"From where did the word 'devotion' start? just reverse the process. Devotion came from devotee, devotee came from divine. The divine thing gives you something and you become a devotee, devotion starts, and you become devotional."
–Guru Maharaj Ji
On Devotion …
Have you ever noticed a new mother watching her child sleep? A farmer watering his vegetable garden at dusk? A politician campaigning for the presidency? What is the motivation deeply felt, though unseen to the casual observer, moving these people beyond the limits of duty into a realm where concentration and perseverance become as easy as breathing itself?
If you think about it long enough perhaps you'll arrive at as many answers as Webster has definitions, but still the very heart of the matter will remain unchanged: devotion.
Almost everyone is devoted to something. Parents are devoted to their children. Poets are devoted to their muse. And sports fans are devoted to their favorite football team. The reason for this is simple. People experience a definite return on their expenditure of energy. The object of devotion provides in some recognizable way an enjoyment sufficient enough to sustain continued interest. Unfortunately, what invariably happens in time is that the apparent source of joy and devotion becomes subject to change without notice. Little children grow up to become parents themselves. Farmers' gardens are sold in small parcels to fast-talking land developers. And elections create as many losers as winners.
Normally what follows is a resurrected searching for something else to fill the void: a new job, a new relationship, a new project, etc. Yet just as day must turn to night, and man must turn to God, that surrogate object of devotion must sooner or later pass away …
What Guru Maharaj Ji reveals to people is a direct experience of the source from which all devotion springs, the fountainhead from which all enthusiasm is born. After being revealed this Knowledge and meditating upon it, no longer is a person bound to depend on any one thing for fulfillment. Changed in truth from human doings to human beings, one can now fully begin to experience that joy in everything. Picking flowers or throwing them away three days later can be performed in the same sense of wonder because connection has been made to the energy ever constant in creation.
No one questions his grandmother for spending three months crocheting him a birthday present. And no one just home from a week in the hospital cross-examines his best friend for visiting every day. Who can argue with love expressed so openheartedly? It's natural.
But who or what can explain the ecstatic devotion of so many people world-wide for a 20-year-old Guru from India?
Let's go back a moment to the above quote of Maharaj Ji. "Devotion comes from devotee, devotee came from divine. The divine thing gives you something." Guru Maharaj Ji is the One who reveals that "something divine" enabling a person to see beyond the circumstantial evidence of life. An "I" doctor of sorts, you might say Maharaj Ji removes that which obstructs our true vision. And, as one begins to follow his guidelines, the peace he has opened up becomes increasingly a breath-bybreath reality. The results? An ever deepening love for the gift, and above all, love for the Giver.
Naturally, the question sometimes arises, "O.K., so maybe he can show me something which I haven't previously known, but why do I need to follow him?"
Look at it this way. Though your parents brought you into this world some 20, 30, or 65 years ago, did you say goodbye the moment you took your first step? Probably not because you loved them and wanted to return that love so generously bestowed upon you. And all along the way, no matter how many degrees you accumulated, no matter how rich or famous you became, still they had something (if you were open) to share with you. Or perhaps your first connection was with grandpa, big brother, an uncle or aunt …
To his devotees, Guru Maharaj Ji is all these rolled into one and more. Indeed, not only do we experience that Maharaj Ji knows what he's talking about, but also that he is what he's talking about.
Dear readers, please consider these words as merely the rind around a sacred fruit. Maharaj Ji is the seed. Consider the devotion we feel to him as natural as sunflowers bending toward the light. Gently close your eyes, take a deep breath, and know it is simply our spontaneous free giving of thanks to the One who has opened us to the Grace of God everywhere. …
"If you are drowning, you know that if you want to swim you move your legs and you move your arms. Right? Now someone comes to rescue you and he is swimming, he knows how to swim. But he won't swim fast because he hasn't got engines on his back – he is using his arms and legs, he is using the most usual procedure. But what you do because you want to go fast is start moving your legs and arms – which throws out the system of the swimming which the other man is trying to work out for you … He is trying to go through a usual procedure, and you … tangle him up and he can't swim. He says 'Will you cool it? You know? Let me do it for you? Just relax!' "
– Guru Maharaj Ji
In Guru Maharaj Ji's world, surrender is not the end of a battle, the weak yielding to the strong. It's an act of love: one uniting with one, adding up to one.
The process steals up on you as you practice satsang, service and meditation. It fits in with something you already know: the "higher" power sustaining all life is already in you, making things happen. No reason to fight. Let it work in your heart to shape you and fill you with love.
Don't think about it; just experience. Thinking about surrender gets our defenses up. Ego puts on armor, sharpens the knife, sends you out into the day with mock protection against fears which don't even exist. It says: I can plan for you and push for you, ar range your success and keep you from being wounded. And the loss occurs as the words are said.
Knowledge does not guard you against life. It is life, and welcomes you into itself. Knowledge shows you the pattern of its own design, helps you remember that nothing is more joyous than taking off the mask and joining the party.
Bow to this love, and be surprised. The reward is security. You know, finally, that whatever happens in your life has been arranged for your growth. You know it in a way that defies explanation, but lives firmly, lastingly, inside you. Yes: a Master has taken you by the heart and is leading you through the maze of anxieties and holding his hand, you don't feel anxious. The details haven't changed, but hurt can't settle, can't take root. You've a new way of seeing.
Two travellers in the desert see a shining stone. One discards it – a piece of glass. The other, a jeweler, recognizes the diamond. A difference in vision, because of knowing.
Surrender happens to you, the natural outcome of practicing Knowledge. Your life is filled with understanding; there's no alternative but to let your experiences filter through Truth, letting it color all the moments of all your days.
Feeling the power of Knowledge within, you join its movement. Ego drops away, natural as the yearly fall. And though it seems there are always more leaves, more self-protection, the branches will be stripped and the sun will shine through.
You've been climbing a mountain with ten packs on your back. Put them down. Surrender feels like that.
You've had a sadness in your life someone you could have loved more, someone you lost. Forget that sad ness, forever. Surrender feels like that.
Place the cup beneath the faucet, not above. Simple. Obvious. It works. Drink, and be filled.