If one associates with saints, it will never be a waste. But while recognizing their greatness, conducting ourselves according to their principles, and associating with them, is real association. It is only by doing so that one can quickly realize the true benefits of their association.
A doubt may arise regarding this, that one can burn even on touching fire unknowingly, then by chance if one comes in contact with a saint, then surely our sins should be destroyed. The answer to this is, this point is valid that sins can be destroyed even if unknowingly one comes in contact with a saint, however, the manner in which fire has the power of illumination, of heat, of digestion, and it also has the power of bestowing heaven and liberation, however, leaving aside the power of heat, we cannot make proper use of its other powers.
Unknowingly by touching fire, one can surely burn, but that fire can only burn. But he who knows the fire as fire, in terms of the real significance of its essential properties, and performs actions that are conducive to it, can even use it for lighting a room and also for cooking a “roti” (indian bread) to satisfy their hunger. Not only that, even a person who is devoid of faith can benefit from the fire. But those who have deep faith, then while chanting the Vedic mantras, if one places “ahuti’ into the sacrificial fire, then he can even attain the heavens. And those who believe in God and follow His instructions with sentiments of selflessness, they do sacrifices “yagna” by placing “ahuti” in the sacrificial fire, they can even realize God through fire.
In this manner, even though one may not know the saint, solely by his association their sins will be destroyed, but without knowing the saint, knowledge about God and detachment from the worldly objects cannot take place. By recognizing a saint, by associating with him, one can gain knowledge of real-unreal, duty-non-duty, that which is useful-and that which is to be renounced, essence-not essential. And for us, now and as an outcome, we can renounce sinful things and actions, and conduct ourselves selflessly with faith, as per their instructions, then ignorance, vexation, actions, mental modifications, lust, become totally non-existent and we can attain the supreme blissful state of God Realization. All these gains are possible by getting to know a saint-great soul, and faithfully associating with them and conducting ourselves according to their instructions.
(to be continued…….)
From “Jeevan ka Kartavya” in Hindi, by Swami Ramsukhdasji.