By Billy Goodrum
I’m reading Baba’s Discourses. I’ve read a lot of them from time to time but I’ve never read the book cover to cover, start to finish. I thought the fact that I hadn’t read the Discourses in their entirety was evidence of negligence on my part but in discussion with some friends I realized a lot of people haven’t read them including people who have been Baba Lovers their entire lives. So, like all things with Baba, I think it’s a matter of timing and need for every individual.
I’m reading the Discourses because my honeymoon is long since over and at times I don’t feel as connected with Baba as I would like to feel. I’m not scoring high marks on the “Don’t Worry” thing. I do slightly better on the “be happy” part. Especially when I remember not to worry. Because it’s hard to be happy when I’m worrying although sometimes I’m kind of happy when I’m worrying because I think I’m actually doing something. Deeeeeep down in my being I feel Baba in charge and that all will work out according to His plan but on the surface of my mind worries can run amok at times. So in an attempt to worry less and impose a little structure in my life, I’m reading the Discourses. First thing in the morning. A chapter a day. They are, thankfully, short. Because I wouldn’t want to start worrying about not being able to complete a single chapter a day.
I’m finding this reading process to be incredibly enlightening as well as a little depressing. Like when I first read God Speaks many years ago. I felt exhilaration from Baba’s words entering my consciousness but I was somewhat stunned to read that all the pain and suffering that the world goes through is the result of a whim. A whim!!! Now, I also read that all the pain and suffering is just an illusion but the fact remains that it’s very real to me. That’s because, I realize from reading the Discourses, I am inconceivably far away from knowing it to be an illusion.
As a matter of fact, as near as I can tell from my reading of the Discourses, I’m far, far away from even being on “the path” at all. I just try to remember and please Baba the best I can. I’m just a guy living my life who would try to play by the rules if Baba had actually laid down any. Truth be told, that’s something I’m loving about the Discourses. It’s not: “do this” or ”don’t do that.” Baba simply describes how certain actions and activities will either impede or speed us along the path. The choices are ours. Hard and fast rules might make it easier but that’s apparently not Baba’s game.
Right now I’m almost halfway through the book at the chapters on “The Nature of the Ego and Its Termination” which includes subsections with titles like: “Ego is hydra-headed”,“Tricks of ego” and “Guerrilla warfare.” The challenges of terminating the ego are clearly outlined. No easy feat to be an Ego Terminator. Fortunately, Baba has fortified us with many uplifting passages and encouragement in previous chapters but with a hydraheaded Ego waging guerrilla warfare to contend with I do feel there is legitimate cause for concern.
So I’m going to take a moment and skip ahead. I’m hoping for a happy ending. Bear with me, I’m going to skip to the last chapter here…
Whew. All good. The end of the book: “…the lover—who in the beginning is conscious of nothing but emptiness, frustration, superficiality, and the gnawing chains of bondage — gradually attains an increasingly fuller and freer expression of love. And ultimately the lover disappears and merges in the divine Beloved to realize the unity of the lover and the Beloved in the supreme and eternal fact of God as infinite Love.”
I know we’ve all heard it and read it from Baba many times in many places, but it’s nice to be reminded that this whole crazy illusion game has the best of all possible endings. Along the way I am getting a little feeling of connection with Baba that I had felt lacking. I know it was His idea for me to read this now and by His grace and compassion I am getting what I need right now from the experience. Jai Baba!
Published July 2015.