with rejoicing." His wife was there, and she was a non-initiate. She said, "Master, I know that he has been forgiven and saved, but I wish he would speak to me before he goes." I again put my hand on his head and said, "Your wife wants you to say something to her before you go." He opened his eyes, and said, "All right," and turning to his wife, he smiled and said, "I am going now." This is what is called protection; it is not a story but a true incident.
I feel sorry for those who get this valuable gift and do not live up to it. Nanak says, "He who has met the Satguru - whatever is written in his destiny is finished." It is true that the Master winds up the karmas, but not just like that; he adjusts them to further the man-making of the disciples. He takes the children in his charge, but he will make them into something worthwhile before taking them home. It is his duty to clean them first; nobody packs dirty clothes away in storage. When people are initiated, they rejoice and say, "We have got a Master; we have got salvation." When meeting the Satguru, you will get salvation if you obey his words.
Obey the Master. As I have said before, dirty clothes cannot be packed away in storage, and no one wants to wear dirty clothes. The Father wants to embrace you - if you have got clean clothes on. But this kind of cleanliness means having no other thought but of Him.
This is what is meant by cleanliness. At times we try to do business with the Master and say, "If our wishes are fulfilled, only then we consider him a Guru, otherwise not. If the Master shows love and affection then it's all right, but if not, he is no Master." This is the sad condition we are in. A Guru is a Guru and will never leave you - even if you leave him. It is a wonderful protection and a great great blessing. The volumes of praises for the Guru which are written in the Ved Shastras (Ancient Hindu Scriptures) have not been written idly. They also state that the Guru is greater than God. In the Guru, God Himself is working and there is no difference between the two. For example, here is my watch. That which is holding the watch is my hand, and if the watch could see and think, it would consider that it is just a hand; but who is in the hand? I. God is working through the human pole, and the pole says, "I am not the doer, but He who is in me." God is working from within the Guru, and they are one and the same.
First, the Guru works like a teacher. He shows sympathy, and even allows tears to flow from his eyes for you - sometimes he rebukes, and sometimes he shows love. In fact, he does everything. Then he says, "I am not the body, and neither are you; come, let us go up." He does everything to teach the disciple to break his outer attachments and concentrate within; he has no other motive. He has no desire for people's love. His own love is connected with God and his Guru; there is no place for anyone else. So become receptive to him, and through receptivity, become the image of him. A child grows on milk; and to love the Guru and be receptive to him is the food of life to the soul.
One Master said that though there be thirty or more teeth in the mouth, yet the tongue is not harmed by them. Similarly, the Master is protecting the disciple from all the perils of the world around him.
When a man gets disheartened and there seems to be no chance of hope from any direction, then the Satguru comes and takes him across all his tribulations. He first waits patiently until we remove all intellect, worries, attachments and ego from our path, and then when we have fully reposed ourselves in him, then we come under his complete protection. If the disciple falls, the Guru will lift him up, for in this world who is free from difficulties? One cannot find even one man without problems in his life. But if a man has a perfect Master, he is fearless even when confronted by enemies. Kabir Sahib says, "He who lives in constant remembrance of his Master and keeps his Master's words, will be fearless in all three worlds." Why should he be afraid of anything? After all, his Master is not merely a man. Understand this also: it often happens that the disciple is due for heavy suffering, due to the karmic reactions from the past, but through the Guru's protection it can be reduced to perhaps a slight prick from a thorn.
All the ups and downs of life are like passing phases, and should have no pinching effect on the disciple. The worldly life is full of perplexities, and existence here is impossible without them. My Master used to say that if one thinks one can remove all the thorns from the worldly life, well, it is an impossibility; however, if one wears strong boots, one will not feel them. To wear strong boots means to live within the protection of the Master's radiation - not physically, but through thought and attention - be so much in his radiation, and never step out of it. Nothing should change this.
One can be so much within the Guru's radiation that even the powerful Lord of Death cannot come near. For example, I will tell you of one incident when I was living in Lahore. There was a lady who hailed from my village, but she was not a disciple. She became seriously ill, and her family endured constant sleepless nights in looking after her. I heard that she was sick, and went to see her, accompanied by Dalip Singh (later treasurer in Sawan Ashram). I told them, "You have spent so many nights awake, and must be tired, so you all sleep tonight and I will watch beside the bed." Dalip Singh and I sat together for some time. She was not initiated, but that did not matter, and I asked her, "Do you repeat any holy name?" She affirmed that she did. I told Dalip Singh to go and rest, and return about 4 a.m. and I continued to sit beside the dying woman. She went on repeating the holy names, as I had suggested, but suddenly she said to me, "There is an old man here." I looked up and saw the old man, and he explained to me that she was his granddaughter, and that he had come to take her away, but I told him that he could not do so as long as I was sitting there. He tried his best to take the soul out of the body, but did not succeed, so after some moments he went away. I asked the woman if she had recognized the old man and she said, "Yes, it was my grandfather; he was a very pious man."
After some time, Yama, the Angel of Death, appeared in the doorway. I looked straight at him, and he ran away - he could not even enter the room. He returned several times, but could not enter. Then Dharam Raj, the Lord of Death himself, appeared, but he also could not come into the room. He said, "This soul belongs to me." I said, "Yes, that is true, for she has not been initiated, and I know also that you cannot come near her because I am sitting here, so you had better go to my Guru and ask him what is to be done now. If he gives you permission to take this soul, then I will leave." My friends, just see - how great is the Naam! Dharam Raj left, and in a matter of moments returned and said, "I have got the permission to take the soul." I said, "All right, take it." He replied, "How can I when you are still sitting there?" Whatever is written regarding the protection power of the Holy Naam is all true, for I am telling you what actually happened. Dharam Raj said, "Unless you leave, I cannot take this soul." I asked him, "What benefit will she get from my spending the whole night beside her?" He said, "She will receive the fruit of that before any other rewards or debts are accounted." Just then, Dalip Singh entered the room, and I said to him, "Come brother, let us go away from this room, for while I am here she cannot die." As we were leaving, I asked her husband to give away in her name some money which was still due from her, to some needy people - that her give and take may be squared up and she may leave the body. Dalip Singh and I stepped out of the room, and in one moment she was gone. Dalip Singh is here, you can ask him about it.
If a person who has got the Naam is sitting somewhere (not necessarily the Master, but anyone who meditates) then Yama or Dharam Raj cannot come near that place. What do you people imagine the Naam to be? I am sorry to say, that you hold it to be of little value.
The world has always insulted the Masters. For their own gain, self- centered people will say many things against them, but there is not one who can harm a single hair of a Master's head if he does not wish it himself, for God's protection is impenetrable. Is it not natural that the Lord will protect him who belongs to Him? A good wife gives herself up completely to her husband, who takes care of her needs and protects her. But worldly examples are poor caricatures compared to the Master's protection. When the mother, who has such deep love for her child, has a selfish thought that when he grows up he will look after her, etc. A true Guru wants nothing from his children; he only feels grateful that another soul has become free and is returning to its own home. He has true love for the soul.
Never think for a moment that man has anything in his control. The Controlling Power is doing everything. Fear, death, heat, cold, etc., would never come near him, but for the reaction of the karmas; and it is not in man's control, for they come without him being able to stop them. A person may suddenly be bitten by a snake, and die from it; another will die after reaching old age. These things occur in life according to man's past karmas. When God's pen runs according to one's past karmas, man has nothing to say in it.
Who can connect you with the Naam? "In the Guru, He Himself manifests and distributes the Shabd." St. John tells us that, "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." True Masters have always exhorted all mankind : O man, you have got this physical form, so connect yourself with the Naam, or with the manifestation of it in the human pole, which will protect you now and after death. Whosoever claims knowledge in this world is praised by the people, who strive with all their might to believe in him; while the Masters are proclaiming the very Truth itself. "Guru and God are both before me; at whose feet shall I fall? I am full of gratitude to my Guru, through whom I discovered who the Satguru is." God Himself is working in the Guru, and these words are expressing the gratitude that one should have toward one's Master. We cannot truly know and praise God and neither can we know or praise the Guru. He is in the world for the sole purpose of joining the souls back to God, and it is a great privilege to meet such a personality. When you meet him, obey his commands. Make your life as he wants it to be; in this will be your own triumph. He says, "Do your bhajan and make your life chaste and pure." His protection will always be over your head; keep your attention constantly on him, and you will become a true disciple of the Master.