The Path of Devotion

p06 (134K) Excerpts from Initiator Joan Apter's Satsang at Guru Puja, Tucson, Arizona, July 15, 1978

Pranam, Guru Maharaj Ji.

I can really feel in my heart such a feeling of what it's all about here today, worshipping Guru Maharaj Ji.

This is the path of devotion that Guru Maharaj Ji is offering us, the path where we become one with that infinite perfection. And that experience that we have of touching his lotus feet to our foreheads, of kissing his lotus feet, it's such a symbol of what Guru Maharaj Ji is doing. Because he is taking what we would consider the finite and he's melting it, he's merging it, he's placing it in contact with the infinite, with the perfection that we are to become one with.

Guru Maharaj Ji came on this earth for the real me, and that's the Love I have inside of me for him. And he touches it. I feel it. I know it's there. It's the only precious thing inside of me. It's my love for Guru Maharaj Ji. And it's what makes my life meaningful.

Because, oh gosh, so many other things are within inside of me, and if I pay attention to them, I'll go in so many directions. But when I experience that love that I have for Guru Maharaj Ji and I follow that, it leads me to such a place that I don't have that self-consciousness. I don't have that experience of Joan as a limited identity, full of foibles and faults. I experience Guru Maharaj Ji within inside of me, and it makes me even love myself!

How many of us have experienced this particular part of mind that goes, "Oh, I really don't like you" -- and you're

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talking about yourself? You're talking about yourself, and you go, "The problem with me is I really don't like myself. I don't respect myself. I just don't like what I see in the mirror. I don't like myself."

How many of us have had that experience where that particular part of us comes out and we go, "Yech! I don't like you, Joan. I don't like what you stand for. I don't like what you manifest. I don't like what you look like. I don't like anything about you." And so you just sit there and you just tremble, "Oh gosh, Joan doesn't like Joan!" One Joan is going, "Ohh," and the other Joan is pointing the finger. And the two Joans are just sitting there trying to swallow each other by self- depreciation.

But that's not me. How dare that part of me exist, and how dare I give it any strength by paying attention to it! If ever anything comes in this self- destructive mind of mine that wants to ruin me, and I listen to it as if it had something else to say to me besides destruction, then let me please get insulted, Guru Maharaj Ji. Let me slap it and say, "Do you know who you're talking about? You're talking about my Guru Maharaj Ji who has no limitation on his love! There is no situation I can be in, no circumstance I can have where Guru Maharaj Ji cannot be with me. So, shut up!" And I've experienced it - the mind goes, "O000ps," and it just sort of goes away, totally revealed as the monster that it is.

But sometimes I don't call a spade a spade. Sometimes I listen to my mind; I give it credence. And then who suffers? Doubts come in, you know. Insecurity comes in.

I can always feel when I'm experiencing mind, and I can always feel when I'm experiencing Guru Maharaj Ji. It's really plain. And there's no reason for us to get confused. You know your own experience. But do you ever read it scientifically, like you would read a meter? No, you become really merged with it and take it personally. You lose your objectivity, and then you can't see anything. But one lesson that I've learned, maybe, hopefully (please may I continue learning it): that this life is not to be taken personally. This life "of mine" is not to be taken "personally" - "my life," "this is what I'm experiencing." You get into it. "It's the only reality!" Baloney! It's just what you're experiencing.

And Guru Maharaj Ji says, "Let go! Why do you think you're going to fall?" And we're going, "Heh, heh! I'm going to, I'm really going to, any minute now. I understand. Just give me a minute. I'll let go, but give me a minute." And he's going, "Let go! You won't fall, I promise you." But, "I know I won't fall, Guru Maharaj Ji, but just a minute - I'll let go." And meanwhile, you hold on. This is the place that we're at. We're just like in the teeter-totter, at the brink.

I remember very well in Hawaii, when I was there a long time ago, I had this experience of teeter-totter. I was on this high rock, and there were all these Hawaiians climbing up, and they were jumping off this rock into this crystal pool way down there. A real Tarzan thing! I had seen it in movies, but never experienced it for myself. And someone was saying, "Come on, Joan, go on up there." So we climbed up. And there I was on the end of this rock, looking down. Lots of people had gone before me; I saw them jump, and they got back up and swam to shore. They didn't die. Red pools of blood didn't float up. I had previous data that would confirm that "No, this is not going to cause immediate death." But still, when it was my turn, I went, "Heh, heh! Hah, hah! No!! Not me. I'm not going to do it. Forget it."

Everyone tried to reason with me, and it didn't work. Reason at that point had nothing to do with my experience. My experience was pure fear, and 1 wasn't ready to let go.

I really relate to that as the time we're in right now, with Guru Maharaj Ji. Because we have previous data that "Yes, if you surrender your life completely to Guru Maharaj Ji, you won't be wasted immediately, and turn into some kind of - whatever the favorite fear of our mind is about surrender. There must be something there. Surrender causes this immediate fear to come up, and it has something to do with -- what? Not being taken care of? I mean, that's unreasonable, because we have previous examples that if you do surrender your life to Guru Maharaj Ji, you will be taken care of physically. So is it a physical fear we have to surrender? I don't think it's completely physical. I think it's more on that unreasonable level of raw fear, unexplainable raw fear.

You can't reason at that time. You can't say, "Hey, man, just let go. Nothing's going to happen." Because you just can't reason with a person at that time when they are experiencing raw fear.

And there's Guru Maharaj Ji, and he's saying, "Let go!! I will catch you." You will not fall. As a matter of fact, your experience will be completely different. It will be like Dayalata when she was first born, and Maharaj Ji was holding her so close in his arms, looking down at her and going, "Hi there! Remember me?" So close to Guru Maharaj Ji. So completely sheltered. Because we have that confidence and we have that trust.

And the only thing that's going to make this happen is Guru Maharaj Ji, because we do tend to hold on. That's just the way we are. We do tend to hang on.

It's like, we're hanging from a cliff. On the bottom is just fathomless smasherooie, way down there. And there's nothing up there to hold onto. There's no place to put your feet. And you feel your fingers slipping perceptibly breath by breath. At that moment you go, "Oh, God, help me! Save me! I'll do anything you say. Just help me. Save me."

And then this voice comes down from heaven and it says,

"This is the path of devotion that Guru Maharaj Ji is offering us, the path where we become one with that infinite perfection."

- Joan Apter

August, 1978    7

"I'm God and I'll help you. Under one condition."

And you go, "What? What? I'll do anything."

"And that is that you'll do implicitly whatever I tell you to do."

And you go, "Right, right! I'll do it!"

And then the voice of God comes and he says, "Let go!"

And then that person who's hanging from the cliff goes, "Is there anyone else up there who can help me?"

Oh, Guru Maharaj Ji! We're just too much. You have our number, and you still love us. You still love us! We are the way we are; we're creatures of habit. And you come and you just keep on giving us that consistent love that I know,

Guru Maharaj Ji, by your Grace, will wear us down to that place where we can really truly surrender to your lotus feet and experience what we really want to experience.

You know, that time when Guru Maharaj Ji named Dayalata, he said Daya meant like 'mercy,' 'kindness,' that Grace of Guru Maharaj Ji particularly in the form of kindness and mercy. And I know for each and every one of us that means so much at that time. Because really that experience that we have been having, that I have been having so perceptibly, has been how kind Guru Maharaj Ji has been to me. How kind. How unreasonably merciful. He always gives me his love.

Sometimes I really have a fear, because the nature of Guru Maharaj Ji is so kind that I know he will speak to us and he will deal with us according to our own ability to perceive and respond to him. And sometimes when I hear Guru Maharaj Ji say something, I get more a feeling of who he's talking to than what he's saying, because I see that he is talking in such a way that it will be acceptable to the particular resistances and barriers that are placed in front of him at that particular time.

He's so kind, so merciful, that sometimes I'd like to say, "Maharaj Ji, I know this would devastate me, but please don't pay any attention to me and my defenses and my resistances. Just sock it to me, and go right through me." I know that would devastate me. And Maharaj Ji doesn't do it. But I wish I could be more open to receive more of what Guru Maharaj Ji has for me, without detouring it by my own particular resistances and barriers.

He's so kind to us. He relates to us according to our understanding. And yet, his understanding is so infinite that really we should have that desire to sort of reach up, and go higher and farther, and break those barriers that we have, so we can understand more about Guru Maharaj Ji.

Bolie Shri Satgurudev Maharaj Ki Jai!

p08 (69K)

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