Baba, is it more important to be a devotee or focus on Oneness?
Sai Baba :- The ‘form’ is just a means to get you somewhere. In prayer, most focus on the form, but the purpose of the process is forgotten.
Devotion is a process of evolution. It is the stepping stone to Oneness. It begins with a form. When you increase that energy of devotion inside you, you create space for silence. By moving your mind to a form, you temporarily move it away from thoughts. Prayer, chanting, are like a mind-training tools of a kind or rather a mind-deletion methods. The point is, the path is simply about a person’s ability to trust a presence greater than their mind. It is about acknowledging – ‘I don’t create anything and so the one who creates all, I surrender to you’. That pure surrender allows the devoted ones to accept whatever shows up in their life. A true devotee resists nothing in his life. They often have the ability to accept all that happens in their lives, and live with trust. So yes, devotion is a nullification of our ego-mind and its incessant chatter, its truckloads of stories and the fear it generates inside you. Devotion removes your fear and it allows silence to be present.
Then, when there is silence, the path onward is towards Oneness. Feeling God inside you, knowing God, filling yourself with light, seeing how everything is a dream, and how everything beyond that dream is the same energy, same light, is Oneness. Just One ‘thing’ creates everything, holds the game of creation together. That is the Light of God, Love, Consciousness.
So we choose a path depending on where we are mentally, prayer or silence/meditations?
Baba : – Yes, initially you have to choose, so that you can keep your mind ‘occupied’ with the ‘right’ things. But there has to be no compromise on what your real goal is. You can’t fool God, me, anyone. If you truly crave the path, that has to be apparent in what you do.
It is easy to get lost in the multiples of creation. You have to remember and return to the singleness, unity, if you desire truth. You have to write, believe, pray, clear, meditate because you want to… not because you have to. You can’t let your fear of the future lifetimes, be your motivation for faith. Faith has to be intrinsic.
I get overwhelmed and confused.
Baba:- The constant reminder on the path of devotion or Oneness is to keep it simple. The moment overwhelm begins, know you have made it complicated. GD has told you all this umpteen number of times too. The chaos is a sign that you are listening to that which needs to be silenced.
You don’t need to work hard on silencing the mind. Just stop following each thought. Pick a tool – meditation/clearing.chanting/prayer, use what is needed and return to silence.
Who is supposed to chant, the I or the soul?
Baba:- The ‘I’ cannot chant anything. The ‘I’ is the mind and the ego-mind only chants/focuses on its own agendas. Do you think your ego or personality will allow the focus to be on anything but itself? The chanting is done by the soul that has come alive. It has recognized itself as a part of larger something. Meditation, chanting is its way of returning home. Chants are a vehicle which take you back to the creator. Its purpose is to transport you to God, and help you move deeper and deeper into silence and stillness.
Remember this. There is a difference between fears or the ‘act of the mind’ and a soul. Ego-mind based actions contain a ‘has to’, ‘must’ and other such thoughts. This means action is of the mind and of the thoughts. Many are obsessed with praying because they are? Afraid! It all comes back to fear. It is all about what you need to do ‘or else’…
Devotion on the other hand is effortless. It just flows from an individual. No thoughts of ‘what-if’, ‘should I’ or any doubt enter that person. It stems not from the mind or thought but from the soul. It feels like a natural process which makes you feel complete and at peace. Devotion is simple and easy, obsession is not. So a good way to check if you are obsessed with God and prayer or are devoted, is to check if it evokes fear or flow.
(This is part of my upcoming book ‘The Lost Path of Devotion’. For more, visit this page.)