Can we assess our own spiritual progress?
Spirituality and our progress!
One disciple has asked his preceptor, ‘how far I have progressed in spirituality’. The preceptor replied that the progress made by the disciple will be known to him, once he becomes, humble, egoless, loving all selflessly and serving the poor brothers everywhere! We cannot assess our state in spirituality like a thermometer which correctly reflects the body heat. As one progresses farther in spirituality, he will enjoy more serenity and peace. Of course, a preceptor knows about the status of the disciple so far as spiritual advancement is concerned but the preceptor won’t spell it. It may cause pride in the mind of the disciple. We ourselves can assess our progress in spirituality, once we enjoy peace very often.
What is peace and serenity? It is the unperturbed state, unaffected by any agitations whatsoever. The spiritually advanced man will remain a ‘mute witness’ to the affairs of the world. Silence will be his constant companion. More than outer silence, he will be at peace with himself. Many of us might have the opportunity to visit real saints in lifetime. I have observed Sathya Saibaba many times when I visited his ashram at Puttaparthi. His ashram is rightly named as “Prasanthi Nilayam” which mean, “The abode of Supreme Peace”. It is not mere peace; It is supreme and continuous peace. Anyone, who has observed him during ‘dharsan times’ –viewing the form at close range’ would vouch the serenity in the form and face of Saibaba! He will be moving as though sliding on a glider. Small steps, quick responses, profuse love and grace dominating his form and his lustrous eyes looking at the visitors all adds to the ecstasy of the devotees and onlookers.
Many might have come from different parts of the globe for the first time. But his unfailing eyes traces people who are weighed with burdens, coming there to get relief. A pat in the head or cheek, pouring ‘vibhuthi’ in their palm is all sights, the angels will long for. He has descended to uplift the drooping souls everywhere. He used to remark, “An aero plane is an airborne vehicle, but it cannot always remain in the sky. It has to land on earth to pick up or drop passengers. In a similar manner, he too descended to the earth in human form to uplift the mindset of human race. Even prior to his arrival on earth, he has chosen the mother. This reminds me of Mary, who was chosen by God to mother Jesus. We, ordinary mortals can choose our life partner only. Only an incarnation of God chooses the best mother. It is not material status. It is purely spiritual status. Thus Sathya Saibaba has chosen his mother long back before his arrival on earth. Like the angels who illumined the conscious of Mary to bear the “Son of God” in her womb, Mother Easwaramba was chosen to bear the form in her womb.
It was a most remote place, an obscure place, not seen in any of the maps of India, nor even in the district maps. He was the eighth child, like Krishna who was also the eighth child of mother Devaki. Even before his birth, when the mother was carrying him, musical instruments hung on the walls started playing divine music for the arrival of the divine child.
The incarnations always enters the mother’s body, unlike ordinary conception of other beings. When the mother was one day, drawing water from the well, a blue ball from the sky, entered the body of the mother. She swooned at once, unable to bear the sweet impact. Much after his birth and when Saibaba announced his identity, one day, a pundit, who is well versed in religious scriptures, asked a question to Saibaba! Others might have considered this as ‘rude’. But Saibaba is aware of the real doubt within the mind of the pundit. “Swami! Is your birth is as a result of normal conception or extra-ordinary? Everyone around there were aghast at the impertinent question from the pundit. But Saibaba, instead of replying the doubt directly, asked his mother to narrate the details, when she was drawing water in the well. The mother told him, “When I was drawing water, suddenly a blue ball of light from the sky entered me! Saibaba asked the pundit, whether his doubt is cleared now? This is the way of the divine! Absolutely unassuming, remaining within the human level, yet knowing everything that goes on in the minds of people!
Many times, when Saibaba was casually talking to some devotees, suddenly he will fell down unconscious. Lot of ‘vibhuthi’ will shoot forth from his moute and body. After a few minutes, he will sit up as though nothing unusual has happened. When the devotees pester him for leaving the body unconscious, Saibaba used to reveal the name of the person whom he visited at deathbed and granted him the last dharsan, In a day or two, a telegram will reach Saibaba stating that so and so has departed peacefully with the presence of vibhuthi on her mouth or brow! Then only the devotees will realize his “Omnipresence and Omnipotence!
Hence to assess our own spiritual progress, we have to see how far we are calm and serene in spite of provocations? An ethereal peace will surround our countenance when we are far advanced in spirituality! It will attract the people around. Thus Jesus, Buddha and Sai attracted their flock like the bees attracted to the honey in flowers!