Devotion: Letters to Initiates 10 – Dasyam

by | 30 Jan, 2024

Dasyam means being the servant. It inspires us to be constantly aware of the Divine as the conductor and orchestrator of our life, to whom we are a humble and devoted servant.

We spiritual travellers want to be the hollow bone through which the divine current pours, but all too often our own stuff gets in the way.  Service is a means of seeing beyond ourselves and asking ourselves in any given situation: ‘what would love do now?’ If the Divine were fully present in my being, how would love respond to this given circumstance?

When we focus upon being the Divine servant, it takes the focus off the hurts, real or imagined, that are occasioned to us by others. It makes the focus more about how we choose to show up in the interaction. All bhakti practices are there to steady us, to strengthen us and remind us that we don’t have to behave the way others do. This is not to be critical of anyone. It is just a way of navigating life’s inevitable dramas with more grace.

When I remember that I am the servant of the Infinite, the way that I order my choices in life is different to when my ego is running the show. The ego wants to be right. It wants to have the last word. It wants to have some kind of control on things, people, places, events; it has an insatiable set of desires to insulate itself and amass resources and wealth, fame and prestige. There is nothing wrong with any of these things, but are they being used as a servant of the Divine would use them?

The scriptures are a great place to see examples of Bhakti Yoga. We have the superhuman feats of Arjuna, the devoted servant of Lord Krishna, that are told in the Bhagavad Gita. When surrendered to the Supreme Lord as Krishna, Arjuna was able to let fly thousands of arrows at a time, rendering his enemies senseless. He was able to cut through clouds of doubt and fear, sent by the Asuras (demons) to unnerve him and his men. He could dissipate the maya (mindset) of panic and disorientation and create miracles in one of the most inhospitable environments that a human could face: the heat of battle in the theatre of war. If the Divine can work though Her devoted servants in a warzone, She can work through us anywhere.

How do you establish yourself in Dasyam? A good starting point is to remember that the Divine is present in everyone. In Holy saints and Masters, the coalescence of Divine has been accumulated through lifetimes of spiritual devotion. We can serve the Divine through serving such luminaries, and in their name, we can serve all. When we serve in the name of the Divine and our Guru, astonishing things can happen.

Many years ago I knew a man; we will call him Steve. He was an actor in Hollywood who had been in many movies in minor speaking roles, and had steady work. In his spare time, he studied healing and was devoted to his guru. One day per week he used to do his daily meditation, invoke his guru, and then he would go into some of the roughest areas of Los Angeles where many homeless, mentally ill and addicted people gathered and existed in a sorry state. He would take food, an entire van full of it, and distribute burgers, kind words and coffee to everyone. This work had been going on for some time. Then one day, as he got out of the van and turned to greet the throng, someone quite near him pulled a gun and pointed it right at his chest. They were raving incoherently about how he was there to hurt them, and the man pulled the trigger. Steve thought he was dead. To everyone’s amazement, the bullet seemed to change course mid-way between the gun and Steve’s chest, and it veered away. This enabled those nearby to disarm the gunman. Steve told us this story with tears in his eyes. He felt that he had witnessed a miracle that had saved his life.

Such things are not rationally possible, but bhakti does not serve reason. It is a force of omnipotent Divine grace, to which nothing is impossible. Coalescing that much protective force occurred through the practice of Dasyam, surrendered service with a loving heart and, in this case, performing all actions with the Bhav (spirit, mood) of being the arms of Guru in the world. I knew this man’s guru, and heard the story from Steve himself. The Guru was not aware of having intervened. It happened in a superconscious way, but we were all very glad that Steve was unharmed. The very next week, he was back serving burgers and coffee in the same spot, with the courageous heart of the true Bhakta that he was. Not only was he alive, he was filled with joy, and knew that he was loved.

Another form of seva (work or giving offered in Divine service) is the sponsoring of sacred events. This might be a puja, or a satsang, or providing food for those who come to such Holy events. Should you wish it, we have regular pujas that you can sponsor. They occur at the full moon, during festivals and monthly at the waning crescent moon, when we invoke Lord Shiva, pure bliss beyond form, to dissolve away that which sits between us and a universe of infinite, life altering divine love.

You, not the person next to you, but you yourself, can be at the centre of the miraculous. Cultivate bhakti without attachment or expectation, other than to be the servant of God.



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