When a child sits in his mother’s lap, he feels completely secure, contented, and full of joy. The child of even the poorest mother on this earth feels safer
in her lap, even more than on the throne of a mighty king. There are two reasons for this. The first is the complete faith of the child in the ability of his mother to protect him. He has full confidence that while seated in his mother’s lap, no harm would come to him.
Secondly, the constant and spontaneous stream of love and affection from the mother’s heart is a source of boundless joy for the child. The child continues to experience this joy uninterrupted as long as he considers himself dependent on his mother and looks towards her for all his needs
As he slowly grows up, he develops an increasing affinity towards other humans and physical objects, while his affection towards his mother fades. In some cases, with the bond with others becoming really strong, he even does not find time to sit with his mother anymore and as a result no longer overtly experiences the joy and bliss emanating from her. The majority of humans are in a similar situation. They are always in the presence of God but do not feel the peace and joy exuding from him.
You can ask a grown up person, this question as to why he does not sit with his mother anymore even though he used to derive endless joy and happiness from this association before. The answer usually is, “I am grown up now. I have a family of my own and am busy with various responsibilities relating to it. I do not find time to sit with her anymore”. If a person is considerate and conscientious, he would make all arrangements to keep his mother safe and sound but would be unable to spare time to sit with her even for a few moments.
Our situation is quite similar.
We exhibit no desire to meet with the primary source of which we are a part. The little drop is completely immersed in doing its own things. It cannot understand the boundless joy and cannot imagine the whole new world that awaits it when it will merge with the ocean. The little drop fails to look beyond its confines, towards the limitless water in the sea. How can a captive bird even imagine the freedom enjoyed by a bird flying free in the sky??
There are three types of people who find it difficult to reach the goal of their spiritual practice. The first are the ones who have all kinds of material happiness and comforts at their disposal. Sitting in the lap of prosperity, they are entirely immersed in enjoying the states of happiness associated with their big bungalows, expensive cars, family, power, and prestige. The thought of remembering God never even crosses their mind.
The people in the second group are the ones who consider themselves to be all-knowing and very knowledgeable. They may have read some books, listened to religious discourses or discussions, or authored some articles. They think that they know it all and so can never develop the true penchant and devotion needed to progress.
The third group includes people who keep wasting their time in debate and argument. They try to understand God by only applying reason and logic. Unfortunately, this wall of reason and logic prevents them from developing true belief, which is essential for success on this spiritual path. Such people have a curiosity to learn about and know God but only manage to entangle themselves in the treacherous path of arguments and debates. It is only about such people that Tulsi Das in Ram charitmanas has written, “Unwise will not see sense even if God himself becomes their Guru, just like a bamboo tree will never bear fruits and flowers even if clouds rain nectar from the sky.” Such people make the process of realizing God unnecessarily complicated and end up just wasting all their time.
The actual concept is straightforward. We have to believe about existence of God. We can relate with him either as our mother, father, friend, or any well-wisher. We have to look towards him, and sit with him for some time. The only thing we need here is true devotion. It is only this devotion that will connect our heart to his heart. The Ramayana tells us that absolute intrinsic faith (shraddha) and unflinching confidence and belief (vishwas), together, prepare us to receive the divine blessings and grace.
But we have grown up. Why should we look towards somebody else? Considering ourselves humble and small and in need of help diminishes our standing and is hurtful to us.
This path, however, is only for the ones who consider themselves small. The concept of largeness and grandeur has permeated our thinking to such an extent that we cannot think of ourselves as small in any sphere and under any circumstance. However, to restore a sense of balance in our lives, we must consider ourselves small and trivial at least in front of our Guru. Guru Nanak was also preaching for us to remain small when he described that it is the taller grass that gets scorched during a fire while the grass with smaller blades, closer to the ground, survives. Therefore, we should try to sit in front of our Guru or God considering ourselves to be small and in need of his help all the time.
It may sound paradoxical, but when we turn our gaze away from everything else and look at our guru, we realize that all the pride in ourselves is a myth. And that, to become great, we need to be humble making ourselves extremely small not physically but from the inside.
Translated from an article by Om Prakash Viral Ji by Dr. Ajay & Anita Bhardwaj with inputs from Eddie.