“I tell you today and I’ll tell you tomorrow and I’ll tell you every day: You have only one friend – your discipline which will give you all that you need. The rest are all promises. After studying every scripture of every religion and through my own experience, I have found that there are three words: sadhana, araadhana and prabhupati. Sadhana means discipline, araadhana means perfecting the discipline and prabhupati means you will become the Lord Master of God Itself. Now, should I bring you any other news?”
(Siri Singh Sahib, Yogi Bhajan, from The Master’s Touch. July 20, 1996.)
For a few weeks, I have been thinking about this term, “Prabhupati.” And I realize that I cannot explain to myself what it means. It is one of those spiritual words like “enlightenment” or “shambala.” It points to this incredibly refined state of human consciousness that some rare and blessed people have achieved, but that remains almost mythological to everyone else. Is it truly possible for a human being to be in command of that Universal Creative Consciousness? Is that what the ultimate human potential really is? That the Creator serves the human?
Whenever there is something I do not understand, I always look to the root of the word. Not the word, itself, but its origin. Why, in the history of human evolution, would a group of people decided to name something? Prabhu is one word describing the Unknown Infinity that in English we call God. It comes from Prabh. In the 16th Shalok of Sukhmani, Guru Arjan describes Prabhas being separate from the three qualities, with no form, no color, and no designated markings. In other words, that Vast Consciousness behind the creative play, which does not identify with any particular form, is Prabh.
Pati means, “husband, lord, or master.” A commanding energy. A protective energy. A sovereign energy. Somehow, the sages discovered that by having a very deep and consistent sadhana, a human being could reach that state of consciousness where a person could become master of the Formless One. In that state, the Consciousness behind creation would organize itself in alignment with the pure projection of the human spirit.
Prabhupati, as a term, describes how the soul can direct the Formless Consciousness into creative expression. This makes the word a little more concrete for me. I believe many of us have had moments of Divine Alignment or Graced Synchronicity in our lives. Where events arrange themselves in the most amazing ways – giving guidance, opening doors, showing a path to a more expansive and positive reality. I can count many times in my own life where that has happened, even during challenging situations. The Divine is present and watching, like a friend. Ready to subtly move the energy of my life if I am sensitive enough to see and allow It.
But the challenge is to stay in that profoundly receptive space with every breath, in every moment. When I look back over my own life, I have to laugh. The Divine Will will bring something into my life. And my response tends to be, “Wow. Thanks so much for this gift. I can take it from here.” My ego asserts itself. It takes over. It has its agendas and plans.
Love is a very interesting power. We talk about it all the time. But what is, love, exactly? In one sense, love is the ability to see what someone needs – for their security, for their development, for their coziness, or for their happiness and then to silently, selflessly give it to a person, or a child, or a tree, or an animal. Love needs nothing back. The act of seeing and the act of giving is its own self-fulfillment.
The Guru often talks about the Divine Gaze. How the Divine sees into the very depth of what is happening in our lives. There are no masks that can fool this Gaze. No deception that can hide our self from it. The Gaze comes from a deep, deep love that the Creator has for Its creation. In that Infinite love, which has no beginning and no end, the Divine sees exactly what we need on the level of the soul. And It is there, wanting to give to us, if we can only receive.
The ego is a very protective energy. There is a purpose for it. It defines our boundaries, our sense of self and our territory. We each have been given an ego for a reason. But the ego is not meant to be in charge of what happens in our lives because the ego does not operate from a love of the spirit. It only relates to its own limited existence. When the soul and the Divine establish a conscious and loving communication with each other through sadhana, then the ego can slowly relax its need to protect and control its tiny domain.
There are these moments of Divine Alignment, where, out of love, the Creator sees what we truly need. Sees what we cannot see for ourselves and brings it to us. It seems to me that Prabhupati is the state of consciousness where the ego has become so surrendered through sadhana, that a person could live in the flow of that Divine Love with every breath. There would be no other reality. There would just be a dance of love. A person would constantly and continually receive what the Creator brings, in total trust and faith that the Creator is loving and nurturing the highest destiny of the soul.
This is perhaps what Pati refers to. We become the focus of love, the focus of service, through that Divine Gaze. And it this way,Prabh takes total care of our lives.
By writing this essay, I feel I have come understand the notion of Prabhupati better for myself, although it is all still a little theoretical. I have experienced moments of that mastery. But I have never lived a 24 hour day in that consciousness. Still, Prabhupati is good ideal to keep on the altar of one’s inner horizon, a touchstone to return to.
Am I the doer? Or am I getting out of the way and letting the One who knows and loves me the best be the Doer? It is a good lens through which to view the world. And like any ideal, it is something to strive towards without beating ourselves up when we slip. Prabhupati calls us to remember there is One behind the creation who is there to move things on our behalf, and do things on our behalf, if we can let go of the control of our ego and allow It to.
With Divine Light,
Previous articles in this series:
2. Araadhana: http://www.sikhnet.com/news/aaraadhana-acting-divinely