Baba says, ‘be merciful‘. One of the foundational qualities I need on this path of transformation is mercy- both toward myself and others.
For half a cycle, I have been living in Ravan’s kingdom which implies that I have been thinking, saying and doing the wrong things. So unlearning all that and returning to my original state of purity is not something that will happen overnight- it requires intense effort, practice and a LOT of patience. But often we believe that because I have now understood the knowledge, I should just be able to change – I have taken the 7 day course, I’d like to be an angel on day 8!
We soon realize though, that’s not how it works.
I have to not just intellectually understand but actually experience and realize every point of knowledge. We find that long formed habits require a lot of strength and determination to change – it takes not just understanding but also my taking Baba’s hand, His help and guidance to change. It is not something I can do on my own strength.
And so while we start on the journey with enthusiasm, we start to feel a bit disheartened and even hopeless at times when we see how far I need to go to become that angel. Baba says, ‘have mercy on yourself‘. That means being patient and accepting of myself. I need to continue to aim for the highest but learn to balance that with the fact that I am still a work in progress. Being hard on myself, feeling disheartened or rejecting myself are all traps that actually slow me down and in some cases, take me away from my high aim. These emotions shut me down and attempt to convince me that I am better off going back to the old world. Let me instead practice mercy.
Baba says, ‘you should be merciful toward others too‘. To be a teacher, He says, you have to have be merciful and benevolent. Baba’s very name, ‘Shiv’, means The Benevolent One. That is His defining characteristic as The Supreme Teacher. He comes and finds us in the dark depths of ignorance, having completely forgotten who we are and having lost our entire inheritance. Yet, He doesn’t judge or condemn, He understands and accepts us unconditionally. He uplifts us with His love and always holds us in His elevated vision. You are not what you see today, He keeps telling us. You are a pure, divine being….learn to see yourself as I see you.
Can I be that benevolent with others? Can I learn and practice seeing other souls in their original pure state like Baba does? When they slip up and say and do things that are unkind towards me, can I let go and still be loving like Baba is when I slip up?
Without mercy and love, there can be no transformation. And I need to be a very secure, self-respecting soul to be capable of mercy and love. Self-respect comes with following Baba’s Shrimat and learning to live my life the right way. Along the way, I will slip up a few times, let me practice mercy and keep moving forward. It is a virtuous cycle.