Baba says, ‘The Spiritual Father is also called the Guide and He teaches us the pilgrimage. We are wonderful, spiritual pilgrims.‘
For half a cycle, I have been in the world of sorrow with the sorrow having increased as time has passed by. I called out to God to come and take me away from this land of sorrow; to help me find my joy again, my peace again, my contentment again. I bowed down at the temples and churches and undertook many dangerous pilgrimages all in the hopes of finding salvation. Baba comes at this auspicious confluence age and becomes my Guide. ‘The sorrow is felt by the soul because the soul has become impure and degraded’, He explains, ‘so what good would it do to take physical pilgrimages?‘. The Spiritual Father comes to take the spiritual children, that is, the Supreme Soul comes to take souls on a spiritual pilgrimage.
A spiritual pilgrimage differs from a physical pilgrimage in specific ways: For one, I don’t have to leave my home or even my couch to take it. Secondly, I don’t ever return to the old world from this pilgrimage, it’s a one-way trip. Thirdly, I don’t become pure when I reach my destination, I am purified during the journey in order to get to my destination. So while the destination is given importance in the physical pilgrimage, here, it’s all about the journey. And so it’s critical that I have the best, most reliable guide there is to help me on this journey. The Father says: ‘Baba comes to take everyone back home. He is the Supreme Guide, the Liberator. He liberates you from Maya and takes you back with Him.‘ He has come to take me back home, to the land of peace and then I will come into the land of happiness. He has come to take me from the iron-aged world of sorrow into the golden-aged world of happiness. So how does that even work given I don’t leave my couch?! That’s the wonderful thing about this pilgrimage: I don’t go anywhere, the world changes! It starts with my inner world; when that transforms, the external world transforms with it.
The first thing God does is He comes and adopts me as His own child. ‘You now belong to Me’, He tells me and then He says something even more important. He says: ‘and I belong to You‘. That means that I can and am expected to go to Him for everything. He is the Father to the fatherless, He is the Comforter of Hearts, the one Trust and Support. I’ve had physical fathers and friends and relatives in every birth but they cannot show me the way back home, the way back to my inheritance; they need help with that themselves! Only the One Father is my Guide on this pilgrimage. And so step one is to accept Him as my true and ONLY Father and Guide. The more I relate to Him, the more love I develop for Him and the more I learn to rely and depend on Him.
And that trust and reliance is fundamental to success on this journey. Why? because God does not give me the blueprint or the map for the full journey beforehand. Rather, He expects me to trust His guidance at every step. When He says: ‘go left here’, He expects me to go left without knowing why or where that will lead me. Neither will He tell me how many more miles I have on this road before the next turn arrives. He just expects me to trust. That promotion at work is within sight- it’s going to be more money, big title- and I’m all excited…but I hear God tell me to resign and take a much smaller position in a small town. Only if I have deep love and trust will I not fight Him and simply obey. And that love and trust comes from being on the journey for a while with Him, from having tried to do it my way a few times and failing, and from having seen Him come through each time. It’s like trusting the GPS in my car: I think I know the way to get somewhere but it wants me to take a different route and I wonder why?…my route is clearly faster and shorter, I think….only to then realize that there is a wreck ahead on my route that would delay me if went that way and so it’s taking me a different way.
I have followed my own and others’ dictates for long enough, I now have the Supreme Guide showing me the way. He knows what lies up ahead and what’s good for me. He knows how to get me to the exact right place at the exact right time and most importantly, with the right experience I will need to be there. Let me dare to trust Him and not go by ‘how I feel’ or what seems ‘logical’. Let me make the line of my intellect clean and clear such that I can catch His promptings, His directions. I do that by getting myself off my mind and placing Him first in my life. The Spiritual Father says, ‘Manmanabhav!, belong to Me in your mind’ If I can let go of the ‘I and mine’ and start thinking in terms of: ‘Baba, what do You want me to do’, I will go a lot further, a lot quicker.
Sometimes, I think I should go to God only for the big stuff, that I shouldn’t bother Him other than for emergencies or when I mess up. That is the bhakti approach where I live life on my terms and take the pilgrimage to ask God for help when things fall apart. Here, the Guide comes to where I am and I take the journey with Him, taking His guidance on every tiny aspect along the way. If I do this, then I won’t have emergencies, that’s the point! He is teaching me how to do life the right way, in the way where I get to keep my peace, joy and contentment and enjoy myself! And no, He isn’t expecting me to never make mistakes or to never mess up; He isn’t looking for a perfect performance, He is looking for a perfect heart – one that loves Him and is committed to doing it’s best. If I can do that, He knows how to make the wrongs right and get me across.
As I go through the day and I’m about to slip back into the old iron-aged world, I’ll hear Him say: ‘keep your peace, let it go’, ‘that wasn’t very nice, you should apologize’, ‘check on her and ask her if she needs help’. Sometimes, it seems unfair when He asks me to forgive someone that hurt me badly, but when I trust and take that step of courage to follow His guidance when it’s hard, when I choose Him over everything else I’ve trusted up until now, He matches my courage with multi-million fold help; He takes me to new levels of my destiny.
Let me learn to hear from and trust the guidance of the Supreme Guide. It won’t happen on it’s own, it’s a deliberate choice I have to make, it’s a habit I have to develop. I’ve relied on myself, parents, friends, relatives long enough; I’ve expected the government and employers to come through for me long enough. But no one apart from the Spiritual Father knows the way back to peace and righteousness. Only He knows which of Maya’s blocks and strongholds are in each one of His children and how to overcome them. That’s the other specialty of this pilgrimage: each pilgrim has the same Guide and is moving toward the same destination but taking a different route that is tailored to them. How does He do that!? How does He become the personal Guide to everyone on their own personal, unique journey at the same time? It’s a wonder! and the only possible answer lies in Who He is.
Shiv Baba says: I am the Father of all souls, I am the Supreme Soul, I am called God.