ऊडे ऊडि आवै सै कोसा तिसु पाछै बचरे छरिआ ॥ Ūde ūd āvai sai kosā ṯis pācẖẖai bacẖre cẖẖariā. The crane flies hundreds of miles, leaving its young one behind.
तिन कवणु खलावै कवणु चुगावै मन महि सिमरनु करिआ ॥३॥ Ŧin kavaṇ kẖalāvai kavaṇ cẖugāvai man mėh simran kariā. ||3|| Who provides feed to the chicken of the crane, in its mind it keeps prayer to the Lord for their protection. ||3||
~Rehraas Sahib (Nitnem), Fifth Mehla
(Guru Granth Sahib: Page 10)
Question: Acharya Ji, in our day-to-day actions, should we be in a surrendered state of mind, or should we keep prayer in mind for safety and protection of ourselves and others?
Acharya Prashant (AP): Anisah (the questioner) , these are not two different things. A surrendered state of mind, a prayerful state of mind, a secure state of mind, they are all one. These are all euphemisms for a ‘no-state’ of mind.
What is ‘surrender’? Surrender of all states of mind. So it’s not really a state of mind. What is ‘prayer’? A ‘nobody’ praying. Or, somebody praying for nobody-ness. It can hardly be called a particular state. Similarly, what is a ‘secure state of mind’? All states of mind are founded on insecurity. Security really is a no-state of mind.
They are all one.
Now let me see what you have quoted.
*ऊडे ऊडि आवै सै कोसा तिसु पाछै बचरे छरिआ ॥ Ūde ūd āvai sai kosā ṯis pācẖẖai bacẖre cẖẖariā. The crane flies hundreds of miles, leaving its young one behind.*
*तिन कवणु खलावै कवणु चुगावै मन महि सिमरनु करिआ ॥३॥ Ŧin kavaṇ kẖalāvai kavaṇ cẖugāvai man mėh simran kariā. ||3|| Who provides feed to the chicken of the crane, in its mind it keeps prayer to the Lord for their protection.*
Prakriti (nature) is being used as a pointer towards the Absolute, and that has been very frequently and very usefully done in all Spiritual literature. Instances from prakriti have been used to point at larger Truths. Jesus has done that, here the Sikh Gurus are doing that. Kabir Sahib has so very frequently done that.
What is being shown? A bird that leaves it’s chicks behind and ventures out far. The Gurus are saying, “This is power, this is Faith, this is security.” Even the birds know of it.
Similarly in the Sermon of the Mount, Jesus too talks of birds, and he talks of flowers; lily flowers. And he says, “Look at how beautiful these flowers are. Their glory is higher than that of King Solomon.” And when he talks of the birds, he says, “The one who feeds the birds, would he not feed you? What are you so worried about – bread, and money, and such stuff?”
If you must be worried, then be worried only about the One.
Tulsidas in Shri Ramcharitmanas puts it so beautifully. He tells you that if you must be worried, then you must be worried only about ‘*Ram*‘ (the Lord). “ Kar Chinta Ram kee . (Worry about the Lord).”
All your other worries are futile. But because your energy is lost in all other worries, you have no time, no space, no energy, no attention left to worry about the Real thing – Truth, God, Ram.
So the Gurus have used all these instances from the prakritik (natural) world, from the wild, from the biological universe, to tell you to worry about the Real thing. Why am I using this language? Because usually we love saying, “Don’t worry.” I am not saying, “Don’t worry,” I am saying, “Worry a lot, but about the right thing.”
Saying, “Don’t worry,” never helps because it is the ego’s constitution to think, to worry, to remain insecure. It must have an object to take care of, it must have something to ponder upon. Thought is going to be there. It might be subtle thought, it might be a loudly pronounced thought, but it is the constitution, the tendency of the ego to think.
Saying, “Do not worry,” is the same as telling someone to not to think. There is no thought really that is not tainted by worry. If you will go into the content of any thought, you would find that worry is present in some or the other way. You may even take the liberty of saying that – all thought is worry.
We do not call all thought as ‘worry’, we only sometimes say, “I am worrying.” At other times we say, “O, I am excited. My thoughts are about something that is pleasurable.” Some even say, “I am having happy thoughts right now.”
What they do not realise is that all thought is mired in worry.
So saying, “I am thinking,” is the same as saying, “I am worrying.” Therefore I am not telling you, “Do not worry.” As long as the ego is there, it would worry. And it is great that the ego worries, because the situation of the ego is indeed such that, the ego must worry.
A non-worrying ego is very dangerous. A non-worrying ego is one that has fully adjusted to it’s despicable condition. It has surrendered so badly to it’s oppressive fate that it cannot even worry now. So worry you must.
Tulsidas is unique in pointing it out. He says, “ Kar chintaa raam kee (Worry about the Lord).”
You must worry. Worry about the Right thing. Leave the minor issues behind you.
Go back and visualise the burning house. Is it time to take care of make-up? You are in the burning house, what are you worrying about? Your lip-gloss? Old albums?
Do worry. Do worry about escaping from that place. Do not worry about the old albums, do not worry where the eye-liner is kept. Worry about the Right thing. Everything else is incidental, would happen on it’s own. Your efforts do not mean much there.
In fact, in the normal, regular matters of the world, your efforts, your sense of doership is merely a sham. It is a trick to keep you engaged. In the normal, worldly matters even if you feel that you have done something, or you have achieved something, the fact is there were so many forces and agencies, and causes involved.
The world is a great network where nothing happens because of just one, solitary, unique cause. Every effect is the output of a thousand causes. Every output is a function of a hundred variables – a hundred variables, out of which your individual effort is just one. But because you do not know how many variables were involved in coming to a certain output, so you start wrongly attributing the entire output to just one variable, which is your personal effort.
It is very misleading.
You do not even know that Y is not merely a function of X. Y= f (X1, X2,X3,X4…….∞) till infinity. Out of which X1 is your ego, X2 to X 10,000 you have no idea of, and therefore you discard them. What foolishness!
Just because you do not know of something, you are assuming that it does not exist. And we are not talking of God here, we are talking of worldly, causal forces. Just because you do not know what contributes to what, you think nothing is contributing to anything.
The world is an incredibly complex system. In this system there are so many things linked to so many things; everything is linked to everything. Getting it? Therefore in the world, your doership is anyway a sham. Things are happening because of so many things.
Your doership is needed primarily at just one place. Your doership is needed for your Liberation. You have to invest your doership totally in the project of your Liberation. And how do you invest that doership? You invest that doership in the project of Liberation so that you exhaust the doership. You invest it with the objective of losing it.
In the share market, you invest in the stock that is likely to go up. In Spirituality, you invest in the stock that is likely to sink. You choose with care, and you say, “I will invest all this capital, all this egoist capital, in a place where it would gradually or suddenly just sink. That is Spiritual investment.
It’s not easy to look for such a stock, because in the world everything follows the rule of entropy; it only increases, nothing diminishes. Therefore Spiritual practice is quite demanding. You have to find something that will diminish. In the world everything just expands.
So finding something that will diminish and would diminish your ego along with it, is difficult. Because it is difficult, so it requires all your effort and all your doership. That’s where you should invest your doership; not in your regular, everyday matters. If you have to work hard, work very hard in diminishing yourself, not in this and that.
I am labouring extremely hard to collect the world’s finest furniture in my home. What nonsense? There is some other place that deserves all your effort, and that place is going unanswered, that place is totally unoccupied. The call is unanswered, and instead you are investing all your effort in such frivolous things.
Somebody is very particular that the car should not have even one scratch, somebody is very particular that the face should not have even one wrinkle. And that requires a lot of effort you know. To ensure that you have wrinkle-free face is to put in a lot of effort. And a lot of effort really goes into these things, with the result that no effort goes in the Right direction.
The Right direction remains starved.
“I will destroy him.”
“I will beat her.”
Have you ever wondered how many mega-tonnes of your energy is lost in all this? Ever wondered? This and that, he and she, and it’s such a blind loop. You do not even see how you are sinking and losing your precious resource.
We all are bleeding in the fight. We all are fighting tirelessly. The pity is we all are fighting the wrong battle. The wounds are there, the blood is there, the sweat is there, the tiredness is there. The battle is wrong. So much excitement, so much energy, so much determination, in the wrong cause. Thorough commitment, absolute dedication into …..nonsense.
How smart does that sound? How smart is that?
If even a quarter of that blind and destructive energy could flow towards the Right direction, you cannot even imagine how your life would change. The Giver is magnanimous. He would make do even the quarter of your energy. All he needs is some little signal from your side that – you do want Liberation.
“Did you just insult me? Did you?”
Four hours forty eight minutes of deep intellectual perspiration.
“Did she not?”
Have some mercy upon yourself. Learn to ignore. Bypass the small issues. Learn to ignore the small for the Big.
Every time you ignore something small for the sake of something Big, you can pat yourself on the back. You can tell yourself, “Yes, that one little step forward.”
And every time you choose the little to abstain from the Big, you have harmed yourself one more time.
It’s not pretty.