Baba says, ‘There are three types of effort-maker. The highest of all effort-makers always keep the one Father in their intellects.’
There are three kinds of effort-makers, says Baba. The first kind is an intense effort maker, this is the highest of all effort-maker. The second kind is just the effort-maker and finally there are those who just move along.
In the Mahabharata, there is a scene where Krishna takes Arjuna to a far end of the battlefield to fight ordinary soldiers. When he comes back at the end of the day’s war, Arjuna finds that his son, Abhimanyu, was killed by the kauravas in a brutal fashion. As heartbreaking as that was, Arjuna never once asked Krishna: ‘why did You allow this to happen?’, ‘How can You be God and not know this was to happen?’, ‘I thought You were my Friend!’, ‘You knew this all along and yet You took me away to fight a bunch of ordinary soldiers. If only I had been here, my son would still be alive…’. There were no questions of ‘why?’, ‘how?’ or ‘what?’.
Instead, Arjuna took an oath that, before sunset the next day, he would either kill the person who killed his son before sunset the next day or end his own life. When Krishna reminded him of the enemy’s power and questioned why he had taken such an impossible oath, Arjuna calmly turned around and said: ‘because You are my Friend and I know nothing is impossible for You.’ This, Baba says, is the sovereignty of a carefree emperor. This, is also what is called intense effort.
Many times I think intense effort means to be doing a lot. When a situation comes, I feel it to be natural to worry, to analyze- ‘why did this happen?’, ‘what did I do wrong?’, ‘maybe God doesn’t love me..’, ‘this is just my karma..’. Then when I’ve done that for enough time and depleted my mental resources enough, I feel I have to do more- maybe call someone and discuss the situation with them, tell them my woes, or maybe if I can somehow get to speak to so-and-so, they could help me out? or maybe if….etc. I think this is intense effort, it isn’t; rather, it is the opposite, it is wasted labor, it is battling. Brahmin life is the life of a carefree emperor, Baba reminds me. My Companion is God Himself, He is my one Strength and one Support. If the situation has come, it is because He has allowed it. He has allowed it because that situation has something to teach me, a valuable lesson I need in order to progress on my spiritual journey. To have this unshakeable faith in the Father and keep myself open and available to learn what He is showing me, is intense effort. When I worry, I shut myself down and come to a standstill in my effort. Externally, it might have appeared that I did a lot but in reality, I came to a stop.
It is one thing, Baba says, to know the points of knowledge and teach it to others; many are able to do that. But that doesn’t make me a bead in the rosary of victory. For that, He says, I don’t just have to listen to and speak the knowledge, I also have to become. I listen to the knowledge about the drama, I even give a lecture on it but when faced with a situation, if all I do is say: “I know this is drama, I know this is beneficial…” while experiencing fear, worry and losing hope, then, Baba says, this is not being victorious. I know the point but I haven’t become an embodiment of that point. That requires that I churn the knowledge and practice using the points I am being taught over a long period of time. Then, it goes from simply being a point to becoming a natural sanskar. ‘You cannot learn the answer to a question while taking an exam’, Baba points out, ‘the learning needs to happen prior to taking the exam.‘ Same here. If I get careless in my effort, simply while away my time rather than immerse myself in the study and remembrance, then when the ‘exam’ comes, I scramble. Arjuna was not born as ‘the greatest archer of all’, he became that through practice; through paying attention to what he was being taught and then practicing it until it was made perfect, that is, natural. This, paying attention and practicing, is intense effort.
When asked if I want to become the master of heaven, I raise my hand but then, says Baba, ‘you also have to make that kind of effort.‘ World sovereignty in the future is based on self-sovereignty now. Do I have that ruling power now? I am the king of my inner kingdom and my organs – physical and subtle- are my subjects. Do they function according to my orders? If I still find myself saying: ‘I didn’t mean to say that but I did…’, ‘I don’t know why I did that…’, ‘I didn’t mean for that to happen..’, then I wouldn’t be called a ruler. Sometimes, I hear a song playing somewhere and it immediately brings back memories of the past and I can’t stop thinking about it. I smell food somewhere and my mind is pulled there. Rather than simply allow my mind to wander away, these are opportunities, Baba teaches, to check if I have the power to pull my mind back to the present moment. In the midst of any activity, Baba teaches, check if you can apply a full-stop to whatever is going on internally and reconnect with the self and the Father. This practice of being able to apply a full-stop in a second, is intense effort. I don’t want to see what is not good for me, I don’t want to hear what I don’t want to hear, I don’t want to speak of or even think of that which is none of my business. To be able to control and rule over my subjects to this extent, is intense effort.
When I make a mistake, which I will till the very end, to skip the pits of shame, regret and guilt and run to Baba when every cell within me wants to shrink back; that, is intense effort. When I receive a correction from Baba, to not feel condemned by it but rather to be able to say: ‘Yes, I agree with You Baba. I do have this issue. Thank You for showing me and with Your help, I will definitely overcome this.’ Then, to simply pay attention to what He is telling me to do and follow through without trying to change myself on my own; that, is intense effort.
I have the greatest fortune of knowing who I am and Whose I am. I don’t just know this but God at this time becomes my Father, Teacher, Guru, Friend, Beloved practically. I have therefore attained all there is to attain. To keep this immense fortune emerged in my awareness at all times, to not allow anyone or anything to disrupt my connection with myself and with the Father; that is intense effort. Be it praise or defamation, be it success or failure, loss or gain, whatever form the test may come in, I don’t allow anything to shake my awareness or to break my connection. Like Arjuna, I keep my faith and remain unshakeable- no questions, no doubts, no complaints, nothing; just ‘My Baba’. This, is easy effort, this is also what it means to make intense effort, the highest effort.