Baba says, ‘maya completely swallows you‘. You children have to be very cautious.
Shrimat is elevated directions that Baba gives me for my own protection. When I realize this, I take the time to understand it accurately and also follow it accurately. When I instead follow the dictates of my own mind, Baba cautions, Maya will make you fall hard and make you bankrupt.
As we move along on the spiritual path, Maya uses various tactics to trap me that I have to watch out for. Usually, she uses the false ego to get me. So let me remain alert such that when those thoughts or feelings arise, a red flag goes up and there is a warning sign in front of my third eye that reads: Beware, Maya ahead!
- As I spend a few years on the spiritual path, I can develop the false belief that I have to be perfect in my effort-making, that is, I start believing that I cannot make a false step. To be perfect, of course, as Baba teaches us, is different from perfectionism. To be perfect means I am humble. I feel comfortable and courageous to walk through life and learn from all it has to offer me. I allow myself to live life naturally. There is no feeling of threat about others’ opinion, or living up to my own unrealistic standards. Instead I freely embrace life without any fear and expectations. I am comfortable being a student of life, I don’t feel the need to compete with life.
Perfectionism, on the other hand, is a disease. It is when I live life guided by my own definition of what success is and what failure is, of what winning is and what losing is. These definitions are of course not true and generate in me feelings of immense pressure. I start walking through life gingerly, as if on egg shells all the time. I lose my smile and instead develop a wrinkled forehead. Life becomes so dry and burdensome that I run the risk of being burnt out and leaving the spiritual path.
Yes, there will be challenging situations but that’s okay. They are not part of a conspiracy to get me, this is not a contest of me vs. the world and no one is keeping score! When I allow myself to be a student and unburden myself of this unnecessary pressure driven by the false ego, I will have clarity of mind and hone my powers to discern and judge accurately. I will be able to move forward without coloring my judgement with thoughts like: if I don’t do this project successfully, I will lose my team’s respect or if I make this decision and things go the other way, my family will lose trust in me etc.
While remembrance will give me the power to tolerate or face, it is knowledge that opens the intellect. It’s what helps me understand right from wrong and help me correct my false beliefs. Once that’s done, my thoughts will automatically change. Thoughts of fear and anxiety will be replaced by more positive thoughts of security, fearlessness, patience, peace, faith, determination, and certainty.
2. Baba tells me that I am no ordinary soul. I am a deity soul! A deity, of course, is one who gives. A deity is one who is pure, there is no selfishness. A deity is one who is generous, a bestower like the Father. They can be that because they are ignorant of desires – they are full, content, have no needs or desires or wants. But sometimes I understand it the wrong way. I think a deity means one who is superior to everyone else and so I look at everyone else as lesser mortals. I put myself on a pedestal and expect everyone else to see me the same way and do as I say because I believe I have been blessed with some higher intelligence. I think I am pure and that everyone else is impure.
This is the opposite of being a deity soul, this is being, what Baba calls, one with a devilish intellect. Let me check my beliefs and perceptions. As Baba reminds me, there are no deities at this time. Let me shed the body conscious sanskars of the old world and serve as Baba’s angel. Let me through His remembrance become pure and imbibe divine virtues.
3. Sometimes I think: I had good yoga last few days, I understand the knowledge, clearly, I have arrived! I have become pure! And so then, I allow myself to slack off a little here and a little there. I think I am strong now, I am a good yogi, so it’s okay to read the news a little, hang out with those friends or watch a movie.
So, first of all, it seems unlikely that I had good yoga. If I did, I wouldn’t be pulled back to the life in the old world. Spirituality is not a chore or a task that I need to get done so that I can get on with my ‘real’ life. In order to belong to Baba, I have to die alive from the old world. In fact, that happens automatically when I truly recognize and relate to Baba. When I truly, deeply accept Baba as mine, I find everything of the old world to be empty and tasteless. So if I am still being pulled, then it’s time to check my foundation. What is my aim? what am I here to do?
On this path, there are no holidays or room for slackness. The moment I look away, take my eye off the aim or my destination, Maya will pull me into the old world. Then, I lose precious time and have to make a lot of effort to come back out. It helps to realize that no one, and that means no one, is above the influence of Maya. I can never miss Amritvela or Murli, no excuses. And when Baba says, ‘remain introverted‘, let me be introverted.
4. Sometimes, it is arrogance of the intellect. I am good at relating the knowledge to others and so I think I am qualified to start my own little group. I encourage Baba’s children to come to my group rather than go to the center. This is a sin, Baba cautions. I am taking souls away from the Father, away from their right to claim their inheritance. Let me watch out for ‘guru consciousness‘.
5. I help around at the center, donate wealth, so I feel I need to be treated differently than others. I should be acknowledged, seated in the front at all the programs, allowed up on stage for the photo-op, recognized etc. etc. Let me ask myself, did I actually serve? and is that what my ‘service’ is worth – a seat in the front row? Again, what am I here to do? Have I simply changed clothes from colored to white and transferred the old worldly desire for recognition and credit? If this is what’s important to me, then that’s what will dominate the thoughts in my mind- I will constantly hustle, plan, strategize about how to get in front. I will have no yoga with Baba, it will be with the seat and the photo.
6. It was my idea! Therefore, I should get credit. When I feel precious about the many different ‘I’s and ‘mine’, I don’t work well with others because I’m afraid they’ll get credit for something I say or do. This is what ego does, it isolates me. Let me remember that this is Baba’s domain, He is getting everything done. That skill that I tout as ‘mine’, He gave it to me. He taught me how to do that thing…so I could use it to serve, not to get famous. When I use it to serve and share it with others, it will grow. Else, both the skill and I will stagnate.
7. My eyes and ears are the windows to the soul, let me be careful about what they see and hear. Often, they deceive me. I see someone do something- I have no context to it, wasn’t my business to begin with but I immediately arrive at a judgment based on what I saw. I hear someone say something about another, and I arrive at my own conclusions. Then, my mind, firmly in the grip of the false ego, churns out thoughts about what I saw/heard – ‘but that is wrong!’, ‘it is not Shrimat!’, ‘what did she mean…’, ‘why did she…’, ‘how could she have…’, ‘maybe this means…’ it’s never ending!
Let me not allow my sense of justice to deceive me. Let me not fall into the trap of believing that it’s somehow my duty to put things right. It isn’t! Even Baba doesn’t interfere! That’s what the law of karma is for. I need not worry about others. Let me protect my own attitude from being influenced.
I need controlling power to be able to apply the powerful brake of a full-stop to waste thoughts. But even before that, I need to learn the art of seeing but not seeing and hearing but not hearing. This is what Baba calls being a detached observer.
8. Something else that burdens me is the notion that I have to prove myself to Baba. I am so used to having to prove my worth through accomplishments in the old world that I think I have to do the same here. Then, I think, Baba will be proud of me. Baba is not a body conscious human being! He is my Father, Teacher and Satguru. He already knows me better than I know myself. He knows what I can and can’t do, He doesn’t judge, He loves unconditionally.
9. Another classic form of the false ego is making me believe that I carry the weight of the world on my shoulders. I believe I am responsible for everything – for service, for my family, for the center etc. It creates both pressure and arrogance. I feel I am in charge. Baba lets me know, I am not, He is. I am just His instrument.
10. I believe I have to figure things out on my own. When I come face to face with my defects or darkness, the false ego kicks in again. This time, it manifests as feelings of shame and guilt to make me alone. I go into overdrive trying to figure out what to do. All I have to do is consult with the Supreme Surgeon. He, is the Purifier. He knows the remedy, I just have to tell Him what is going on. Let me not deprive myself the opportunity to get well because of a bhakti sanskar that makes me feel like a sinner.
Baba constantly reminds me of the importance of balance. It is not enough to just have knowledge or just have remembrance. They play two different roles – knowledge is my compass, remembrance gives me power. I need both wings to fly and they both have to be strong and healthy.
I am a pure soul and mine is One Baba. I have to die alive, fly into the flame like the moth. I have to sacrifice the many false ‘I’s and become the true ‘I’. I have to sacrifice the many false ‘mine’s and embrace just the One true mine.