Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj
People struggle with the day-to-day challenges of life. There are countless financial, health, and relationship issues that occupy our mind. We are concerned about our family’s health along with how to pay off our medical bills. Some people are concerned about getting their prescriptions filled due to rising costs. We wonder how best to educate our children. We fear losing our homes if we cannot afford our mortgage. How can we keep all these concerns from distracting us and giving us mental stress?
In this connection there is an instructive anecdote from the life of the great woman Sufi saint, Rabia Basri. She did not think about whether she was wealthy or poor. Rather, her life was centered on what would help her attain the goal of her life, union with God.
One of Rabia’s friends once went to visit her. When he looked around her home, he found not much more than a broken water pitcher that she used to hold drinking water. She slept on an old mat made of reeds. For a pillow, she used a brick. He knew what a saintly and kind woman she was and felt bad that someone like her, who helped so many people, would live in such poverty. Feeling sad for her condition, he said to her, “I have some rich friends. I can find ways to get some more items for your home to make your life more comfortable.” Rabia turned to him and said, “Isn’t the true Provider who provides for your rich friends the same One who provides for me?” Rabia’s friend replied, “Yes, that is true.” Rabia then asked, “Has the Provider of the poor people forgotten them because of their poverty?” Her friend replied, “No.” She continued by saying, “Does God prefer the rich people because of their wealth?” “No,” he replied. Then she asked, “Does the Lord show them more love because of their wealth?” He replied, “No.” Rabia concluded by saying, “Since God knows of my condition, why should I remind the Lord? If this is God’s will for me, then I wish for nothing more than God’s will be done.”
Rabia lived in such a state of surrender to the Lord’s will. She had full trust that whatever was happening was happening under God’s protective eye. She felt that if God wanted her to be wealthy, then God would make her wealthy. If God felt it was better for her to live in a state of poverty, then she was content with that. She did not want to distract her attention from her goal of union with God by worrying about these outer circumstances.
Just imagine what it would be like to sleep on a reed mat on the floor with a brick for a pillow. Yet, she was oblivious to her outer circumstances, and it was only her friend that noticed such things. She was so absorbed in her prayers and her love of God that she did not find anything wrong in her life. Her situation was in the hands of God, and if this was what God wanted for her she was happy. Rabia Basri developed an attitude in which she accepted whatever came with a smile on her lips. She passed through each stage with the same faith in God. She did not become inflated when things went well, and she did not become depressed when times were hard. She maintained an even keel no matter what happened.
When we are content, we are better able to concentrate on what is important in life. We can have calm relationships with our family and friends. We are not on a continual treadmill of trying to satisfy our desires. In this way we can avoid many of the stresses of life that come with not being content with God’s will for us.
If we observe our thoughts during the day, we would discover how much time is spent on dissatisfaction with our conditions. We are not content and never seem to find peace. We are always thinking of the past and regretting what happened, or thinking of the future and worrying about what might happen.
Sant Mat is a path of positive mysticism. It does not talk about renunciation and purposely living in poverty. It talks about doing one’s best and leaving the rest in God’s hands. If our best efforts result in gains materially, financially, or professionally, then we accept that. If our best efforts result in failure, poverty, or challenges in life, then we must also accept that as part of what God’s will is for us. Often, we find that we have passed through both stages in life. We have ups and downs. Sometimes we struggle to make a living and at other times money seems to flow in our direction with little effort. Sometimes we have smooth sailing with our relationships and other times we have great difficulties with others. Sometimes people praise us and sometimes they criticize us.
We should accept the gifts of God as it is. In this way we will find ourselves being calmer and more peaceful, and our mind will be stress free.