Question: What are the main qualities which endear a person to God and help in his spiritual progress?
Guru Maharaj’s Response:
Let me tell you a story in response to this question. Outside of a city, in a small thatched cottage, lived a very accomplished and liberated saint. He spoke very few words and met very few people. Most of the time, he was immersed in deep meditative contemplation.
On one pleasant morning, he was seated under a big tree enjoying the gentle breeze and the peaceful surroundings when a man came to see him. Respectfully the man sat close to him with folded hands, he asked him the same question that you did – ‘What are the main qualities which endear a person to God and help in his spiritual progress?‘
The saint heard the question, his lips parted, then he uttered two letters bha-bha (pronounced in Hindi ). After which he immediately got up and went inside his cottage.
The man could not make head or tail of the two words uttered by the saint; confused, he got up to go back home. A very experienced and knowledgeable person, who had the privilege of the company of several saints during his life, lived in his neighborhood. He went straight to him and narrated the whole episode and asked him the meaning of the two words bh – bh uttered by the saint.
The experienced man answered that the saint was referring to bha bhay(fear) and bha bharosa( faith). So, fear and faith are the two qualities that please God and compel him to rid the devotee of all his troubles. God is not pleased with those people whose hearts have no faith in him and those who have no fear of him.
If one has faith in God, then He is responsible for their ‘yogakshem’, which means God protects what the devotee possesses and provides to him what he does not have.
If a person is fearful of God, his thoughts and actions are pure, he does not break nature’s laws, and he abides by all rules. Such a person receives great benefits. Whenever we want to do something that we know is wrong, we cast a worried look all around to make sure no one can see us doing it.
If we are fearful of God seeing us doing something that is not right, then we will refrain from committing wrongful acts. As a consequence, we gain happiness.
Now let us talk about faith.
Just talking about having faith is entirely different from actually having faith in God. Faith is a very high state in ‘sadhna’, and when one achieves it, one has no worry and no distress. A person who has faith is always calm, blissful, and carefree. Some unknown power keeps him worry-free and happy.
He is fearless and is always overflowing with self-confidence, like the son of an influential person who is traveling abroad. Even though he is alone, he does not worry. He knows that he is the beneficiary of his father’s resources to make use of in times of need. This is the level of faith we need to have for the almighty.
Only then can we hope to receive God’s divine grace. If we reach the level of full trust in God, there is no need for actions like following a strict schedule and doing physical chanting and singing, etc.
Some sages emphasize the importance of singing and chanting the name of God, and to some extent, these are beneficial. By regularly singing devotional songs, belief in God is slowly strengthened. This method, however, is only used in lower states of devotion. It is not used to attain higher states of Sadhana.
When a firm belief in God reaches its zenith then the ‘sadhak’ (spiritual seeker’) can experience his utmost well-wisher, the almighty. The ‘sadhak’ feels that the almighty’s blessings, are always with him; that the almighty’s bountiful hand is always on his head to protect him; and that the almighty’s presence is always beside him. “Peechhe peechhe Hari phiren kahat Kabeer Kabeer“.
Once a person gains this experiential knowledge, he becomes free of all fears and entrusts himself completely to God. Good or bad, whatever experiences he has, he trusts that they are coming from the almighty. This feeling of reliance is called faith. This type of faith is the key to achieving your goal and is the ladder that leads to closeness to God. This is the way to get more affection and deepen your relationship with God.
A small child does not remember his parents while he is playing and running around having fun. He does not remember his parents nor calls their names when he is busy bouncing around and having a good time. He is not performing yoga postures or doing complicated practices. Nonetheless, he always has full trust and faith in his parents. This is the type of faith that a devotee should have in the almighty and is the main path. In the Ramayan, Lord Rama describes the difference between those who are faithful and those who are not.
“ Mo san preeti, manuj tan aasa, Kahahu to taat kahaan visvaasa “
Whatever the devotee wants to ask for, and whatever he wants to say, he should say to God and have complete faith in him. People claim to be a devotee on the one hand, but if faced with even a small amount of adversity, they forget God.
They start engaging in flattery of other humans and start hoping that these people will help them get rid of their troubles. Lord Rama says that such a person, who leaves me and starts looking at other people to help him, is not a true devotee. “Haani-laabh, jeevan-maran, jas-apjas vidhi haath”. All positive and negative events are controlled by God.
There is nothing in man’s control. Despite this, foolish men look towards other people for solutions to their problems and forget about me. This is what makes them unhappy. This happens when faith is absent. This lack of faith is the reason for a person’s distress. Peace can be attained only when there is faith. And as the amount of faith grows, it will be possible to achieve an increasing level of peacefulness.
The meaning of this word relates to having faith and relying on someone. This word derives from the word ‘vakil’, which means a lawyer. Just like a client hires a lawyer to fight his case for him and then stops worrying about it, we should entrust God with our situation as if we have hired him as our ‘lawyer’. This is what ‘tavakkul’ means. Muslims follow this line of thinking to try to remain carefree and happy. They call it ‘tavakkul-e-khuda’, which translates to faith in God.
This explanation given by the learned person, as an explanation of the words “bha-Bha” said by the saint, is the answer to your question about what are the qualities of men that make God happy.
Translated by Dr. Ajay Bhardwaj