Today I would like to share with you all a few thoughts on ‘Banat banat ban jai.’ This is one of Lahiri Mahasaya’s favorite remarks as per Guruji’s Autobiography of a Yogi. With these words, Lahiri Mahasaya would often encourage devotees in meditation. Literally it means “making, making, one day made” and in essence it means ‘striving, striving, one day behold the divine goal.’ It means to persevere in meditation. I thought meditation was a problem for you and me; I never thought it was a problem 150 years ago. It is a universal problem. Everybody has problems in meditation; so take heart; you are not alone… To succeed in the spiritual life the whole magic lies in perseverance.
According to the Dictionary: Perseverance means to continue in spite of difficulties; to hold on; to persist; die hard…To persevere means building a foundation; lessons to be learnt; qualities to be cultivated; process of growing and learning; sacrifice of immediate gratification; endurance and patience; it is progress. Let us look at some of the meanings in detail:
To persevere means building a foundation: Story of the Chinese Bamboo.
For anything in life whether it is a building, a career, education, a business – a foundation is required. Similarly, the spiritual life also requires a foundation. It is not a waste of effort. The most common example in spiritual life to illustrate the importance of a foundation is that of the Chinese Bamboo. The seed is planted by the farmer. For the first four years there is no visible growth. Then shoots start appearing above the ground. Then in 6 weeks it grows to a height of 90 feet i.e. 15 feet per week. Does it mean the first four years are wasted? No! The tremendous growth by the plant in developing its root system so that it can hold that great height, to supply nutrition for the whole plant. Similarly personal growth may not manifest itself in the beginning.
Let me give a mundane e.g. Someone is breaking a stone. Nothing happens with the first, second, third…ninth blow. But the tenth blow breaks the stone into small chips. Those 1 to 9 blows helped so that in the 10th blow succeeds. Similarly meditation for 2 – 3 years does not show any results. But that is necessary to build the foundation for the future.
Let me give here the story of THOMAS ALVA EDISON:
When Thomas Edison was in the quest of inventing the electric light bulb, he didn’t get it right the first time. Two of his dejected assistants came to him and said that we have failed 700 times in the attempts to make a breakthrough. In response, Edison said, “No my friends we have not failed 700 times. We have not failed once! We have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways would not work!” Not just those who have made those great discoveries or inventions but all those who have worked at various levels have had to go through failures and ultimately all their perseverance lead to the final success because others have worked at the initial stages.
THE STORY OF THE DONKEY: “Shake it off and step up.”
Let me give you an analogy with the story of a donkey. Normally we don’t talk about donkeys.
A grandfather donkey was very cheerful and joyous and so the little donkey asked the grandfather, “How do I grow up to be just like you?” The grandfather said: “All you have to do is to remember: Shake it off and step up.”
One evening the grandfather donkey was walking when by mistake he fell into a deep abandoned well. People came and watched. The next morning again people came and laughed, “Useless fellow! Let’s fill the well, so that no human being falls into the well. They started throwing shovels of mud into the well. At first he was so fear stricken. He was being buried alive. Then an interesting thing happened. The first shovel fell; he shook it off and stepped up. Again and again with every shovel of mud he would just shake off the mud and step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!
MORAL: Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a stepping stone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.
YOGANANDAJI: “A common cause of spiritual discouragement is the devotee’s expectation that God’s response will come in a great blaze of awe-inspiring inner illumination. This erroneous notion dulls the devotee’s perception of the subtle Divine responses that are present from the very beginning of one’s meditative practices. God responds to the devotee’s every effort, every devotional call. Even as a novice, you will realize this in your own seeking if you learn to recognize Him as the quiet, inner peace that steals over your consciousness. This peace is the first proof of God’s presence within. You will know it is He who has guided and inspired you to some right decision in your life. You will feel His strength empowering you to overcome bad habits and nurture spiritual qualities. You will know Him as the ever-increasing joy and love that surges deep within, overflowing into your everyday life and relationships. – From The Great Light of God.
from Banat Banat Ban Jai …… Satsanga by Swami Smaranananda, devotee notes