It Was Well Done That It Was Not Well Done
Shirdi Sai Baba
While treading through the concepts of the eternal journey of an Individual Soul (Jeevatma) and its ultimate goal of regaining the consciousness that it is part of, the Supreme Soul (Shivatma), one finds that the Individual Soul passes through different bodies or forms during different births or incarnations, gradually updating and re-updating its consciousness. Somewhere in its eternal pilgrimage, the Soul gets guided by another experienced one, who has already attained the goal and beyond and filled with extreme level of compassion, takes the responsibility to guide the others in the desired path. This surely can be described as the most compassionate act in the whole universe. Probably for the Guide, the motto is “the Soul must go on…….”
Here, we would not discuss more about the journey of the Soul. Rather, we would discuss about the relationship between the Guide and the Pilgrim as mentioned above, going through some incidents from the lives of some able Masters (Guide) and their great Disciples (Pilgrims). Here, we would try and delve into the nectar filled intricacies in their relationships, the eternal longing for each other and the greatest milestones set by them for others to look up to.
Saint Sarmad used to be a well-to-do Parsi business man, visiting various parts of northern India for trade. Once while in Bihar, he saw a very good looking young man and was spell bound by his charm. It automatically struck him ‘If the creation of God can be so beautiful, how beautiful the God himself would be?’ Then Sarmad wandered in search of the most Beautiful God and after some time, he met the great saint ‘Bhikha’. The Pilgrim had found his Guide, or rather the vice versa…
After his companionship of the gross body with the Master was over, Sarmad wandered in the streets of Delhi, praising his all compassionate Master. Sometimes he used to utter verses, expressing sheer joy and ecstasy at the thought of the Master; sometimes praising the glory of the Master; and at times pensively longing for the Master.
For many he was a revered one and yet for some, a mad man. On this, in one of his Rubaiyats, Sarmad said, ‘they say that my life was not well done; but I say it was well done that it was not well done.’ Thus he had aptly justified that if he had put himself into the mundane chores of the world, then he would have missed the most important companionship of his Master. Once, condemning the worldly contacts and looking up to the Master’s compassion, Sarmad said, ‘For my misdeeds, I bow my head in shame. I pass my life in worries and doing what I should not. But O’ Master, your reputation for grace and mercy is at stake; not my reputation for misdeeds.’
Such was the intensity of love and longing ness of Sarmad for his Master that at times Sarmad used to utter words of confrontation, challenging the Master to prove wrong, Sarmad’s own conviction of the supreme greatness of the Master. In one Rubaiyat, Sarmad said, ‘Tell me the cause of my broken-heartedness; Tell me how long I shall endure this pain; I know I am a sinner and a supplicant at the door of your grace; And if you can not forgive me, lead me then to the door of another one more compassionate than you.’
With the passage of time, when Sarmad’s popularity grew as a holy saint, the priests and the advisors of Aurangjeb, the then mogul emperor became jealous and charged Sarmad with the act of blasphemy of Islam. In Islam, idol worship is strictly prohibited, yet Sarmad was going on and on with worshipping and praising his Master. When Sarmad was confronted with this charge of idol worship, he said,
‘Why do you seek His abode in the chapel or the mosque? Can’t you see His creation above and below? Wherein does He not abide? The whole universe made by Him recites His tale. He alone is wise, who for Him is mad….’
‘I am an idol-worshipper and not among the believers. I go towards the mosque, though I am no Moslem…’
Thus, Sarmad, amidst all the chaos of the mundane world, kept on praising the glory of his Master and eventually when Sarmad left his gross body, none other than his Master appeared before him to greet him into the other world.
As the disciple longs for the Master, the Master also longs no less for the disciple. The relationship between Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi and probably His greatest disciple Shri Upasani Maharaj is an apt example of the same.
When Upasani Maharaj came to Shri Sainath for the first time in Shirdi, Shri Sainath was already waiting for the arrival of Upasani Maharaj. When Shri Sainath asked for ‘Dakshina’, Upasani Maharaj gave Shri Sainath a coin, which was no longer valid. Immediately, with all love and compassion, Shri Sainath gave a hint about Upasani Maharaj’s future. Shri Sainath said, ‘You have given me this coin, but I will give you the most precious one.’ This kind of strange behavior did not impress Upasani Maharaj much and he wanted to leave Shirdi as soon as possible.
Before leaving Shirdi, when Upasani Maharaj asked for Shri Sainath’s permission, Shri Sainatn said, ‘You will return to Shirdi in eight days.’ And thus happened, on the eighth day, Upasani Maharaj reached Kopergaon, a place just eight miles away from Shirdi, to his utter confusion. He realized that during the nine days, he had actually lost his path and was roaming around Shirdi. At that moment, Upasani Maharaj understood the ‘What’ and ‘Why’ of Shri Sainath’s words. Filled with insurmountable love for the Beloved, he returned back to Shirdi. The ‘Guide’ had found His able ‘Pilgrim’ and the journey of Upasani Maharaj towards the pinnacle had just begun to end.
Upon Shri Sainath’s instructions, Upasani Maharaj started living in the Kandoba Temple, just adjacent to Shirdi. Shri Sainath seldom used to meet Upasani Maharaj physically. Through many visions and mysterious instructions, Shri Sainath carved a Perfect Master, the highest of the high, out of Upasani Maharaj, in just about four years!
Under the active observation of his Master, Upasani Maharaj started the final phase of his pilgrimage, practicing greatest levels of penance and other spiritual practices. On one occasion, sitting amongst some devotees, Shri Sainath declared with divine love for Upasani Maharaj, ‘For me, the whole world is one side and Upasani, the other.’ That is probably the greatest level of performance evaluation any disciple can never even dream of from his Master.
When Swami Vivekananda met with Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa for the first time, Shri Ramakrishna abruptly started crying like a child. Tears of the pleasure of finding a missing one were rolling down his cheeks incessantly. The disciples of Shri Ramakrishna remained dumbfounded at the site. Then to add to everybody’s surprise, Shri Ramakrishna said, ‘Where had you been? I have been waiting for you for so long?’ At that point of time Vivekananda did not quite understand what the Master had said. It took him some time to understand that actually at that very moment, the Guide had found His long lost Pilgrim.
Once, Shri Yogananda was sitting with his Master Shri Yukteshwar Giri. There was something in Yogananda’s mind, that he had kept to himself for long, to be expressed to the Master. On this occasion, Yogananda could not restrain himself any more and asked the master, ‘Master, till now, never ever have you told that you love me.’ Hearing this, Shri Yukteshwar Giri remained silent for some time and eventually expressed His unfathomable love for the disciple by saying, ‘But why do you wish to bring the warm feelings into the purview of the coldness of vocabulary?’ Upon Yogananda’s insistence, the master eventually said, ‘so let it be; I love you Yogananda.’ Then filled with gratitude, Yogananda said, ‘Ah Master that is my ticket to heaven.’
The above incident subtly describes the feelings the Master and the Disciple hold deep within their souls for each other. Those are never expressed and always understood and experienced with no words uttered and no questions asked.
The Master of the great Bulleh Shah was revered Shah Inayat. Bullah Shah served the Master with great zeal and assiduousness. Complete surrender and service to the Master with a life bubbling with renunciation and unswerving devotion, gained for him the grace of the Master. With the passage of time, Bullah Shah, unable to control his joy, began expressing his divine experiences before the uninitiated. That displeased Shah Inayat and for a time, Bullah Shah was expelled from the hermitage of the Master.
With the separation, the whole universe fell crashing down on Bullah Shah. His state of mind was no better than a mad man, not having any control whatsoever over his behavior. He did not have any sense of pain and pleasure; the feeling of agony and joy were the same for him. During this period he once wrote, ‘What was my fault that you forsook me and went away? I pass my nights and days in tears. More tense and brutal are the shafts of love than the canon shots and swords. None is cruel like love, it is very deadly and painful…’
Completely ignorant about what is to be done about the problem, and filled with unquenchable thirst of love, Bullah Shah started learning traditional dances of a dancing girl to impress the Master. Soon, after he became proficient in it, disguised as a dancing girl, he went to a congregation of Sufis held at Shah Inayat’s place and melodiously sang the following:
‘My Lord, my Guru has left me, what shall I do? He has left me, I must pursue Him. The flames of the fire of separation are leaping without sight of Him. Without my preceptor, I have lost both my worlds…’
The melody of the voice, the depth of the meaning and the piercing agony of separation made Shah Inayat recognize His disciple Bulleh Shah, despite the attire of Bulleh Shah’s disguise. And when the Master interrogated, ‘Is it Bulleh?’, the disciple answered, ‘Not Bulleh but Bhullah (meaning literally ‘the erring one’).’ An embrace followed and once again Bulleh Shah and Shah Inayat were together.
From the above one understands that once the Disciple finds the Master or vice versa, there is only room left for divine love and longing for each other. Irrespective of the physical proximity, both the emotions remain there till the Disciple and the Master become one and the same. For the Master, the divine welfare of the Disciple is the priority and for the Disciple, the Master prioritizes over the mundane world. All barriers with regard to the society, religion, custom and so on and so forth are of no relevance. Thus amongst and irrespective of all the chaos and anarchy, the Disciple is all concentration upon his Master. As the Disciple progresses in the path of love shown by the Master, his judgment towards the worldly life remains – ‘It was well done that it was not well done…’
Filed under: Debabrata Satpathy, Disciple, God, Gurus, Master, Pilgrim, Pilgrimage, Religion, Spiritual Life, Spirituality | Tagged: Bulleh Shah, Maharaj, Ramakrishna, Rubaiyat, Sai Baba, Sainath, Sarmad, Shah Inayat, Shirdi, Shirdi Sai Baba, Upasani Baba, Vivekananda, Yogananda, Yukteshwar | 1 Comment »