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What is the most important thing to have... in ‘Bhakti’ which leads a person to higher spiritual levels? Is it faith, devotion, ‘shradhha’, patience, Sewa, or all of them?
The answer is simple. It is HONESTY. Everything that you do... just do it with Honesty.
Honesty is that lone ingredient which if missing renders everything else useless... and if present compensates for all shortcomings. What is honesty? Is it just speaking the truth?
Well, honesty here refers to your actions. If you are doing Bhakti, do it with honesty. If you feel devoted, feel it with honesty. If you have faith, have it with honesty. If you are doing Sewa, do it with honesty. What does that mean? Simply that; nothing needs to be done, just for the sake of doing it. Or for the sake of showing it to others. Such actions, if not futile altogether are largely meaningless.
Remember... Your Guru can always read your intentions. He chooses whether to disclose them to you or not. Sewa, Bhakti, and other actions are the means of reaching to your goal... and Honesty is the path on which they are driven. What is the point of driving in an expensive car, if you are going the wrong way? Can you ever reach your destination? Elaborate Sewa might be rendered useless in the absence of honesty in performing it.
Let us try and understand by way of an example. If a person is doing Sewa in presence of his Guru and executing it very politely and properly, it is good. But if the same person starts behaving differently when his Guru is not physically present, gets rude and improper then the act of doing the Sewa starts becoming meaningless. To be honest with Sewa is to perform it in the same way in both cases. It is to believe that your Guru is watching over you whether or not He is physically present... and the next stage is to just perform your Sewa in the way your Guru would want you to, not because of His fear (that He is watching), but because of Love.... for the Sewa and for your Guru.
Love. It is the natural progression of emotion when you do your Bhakti with honesty. Honesty is the harbinger of unconditional love for your Guru which in turn automatically leads to ‘Shraddha’, devotion and faith. All these are the vital ingredients of your Bhakti which ultimately leads a person to his final goals in life. All transcendental experiences start from this simple rule of being honest.
In the previous post, we talked about being passive in approach and to be a good listener. Whom to listen to, was a question put up then and it was mentioned that we talk about that later. Listen to your Guru, is the correct answer given by all of you. But what to do when you are not physically present in front of your Guru? Does the process of achievement stop during that time? No, it is a never ending task and process. Once initiated, it should only go forward. Then? Whom to listen to? Is a question that remains un-answered. Well, the answer lies in the root of faith and that is honesty. Listen to your Conscience... because when your Guru is not present in front of you physically, He talks to you through your conscience. And believe it... He ALWAYS guides. Receptiveness is what is needed.
This receptiveness comes from the unconditional love for your Guru which is possible to achieve only when you bring this factor of honesty in your Bhakti, in your faith and thus in your life. You become loving. Spread this love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier. This is the mantra of progressing on your path to realization. Shun your ego to love your Guru. Become a nobody. Only those who are ready to become nobodies are able to love.
One more thing. We have to achieve our goals while leading the life we were put into. We are... where we are for a reason and we must respect that. In our personal life we do face situations where speaking the truth is not an option, especially when it can damage someone. Suppression of facts in those times is what? This question might arise in the minds of many of you. Well, here again apply the rule of listening. If your conscience exists and allows it, then it is right.
As fragrance abides in the flower As reflection is within the mirror, So does your Lord abide within you, Why search for him without?
No need for elaborate words or fancy dialogues. They are not needed either impress your Guru or to showcase your feelings. Your feelings will always be understood in simplicity. Always. We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far. Even Kings and emperors with heaps of wealth and vast dominion cannot compare with an ant filled with the love of Guru.
Be simple. Totally simple. Simply bring Honesty in your Bhakti and everything else will fall into place for you. This is the first step to reach your destination..... and the journey would be a far more pleasurable experience.