Yog begins at the feet of the guru. Guru carves out a path and to get that experience, you need to walk it. Roaming around the guru, showering him/her with compliments or trying to impress him/her with your power, looks or wealth is redundant. For if the guru has the state of these things (physical creation), how will he/she take you beyond? And if he/she has traversed the journey of yog, then to reach him/her, you have to walk that path. Only then will you have the darshan of his/her swaroop.
Whether your vehicle is a broken Fiat or a Phantom or a jet-plane (the vehicle here indicates your body), if you keep admiring it in the mirror, you will stay where you are. The mirror does not traverse, nor will the body. Even a broken Fiat can reach, if it walks the path of guru. Otherwise, you can keep polishing the car, change its upholstery and tyres, put various kinds of fuel, nothing will happen. One day the car (body) will fade away, as will the mirror. Slowly the car will lose the ability to move. If at that time you think, you will start, it will be too late. So start your journey now. The newer the car (younger you are), the faster you reach.
Once you are on the path, there come many a subpath on the way—name, fame, glory, wealth, attractions and more. If you take any of those routes, you will become of that route. Also, you will meet a lot of people who will ask you for a lift, and you will make them sit in your car. After some time, you will feel they are all you have. Then they will ask you to go here and there. How many people do you know, whether your spouse or friends or family, who will say this path is good and that you must walk it? Negligible.
The people you seat in your car, if they are committed to the journey, they can feel the power and ability of your car. But in most cases, they are there to distract you and would constantly nudge you to take a turn. And one day or the other, with persuasion or lies, they make you turn the car. At that time, for a sadhak, it is important to keep going straight. When those people see all their attractions pass by, they will get off the car on their own.
Let me explain this with a practical example. Once we had gone to Haridwar for Ganga snan. As we entered the hotel, we were welcomed by a beautiful gate, next there were lush green lawns, then the posh hotel building with luxurious rooms and sumptuous foods. Next, there was the spa, then swimming pool and bar. After that, there were stones. A normal person would think, why to leave behind all these beautiful sites and go to the stones, let me rest and enjoy for a while.
The ones who rest, remain there. The ones who go to the stones will next be intercepted by hot sand, their legs will tire and finally, they will reach the Ganga. And there they will have to take off their clothes to take the dip. How many can do it?
Taking off clothes here is symbolic of leaving all that you have. Most shy away… but clothes will leave you, as will the partners, hotel, spa, and bar. If you get stuck with any of them, you will miss the experience of snan (moksh).
Walking the path of sadhna seems extremely difficult, and yet it is very easy. All one needs to do is ‘mantra moolam guru vakyam’—follow what the guru says like a mantra. Guru assigns tasks (karya) to every sadhak in the car—one person would be asked to navigate, one to keep a check on the fuel tank, another to keep looking in the rearview mirror and so on. Each task is directed towards the benefit of creation. A sadhak needs to constantly keep the focus on task fulfilment. If he/she listens to anyone else or pauses to do something else, he/she is left behind.
Only that sadhak who is prepared to take clothes off (leave everything behind), keeping his/her focus on moksh alone, can walk the path. But then, not everyone desires moksh. Those who don’t desire moksh, if they sit in the car, whatever their thought or desire, when that station comes, they are dropped off there. Their desires fulfilled. The guru, however, does not get off or wait. He/she keeps moving towards finality.
So instead of polishing your cars, make them run. Each person who sits in your car has a different thought process, based on their desires, but guru/you have only one desire. Others have a multiplicity of desires. Yours/guru’s is permanent, others temporary. The choice remains with you and them, which desire/path to pursue, one temporary, the other permanent. Avoid!
Yog is a beautiful journey, but you are the one who needs to make it.
Originally published in New Indian Express