Chapter 6: Your Boat Is Useless on Land
If my single tongue becomes a hundred thousand,
And this hundred thousand becomes twenty times more,
With each tongue would I sing a hundred thousand times
The only name of the master of the world.
These are the steps of the name of the Lord.
By following them does one become twenty-one.
Hearing them speak of heaven’s glory,
Even those who are like lowly worms become ambitious to emulate them.
Nanak says, He is attained only by His grace.
But the false claimants spread their boastful tales.
The power lies neither in speaking nor in silence;
The power lies neither in asking nor in giving;
The power lies neither in living nor in dying;
The power lies neither in the wealth of kingdoms nor the resolves of the mind;
The power lies neither in remembrance nor in knowledge of the divine;
The power lies neither in the world nor in the devices to be rid of sansara.
The real power lies in His hands - who creates and keeps on watching.
Nanak says, No one is high and no one is low before Him.
Before proceeding with the sutras, there are a few things we should understand.
Thousands upon thousands of ways have been devised to search for God. But whenever a person has attained, he has found that he could not be attained through any means. Attainment comes always by his grace, as his gift; only through his compassion does a seeker arrive.
But alas, things become very complex, because without effort on the part of the seeker grace does not descend. Understand this a little, for without prior understanding of this complicated puzzle you cannot progress on the path of realization.
For example, you forget someone’s name. You try very hard to remember. You feel it is on the tip of your tongue and will come to you at any moment, yet it does not come. You try a thousand ways to remember; you get all worked up inside, for you are so sure the name is so close. Then you give up in exasperation. What can you do if it doesn’t come to mind? You go to do something else - read the newspaper, go for a walk or visit a friend’s house. You have forgotten all about the name when suddenly, over a cup of tea, the name comes to you like a flash when you least expect it. You are completely relaxed and making no effort.
When we put out a great deal of effort, it becomes a hindrance in itself. Great effort produces great tension in the mind. When we pursue something doggedly and obstinately, the insistence becomes an obstruction. When the mind is concentrated it becomes constricted and we become closed. The mind can become so constricted that not even a single word can find its way out.
Concentration means constriction. The concentrated mind must be closed to all except the object of your concentration. Only a small hole is left open for you to see; all else is closed. For instance, when a person’s house is on fire his mind is concentrated on the fire. At that moment if his shoe pinches him, he would be unaware of it. He is oblivious to everything around him. Rushing madly to extinguish it, if his hands burn or his clothes, he is totally unaware. All his energy is directed towards putting out the fire; all else is forgotten. In the same way, when you struggle to remember a certain name, the name doesn’t occur to you, because your mind has become so concentrated and constricted.