Baba says, ‘service is not a substitute for remembrance‘. To think and act in that way is carelessness.
We have four subjects in this study- knowledge, remembrance, inculcation of virtues and service. Not only are they distinct, they are in sequence. In other words, service is the fourth subject. But often we make this mistake of thinking that if I am really good at one or two subjects, I pass the study. Doesn’t work that way, says Baba, if your goal is to become a sovereign.
Becoming a self-sovereign is the highest aim and for that, I need to pass all four subjects with a high score. If my aim is to simply to be part of the spiritual gathering, maybe I enjoy the knowledge…and do some good karma, then that’s different. But no one comes here to become less than a self-sovereign, says Baba. The very name of the study is Rajayoga.
Knowledge is easy. Most of us not just understand it, we even teach it to others. It even makes me happy temporarily but it doesn’t transform me. Knowledge is light, it dispels the darkness of ignorance I was surrounded by and becomes the compass that helps me discern right from wrong, true from false. But it doesn’t give me the power to act on what I know.
That comes from remembrance. It takes a fire to transform the qualities of a physical substance- as they say, you always strike the iron when it is hot. Even gold is put into a furnace at an extremely high temperature to melt away the impurities within it and purify it. Same with the soul- to become pure, there must be the fire of remembrance of the One. In that fire, I sacrifice the old sanskars with determined thought. That is also what tapasya is, says Baba. Tapasya is determination. Just knowing ego, just knowing attachment doesn’t get rid of them…I have to dissolve them and I have to emerge my original divine qualities.
Sometimes, I elevate service to be the #1 subject. I think I’ve done a lot of service – given lectures, taught the course, even opened centers but Baba says, that is all fine and well but that is neither service nor has it got anything to do with becoming a sovereign. Service means to give souls an experience of attainment, He clarifies. Service is to have good wishes and pure feelings for all no matter what. Service means to empower and uplift souls, to introduce them to the Father and the inheritance. I cannot do service without remembrance, without self-transformation. A task or action or karma on it’s own doesn’t transform me, it’s ordinary no matter what. Service is in fact an automatic consequence when I have the other 3 subjects in order.
But remembrance can feel hard. I sit to remember and Maya interrupts- I remember someone, what she/he said, the events of the day or from 20 years ago, I go through my to-do list in my mind etc. etc. I try it a few times, it doesn’t work and so I think: ‘let me at least get on with my tasks, do ‘service” This is carelessness, says Baba. Because, in making that choice, neither did I remember nor did I serve.
Instead, the sensible thing to do is to pay attention to the 16 hours of waking time in the day- how do I spend it? Keep a chart, says Baba. That will motivate you to pay attention to how you spend your treasures- your time, your thoughts, your vision, your actions, your feelings, your attitude. If I am careful about not being wasteful, about keeping my thoughts elevated, about what I see/hear/read, about the quality of the words I speak and the attitude with which I approach my actions and interactions….then, when I do sit for remembrance, I have a much easier time. And if I have been paying attention during the day, I have by definition done so because I remembered…..Baba and His knowledge. I did so because I cared about elevating myself, about transforming myself and about reaching my most elevated aim.
So let me check today: am I substituting knowledge or service for remembrance? If yes, it’s time to course correct.